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Print Page - How much quality can you get in previews?

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Software Discussions => Media Pro & Expression Media => Topic started by: Absolute Chaos on March 21, 2009, 12:38:14 AM



Title: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 21, 2009, 12:38:14 AM
Before I bought EM2 I used first Lightroom, later Bridge.

My experience with Bridge was, that even at the highest level of preview quality, the image did not look as good as when opened in Photoshop.

Especially when images were sharpened to the limit (referring to Dan Margulis' methods as described in "Professional Photoshop") the images did not look good as, let's say in Photoshop at 25% or 50% view.

What can I do to get maximum image quality?

I know there are choices for the preview creation. It will embed a jpg in the catalogue, if I am right here.

Is this my only option? Does all catalogue previewing work like this?

Thank you for your comments.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: peterkrogh on March 23, 2009, 05:06:10 AM
Robert,
There are several things you could be looking at-

1. The catalog thumbnal - this is a JPEG file, up to 640 pixels on the long side
2. A "full screen catalog preview" - this is also a JPEG, but can be up to 1280 (IIRC) on the long side.

Both of those have JPEG quality settings - high, medium and low.

3. When connected to the actual file, a double-click loads the file into the program (viewed with Quicktime or WIC). You can see it at natural resolution. (If the file is a raw file, you're probably best looking at an embedded preview, but that would not always be the case, depending on how ou are treating the raws.)

Does that help?
Peter


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 24, 2009, 11:25:42 AM
Thanks, Peter.

I actually set the preview quality to 1280, and have EM create these for the catalogue.

Now, when I compare those previews to the original, they are wrong, off in both color and brightness and not useable for getting a real impression of the image.

When I uncheck "display previews at all times" then the file is correct, but it's painfully slow (3 seconds to show the image after the click on the media tab).


I have the choice between a bad preview and a painfully slow preview at this time.


PS: I haven't found a setting to increase the size of the thumbnails. I have the full manual in PDF format, but can't find it.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 24, 2009, 06:43:34 PM
I just installed SP2, and will see if that improves things for TIFFs created by Photoshop CS3.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 26, 2009, 10:16:46 PM
Update for SP2:

TIFFs are no longer darker, but color management does not work.

It's like viewing your own website with Opera - or any other non-colormanaged browser.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: peterkrogh on March 27, 2009, 06:03:34 AM
Robert,
Is the color wrong in all views - Thumbnail, Media and Light Table?
Even with "Display Preview at all times" unchecked?
Peter


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 28, 2009, 12:54:04 AM
Peter,

It's wrong in Media and LightTable.

I didn't check the thumbnails.

It concerns TIFFs, not JPEGs.

They got better since build 1477 (which you still get when you download EM2  now), which has horrible media view from TIFFs, wrong color AND too dark.

Now the brightness is OK, but the color is comparable to viewing the same image with a non-color managed browser. For portraits, it looks like a red skin disease.

I informed microsoft and talked to Anita Oakley on the phone.

She confirmed the bug, but says that she doesn't get it "always".

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 28, 2009, 12:58:16 AM
Just a thought:

There is a chance this bug has a connection to file size.

Someone who knows how EM 2 works can possibly say if this is a viable idea.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: peterkrogh on March 28, 2009, 02:30:30 PM
Robert
Is this happening to *all* TIFFs?  OR just some with certain profiles/bit depth/layers?

If you take on the JPEGs that displays fine and save it as a TIFF, do the two files render differently in Expression?

Peter


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 31, 2009, 12:39:43 AM
Peter,

Microsoft customer service put the bug on their list.

The lack of color management concerns TIFFs in Wide Gamut RGB and ProPhoto RGB.

Possibly other color spaces, too. But I have no Tiffs in other color spaces.

It is very strong, putting a odd red cast on images. As I shoot portraits, it makes EM 2 not useable for me, as it destroys skin tones I fight pretty hard for.

They may fix this bug (I wonder why nobody has found it before me), but who knows how long this will take.

I simply can't browse through images like this.

I'm thinking of trying Photo Mechanic. Sure, it doesn't have a catalogue, but still keywording. This time I'll download the trial before paying.

PS: is it legal to sell one's license?

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 31, 2009, 12:47:51 AM
Peter,

There is another issue.

I purchased EM 2 together with Capture One 4.

I like Capture One 4 very much.

Now, the manual says, the RAW images are seen through either the Apple RAW converter, or through "Manufacturer".

There is no choice which " manufacturer".

Does that mean CR2's are seen through DPP?

Or does that mean that RAW images converted by Capture One 4 are seen through Capture One 4? For me, this is important, as images display differently seen through those 2 RAW converters.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Massimo Novi on March 31, 2009, 02:29:13 AM
Hi Absolute

I also noted and documented to MS the color management bugs on wide color spaces on Windows on "Preview" viewing.

Anita investigated the note and opened the issue file for Windows EM (may be Your issue is filed as only related to Mac).

So the problem seems related to the Color Management algorithm in both Windows AND Mac!

There are problems on Nikon NEFs also.

Let's wait for a patch now.

Massimo


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on March 31, 2009, 10:47:03 PM
Massimo,


With all those bugs I wonder if EM isn't just outdated software.

I used Lightroom before, and never had any trouble.

