Is There a Suggested RAW Workflow?

Discuss Pixelmator Photo and photo editing on iPad.
User avatar

2019-04-21 22:24:41

Aside from the top-down-approach of the editing blocks, is there a suggested workflow for Pixelmator Photo? I currently shoot RAW with a custom white balance and an incident light meter. In theory, I’m guessing I should really only have to adjust contrast and sharpness, and maybe saturation, since the exposure and shadow detail are calculated ahead of time. I understand color correction/grading is subjective, but I’d like some feedback on a workflow.

Also, from a technical standpoint, when would you use Levels and when would you use Curves? My understanding is that Curves offers more robust editing than Levels. I’ve relied on Levels in the past and only recently toyed with Curves. With a proper understanding of the benefits of each I wouldn’t have to duplicate my efforts.

Loving the software so far. So much promise, and the UI is very attractive. Looks and feels like a true iOS app.

User avatar

2019-04-23 11:19:51

Well, when it comes to workflows, the one in Pixelmator Photo is pretty fluid because everything is nondestructive, so you can crop/repair/adjust colors/adjust perspective whenever you like. In your case, if the white balance and exposure are fine straight-out-of-camera, I guess you'd have only creative adjustments left to make, depending on the kind of look you're going for. What, out of interest, would that look be?

As for the difference between Levels and Curves, the main ones is that the Curves adjustment gives you finer control over the tonal values you edit. With Levels, you have a black point, white point, mid-tone, and quarter-tone controls. The starting positions of all these are set — so, for example, the mid-tone slider adjusts the actual exact middle tone of the image. With Curves, you can add any control points anywhere you want and adjust the curve itself with additional points to adjust the intensity of the tonal changes. What's more, with the black and white points in the Curves adjustment, you can move them both vertically and horizontally. That means you can shift the black point up and brighten the shadows as well as shift it right to darken them. The first action compresses the tonal range and the second expands it (though there's a little more to it than that). The Levels adjustment only lets you expand the tonal range. This is, in general, the more useful action but, as mentioned above, the Curves adjustment just gives you more control overall, though with a somewhat more confusing interface.
User avatar

2019-04-29 20:17:15

Hello Andrius,
Thank you for your response. Curves appears to be the better option of the two for me. I will attempt hobble together a workflow unique to my needs. My "look/style" is basically authentic color with the blacks lifted a bit. I'm not a saturated, contrasty shooter, neither am I a dreamy, pastel shooter. I'm an editorial photographer so accurate, pleasing color that can reproduce all in print is my goal. There will be some color cast adjustment from time to time, and perhaps some slight color grading inn extreme case, but authentic color with the blacks lifted is my typical goal.
User avatar

2019-05-01 07:01:52

In the case, it sounds like you might want to start by tapping the ML Enhance button (to make the colors more natural) and take things from there. Which, to be fair, might be the best workflow for almost everyone.