I would like to be able to load an external LUT on top of an existing camera profile.
So everybody gets it, because it might appear as a ‘geeky’ feature request:
‘LUT’ stands for ‘LookUp Table’. Used for color grading, a LUT transforms color input values to your desired color output values. Think about the ‘Color Rendering’ tab of DxO Photo Lab and you get it.
A quick example from Google Images:
LUTs are extremely popular for video color grading, but can also be used for stills (photo).
LUTs allows extremely quick color grading, like ‘presets’. But unlike presets, LUTs are not software dependant (you can use them in different software). Unlike presets they can achieve color transofrmations which are not possible using DxO Photo Lab tools. (Even if it got better with version 3 and the introduction of ‘HSL’ Color Wheel…)
You can dowload for free or buy LUTs from Internet. You can also build your own with dedicated software like Color Cones, 3D LUT Creator, LUTify, etc. That’s up to you!
Of course, you’re free to post-process your pictures as you want on top on the LUT. The LUT can be used alone when you want to do quick and consistent post-processing, as a complement of a preset, or as a complement of your ‘hand made’ post processing. Once again, that’s up to you !
Last but not least: It’s important to notice that some color transformations done by LUTs are simply not possible to replicate with DxO Photo Lab tools! So it’s not only about being quick and consistent, it’s also about getting results that are impossible to get otherwise (at least, not with DxO PL alone).
Now, the problems:
At the moment, the only way to load a LUT in DxO Photo Lab is to import a *.icc or *.dcp file from the ‘Color Rendering’ tab. But if you do that, it will replace the camera color profile…what will simply not work and give you completely upside-down colors!
The workaround is to build a camera profile that encompasses both the camera profile and the LUT. But this is anything but user friendly, may require a test chart, complex software… And you have to repeat that for every single camera you own and, ideally, different lighting conditions!
When you use a ‘film’ color rendering (e.g. from DxO Film Pack), what DxO apparently does is first applying a ‘neutral’ camera profile, then the selected film rendering (which is very likeky LUT-based) on top. This is actually one of DxO Photo Lab advantages over competitor! Indeed, if you apply a ‘film preset’ in Lightroom, it will be applied on top whatever camera profile is specified. But color rendering of Adobe camera profiles varies from camera to camera. So you will get unpredictable results, different from one to another. It’s no problem in DxO PL!
What I would like to be able to do is 1. select a camera profile in DxO (e.g. ‘dxo neutral color, realistic tonality (gamma 2.2)’) to I get a neutral and consistent basis from one camera to another, 2. import an external LUT and apply it on top of the camera profile.
My guess - maybe DxO staff can confirm - is that this feature could be added quite easily since it’s apparently already how it works for DxO film pack.
This may appear to you as a ‘preset’, but it’s a bit different:
It’s not software dependant.
It can do some color transformations that DxO Photo Lab cannot do.
For example, if you want to reduce saturation in skin tones highlight (what negative film does and some consider as desirable), you can’t do that in DxO PL alone. With a LUT, you can.
Another example, if you want an ‘orange and teal’ look, in DxO Photo Lab you can achieve that by several ways, including split toning (with a reduced choice on tones tough…). But you cannot ‘protect’ some colors like skin tones so they remain natural. With a LUT, you can.
On the other hand, it just transform one give color into another given color, independantly of context. So if you want local adjustment, sharpening, denoising, local tone mapping […] that’s not covered by the LUT. They are complementary.
I need to perform color grading for videoclips on Davinci Resolve, which lets me create custom LUTs once I have calibrated my rushes with a controlled color palette (Xrite Colorchecker Passport).
When I have a collection of photos from the same event, I would love to simply import my custom LUT into Photolab so that I get strictly the same rendering on the photos as my videoclips, in one click.
I believe that DXO already provide LUT functionality via their alternative camera profile renderings. DXO would need to confirm that assumption but if so adding LUT capability would be relatively easy from a coding viewpoint.
With all due respect, it’s not the same thing: you cannot call camera profiles a substitution to LUTs. LUTs need to be ON TOP of the camera profile.
And I agree that it should be easy code, everyone seems to agree, yet DxO doesn’t seem to think that this relatively low hanging fruit is big bang for the buck & time and that it would give PL a serious advantage over its competition.
My point was that I think they are applying the alternative camera renditions on top of the camera profile, effectively as a LUT, which is why we have the same camera renditions with the new Wide Gamut option. Hence my comment on whether DXO can confirm this?
I think that DXO can’t do that at the moment, but it would be nice to have such a feature for sure. You mention Davinci Resolve and would often as a final stage, import TIFF’s that are exported from DXO, retouched in Photoshop, but are not consistent in color, just close enough, Anyway, I would import these TIFF’s into Resolve and use Match Color feature to auto match all of them and export them as TIFF again. So for now, that might be a workaround. Alternatively off course, one can export DNG’s and match color in Capture one that now I think has similar feature, but less powerful than Davinci.
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