RAW File Conversions in Photo Book Software


Garybaldbee

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 05:04
Hi,

Having just unboxed my Christmas present to myself, of a K5ii, I thought that this was an appropriate moment to venture into RAW for the first time. I know nothing about post processing but Adobe Camera Raw seemed easy to use and I ended up with nice shots which I converted to JPEG. The problem is that although they are fine in most of my programs; Elements, Windows, Picasa etc, the moment I upload them into the Cewe software (which I use regularly for photo books) they display horrible noise and are completely unusable for printing. The same occurs when I upload them to Albelli software. I have never experienced this with files originally shot as JPEGs.

The Jessops user support people were unable to help and I have tried everything that I can think of to work around it - including saving the files as medium rather than high quality to reduce file size and removing all sharpening, but the end result is more or less the same each time. I can only conclude that I must be making an elementary mistake somewhere. All advice would therefore be gratefully received! I am using ACR 6.1 with Elements 9.

Many thanks

steven9761

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 08:25
Welcome Gary!!

I don't think your problem lies with PSE9 itself - my guess is ACR6.1. The latest ACR to support your camera should be 8.3. Use this link to download it. Hopefully, this resolves your problem.

Happy New Year!!

Helpful

Garybaldbee

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 21:03
Thanks for taking the trouble to answer Steven - much appreciated. Unfortunately the upgrade doesn't seem to have done the trick with this particular problem but it was probably a good thing to prompt me to do anyway

PS I've just noticed where you live - I've spent most of my life just down the road in Sunbury/Ashford.

Gwyn

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 21:15
I grew up in Sunbury, and went to school in Ashford many many moons ago!

When you convert the file to a jpeg are you saving it at maximum (12) quality?

Are you shooting PEF or DNG? not that that should matter.

I use PSE9 all the time and make photo books a lot. Never had a problem. Are you loading the full size jpeg into the software?

McGregNi

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 22:07
Just a quick question - you said you used ACR to 'convert to JPEG' ... I don't believe this is actually possible? I understand from ACR you need to send the adjusted file into Photoshop (or Elements) via the 'open' button - then you have to 'save as' a JPEG in photoshop.

If you are not actually bringing them into photoshop and saving the JPEGs I wonder if you are in fact only saving the adjustments in ACR (thats stored in a metadata file somewhere) and then only uploading the thumbnail previews (tiny files) stored in Elements Organiser?? Its a possibility .....
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

davidstorm

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 22:10
McGregNi wrote:
Just a quick question - you said you used ACR to 'convert to JPEG' ... I don't believe this is actually possible? I understand from ACR you need to send the adjusted file into Photoshop (or Elements) via the 'open' button - then you have to 'save as' a JPEG in photoshop.

You can save directly from ACR to JPEG without opening the file in Photoshop, it is a standard feature of ACR.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

McGregNi

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 22:42
Sorry, yes, I see now. Its not something I ever do, but I see you choose JPEG and set the quality level. Is this the process you're using Garybaldbee, to save straight to JPEG from within ACR? If so, are you choosing the .jpg extension and setting the maximum quality (12)?

I still wonder if you're only updating the file metadata and the embedded preview, not creating a new full sized version, and then uploading only that? The preview would show the photo OK in the organiser, and maybe it would even display OK in Windows etc.

Can you check the properties of the files and tell us the file size, dimensions and resolution figures?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

stephenparfitt

Link Posted 03/01/2014 - 23:34
Can someone help me out here? What exactly does the Raw converter do?

I'm obviously missing something here as, having just downloaded it, it seems to convert my out-of-camera raw dng files to just another dng file. What's the point then? I can't see how to save as a jpeg either.

McGregNi

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 00:29
That may be the problem then - you are not actually saving new JPEGs from the RAW converter (ACR). As I wondered before, you may just be saving new versions of the DNG files. If you do not specify .jpg then the default is DNG ... this will update the original camera file with any adjustments you made in ACR and re-create the tiny JPEG preview image embedded within the DNG, reflecting your adjustments.

Its not 100% clear yet, but it is possible that you are somehow sending the JPEG previews to the online printing services - these would be massively too small in size and resolution to print. The 'noise' you referred to - is it like blocky 'pixellated' texture? If so then it is just the result of the tiny image being enlarged on your screen.

Try this - (I'm the expert now as David above reminded me to actually look at ACR again before spouting off ) ... after finishing the adjustments to the photo, click on 'save' - this will open a box, and in the middle is a drop down box which should have .DNG as the default. Drop this down and choose .jpg - then you will see options below for quality. Choose Maximum (number 12), then OK. Your new JPEG version of your shot should appear in the chosen save folder, and it should have the full dimensions and resolution as shot by the camera, and be at a good file size for quality printing, probably around about 8-12 megabytes.

Try this to see if it resolves the problem.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 04/01/2014 - 00:31

Gwyn

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 10:11
If you are using PSE9 then why not just open the file in the editor after using ACR? You can then adjust things like levels if you need to, and save as a jpeg from there.

I usually hold down alt open image, which opens an adjusted copy rather than the original PEF/DNG file in the editor.

