How to open/preserve original raw color/tonal settings in RT?

I’m using Canon 5dmk4 and shoot raw. When I look at the files in RT’s file browser for the first time, they look good, color wise and everything (well, depending on the subject/light of course).

But as soon as I actually open that file, it changes - for the worse.

How can I open the image and have the color/exposure exactly like I see it in the thumbnails in file browser? I don’t want any changes before I make them.

What causes this anyway? Processing profile or something else?

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It’s really the reverse of what you’re thinking: The thumbnails are already processed, and the opened raw file is not.

According to rawpedia, the RT file browser uses the embedded JPEGs from the raw files to make its thumbnails. The embedded JPEGs are created by the camera, with all the attendant processing specified in the camera’s Picture Control (or equivalent, I’m a Nikon person). Then, when you select a thumbnail to open the raw file, it is presented to you unprocessed, particularly when you start with the Neutral processing profile.

If you’d rather have something approximating the embedded JPEG to start with, you can make a RT profile that contains the Auto-Matched Tone Curve, which is essentially processing to approximate the embedded JPEG. Then, specify that profile as your default profile. Me, I’d rather start with the linear raw, and make the adjustments that suit me, rather than having to deconstruct processing already done…


Thanks. It makes sense.

I will try to apply or create some similar profile, but so far none matched the embedded jpeg. The biggest issue is the color.

Default RT processing has way too much red hues. Original, embedded thumbnails seem just right. I tried fiddling with those values but so far I’m not satisfied with the results.

I know @ggbutcher already explained it, but there’s also a more detailed explanation on rawpedia if you’d like to understand a little more:

Hopefully that helps a bit?


You might post an example in the playraw section of this forum to see how others would process it.

Thanks, but those images are for my client so cannot publish raws freely.

Here, take a look here.

Image on the right is an embedded thumbnail, straight from the camera.
Image on the left is what happens when it’s imported into RT with its default settings.

For me, image on the right is far superior and natural, without nasty red skin hues. If anyone can help here, for some quick solution, I’d appreciate it a lot. Thanks.

And just to be clear - of course this image can be fixed, adding more cyan and such. But my goal is to make a profile that would prevent this in all future files with similar lighting conditions and I’m not sure what is the best way to do that.

You may already have thought of this, but
what happens if you select Processing profile/Automatched curve?

As already mentioned the first preview is taken from the jpeg. Once you open the file it applies whatever is set aus default in your RT, probably “auto-matched low ISO” or something similar. What RT does is use the auto matched tone curve which just matches, I think, luminosity. BUT, the camera will have done a lot of things to the jpeg already, like sharpening, local contrast, color correction and maybe even slight dynamic compression. That is the secret sauce of the camera brand. And it might even be, that the processing isn’t static, but the camera tries to recognize the scene and processes the raw accordingly. So, the best way for me was to start with the auto matched tone curve and then try to match the colors, then save as a profile.

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Try with tone curve-standard and/or camera standard input profile

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I guess you will already know it, but just in case: a proper input color profile specifically made for your camera model (and if possible for your own camera) is vital if you need accurate colors. But I’m not sure if that’s your problem.

Perhaps you will have to read how to improve your camera support, because as it is stated in camconst.json (where information about your camera is stored) for your 5D MkIV:

// Quality B, some intermediate ISO samples missing, LENR samples missing so White Levels not properly indicated, some aperture scaling missing

And that quality B may give some hint about why RT doesn’t handle perfectly your images. Not sure, but maybe worth giving it a try?


And maybe you could try applying this profile?

canon_eos_5d_mark_iv.pp3 (13.1 KB)


Yes, I’m aware companies make that “secret sauce” and IMO, Canon is known for a great skin color, just like Olympus has been known for fantastic blues, out of the box. But alas, only Canon’s own DPP really reads ALL Raw values accurately. Not surprisingly so, considering it’s their native tool.

However, I’m on a mission to create several profiles for RT, depending on the light or skin colour conditions. While it won’t be 100% accurate, it will be close enough and much better than default one.

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I tried. This is more color-related issue (particularly skin color). However, I’m getting there with several tools I used in RT, from RGB curves to Lab adjustments.

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Thanks. It does produce better results! The only thing I switched back was AMaZE demosaicing instead of pixel shift (as the manual says, pixel shift is for pentax/sony cameras only).

You’re right Xaval for color profiles and too bad it’s on Quality B. That explains this color shift, particularly in skin rendering. But I’m close on making my own.

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Nothing much… this is more color related issue, but as I said to others, I’m getting close. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this section of one of my videos might be of any use to you…ignore the stuff before and after, but the CM bit might help.


For my Nikons D610 and Z6 the best colors and tonality were with Adobe .dcp profiles. You can read in Rawpedia how to get them.

Allow me to reiterate @XavAL’s note.

Please consider providing samples for us. RT is only as good as we make it to be. :wink:

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Thanks, very useful video. I think I watched your videos few months ago. :slight_smile:

Alas, I can’t change much. I only have ‘no profile, camera standard or custom’. I can either opt for no profile or custom.

Also, in the output profile I don’t have ‘profoto’ in RT. Only those v4_SRGB profiles, but that’s minor problem. Still, I saw in your video, you were using profoto both in working and output.