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View Full Version : Batch Opening/Contact Sheets w/R-D1


JamesRR
05-20-2005, 09:23
I'm a new poster/member of this group. First off, the feedback and advice here has been great on RFs altogether, including the R-D1 (which I have).

Not sure if this has been discussed, but I know there's been frustration for Mac users trying to batch open RAW files from the R-D1, just to make a contact sheet and get an overview of a batch of shots. While I love the Photoshop EpsonRAW plug-in (it's like a digital darkroom), it is slow to get many files open. I don't mind opening up selects and editing them, etc, but I was looking for a fast batch solution.

I noticed Adobe keeps it's Camera Raw Plug-In's up to date with current digital camera RAW formats. The R-D1 gained support in CameraRaw in Photoshop CS at version 2.3, which I just downloaded. This allowed me to use Adobe's "Browse" feature to actually look at my Epson RAW files in a thumbnail viewer, then select them and have a Contact Sheet made with the PS Automated Contact maker. Granted, you have to wait while Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in opens each file to make the contact sheet, but its a lot faster than the Epson plug-in - and best, it's automated. I can leave and come back and have a contact sheet.

Of course then I pick out my selects and use Epson's Plug-In to tweak and edit them, but this makes getting contacts a lot easier.

Hope this isn't old news -

james

jlw
05-20-2005, 10:17
A while back I posted a thread here in the R-D 1 forum on batch raw-conversion options for Mac users. I've settled on using Raw Developer, a very nice $70 product from Iridient Digital, but there are some less expensive and free options that will do the job.

If you're running MacOS X, I've also got some AppleScripts I've written that might help you manage your raw workflow.

Take a look at the original thread and then post back if you need further info. And if you get any ideas that work well, be sure to share them here!

JamesRR
05-20-2005, 11:48
I had read your overview of batch options for OSX, that's what got me investigating into Photoshop. I've been using Photoshop CS since it came out, but never used the raw camera plug-ins before now. I was looking for a 0 cost option for batch processing, since I've spent a lot of money on software; I wanted to better utilize what I have. That's what led me to what I explained in my original post; using another aspect of PS.

BTW, your overview of options was much appreciated.


james

jlw
05-20-2005, 17:37
Oops, sorry, I thought you were not satisfied with the Photoshop batch option and were hoping to find something else. I tried it as well, but got dissatisfied because it seems so s-l-o-o-o-w (yes, I tend to shoot a lot so I always have a lot of frames to go through!)

It IS a good option to have, though, and the fact that you can view and grade the raw frames in the image browser before investing the time to open them is also a plus. (I like to view and grade all the frames first, so I can identify ones that can be processed in a batch vs. ones that need to be opened individually so I can tweak the conversion settings.)

Are you doing anything in your Photoshop automation process to deal with hot and/or dead pixels? I've got an Action for doing that with JPEG images, but haven't tried it with raw (since Raw Developer has a pretty effective hot-pixel filter.)

Again, if you've got more good tips for handling R-D 1 images, this is the place to share them! Thanks for posting this one -- lots of people have Photoshop but forget about the image browser and Actions, so a reminder is always good!

PaulN
05-23-2005, 17:34
I've been playing around with 'dcraw' & ImageMagick with some decent success. On an iMac G4 1.25ghz system (768mb ram), I can process an image from .ERF to JPG in roughly 21 seconds. The quality isn't the best (the pictures are _very_ warm), but what it does offer is a fullsize image that is perfect to a quick proof sheet.

At the moment, I have a shell script that will go into a directory full of ERF's and convert them in one swoop. I am hoping to put together a Workflow with Automator. Once I put something together I will post to the list.

The nice thing about this method is that it is completely free. The hassle is in getting everything to compile. However, there are some sites that have pre-compiled binaries of dcraw for OSX (command line only though). Imagemagick wasn't too hard to compile, but you need to compile a bunch of support libraries (libjpeg, libtiff, libpng, etc).

I'm surprised at how many converters utilize DCraw. I was especially surprised to see Adobe Photoshop on that list.

photolady
06-04-2005, 11:44
Has anyhone used the DNG conversion utility by Adobe??? it is free and batch converts NEF and ERF files and other camera formats. I use it and it saves me lots of time;;I also use an iMac.. :)

jlw
06-04-2005, 20:09
Has anyhone used the DNG conversion utility by Adobe??? it is free and batch converts NEF and ERF files and other camera formats. I use it and it saves me lots of time;;I also use an iMac.. :)

Hello from another iMac (G5) user! I've tried using DNG Converter; for a while, it was the only way I could get my R-D 1 raw files into iView MediaPro, which is my preferred utility for "contacting" and general image management.

I've kind of phased it out because the DNG format makes for rather large file sizes (if you embed the original camera-raw image, which you'd need if you ever want to open it using the Epson plug-in) and because while MediaPro can preview DNG files, it can't actually convert and open them (this may be true of other batch media managing applications as well.) So, to get my raw images into a usable format, I'd be back to opening them one at a time in Photoshop, which was no real advantage when dealing with a lot of images.

Still, DNG Converter works well and is a good solution if you want to standardize on DNG files for storing your pix.