McGregNi

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 12:25
That is really the way that the Adobe workflow is constructed - in answer to the OPs question above, the RAW converter is mainly concerned with carrying out the 'conversion' of the file into a pixel-based image file - the most common are JPEG / TIFF / BMP. But the RAW converters allow you to perform key adjustments before conversion, such as exposure, white balance, shadow increase, highlight reduction, saturation / vibrance, sharpness etc etc.

This is a good thing, because in most situations performing these adjustments directly to the RAW file before conversion will provide the highest possible quality, more so than performing similar adjustments in a 'pixel image editor' (like Photoshop).

Some converters are more sophisticated then others - the ACR 'plug-in' for PS & PS Elements is designed as a 'front'end' RAW converter, not as a fully featured image editor. The intention is that you carry out the key image adjustments in ACR and then 'open' the newly adjusted file into the main programme - this will then reflect all the changes you made in ACR, and you then go on to do other things if needed in the main editor, eg using layers or other features not available in ACR.

When its finished then you 'save as' and all the changes up to now are written into a new pixel image file which you choose - JPEG or TIFF woud be the main two options, and you choose the quality needed. These days with storage not a major issue it makes sense to always save JPEGs at maximum if they are to be your main version of the shot or for printing. Or a TIFF (choosing non-compressed) for a 'master' version to be archived and maybe worked on again if you think you may want to - this is good because the non-compressed TIFF will not lose any quality as a result of being saved and you will not lose quality furthing along if yuou edit it further and save it again.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 04/01/2014 - 12:26

Garybaldbee

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 12:26
McGregNi wrote:
Sorry, yes, I see now. Its not something I ever do, but I see you choose JPEG and set the quality level. Is this the process you're using Garybaldbee, to save straight to JPEG from within ACR? If so, are you choosing the .jpg extension and setting the maximum quality (12)?

I still wonder if you're only updating the file metadata and the embedded preview, not creating a new full sized version, and then uploading only that? The preview would show the photo OK in the organiser, and maybe it would even display OK in Windows etc.

Can you check the properties of the files and tell us the file size, dimensions and resolution figures?

Thanks to you all for your comments

Yes, I'm certainly saving the files as JPEGs, opening it into Elements and doing a 'Save As' with a quality level setting of 10. This is producing file sizes of 6-10mb with the full dimensions of 4928x3264 pixels. The Cewe helpdesk people say that they can see nothing wrong with the JPEG sample files I emailed them.

I'm shooting in DNG - I believe I'm right in saying that is the generic RAW format and therefore easier to convert?

Its a bit disappointing because I love creating photo books so if I can't work out a solution I'll have to revert to shooting in JPEG. However, I'll put some prints through the Cewe software to test it out and see whether the noise is reflected in the final output.

Garybaldbee

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 12:28
[quote:3496ace15f="Gwyn"]I grew up in Sunbury, and went to school in Ashford many many moons ago!

quote]

I went to Sunbury County, or Sunbury Manor as it is now. A long time ago now
Last Edited by Garybaldbee on 04/01/2014 - 12:28

McGregNi

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 12:35
From the figures you give there they would appear to be basically full-sized images, although I would advise to save at maximum, 12 - there's really no reason to carry out more compression on those JPEGs - uploading files of 10-15mb on broadband is not an issue really.

One last figure to check, which is the resolution - a figure expressed as 'ppi'. This would normally be something like 72 or 96 or 300. It will be in the file properties (right-click) under the details tab. With the file sizes you have given you clearly have plenty of resolution though, so I can't see this could be the problem.

So - Cewe say the files are fine - so are they saying they can print the book OK with them? If thats the case, where is the problem occuring - where are you seeing these bad quality images exactly?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Garybaldbee

Link Posted 04/01/2014 - 13:45
McGregNi wrote:
From the figures you give there they would appear to be basically full-sized images, although I would advise to save at maximum, 12 - there's really no reason to carry out more compression on those JPEGs - uploading files of 10-15mb on broadband is not an issue really.

One last figure to check, which is the resolution - a figure expressed as 'ppi'. This would normally be something like 72 or 96 or 300. It will be in the file properties (right-click) under the details tab. With the file sizes you have given you clearly have plenty of resolution though, so I can't see this could be the problem.

So - Cewe say the files are fine - so are they saying they can print the book OK with them? If thats the case, where is the problem occuring - where are you seeing these bad quality images exactly?

Thanks again for your time on this.

Hmmm. I'm beginning to wonder whether it might be the resolution thats the issue. I've just checked the DPI (this is basically the same as PPI isn't it?) and for all Raw conversion files its only given as 240 whereas all the photos taken in JPEG are showing as 300. This applies even to some test photos which I have just saved at Maximum (12) quality. Am I right in believing that 300 is the threshold for good quality printing?

Cewe tell me that the JPEG looks fine in most programmes but loaded into their software it suddenly becomes very grainy (which I can see at my end) although strangely it doesn't trigger any of their usual quality threshold warnings, which I guess potentially counters the idea of a resolution problem. They tell me to go ahead and print and see how it comes out, but even though their customer service is usually pretty good I'm reluctant to spend 100 on a sub standard product and have to wrangle about it afterwards.

Would you know how I can ensure the RAW conversions also reach 300 DPI?

Many thanks
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.