What happened to the RAW converter?

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24 comments

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi K.G.,

    Can you send us a couple of examples of your comparisons to support@skylum.com? We'll be happy to look into it.  If the file(s) are too large to email you can use WeTransfer.com and then send us the shared download link.

    Thanks in advance!

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    K.G. Wuensch

    Nope, you can take any samples - load them in Luminar as of Nov 2017 and the current version, they will be different. I am through with sending you samples ever since I got negative remarks from your support why they looked so bland and why I wouldn't want them to look like HDR... 

     

    Here is a screenshot of both initial conversion, left is today's version, right is Nov. 2017 version of Luminar 2018 (I didn't have anything newer like the 1.3.0 version anymore - because I never loaded the version on my Mac because of the automatic noise reduction making the RAW conversion useless anyway)...

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi K.G.,

    Over the past year we've made many improvements to Luminar including the raw processing and will not be reverting back to last year's tech at this time. If Luminar is not suitable for your needs you can request a refund by emailing support@skylum.com

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    Dan Parsons

    At the very least, you should be warning people about changes to RAW conversion in the release notes.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Dan,

    There were no major changes to the raw conversion in today's update. However, we did make improvements earlier this year and I believe they were included in the release notes at that time.

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    K.G. Wuensch

    You didn’t make improvements, you made the RAW conversion unusable with your unpredictable noise reduction! You need to provide consistency in the conversion so that presets or workflows created on the basis of your software remain valid!

    I suggest you look at what Lightroom did when they changed their RAW conversion (and to make it easier for you I can spell it out to you): They preserve old RAW conversions to the pixel by changing the process version whenever they make changes on that level - and the user can select which process version is applied, with the one used initially for an image becoming the default. So if I edited an image with process version 4 last year if I open it today the used algorithms will use process version 4 unless I change that manually! If my workflow is depending on the behaviour of process version 4 I can make that the default even if that means that the latest features aren’t available to me, the workflow though remains valid! 

    You show a total disrespect to the work people have put into presets or workflows by changing the RAW conversion willy-nilly! That will become a big problem should your DAM save it’s adjustments non destructively - but today you invalidated .lmnr saves, which IMHO is inexcusable!

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    K.G. Wuensch

    And Angela, I did request a refund yesterday but it has been turned down...

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    Alina Skylum

    We've reached our billing partner FastSpring regarding your refund for Luminar 2018. 

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    K.G. Wuensch

    Which probably will fail because the credit card I used last year possibly no longer exists (don't know which credit card I used to pay - but highly likely the one from the banking institute I no longer use), It would have been better if you had contacted me before...

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi K.G.,

    We've contacted Fastspring about the credit card and they have emailed you instructions for an alternate refund. Please reply directly to Fastspring to complete the transaction. If you have any other questions, please email support@skylum.com and we'll be happy to help.

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    K.G. Wuensch

    Thanks, will do. And now you are rid of me - the chapter Luminar is over for me, IMHO you ran a good program (Luminar Neptune) into the ground with all your errant development directions.

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    Scott Hampton

    Out of curiosity, what does this RAW conversion issue mean to [everyone else]? My demo just expired and I was about to order a license. Is this a normal process where the RAW conversion changes and affects processed files and settings?

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Scott,

    Each raw conversion tool on the market performs a bit differently, and most apply some level of automatic adjustment to images. 

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    Scott Hampton

    Yes, of course, as they should. I’m aware of that. I was referring to the way Luminar works, in particular. Apple make such a drastic change when I was using Aperture and I had to re-render RAW files there. In that case, it was for the better. Ultimately, I’m curious to know if Luminar will frequently change its RAW conversion process to where files look drastically different.

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    Dan Parsons

    Scott, I think it depends on what you rely on Luminar for. If you use it as your tool for everything, then I'd be pretty uncomfortable about the fact that Luminar doesn't let you stick with a particular version of their raw engine, even if a newer engine is available. 

    But, and this is just my opinion, I don't think Luminar is intended to be your tool for everything (at least not until their DAM ships) and using it that way is, of course, going to present challenges.

    Personally, I use Capture One for my "everything" tool, particularly for RAW development, and then work on certain photos in Luminar (by duplicating to 16bit psd first). (This presents its own challenges too, due to a bug in Luminar. Despite this, I am loving what I am making with Luminar.) Usually I can tell just by looking at the unprocessed RAW photo, if it's one I'm going to work on in Luminar or not. If it is, then I use Capture One for raw development, and exposure adjustments. But nothing else. I get the exposure just the way I want it, and then open that in Luminar. Make my changes, export back to Capture One as PSD. I keep the .lmnr files too, in case I want to make edits later.

    By keeping the .lmnr file around, combined with my initial Capture One adjustments, I have full lossless history for every step of the image's construction.

    In case you're not familiar, Capture One has a long history of supporting multiple rendering engines on a per photo basis, going all the way back to Capture One 6. That has me sold on reliability and knowing they won't carelessly change my photos. Their raw engine quality is highly regarded, too. But you know where I have the most fun? In Luminar.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Thanks for clarifying your question, Scott. I don't know how frequently (or drastically) our raw algorithm will change. I understand how that could be of concern and while our goal is to improve raw processing, it could have the unintended effect of changing the look/feel of an image when processed with a new algorithm. I put a note in our feature requests about implementing a "process version" option. Hopefully we can implement this in the future.