What I've gone to using now is a workflow somewhat similar to the one Sean described a while back: I copy the raw images to my iMac's hard disk; make a set of 'rough drafts' by converting them to JPEG files using a batch conversion program (I use Iridient Digital's Raw Developer, but there are less expensive choices that work too); then open the rough-draft images in iView, go through them, and pick the most promising ones. The best picks get made into 'final draft' images by converting the raw files again, this time tweaking the conversion settings to get the best results from each image.

I've written some AppleScripts that help automate this process; if anyone's interested, I can post them with an explanation of what they do.

sevres_babylone
06-05-2005, 04:53
I would be interested in the AppleScripts.

I also want to say, that as a Mac user, after having used Raw Developer for a while now, I continue to be very pleased with the product. Although not recommended for OS X 2.8, it runs well on that that operating system, as well as on Panther. I use it most of the time, though I prefer the Epson plug-in for images that I convert to black and white.

jlw
06-05-2005, 09:53
Okay, here's my complete raw workflow as it stands right now, with explanations and scripts. All this is based on my personal equipment and preferences: As I shoot, I accumulate my raw-format shots on an Epson P-2000 image viewer, and I do my screening and contacting with iView MediaPro. (http://www.iview-multimedia.com/) Naturally, everyone uses different stuff, so feel free to mix, match, adapt, etc. as you see fit...

Step 1: Retrieve images from P-2000

When I get back from a shooting session, my first task is to copy the images from the P-2000 to my iMac's hard drive. I leave the original raw files on the P-2000 until I'm completely finished, to provide an additional backup; this means there often are several days' worth of files on the P-2000.

If you use a P-2000, you know its file system is kind of a pain -- each memory card's worth of files gets stored in a separate subfolder inside that day's folder. This means that to move all the files, you have to open and copy a lot of separate files, and it's easy to overlook some and forget to copy them (ask me how I know this.)

So instead, I use AppleScript #1, attached as "Selective P-2000 copy." When I run this script, it prompts me to select a day's folder from the P-2000, then automatically downloads ALL the files from all its subfolders to the location I select.

Step 2: Renumber The Files

Once the files are on my iMac's hard drive, I immediately rename them using my own naming scheme, which involves the shooting date and a sequence number. I do this so that there's no risk of mixing up these "working" raw files with the camera-original raw files that are still stored on the P-2000. There are lots of ways to handle the renumbering, including an Automator action that comes with Tiger -- but I like my own AppleScript, which is attached as "Renumber files sequentially."

Step 3: Convert to "Rough Draft" JPEGs with Raw Developer

With the working raw files safely renumbered, I use Raw Developer's batch capability to convert them to "rough draft" JPEG files. These are at full resolution, but use default conversion settings. The purpose of these rough-draft files is to let me go through the images, cull out the unusable ones (unsharp, hopeless exposure errors, etc.) and identify what tweaks the good ones need.

Some people can do this from thumbnail-sized files, but I can't -- I need to be able to zoom in and check the sharpness of details, etc. That's why I need the rough-draft JPEGs, even though I later re-convert most of them using settings customized for the needs of each image.

Step 4: Examine and Rate Rough Drafts in iView

Once the rough-draft files are done, I open them in iView MediaPro and edit out the bad ones. I like to do this in iView's fullscreen slide-show mode; I page through the slide show, rating each image as 1 (good), 2 (usable) or 3 (hopeless) with the number keys.

Once I've rated the images, I use iView's filters to eliminate the #3-rated ones. Now I start looking at the remaining images to see which ones would benefit by being reconverted from raw using customized settings.

Step 5: Convert Again to Make Final Images

You aren't really getting the full benefit of raw format if you just batch-convert all your files at some combination of default settings. So, I go back through the promising images and re-convert them again, using settings customized for best results from each image. Sometimes I do this conversion with Raw Developer and sometimes with Photoshop, depending on what capabilities I need (for example, using the Epson plug-in with Photoshop allows vignetting correction, which Raw Developer doesn't; on the other hand, Raw Developer has a hot-pixel filter and the Epson plug-in doesn't.)

I do these final conversions working from the rough-draft images, which are still open in iView. The reason for this is that often there will be several images which need the same conversion settings; with iView, I can select these images and handle them as a group.

To do that, I use two more AppleScripts; I keep them in iView's Scripts folder, although they probably could run from the Finder just as well. I've attached them as "Open raw in Photoshop" and "Open raw in RD" [Raw Developer].

The way they work is that after I've selected several rough-draft images in iView for "treatment," I run the relevant script; it commands either PhotoShop or Raw Developer to find the corresponding raw files and open them.

Step 6: Save Final Versions

With the selected raw files again opened with Raw Developer or the Epson plug-in, I make whatever settings will give the best results for each one. Then I save these final versions in another folder. Once the final versions are saved, I no longer need the "rough draft" JPEG files, so I can trash them.



I know, this sounds like a lot of steps and a lot of work. But it's the sparsest workflow I've been able to devise that lets me edit images at full resolution AND do the final raw conversions with custom settings.

