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Author Topic: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama  (Read 22377 times)

shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2015, 07:07:43 am »

I'm out of my depth here. However, this color-saturation mismatch between Photoshop and various internet browsers, as viewed on my calibrated monitor, became significantly noticeable only after I upgraded my monitor to the current high-resolution, wide color gamut, NEC model, which claims to be able to display the full gamut of Adobe RGB.

The impression I get is that there are both advantages and disadvantages to a wide-gamut monitor, the disadvantage being that all un-managed software will produce colours that are very visibly over-saturated.

The benefits are, when I proof images for printing on my Epson 7600, the proof colors, contrast and vibrancy that I see on my monitor need far less adjustment than they did on my previous monitors.

On my previous monitors, which had a display gamut probably no wider than that of sRGB, as soon as I hit 'proof colors' in Photoshop, the entire image would loose contrast and vibrancy, and would require an increased adjustment of saturation and contrast until the image gained the appearance it had before I hit 'proof colors'. The color profiles I use with my Epson 7600 are those created by Bill Atkinson many years ago, and I process my images for printing using the ProPhoto RGB color space.

The following site might shed some light on the issue. 
http://www.tedsimages.com/text/links5.htm

Or, perhaps Andrew Rodney would like to chime in.  ;)


Turning on colour management in Firefox is supposed to get rid of those issues - that article (which is a few years old now) says just that. But it doesn't seem to.

I'm pretty sure it used to. Maybe, somewhere along the track, they made it non-functional.
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2015, 08:24:46 am »

Updated it (kept the old one for comparison).

One version which looks good in Photoshop but oversaturated in the browser, another which looks good in the browser but desaturated in Photoshop. Which one looks right to you?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 11:53:54 am by shadowblade »
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Ray

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2015, 08:07:01 pm »

Hi Shadowblade,
I see a significant reduction in the saturation of the blue sea in your update, which is an improvement, but the image still doesn't look quite natural. In Photoshop I see that the red channel is at its maximum value of 255 in a number of places, including the brightest parts of the sky, which seems a bit odd considering that it was dawn, and that the sky is not particularly red, and that the city lights were still on.

Perhaps this is the sort of image that doesn't render well as a small jpeg within the narrow color gamut of sRGB. Perhaps the problem is also that the nature of the lighting, a combination of a fairly bright sky with strong artificial lighting, needs a combination of different White Balances. In other words, one single White Balance will be a compromise that's not ideal for either the natural lighting or the artificial lighting. Just speculating.  ;)

The EXIF data doesn't provided any details of shutter speed and ISO. Was the exposure a full ETTR at base ISO, or were the shots handheld at a higher ISO? Can you show a 100% crop of one of the brighter areas of the city lights so we can see how much detail is actually present in what appears to be some fairly large areas that look blown in the small jpeg?
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2015, 09:53:38 pm »

Hi Shadowblade,
I see a significant reduction in the saturation of the blue sea in your update, which is an improvement, but the image still doesn't look quite natural. In Photoshop I see that the red channel is at its maximum value of 255 in a number of places, including the brightest parts of the sky, which seems a bit odd considering that it was dawn, and that the sky is not particularly red, and that the city lights were still on.

The parts of the sky in between the clouds were very bright compared with the rest of the scene. I'm not worried at all about the red channel being blown - it's all shades of yellow-orange behind them anyway and doesn't affect the image at all. The city lights themselves are also blown, for obvious reasons.

To me, the desaturated version looks ridiculous in photoshop - it looks like reality toned right down, not like reality itself. But I've never like completely natural images anyway - they always look very flat and dull to me. I prefer bold, strong colours. As I've mentioned in another thread, it may be a geographical thing. Not sure where most of the LuLa community is based, but I've sold very few prints in northern Europe and North America (outside the tropical and warmer areas) and get a lot of hate from those areas, but heaps in Asia and South America, quite a lot in the Mediterranean and a fair few in Australia.

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Perhaps this is the sort of image that doesn't render well as a small jpeg within the narrow color gamut of sRGB. Perhaps the problem is also that the nature of the lighting, a combination of a fairly bright sky with strong artificial lighting, needs a combination of different White Balances. In other words, one single White Balance will be a compromise that's not ideal for either the natural lighting or the artificial lighting. Just speculating.  ;)

The posterisation seen earlier was entirely the result of downsizing and conversion to 8-bit mode - there's no posterisation at all in the 16-bit version. So compression and downsizing has caused some problems.

What in particular is wrong with the white balance? Too warm? Too cool? Different in different parts of the image? Or the colours just aren't to your taste?