It's because Capture One is my RAW converter of choice that I needed a different image organization software.

I could imagine that older software like EM(former iView Media Pro) has originally been built for older operating systems, that worked quite differently than today's.

Maybe some software is just a hell of a work for a software engineer to adapt. (or: were those color management failures also evident in iView Media Pro? Were photographers less demanding in those days, did they accept sloppy color management?)

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Massimo Novi on April 01, 2009, 01:18:36 AM
Robert,

IView and EM 1.0 have color management issues that EM 2.0 I was hoping would solve but it is not the case.

MS confirmed that Previews on TIFs and JPGs are NOT color managed so using EM for OFFLINE image selection is pratically useless (images are off color). Online views are ok (NOT using Light Table however).

MS says that has no release plans for a SP3 at this moment. For me the preview color management issue on EM is CRITICAL.

I don't know if Peter Krogh tested this behaviour creating the second edition of his book.

I am evaluating a strategy to use EM 2.0 on DAM workflow even with this glitch but is not easy (using ProPhotoRGB profile for master and print file makes things worse).

Massimo


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: peterkrogh on April 05, 2009, 07:54:47 AM
Massimo,
I agree this is problematic, and I thought it would be fixed by now.
As to using EM for workflow, I don't find that this problem puts a large roadblock, as much as it is just plain annoying. 

I tend to create only a few TIFFs - master files and delivery files, mostly.
 
• If I'm going to send an image out for something, the image will have to be online, so I can see them with color management in Media view.
• If I have to choose between several versions, I can use View Option tools to see which one is most recent, where it was saved, etc. 

So for archive management, the color issue does not have a huge impact on me.  Hopefully they will get it fixed.

Peter


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Absolute Chaos on April 05, 2009, 05:21:40 PM
Robert,

IView and EM 1.0 have color management issues that EM 2.0 I was hoping would solve but it is not the case.

MS confirmed that Previews on TIFs and JPGs are NOT color managed so using EM for OFFLINE image selection is pratically useless (images are off color). Online views are ok (NOT using Light Table however).

MS says that has no release plans for a SP3 at this moment. For me the preview color management issue on EM is CRITICAL.

I don't know if Peter Krogh tested this behaviour creating the second edition of his book.

I am evaluating a strategy to use EM 2.0 on DAM workflow even with this glitch but is not easy (using ProPhotoRGB profile for master and print file makes things worse).

Massimo

Massimo,

Microsoft sells knowingly malfunctioning software.

There isn't even a plan to fix this problem?

What a rip-off.

Microsoft - never again!

No color management. For photography. This is insane.

I will ditch EM2, and continue working with Bridge CS3. Otherwise, photo management becomes a Tantalus effort, and takes too much time off my actual work.

I will see if I can keyword my photo collection in Bridge CS3, and when Photo Mechanic comes out with DAM software, I'll get that one.

I will have no catalogue, but the keywords and the file structure will allow me to find images.

-Robert


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Massimo Novi on April 06, 2009, 05:25:40 AM
Robert,

MS confirmed that has opened a file record to fix the issue . I also given a series of images to test the noticed behaviour.

EM features are different from those of a simple browser. Offline catalogue are also needed for a real DAM activity.

To Peter:

I mostly agree with You, but I have some need to have correct color management on derivatives. I however found a workaround for the TIFF/JPEG unmanaged preview problem: create a catalog with ONLY 640x480 thumbnail WITHOUT checking the preview creation. EM will then use the real image (correctly color managed) when the file is ONLINE and will use the 640x480 thumbnail (correctly color managed) instead of the preview when the file is OFFLINE. It creates even smaller catalog files than those using previews.

I use PSD for master files (layered) and TIFF/JPEG for print/delivery (flattened) so this workaround works for now.

Hopefully MS will fix it (and the catalog will need to be recreated..sigh).

Massimo


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: peterkrogh on April 06, 2009, 09:50:53 AM
Massimo,
The catalog may not need to be recreated - maybe only the previews rebuilt.
Peter

And,  Robert - *all* software has bugs. As discussed elsewhere in this forum, the current version of Photoshop has a bug that will strip all metadata from your files if the date created field is blank.

I understand that wrestling with software bugs is one of the least pleasurable things on the planet (trust me, I *really* know that). But we try to keep things in perspective and civil around here. Remember that when you're denigrating software, it's some else's work product. We are able to get the people who write software to come by here because we can keep things on a factual level, mostly, without letting emotion get the upper hand.

Peter




Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Marc Rochkind on April 06, 2009, 06:06:03 PM
Well, I think Robert maybe went too far, but I do give him credit for making me delve into Greek mythology to understand his reference to a "Tantalus effort". To quote one of the sites I checked: "... the gods imprisoned Tantalus to the underworld above water he could reach to quench his thirst and too far below fruit to stave off his hunger."

So, I give Robert 1 star for tact and 5 stars for literacy.

--Marc


Title: Re: How much quality can you get in previews?
Post by: Massimo Novi on April 07, 2009, 03:16:49 AM
...
The catalog may not need to be recreated - maybe only the previews rebuilt.
...

Peter,

I know, but the simple rebuild of previews forces to re-open all the offlined buckets for image access. And I use three levels of buckets...

Massimo