A lot of times, especially when I've been able to make the photos under well-controlled conditions, I don't need to do this whole sequence; I can just batch-process all the raw files at the same settings and get good results. In that case, I only have to do steps 1 through 3 to get "final" instead of "rough draft" images.

As I said, this is all very personal and I'm sure anyone else would do better with a somewhat different process tailored more to his/her preferences. But this is what I've been doing, and it seems to work for me; maybe it will give you some ideas. Good luck!

(The scripts attached were all written by me, and are NOT guaranteed in any way!)

DerrickC
06-05-2005, 18:01
Thanks for your workflow jlw. What kind of adjustments (exposure, white balance, etc) do you typically do using each of the softwares:-
- RAW Developer
- Epson Plug-in
- Photoshop itself

What should be done when the file is in raw format and what should be done after. I'm new to all this. The RD1 is my first digital camera and i'm still trying to figure out the software part. I'm using a mac, have photoshop cs and iview mediapro and have downloaded the trial copy of Raw Developer. When i scan in film, the only thing that i used to do was just using photoshop's healing brush to clear any dust spots and curves. Thanks, appreciate the help!

jlw
06-05-2005, 19:25
Yeah, I know it's a little confusing because there are so many options that seem similar. I hope this will help make it clearer:

Key concept: This is an overused metaphor, but the raw file itself it a bit like undeveloped film: You can't really use it for anything UNTIL you convert it to a different form. In the case of film, you do this by developing it. In the case of a raw file, you do it by using software that converts it to a file format (such as TIFF, JPEG, Photoshop, etc.) that you can view and edit.

When you make that conversion, you have the opportunity to make various adjustments; by fine-tuning these adjustments for each image, you can make it look the best it can be.

How to convert: Raw Developer and the Epson plug-in both do basically the same thing: "develop" the raw file by converting it to a format that you can edit. The Epson plug-in converts the file and then opens it in a Photoshop window. Raw Developer converts the file and saves it in another format of your choice, which you then can open and edit in the image editor of your choice.

Which one to use? They have slightly different features, so it depends on your needs. As I noted in my previous post, for example, Raw Developer can convert a whole batch of raw files at a time; the Epson plug-in can only open one at a time. On the other hand, the Epson plug-in has a vignette correction feature (useful for wide-angle lenses) while Raw Developer doesn't. It depends on what you need. Preferences play a role, too: for example, you may find the exposure controls in the Epson plug-in more comprehensible than the ones in Raw Developer, so you might rather use Epson for correcting difficult shots.

Remember, there's no reason you can't use both! One of the things I do while viewing my 'rough draft' images in iView is get an idea of what corrections they'll need. If I see a whole batch of shots that need about the same correction, I'll convert them in Raw Developer because it lets me process them all at once. On the other hand, if I see an image that needs vignette correction, I'll convert it with the Epson plug-in.

What to do when: There are two kinds of corrections you might need to make to a shot; you might think of them as tone corrections and content corrections.

Tone corrections involve adjusting the lightness or darkness of the image, its contrast, etc. I think it's better to do as much of this as possible DURING raw file conversion, rather than waiting until afterward and doing it with Photoshop itself. The reason I say this is at the raw file contains ALL the data captured in the original image; when you convert, some of that data gets thrown away, giving you less to work on later. By doing as much tone adjustment as you can during the raw-file conversion (with either Raw Developer or the Epson plug-in) you're preserving more of the tone information and giving yourself a higher-quality image to work on. Clear?

Content correction includes such things as cropping, straightening, applying filters, spotting out defects such as dust and hot pixels, sharpening, noise reduction, etc. You have to do cropping, rotation, and filters in Photoshop (or another image editor) because neither Raw Developer nor the Epson plug-iin has tools for doing those things -- they're strictly for converting the raw files to an editable form.

You can do some kinds of sharpening and noise reduction either at the conversion stage or in Photoshop; again, as with tone correction, I like to get as much done as I can during raw-file conversion, so I'll be working on a better quality image. But often you can't really visualize the final effect of the picture until you've done your Photoshop manipulations, so you still may have to do some of the fine-tuning in Photoshop. In fact, you'll probably want to do some tone correction in Photoshop as well.

I just suggest that you get the image AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN during raw-file conversion, so that you need to do as little post-conversion tweaking as possible. Again, the reason for doing it this way is that it preserves as much of the original image data as possible.

How I work: I shoot a lot of pictures per session, and I usually need to deliver them quickly. What works best for me is to convert the images from raw as I described in my earlier post. Then I do the cropping and straightening in iView MediaPro, which has very nice tools for this and works very quickly. To save time, I don't open an image in Photoshop at all unless it needs some kind of special correction not available in iView MediaPro -- such as the healing brush, special filters, etc.

Again, the key for me is to do the rough draft conversions first, then evaluate them in iView to see what kind of tweaking each one needs; then go back and do that tweaking with whatever tools work best.

Clear enough? If not, let us know... if my procedures don't work for you, I'm sure someone else has ideas that WILL help!

DerrickC
06-06-2005, 06:42
Thanks for you detailed reply jlw. I guess the main thing for me to do now is to just try/experiment and see what works best for me. Appreciate your effort and time typing in the reply!