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The EXIF data doesn't provided any details of shutter speed and ISO. Was the exposure a full ETTR at base ISO, or were the shots handheld at a higher ISO? Can you show a 100% crop of one of the brighter areas of the city lights so we can see how much detail is actually present in what appears to be some fairly large areas that look blown in the small jpeg?

ISO 100, blended exposures of 2 and 8 seconds (mostly 8s, with 2s for the very bright parts). I was also shooting through a haze, which was non-ideal, but common at this time of the year - at any other time of the year, the sun wouldn't have been rising from the right direction for such a shot.

Here's a crop:
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2015, 09:58:37 pm »

And a version with a different (split) white balance.
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Ray

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2015, 12:06:50 am »

ISO 100, blended exposures of 2 and 8 seconds (mostly 8s, with 2s for the very bright parts). I was also shooting through a haze, which was non-ideal, but common at this time of the year - at any other time of the year, the sun wouldn't have been rising from the right direction for such a shot.

Here's a crop:

Okay! Thanks for that. You've introduced a couple of additional issues. This is not only a pano but an HDR image. Many folks criticise HDR images for being 'excessive' in some way, and unnatural. This image of yours fits the bill. However, I don't personally think that HDR images have to unavoidably look unnatural. It's all in the processing. Also, a 2-stop increase in DR doesn't seem sufficient in this case. The 5 or 7 stop bracketing range of Nikon cameras might have done a better job.

The other issue is the haze. It's not apparent in the processed image, so presumably you've attempted to compensate for the effect of the haze, perhaps by moving the 'clarity slider' in ACR to its maximum. That can have an unnatural effect.

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But I've never like completely natural images anyway - they always look very flat and dull to me. I prefer bold, strong colours.

Why would you shoot any scene that looks very flat and dull?  I'm always attracted to shoot scenes that are interesting, unusual or vibrant in some way. During the processing of the RAW image, the initial result might sometimes look rather flat and dull, in which case I increase the contrast and vibrancy so that it matches my memory of the scene and what I consider realistic, natural and possible. In the process of increasing contrast and vibrancy I might prefer to err on the side vibrancy, especially with sunsets and sunrises, but I try to avoid any unnatural effects, defining an unnatural effect as one that could never exist in reality.

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What in particular is wrong with the white balance? Too warm? Too cool? Different in different parts of the image? Or the colours just aren't to your taste?

Since I don't have the RAW images to play with, I can only speculate. I just think it's reasonable to presume there would be a WB problem when shooting a scene that is a combination of artificial lighting and natural lighting. A more obvious example would be shooting your living room at dawn, which includes the rural scene through the windows of your living room whilst all the artificial lights were on, then comparing the result of the same scene through the window with all lights off. I've never done the experiment, but I imagine the 'as shot' WB temperature in ACR would be quite different in those two shots.

The 100% crop does not look impressive. It's all red, yellow and black. If I were to take a single shot of this scene with a high resolution camera, such as my D800E, I would expect to see more detail in a 100% crop. If I were bracketing exposures, I'd ensure that one or more of the exposures were significantly underexposed.
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2015, 06:43:19 am »

Okay! Thanks for that. You've introduced a couple of additional issues. This is not only a pano but an HDR image. Many folks criticise HDR images for being 'excessive' in some way, and unnatural. This image of yours fits the bill. However, I don't personally think that HDR images have to unavoidably look unnatural. It's all in the processing. Also, a 2-stop increase in DR doesn't seem sufficient in this case. The 5 or 7 stop bracketing range of Nikon cameras might have done a better job.

No HDR conversion here - just blended in the darker image over the brightest areas. Also had to capture the two exposures manually, due to the loss of bit depth (and DR) when shooting using automatic bracketing using Sony A7 cameras.

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The other issue is the haze. It's not apparent in the processed image, so presumably you've attempted to compensate for the effect of the haze, perhaps by moving the 'clarity slider' in ACR to its maximum. That can have an unnatural effect.

Processed in Sony's Image Data Converter, which does a much better job with Sony's RAW files than ACR. Dehazed by increasing midtone contrast (graduated from front to back) and applying sharpening using a graduated high pass filter.

I'm not seeing an unnatural effect here, at least in terms of luminance (i.e. how it looks in black-and-white conversion). It's all in the colour balance, tone and saturation.

