Any help and advice would be appreciated

DSD01032.ARW (81.7 MB)
DSD01032_03.ARW.xmp (50.8 KB)

I would be interested to learn how other users would handle pictures such as this, which was produced using darktable 4.6.1.

Some 35 years ago I would take similar photos of my children and somehow the lab would come up with prints of a reasonable quality. Nowadays I am photographing my grandchildren, and I lurch between vague satisfaction to total despair as I attempt to devise a straightforward formula for handling modern digital variants.

Historically, I have always used filmic, but I have recently swapped this for sigmoid RGB, which appears to blend the facial highlight more smoothly. I sometimes strive for extra ‘pop’ using CB’s brilliance sliders or TE, but then suspect that I am simply adding extra contrast. I seem to have a problem accurately assessing colour and was never successful at colour darkroom work.

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I think your posted image looks great. I (personally) wouldn’t attempt to improve it.

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Here is my attempt. I tried to brighten around the eyes a little. Processed in DT V4.7.
DSD01032.ARW.xmp (20.3 KB)

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DT 4.7.0

DSD01032.ARW.xmp (13.3 KB)

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darktable 4.6.1


DSD01032_02.ARW.xmp (16.9 KB)


DSD01032_05.ARW.xmp (32.5 KB)

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Its a pretty great image that to my eye really only needs or could have a color grade done to taste. I wonder if you are taking such lovely photos as source material if maybe you wouldn’t be able to get your desired look by experimenting with some film luts… Here are a few mostly fuji luts I happen to have but there are so many out there… you might even recall what your old film that was developed was…

These edits are just the lut with a tone eq to raise shadows a bit and the no aa filter preset of diffuse or sharpen.

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You really got the most of the color of her overalls. Beautiful!

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I have never really explored the film lut options in DT. That may be my bad. But looking at my first edit and then edits of others that followed I thought my skin tone looked dull. So I applied a fuji lut from the preset list in the module and it now looks warmer. A more extensive range of luts may have found me something nicer.
DSD01032.ARW.xmp (23.6 KB)

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Very nice shot, and well executed too!
I must confess that I don’t think it needs much processing at all - I’m using sigmoid on default settings, added a little ‘pop’ with the local contrast preset in diffuse and sharpen (more subtle than the local contrast module IMO) and a boost to vibrance in color balance RGB to add chroma to the less saturated colours.

DSD01032.ARW.xmp (7.5 KB)

That’s pretty much my usual workflow - sigmoid starting from defaults, often adding contrast, then a colour tweaks if needed in color balance rgb, local contrast and/or sharpness adjustments in diffuse and sharpen as wanted.
Sigmoid (always in per-channel mode) really makes it easy from my perspective.

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I feel these two adjustments are so different that having the same name seems confusing. The local contrast module is great for adding contrast and some degree of clarity to an image. I use it a lot and test it on nearly all images. On the other hand the preset local contrast in the diffuse or sharpen module has minimal effect on the contrast and mainly brings out a little more detail. As you say it is more subtle, but for me it is often too subtle.

With this portrait I used Local Contrast module to add ‘global contrast’ to the image. In the image below the top half is the module turned off and the bottom is turned on to 137% detail. I like the extra contrast on the skin and hair.

image

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Oh, true. I use the local contrast module quite a lot too, although I don’t particullarly like it’s effect for portraits personally. :slight_smile:

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I added 10 iterations to the local contrast preset in DorS early on as sometimes I wanted more. I now work the threshold sliders a bit more than iterations as they can really impact your adjustment. I use local contrast module a lot as well with a few presets and I would agree its not the same effect but both adjustments have their place for sure…

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I too rarely use local contrast or extra sharpening on portraits, but the shadows on this one lent themselves to some local contrast in my view. And yes both local contrast options have their place and each has its strength. The new preset local contrast fine found in 4.7 is very good for the right job, but I view it more as a clarity adjustment myself.

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It’s a great portrait! I don’t think it needs much work. I thought it looks better with a tiny bit warmer white balance, also I adjusted the tones (just a little bit) to get more out of the shadows.

Personally, I like the finer control that filmic gives for portraits, but both modules can do the job very well. You might even get away using neither (with this picture) :man_shrugging:

Yes, you are “only” adding extra contrast. But both ways (TE or brilliance) allow for a better placement of the contrast (in the tonal range).

Here is my rendition with only minor adjustments using ART (a fork of RawTherapee):


DSD01032.ARW.arp (12.5 KB)

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What a great picture! My interpretation using sigmoid.

DSD01032.ARW.xmp (24.0 KB)

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My version…

DSD01032_01.ARW.xmp (29.2 KB)

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I vigorously agree with this earlier comment. You are fortunate to have grandchildren and photo skills too. Well done.

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I often promote Sigmoid for its ease of use and great colors straight out of the box, but there are times I choose to use filmic for its very fine controls. This is especially true for picking the white and black relative exposure positions.

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I often fine tune my contrast, my shadows and my saturation in the Color balance RGB module because I feel it allows very fine adjustments that are easily achieved. Some times I add contrast by darkening the shadows and brightening the midtones. Some times I use the contrast slider. Often it is a case of a mixture of all these adjustments. The CB module is so versatile.

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ART 1.18


DSD01032.jpg.out.arp (11.3 KB)
The only comment I have on the setup is that the lighting ratio may be a bit harsh for a youngster. Perhaps increasing the amount of fill would help to brighten the hollow pockets around her eyes and decrease the overall contrast.

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