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    Scott Hampton

    Dan, thank you for your insight and feedback. It was enlightening. I do plan to use Luminar as my one-stop-shop. Having let Aperture go a few years ago, I made do with Apple Photos through their various versions (I did see the potential). The cloud integration is top-notch and, despite the flaws in Photos, it’s the best for me right now. I always loved Capture One Pro but nothing came close to the totality Aperture offered (Lightroom has potential but suffers from the heavy-handedness of the Adobe ecosystem). My needs are very unique (no compositing, no real layer blending/merging/etc., no AI…I photograph people and food editorially). I still keep an eye on CapOne and On1 RAW every now and then.

    I like your idea of using the best tool for the job, but don’t want to have so many versions to manage.

    And, like others, I’m awaiting the DAM. And watermarking.

    Angela, thank you for adding a note to the devs. My trial has expired so I can’t access Luminar anymore (at least I haven’t attempted to…) but I do remember seeing an option to render with the 2017 and 2018 conversion. I didn’t toggle them to see, but I also didn’t have previously edited photos to compare. Is this related to what the OP was referring to?

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    Anders Svensson

    The fact that Luminar doesn't have any sort of "process version" is a problem if you save images in the .lmnr format to be able to continue working on them at a later date, since there's no guarantee that the rendering you'll get when you open the file in a future version of Luminar will be the same as the rendering you had in the version you saved the file with.

    Opening some of my own saved files, Luminar 1.1.1, 1.2.0, and 1.3.2 all render differently: there are differences in color, brightness, and even perspective/crop. Sometimes minor, sometimes enough to bother me. That pretty much invalidates .lmnr as a long-term storage format: unless you're happy with Luminar arbitrarily changing the rendering, you have to export (eg. to tiff) and regard .lmnr files as specific to the version of Luminar they were saved with.

    That's a big drawback for me, since it means losing the ability to go back and improve on images, and requires more disk space for the exported files. Having to revisit previously saved files after each Luminar update in order to fix what the latest version might have changed is obviously not feasible. Keeping old versions of Luminar around to use with previously saved files is also far from ideal since you'll eventually have problems with old versions after OS upgrades.

    Presets presumably have the same problem. I haven't used these myself, but I would guess that a preset is a recipe just like a .lmnr is (you can see slider settings in the Info.plist contained in the .lmnr directory on a mac), so how that recipe is rendered will depend on the version of Luminar.

     

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    K.G. Wuensch

    @Anders, the problem will grow much much bigger on December 18th, when Skylum releases the DAM - which according to information by the support people here will use a database to keep the information previously stored in the .lmnr file. Thus whenever a subsequent Luminar version changes any of the algorithms, any of the parameters, fixes any bugs that affect the rendering all existing edits will all become invalid! Imagine the outcry by people using Luminar as their DAM if all of their work on images becomes invalid just because Skylum finally fixes a bug or "improves" algorithms...

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    Anders Svensson

    @K.G., yes, I've heard, and it doesn't sound good. I quite like Luminar as a editing tool, but if it can't respect the result of previous editing (which it obviously doesn't) and can render my edits differently from version to version then moving the editing information into a central database makes the problem even worse since you no longer have the option of opening an image in a previous version of Luminar. (Not that that was a good solution, as I mentioned in my last post.)

    I don't know what Skylum is thinking if they don't have a solution for this. Do they think people should periodically go through their libraries to and re-edit (maybe thousands of) images that the latest update has given a bit more saturation, etc. Or do they think that people who invest time in editing their images to begin with don't really care if Skylum changes them a bit from time to time. Or do they just hope people won't notice. It seems like a fundamental property of any editing application (images or not) that if you re-open previous work at a later date then you should get the same result, but Luminar can't manage that, today at least.

    Another problem with the database for me is if it's monolithic, so that editing a single image updates a file that contains editing information for multiple/all images. For one, it's a single point of failure, so that a problem with the database can result in the loss of all edits since the last backup. For two, it has a catastrophic impact on incremental backups if modifying a single image means having to backup the entire (large) database. Sidecars are better on both counts. I detest database/catalog solutions so much that I wouldn't have bought Luminar if didn't allow me to save editing information per image, so I hope they don't just remove that ability.

    Sidecars are a secondary issue as long as edits aren't respected though.

     

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    Tim Trim

    It is a really important point that I've raised before especially if Luminar wants to implement a proper DAM in the future.

    It must be able to process as per a previous processing engine, otherwise images will render differently.

    For example Capture One when you upgrade it keeps images under the old engine, you can update to the new engine. At least images are processed as you last left them. And you can decide whether to change and keep a version using the previous processing. (or in fact from any prior version of the software).

    With Luminar I noticed from 2017 to 2018 you open an image and it appears totally different because there is no concept of a version and how filters applied in that version. It makes the product at best unpredictable and at worst unusable. it is part of why I switched to Capture One along with the endless delays to the DAM - and that is justified by the feeble first attempt at a DAM in Luminar. That and the fact it renders colours hideously. Oh and doesn't work with professional cameras with a large mega-pixel count.

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    K.G. Wuensch

    @Anders, is see the database as a smaller problem - I use the Lightroom catalog rather intensively and it is great (especially since it keeps the edits as they were when they were made, no matter if the editing was done with Version 1.0 when Lightroom was initially released or if it was done in the current versio... But given the track record and with the lack of understanding that persistence of the edits is a prerequisite to any DAM I fear that Skylum is heading for a colossal failure with Luminar.

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    Sheldon Charron

    Interesting thread.  I just found this while searching for why my RAW images look bad after the Luminar 3 update. I preferred the way the images rendered from my GH5 in 2018.  Now portraits come in all weird, and are hard to edit. The skin tones render pretty terrible and I can't seem to make them look natural. 

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Sheldon,

    I'm sorry to hear that! Please contact us at www.skylum.com/support and we'll be happy to help/investigate.

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