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I have been using the Tone Map Persona to see what it does with a variety of pictures. I have also watched all the great AP videos on HDR and Raw Development more than once. For the most part, I like the results for both color and black and white, especially if I use the local contrast conservatively.

 

I understand the benefits of using tone mapping for HDR images based on bracketed exposures. What I still don't understand is what is the difference between tone mapping a single image (starting from a Raw file) vs using various adjustment layers in both the Develop and Photo Persona.

 

In other words,

 

- Can I theoretically achieve the same results if I tinker with various adjustments than I would if I tone map a single image after doing some basic prep work in Develop first?

 

- Can Tone mapping a single image be considered a kind of short-cut to get particular results faster than going the other route?

 

 

- What are the trade-offs of using Tone Mapping (besides more noise) vs using the "traditional" workflow of Develop + Photo?

 

 

- For which types of single images does Tone mapping work best and for which one it does not do as well?

 

- Should I make different adjustments when I edit a single image in Raw, if my next step is tone mapping vs going directly into Photo persona?

 

Any clarification on these questions would be most welcome. Thank you!

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Thanks for your response. I did look at the link you provided. which was very informative.

 

If you don't mind, I still have an additional question, related to my previous last question.

 

What are the specific adjustments that one should do when developing a Raw image in the Develop Persona, if the next step is Tone mapping vs going directly into Photo Persona.

 

For instance, if I am in the Develop Persona, should I make the Raw image as flat as possible and don't do any detail enhancement if I am going to tone map it afterwards, vs trying to improve detail, contrast, etc if my next step is the Photo Persona?

 

Thanks! :-)

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alecspra,

 

I think a lot depends on your preferences.

 

Personally, I like to do the basic adjustments in Develop Persona, getting a well balanced image. So, the blacks are not crushed, I try to avoid highlight clipping, a touch of clarity.

There are cases, though, when I need to work with a flat profile, therefore I switch off the option in the assistant (sorry, can't remember right now what's called).

I also take care of the noise, but without overdoing it. If I can't get a good noise reduction, I leave the settings to the bare minimum and I take care of the noise later on with Nik.

This is how I like to work, because gives me enough room to play with the adjustments in Photo Persona. I might even still go back to Develop Persona if I feel I want to use the overlay to work on some areas, although is quite rare as most of the time I can get a similar result with a curve and a mask.

 

Anyway, after the first adjustments in Develop Persona, and again only if I feel the image needs it, I duplicate the layer and switch to Tone Mapping to add some micro-contrast: that's the only type of adjustment I usually need that I can't do in the other Persona. I'm not a big fan of pushing the image too much, nonetheless I love the contrast I can get in Tone Mapping. Also, something I wasn't aware of when I started using Affinity Photo, Tone Mapping takes into account any other layers above the layer is being applied to. Which is great from a preview standpoint as I can see what I'm doing to the image even if there are other layers on top of the selected one when I'm working in Tone Mapping. Is not so great when it comes to performance, as the whole process can get really slow.

 

That said, the place where I feel more comfortable and I have more fun is with Photo Persona. The way I can work with masks and layers in Affinity Photo changed my workflow and I feel I don't need much more to get my job done. There are improvements for sure that can be done and I'm confident they'll arrive soon or later.


Andrew
-
Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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Thanks so much for your considerate responses. I really do appreciate the time you took to help out.

 

I appreciate the comments regarding what to do in Raw before moving on to Photo or Tone mapping.

 

The most important thing I am taking away from this thread so far, outside of the fact that much of it is a matter of personal taste and preferences, is that the only feature of tone mapping that cannot be easily (or not at all) replicated by other means, is increasing micro-contrast, which looks like expanding the dynamic range but it is not exactly that (especially if it is not an HDR image to start with made up of several bracketed exposures).

 

I did notice however on the AP videos regarding HDR, that James suggested making the image pretty flat before moving on to tone mapping. That sort of matches my experience. When I have tried bringing an image to Tone mapping that I had previously sharpened and adjusted somewhat with a tone curve in the Develop persona, it made the Tone Mapping effect more pronounced and difficult to control. On the other hand, if I brought that same image from Raw to Photo persona, the adjustments I did while in Raw caused no problems at all. So, it would seem that the prep for tone mapping from Raw is slightly different from the prep for Photo from Raw. What do you think?

 

Is it a fantasy to hope that AP could add a "micro-contrast adjustment" directly into the Raw Persona, that way you don't need to go through Tone mapping if that is the only adjustment you are interested for a particular image?

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alecspra,

 

I'm not sure if micro-contrast is the only reason why Tone Mapping exists, in fact, there might as well be other reasons but I personally didn't explore further so far and mostly because I'm not a big fan of working in a destructive way.

 

As for the flat profile thing, again it is something I personally consider from case to case.

When I deal with video, starting from a flat profile gives me more room to process the look after the fact (as long as there is information to process).

I did have situations with raw images as well when working off a flat profile was the best solution: this happened when I opened raw images that were too under exposed to get a good contrasty image right off the bat in Develop Persona and flatting out the profile was the only choice left in order to get some extra space to push the image later on in Photo Persona.

 

Hope that makes sense.


Andrew
-
Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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One more comment before leaving this thread. I have been experimenting using Tone Mapping with clouds (especially storm clouds). It does wonders with the texture of clouds!