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Why would you shoot any scene that looks very flat and dull?  I'm always attracted to shoot scenes that are interesting, unusual or vibrant in some way. During the processing of the RAW image, the initial result might sometimes look rather flat and dull, in which case I increase the contrast and vibrancy so that it matches my memory of the scene and what I consider realistic, natural and possible. In the process of increasing contrast and vibrancy I might prefer to err on the side vibrancy, especially with sunsets and sunrises, but I try to avoid any unnatural effects, defining an unnatural effect as one that could never exist in reality.

I always liked using graduated tobacco-coloured filters, graduated coolong/warming filters and other graduated colour filters - particularly the 'strip' filters to selectively filter the part of the sky or ground in the distance, closest to the horizon. I don't know whether that counts as 'unnatural' or not. But, if I wanted a pure naturalistic effect, I could just take a snapshot with no processing, no long-exposure techniques, etc. I prefer to use colour and tone to create emotion or to simulate the feel of the place - warmth or coolness, isolation or familiarity, etc. rather than as a pure pictographic record. A bit like romanticism in painting vs neoclassicism or realism.

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Since I don't have the RAW images to play with, I can only speculate. I just think it's reasonable to presume there would be a WB problem when shooting a scene that is a combination of artificial lighting and natural lighting. A more obvious example would be shooting your living room at dawn, which includes the rural scene through the windows of your living room whilst all the artificial lights were on, then comparing the result of the same scene through the window with all lights off. I've never done the experiment, but I imagine the 'as shot' WB temperature in ACR would be quite different in those two shots.

The 100% crop does not look impressive. It's all red, yellow and black. If I were to take a single shot of this scene with a high resolution camera, such as my D800E, I would expect to see more detail in a 100% crop. If I were bracketing exposures, I'd ensure that one or more of the exposures were significantly underexposed.


Underexposing further would not have done much except ensure increased noise after processing. The reason I shot this at such a high resolution was that I expected to lose a lot of it in postprocessing, after cutting through the haze, applying multiple curves and reducing all the resulting noise.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2015, 08:24:17 am »

..., due to the loss of bit depth (and DR) when shooting using automatic bracketing using Sony A7 cameras...

How does Sony lose bit depth/DR because of brackating!?

shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2015, 10:37:58 am »

How does Sony lose bit depth/DR because of brackating!?

Sony saves the RAW as a 14-bit file, but, unlike Canon and Nikon, it's heavily 'cooked'.

Some modes (single shot) compress it to 12 bits and process it at that depth; others (continuous, bracketed, silent shutter, probably some others too) compress it to 11 bits before expanding it back to a 14-bit file. The modes that compress it to 11 bits have less DR and more noise than those which compress it to 12 bits. Neither are as good as the 14-bit true RAW files produced by Nikon using the same sensor.

This is usually not an issue if you're just doing minor adjustments, but I tend to torture my RAW files...
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2015, 11:14:47 am »

..I would expect to see more detail in a 100% crop...

Indeed.

Shadowblade, it pains me to badger such a competent photographer as you obviously are, but that detail does not look good, especially not from a 36 Mpx camera with a great DR. I am trying to understand why... over-processing that is starting to break the file? Out of focus? For comparison, here are a few 100% crops from a similar night panorama, done with the same focal length (35mm), but with a lowly 20 Mpx Canon 6D and its 24-105 lens (these are from +2 bracketed shots, unprocessed, unsharpened) - click on the thumbnail:

P.S. The whole panorama can be seen here:
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 11:40:47 am by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2015, 12:10:05 pm »

Indeed.

Shadowblade, it pains me to badger such a competent photographer as you obviously are, but that detail does not look good, especially not from a 36 Mpx camera with a great DR. I am trying to understand why... over-processing that is starting to break the file? Out of focus? For comparison, here are a few 100% crops from a similar night panorama, done with the same focal length (35mm), but with a lowly 20 Mpx Canon 6D and its 24-105 lens (these are from +2 bracketed shots, unprocessed, unsharpened) - click on the thumbnail:

P.S. The whole panorama can be seen here:

There was several kilometres of atmospheric haze between myself and the point at which the 100% crop came from. The crop was what was left after lifting the haze. I expected a lot of detail to be lost from trying to lift the haze and the 100% pixel quality to be pretty terrible, so I shot it at a much higher resolution than I normally would, to ensure a good result at the same print size (i.e. each pixel is awful, but there are 3-5 times as many pixels to make up for it).
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Ray

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2015, 09:24:44 pm »

There was several kilometres of atmospheric haze between myself and the point at which the 100% crop came from. The crop was what was left after lifting the haze. I expected a lot of detail to be lost from trying to lift the haze and the 100% pixel quality to be pretty terrible, so I shot it at a much higher resolution than I normally would, to ensure a good result at the same print size (i.e. each pixel is awful, but there are 3-5 times as many pixels to make up for it).

