RT's default processing profiles

Hi everybody …

sorry for stupid Q: but I didn’t find it answered or discussed in older posts …

I struggle a lot with RT’s default processing profiles … They do with some photos a good job but with some other photos they offer a horrible starting point … Prime example is this photo


I tend to start from “Neutral” profile and do everything manually … Is this proper approach ? More specifically - look on attached RAW … It contains some embedded JPEG (I suppose) so normal image viewers like gwenview just show a pretty decent image out of the box … If I open the image in RT that applies any of auto-curve profiles the starting point is just dull and horrible … In my edit (attached in zip) I just didn’t use curves but started from Neutral and used only tools in Exposure section and added contrast, saturation and used Lab tool to manage to have similar look like embedded JPEG

Q1: Please educate me and show me how you would manage to get possibly look close/simlar/same to embedded JPEG which looks pretty cool out-of-the-box (sorry s/box/camera/)

Q2: is in general sensible to NOT use auto-curve processing profiles and just get to processing starting point (let’s assume that starting point is how JPEG looks) using Neutral profile and then few sliders in Exposure section ? Similarly like I did - see my pp3

Q3: is it possible to manage embedded-like look with Curves ?

Q4: is it possible to somehow automatically generate the starting point for RAW processing from JPEG or that auto-curve will just follow JPEG ?

thanks much for help …


ps. please if possible don’t post here image directly … It’s my friend’s daughter … she’s not professional model or anything … I just used this shot because it’s prime example of what I struggle with - especially with scenes like this - see skin tones in embedded JPEG and vivid red on the background … It seems - and I don’t wonder, that Nikon is doing some black magic under the hood while processing JPEGs

  1. To match jpeg’s a first step could be to get Adobe dcp profiles by downloading (free) camera raw and using the files, via the Colour management > custom menu.
  2. For my cameras I get a good match with the Auto curve but it probably differs from camera to camera and possibly scene to scene.
  3. There are many aspects to a look and curves (rgb or exposure?) are only one part of it.
  4. Auto curve is based on the jpeg preview embedded in the raw file.

You can also try Adobe profiles and enabling their tone curve and look to see how close you get. I did quick tests for the Z50 on your file but the results were so so. Thing to remember is that no third party software completely matches the jpeg rendering of the camera. Not even Adobe.


ok, update … I’ve read the Getting Started section … fair, a lot of mentioned there …

thanks much … looking for what Adobe “dcp” profiles are … good point … yes, it’s like that as you say … some photographs look pretty close to embedded JPEG and same are far by miles …

After digging further I’ve managed a pretty impressive edit with Lab tool


I have to say that I do not use Lab and reading RT’s Getting Started article opened my eyes, especially a section about LC and CC curves, which I was never using before … So actually asking here helped a lot …

I wonder if just the default profile for your camera+lens needs a refresh? Are you in the US? If so I can mail you a color target to photograph and we try creating a better default profile for you.

I too have a Nikon Z50 and am pretty happy with RTs rendition of its raws. I never use auto curve but a standard S-like film curve.

This is my default profile, which I think is not too bad compared to the embedded jpg: ap338default.pp3 (14.1 KB)

Starting from this I mostly only adjust some stuff in tone equalizer and use LAB for contrast and chromaticity. (And WB to add some warmth in sunny outdoor shots)

In your pp3 you use camera standard profile instead of auto-matched camera profile. I wonder if this is intended?

I obviously don’t have imported these camera profiles from Adobe RAW … did it now, it doesn’t make a big change … it doesn’t make any visible change, `standard profile’ is not a problem here

I don’t mean loading Adobe DCPs with the custom option. I mean Auto-matched camera profile, since RT ships its own specific profile for the Z50.

It’s a huge difference for me, especially in artificial light:

Camera standard (very bad):

Auto-matched profile (very nice):

:smiley: … I dare to say that first image with camera standard is much better than red tinted second one that you labeled “very nice” … In my opinion the second one is literally “broken” … look for example on red tail of toy in foreground

When matching a jpeg camera standard may be better than auto matched despite the latter giving more true to life colours. Camera standard often use Adobe numbers if I’m not mistaken.

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Seems odd to me, but it would be boring if everybody had the same taste. :+1:

Pure reds are indeed sometimes problematic. But it’s mostly only over saturated. Tonewise it’s pretty fine.

Don’t know the technical background of the camera standard profil. Theres surely some docs about it, but it never was an option for me.

As a reference, this is the ooc jpg:

Doesn’t even look remotely close to camera standard to me.

Ok, then I have to ask:

are these bundled auto-curve processing profiles in general useful ? Shouldn’t I change my workflow to start always from Neutral profile ? If you will look on my last pp3 Vs RAW file I dare to say that I can be pretty happy with it … it’s not 100% same but it’s very close and it took me in reality something like 2-3 minutes max to do it (without any need for additional software like some dcp profiles extracted from Adobe packages or whatever else …)

Just curious did you try the adobe profile DCP and if so did you experiment with trying it with all the options checked… Part of the profile is to handle hue shifts in addition to the base table and the tone curve… you may prefer it on or off but usually on helps with the color…

There are also a few to choose from …you might hit on one that is more to your perceptual preference than another…


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I think if you ask 10 people about their workflow you will get 20 different recommendations. I personally also don’t really hunt the jpg look and don’t care much about this.

Maybe jump into the play raw section and ask / look specifically for RT edits and see if you find some stuff you like and want to adopt.

Ok, I have these guys installed indeed


are we talking about same ?

I see that they do some relatively significant difference … but still for a given RAW file the auto-matched curve doesn’t do a good job in this case …

Since starting this thread I am worrying no more about that because few things have happened:

  1. I’ve read after N years of using RT a `Getting Started’ page on wiki (LOL) and it pointed me to LC and CC curves in Lab tool - which I didn’t use before and which is impressive

  2. I was able to start with Neutral profile and then make it so that the image looks pretty good - as starting point - within 2-3 minutes (see above my last pp3)

  3. I’ve learned now that perhaps I should reconsider using these dcp profiles for a starting point

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I’ve asked in my opening post if you could kindly not post the images here directly … (but rather use a zip and let me download them offline or just post pp3 profiles, etc …)

but easy, I can cope with that

Sorry I missed that would you like me to delete the post…your zip would be available to anyone so I didn’t think it was a protected image… again sorry… I’ll just delete it… you can do the same exercise yourself…

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those with +look look good … eg neutral+look, std+look … both of course need some adjusting but they seem fine out of the box … but still it’s weird that they are very far from embedded jpeg which looks really the best IMO

no worry about that … I am very grateful for your input :wink: