user friendly scene referred workflow

Step by step “manual” and slow workflow

Open the raw file

It’s dull and there are highlights above 1.0 clipping point

Enable the filmic tonemapping module( in this case the old filmic in the tonemapping old module)

use the basic adjustment module(only exposure, gamma and saturation) for color correction

better but we have again pushed the white point above the 1.0

turn back again on the tonemapping module and recover the “clipped” highlights (the only slider that needs to be adjusted is the linear white point)

Without modifying the color correction is possible to use other tonemapping operators

the new tonemapping module with base contrast (the only slider that needs to be adjusted is the white level)

the filmic ocio module with the base contrast preset

In the end there’s only one parameter that needs to adjusted by the user in tone mapping module (it could be called highlights)

For a newbie this isn’t really user-friendly, so what about a single module that would be CDL + tonemapping? Where all the tonemapping parameters are hided excepts the one for highlights recovery

I imagine this module with all the classic sliders:

exposure: slope (multiplication before tonemapping)
contrast with pivot: like in darktable(before tonemapping)
highlights: like “linear white point” in the filmic module (during tonemapping)
shadows=gamma(power before tone mapping)
black:offset(addition or subtraction before tonemapping)
saturation/vibrance: (before tonemapping)
maybe an ending option for disable the tonemapping

Side note:
I’ve used Photoflow for this example but this discussion is more generic, not only about photoflow.

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Why are you trying so hard to get the clipped values back within the output range [0-1]? The scene was just too bright or the exposure too much. In other words, those RGB values you bring back do not reflect any scene-referred light intensity. Right?

Is basic adjustments scene-referred friendly?

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Not at all.

It’s possible to start with a raw file with unclipped highlights but people recommend to use ASC CDL for “grading” , it’s a rudimentary way to do color correction and more likely it will push the white point more higher than you think.

starting image (this has clipped highlights but it’s not important)

harsh transition in the highlights and higher white point

filmic at the end of the pipe, soft roll-off in the highlights and a little boost of contrast in the shadows.