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alecspra, I agree with you re: the need for a micro-contrast adjustment in AP. It's a lot of work to move to Tone Mapping persona for that effect alone. Lots of modern photo editing software (Snapseed, Enlight) that I use today has a simple one-click "structure" setting, which does exactly the same thing as the effect you are doing in the Tone Mapping persona. It's a wonderful enhancement that I like to apply to a lot of my photos, but in AP, it's just painfully tedious/slow.

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pkazmier, I'm glad AP doesn't have a one-click structure setting.

I use Snapseed now and then, despite is a good app to have on the phone, I would never compare it to AP.


Andrew
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Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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I found this article (link below) for Lightroom but it can be applied partially to AP, that explains how to use Clarity filter to add texture, which for practical purposes might be the same as structure. I suppose you can ge a similar effect by using the Unsharp filter with the radius all the way up and blend mode Lighten to increase sharpness and contrast between light and midtones, and/or the Unsharp filter with the radius all the way up and blend mode Darken to increase sharpness and contrast between dark and midtones. Then tone down the effect with the Radius or Opacity slider.

 

It would be interesting to do a side by side comparison of the same picture, using various approaches (including Tone mapping a single image) to increase Structure and see what different results you get. I am probably too lazy to do it but if someone is willing to try it, please let me (and us) know what you learn!

 

https://digital-photography-school.com/four-ways-improve-photos-clarity-slider-lightroom/

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pkazmier, I'm glad AP doesn't have a one-click structure setting.

I use Snapseed now and then, despite is a good app to have on the phone, I would never compare it to AP.

I don’t understand the aversion to adding a slider for a feature that already exists, but is tucked away in a different persona. For those that don’t know what I’m referring to, it’s exactly the same thing as the “local contrast” setting in the Tone Mapping persona, but with Tonal Compression set to zero, and everything else disabled.

 

The feature is very useful, which is why more and more applications are adding the slider, to the main parts of the editing software. It’s the same when Clarity started becoming popular when it was first introduced back in the mid 2000’s. Why punish yourself and make workflow harder when the feature exists already, but is simply harder to get to?

 

And, by no means, did I imply Snapseed or Enlight were better than AP. My post simply stated that “structure” is becoming a mainstream setting that a lot of people find useful. It’s great that AP has this capability (Local Contrast in Tone Mapping).

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I found this article (link below) for Lightroom but it can be applied partially to AP, that explains how to use Clarity filter to add texture, which for practical purposes might be the same as structure. I suppose you can ge a similar effect by using the Unsharp filter with the radius all the way up and blend mode Lighten to increase sharpness and contrast between light and midtones, and/or the Unsharp filter with the radius all the way up and blend mode Darken to increase sharpness and contrast between dark and midtones. Then tone down the effect with the Radius or Opacity slider.

 

It would be interesting to do a side by side comparison of the same picture, using various approaches (including Tone mapping a single image) to increase Structure and see what different results you get. I am probably too lazy to do it but if someone is willing to try it, please let me (and us) know what you learn!

 

https://digital-photography-school.com/four-ways-improve-photos-clarity-slider-lightroom/

Yes, but Clarity is most definitely not the same as the Structure feature. You can compare yourself. Take a photo, go to Tone Mapping and disable all settings in there except for Local Contrast (make sure you set Tonal Compression to zero). Compare that effect to a photo with Clarity only. Completely different effects.

 

Thanks for link though, good pointers on to effectively use Clarity.

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Ok, thanks pkasmier I will try that!

 

As an aside, I sort of like the fact that Affinity Photo requires more tinkering than other editing programs that provide more shortcuts. Personally, I don't make a living from my photographs and I can afford the luxury of taking my time to edit them. Plus, I enjoy the editing process itself. I find it quite creative and rewarding. Having said that, i certainly would not mind having a Structure slider in the photo persona that does what you suggested. At least you have the option of using it or not.

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I don’t understand the aversion to adding a slider for a feature that already exists, but is tucked away in a different persona. For those that don’t know what I’m referring to, it’s exactly the same thing as the “local contrast” setting in the Tone Mapping persona, but with Tonal Compression set to zero, and everything else disabled.

 

The feature is very useful, which is why more and more applications are adding the slider, to the main parts of the editing software. It’s the same when Clarity started becoming popular when it was first introduced back in the mid 2000’s. Why punish yourself and make workflow harder when the feature exists already, but is simply harder to get to?

 

And, by no means, did I imply Snapseed or Enlight were better than AP. My post simply stated that “structure” is becoming a mainstream setting that a lot of people find useful. It’s great that AP has this capability (Local Contrast in Tone Mapping).

 

My aversion is about the one-click solutions in general, that are very common in smartphone apps. Those solutions leave very little room to the user to expand his/her workflow. It's usually a matter of applying a preset, though I know Snapseed allows you to at least tweak the values.

That said, a non-destructive micro-contrast live filter could be nice, but then again it would most likely affect performances.

 

I didn't say you implied Snapseed or Enlight was better than AP, what I said is that I would never compare them, which is what you did here:

 

Lots of modern photo editing software (Snapseed, Enlight) that I use today


Andrew
-
Win10 x64 AMD Threadripper 1950x, 64GB, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB, dual GTX 1080ti
Dual Monitor Dell Ultra HD 4k P2715Q 27-Inch

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