Well, first let me say, it's good to be robust and to be able to accept criticism, so I congratulate you for that and for explaining your processes.

I'm getting the impression that the main reason for the excessively 'garish' nature of the image (only my opinion of course) is due to the processing effects of removing significant haze that was captured in the scene, coupled with your normal preference for, what some might consider to be, over-saturation in images.

I'm also getting the impression that your stay in Hong Kong was rather brief. You recognized the spectacular nature of the scene, realised that the weather conditions were not ideal because of the haze, but had no option to return to the spot later, on a clearer morning, because of your travel schedule. Right?

It's probably too much to ask, and you probably don't have the time or indeed the inclination to reprocess, but it would certainly be interesting to see the original 'dull' scene showing the full nature of the haze.  ;)
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TwistedShadow

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2015, 10:19:49 pm »

Glad you asked. :)

A couple of months ago, there was this guy on our forums that explained it much better than I can:


I've heard similar things as to how different cultures will process their images. One thing I've heard is how Westerners will process towards cooler temps and Asians will process closer to warmer temps.

Anyhow, its a cool image.

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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2015, 10:50:43 pm »

I've heard similar things as to how different cultures will process their images. One thing I've heard is how Westerners will process towards cooler temps and Asians will process closer to warmer temps.

Anyhow, its a cool image.



It's a bit like geographical preferences for white balance in computer and TV screens for non-photographic purposes - in Asia (and also Australia) people tend to prefer a bluer, cooler white, while, in North America, they tend to prefer a warmer, paper white (tending towards yellowish).
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2015, 10:58:52 pm »

Well, first let me say, it's good to be robust and to be able to accept criticism, so I congratulate you for that and for explaining your processes.

I'm getting the impression that the main reason for the excessively 'garish' nature of the image (only my opinion of course) is due to the processing effects of removing significant haze that was captured in the scene, coupled with your normal preference for, what some might consider to be, over-saturation in images.

That, and the fact that I just realised my output sharpening plugin was still set for canvas print output, leading to horrible oversharpening on such a small final image for web output... No wonder it looked much better at full resolution.

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I'm also getting the impression that your stay in Hong Kong was rather brief. You recognized the spectacular nature of the scene, realised that the weather conditions were not ideal because of the haze, but had no option to return to the spot later, on a clearer morning, because of your travel schedule. Right?

Very much so.

I find that, by significantly oversampling beyond what's strictly required for final output, images can take a lot more abuse in Photoshop. You should see what underwater fashion shots taken in a swimming pool look like before they make it to post-processing...

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It's probably too much to ask, and you probably don't have the time or indeed the inclination to reprocess, but it would certainly be interesting to see the original 'dull' scene showing the full nature of the haze.  ;)

Will post it when I get home.
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shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2015, 12:38:11 pm »

It's probably too much to ask, and you probably don't have the time or indeed the inclination to reprocess, but it would certainly be interesting to see the original 'dull' scene showing the full nature of the haze.  ;)

This is what I was dealing with:
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2015, 12:58:04 pm »

If there ever was a reason to leave it as-is, this is the one!

shadowblade

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2015, 01:33:01 pm »

If there ever was a reason to leave it as-is, this is the one!

Why? Really not a fan of the haze... if I wanted haze, it's easy enough to add it in post-processing.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2015, 01:38:20 pm »

You can, but you can't beat natural, it always trumps photoshopped. I consider myself quite a heavy photoshoppographer, but the best ones (images, that is) are those that do not scream "Photoshop." Seriously, that's the one I would buy, the OP one never.

Ray

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Re: Hong Kong skyline - 350MP panorama
« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2015, 08:50:19 pm »

Shadowblade,
I tend to agree with Slobodan, except I don't think I would buy either because neither is ideal; although I can imagine I might buy it if I'd lived in Hong Kong for some time, had now left, and wanted a memo or souvenir, and your shot was the best one available of this particular view which had impressed me on the occasion I had visited the area.

This issue really highlights the problem we photographers face when visiting an area with a magnificent view, at a time when the conditions are not ideal. I always try to return to such places when the weather is clear, or the sky is spectacular, or whatever. In this particular case of the Hong Kong skyline, what was needed was a good shower of rain the day before you visited the area.  ;)

Thanks for taking the trouble to explain your processes.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 09:05:04 pm by Ray »
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