Needs help with highlights

My first submission for Play Raw. This photo has been problematic for me (along with more from the same day):

2020-10-21 143521-1629_art

2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2 (23.6 MB)

This file is licensed Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0.

I would humbly like to observe others’ techniques for dealing with over-exposed colors, if you could spare a few minutes. I understand that blown raw highlights equate to information loss that can not truthfully be reconstructed, but sometimes I can get highlights to roll off gracefully enough not to be distracting if you aren’t looking for the artifact.

I can’t seem to get the job done on this photo. My son’s face and hand aren’t distracting for me, but his jacket screams at me looking at my attempts from both ART…
2020-10-21 143521-1629_art.jpg.out.arp (10.6 KB)

and darktable:

2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (8.9 KB)

For what it’s worth, the crop from the camera processing seems less distracting, if unflattering:

2020-10-21 143521-1629_camera_crop

Compared to ART, it doesn’t go to magenta between the jacket color and white. And in dt, I haven’t figured out what do in filmic that doesn’t just make the texture disappear into a blob of red.

(One artistic note, the example from ART is currently the closest to the actual color red of his jacket viewed in sunlight.)

As a bonus, if anyone could show me in dt how to handle the purple color fringing on his mask, I’d be grateful. For some reason, the camera/lens combo (Canon 6D/ EF 100mm/2) is showing up “not found” in the lens correction module.

Lovely shot, just a tad overexposed and that causes the main issues. In RawTherapee most of the purple fringing on the mask can be removed by simply turning on the Defringe tool. Though some sort of weird halo remains. I don’t think the effects of the fringing can be completely undone…

For what it’s worth, this is my take with rather simple edits. This is done in the development version of RawTherapee and loading the pp3 in 5.8 may give slightly different results.


2020-10-21 143521-1629.jpg.out.pp3 (14.0 KB)


Edit: I replaced my version with a less haloing one.
2020-10-21 143521-1629-2.jpg.out.pp3 (14.0 KB)

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I think, the jacket is not really the problem because only part of the face and hand are burned out.


2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (10.7 KB)

DT 3.2.1: defringe does the trick


2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (11,1 KB)

EDIT: probably you prefer this version (same as before, with an adjustment in filmic for the highlights)


2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (12,0 KB)

Working from @Thanatomanic pp3 all fringes in the mask are now gone (mostly), but some saturation in reds is lost. And I haven’t able to completely remove the remaining purple tint around the eyes:

2020-10-21 143521-1629
2020-10-21 143521-1629.jpg.out.pp3 (13.4 KB)

Hi @BorisRabit,

If you have access to darktable, set input color profile to linear Rec709 RGB.

As I see this, it is a question about saturation & proper color profile.

I have a similar dilemma with our neighbour’s hedge, having the most electric red leaves I have ever seen. I have tested an X-trans camera, an old Canon EOS – but the **** leaves still are too electric. Is it because of my monitor? Is it because of my development habits? No. It’s because I have not yet learnt how to treat color profiles properly. Grumpf.

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

This helps me understand a little more of what I’m seeing, thank you. I saw as people have pointed out it’s really only his face and hand that are over exposed, but somehow I was thinking the problem with the red jacket was the same. You’d think with as many threads as I’ve read recently about a project to assemble devices for creating hyper accurate input color profiles, the light bulb would have flickered when I saw what was happening, but I needed a hint.

Thank you all for your very quick and helpful responses. When I can get back to my computer, I’ll start examining your examples.

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Here’s my attempt, thanks for sharing! (disclaimer: I’m not 100% sure about the result because I’m on a bad screen at the moment…)

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Thank you, looks nice. Could I see your sidecar too?

It’s embedded in the jpg

smacks forehead
Thank you.

With Filmulator.

I notice that only the green channel is clipped, so we’re safe to use highlight recovery with just about full effectiveness:

Screenshot_20201029_172108

Besides the crop, I used…

  • Highlight Recovery 2
  • Exposure Compensation -1.33
  • Film Area 9547.5 to reduce the radii, thus darkening the overexposed patches on the face more
  • Drama 100
  • White Clipping Point 0.604

I’ve also tried Filmulator, simply with the defaults and with +2/3 EV added (I prefer my pictures brighter). Every time I fire it up, it’s just magic. This is a really amazing piece of software!


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And my attempt with darktable. I’m not happy about the hand, the rest is tolerable.

2020-10-21 143521-1629-dt 2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (21.1 KB)

Here is my take on this:
[I have replaced the png, sorry for that…]


It was done with darktable 3.3.0-1259 2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (14,0 KB)

defringing in darktable definitely helps. Its definitely too hot though.



2020-10-21 143521-1629.cr2.xmp (93.3 KB)

Such a cool image :smiley:

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What tool did you use? Could you please post the sidecar (or settings, if there’s no sidecar)?

In the first one I used a lut I made a while ago but I made this edit in Darktable, it’s pretty much the same thing (if only a bit magenta but it was a very fast edit):


2020-10-21 143521-1629_03.cr2.xmp (19.8 KB)

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