Is possible to move a 16-bit workflow to iPhone

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    Dmitri R.

    Dear Nik, let me share some thoughts that may interest you.

    1. Is possible to execute a 16-bit workflow, from a RAW file to a final pre-print preparation, using an iPhone only? Now impossible. This is despite the following facts:
    – Many camera apps produce RAW output, and CameraPixels produces both RAWs;
    – RAW Power and Darkroom allow to produce 16-bit TIFF output. But Darkroom allows only floating point TIFFs output that can only be open using Pixelmator. On the other hand, Pixelmator allows only 8-bit PNG output (along with JPEG and 8-bit PSD formats) that makes 16-bit processing useless;
    – All graphic editors for iOS allow only 8-bit output (TIFF, PNG, PSD), except of Affinity Photo that can only be installed on an iPad, not an iPhone, due to the screen resolution requirement to launch the Affinity Photo interface;
    – I (and many others) do not consider Adobe software due to their subscription. I already paid $799 in 2012 for a Photoshop CS6 lifetine license, and have no idea to go to this catch once again;
    – So, we have currently only RAW Power for a 16-bit workflow on an iPhone, while Affinity Photo can be used on an iPad only.

    2. Is possible to use RAW Power for a complete 16-bit workflow? Not in the moment. Why? The absense of “beautifil presets” does not matter; such presets are used by maybe teenagers and housewives, while pro-grade photographers know what to do and how with the curves and other instruments. Even a layer editing is not strictly necessary: it is needed only in the case when one aims to return back to the editing after times, while an experienced photographer can edit a photo in one sesson.
    The ONLY PROBLEM is selective total editing. That is, I think there is no one image, where highlight and shadow improvements can be apllied integrally; in any image (if meaning a truly photo art that needs careful development) we have small areas in which highlights must be locally lowered and shadows locally lifted without changing an integral look of the picture.

    3. When making final steps in editing an artworks before to print, we should “structurize” the image by adding some film grain. Otherwise the printed images look “soapy” that does not meet professional requirement, looks poor in general and is rejected by collectors. Adding film grain is possible in Snapseed, Darkroom and some other iOS apps, not in the current version of RAW Power.

    4. For this reason, my questions to you are:
    – Is possible to add a sective brush to at least some of the TONE instruments of RAW Power such as “highlights” and “shadows”?
    – Is possible to add a film grain tool similar to that available in Snapseed? I mean that in Snapseed, there film grain is added non-uniformly along the histogram, but with a hill lowering to shadows and highlights as we see in a real scanned film frame made using an Imacon or Heidelberg drum scanner. While Darkroom apples film grain equally to highlights, midtones and shadows that looks innatiral.

    P.S. Trust me, please. I have no desire at all to bother your brain or steal your time. My workflow uses RAW Power + Affinity Photo. I am asking for the above questions, because I found one pro-grade photographer who moved his wokflow to iPhone and, thus, uses only iPhone 8+ during the last year (now – iPhone 11 Pro Max). One may ask “what is a moron”? But he is a very healthy reasoning gentleman. I asked him about everything in detail… and… he uses Adobe software. I then asked myself: can I do the same but without Adobe subscription?
    P.P.S. I am not a scroodge when rejecting Adobe subscriptions. There is another crusial reason why I dislike Adobe apps. You should know that the Lightroom camera, Lightroom and Photoshop STRIKE once you go out of the cellnet zone, e.g. in the Highlands or Wales and in other wild corners. You cannot make shots there because Lightroom cannot connect with its “headquarters” to send/save your shots to the cloud. This is another reason why I dislike Adobe apps. This is a mortal verdict to the software from the side of a landcape and wildlife photographer like me.

    I would be thankful to you for a reply on the possibility to modify RAW Photo for a complete 16-bit processing, if inerested. If non-interested, do forgive. I will not be insulted but will dig deeper into this theme.

    Have prosperour New Year — Dmitri

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Dmitri R.. Reason: a few typos improvement
    Nik Bhatt

    Hi Dmitri,

    Thank you for the thoughtful post.

    Presets are not for everyone, but you would be surprised at how many photographers rely on them for a good starting point or to create a look. That is also true for Auto Enhance and their ilk.

    Selective adjustments are a frequently requested feature for the app. I have implemented a prototype of such a system, though I am so far behind with 3.0 development, that completing this feature will have to wait until after 3.0. If you look on Twitter for @gentcoders you will see some older tweets which show that prototype implementation running in a test application. You may find that of interest.

    Film grain: yes, I would like to add a film grain adjustment to the app – I don’t think it’s very difficult. However, I was unaware that the grain should be applied differently to highlights and shadow areas. Can you tell me more? You mentioned a ‘hill’ – is the grain function applied most to the midtones and then less to both highlights and shadow areas?

    Thank you again. Happy New Year.


    Dmitri R.

    Dear Nik, thank you for response. I will be happy if a selective adjustment and a grain tool will be added to RAW Power.

    Concerning real film grain. Real film granulation appears non-equally. The grains are most visible in the midtone areas, much lesser visible in the highlight and dark areas, and almost disapoears in the most dark areas of Zone 0 (according to Ansel Adams 10-zone system). Most of the grain emulation tools was created by young persons, who do not remember the “pre-digital era” thus never seen how real grain looks. DxO, Capture One, and Snapseed developers created correct grain tools like in a real film frame, while the others merely superimposed a grain pattern equally on both the highlights, midtones and darks that is incorrect and looks poor to everyone who once developed scanned film frames over decades.

    As you understand from the above, to achieve the correct grain look a grain pattern is applied using a hill-like opacity curve, which has about the one-third height at the highlight end of the histogram and almost falls down at the dark end of the histogram. Also, in this case the granulation looks voluminous, not flat. This is the answer of a DXO woman sent to me ten years ago when I corresponded with the DXO personnel on this subject. Scroll down the article on this theme for detail: there on bottom of the discussion are many other illustrative pictures and links to many other articles on this theme. But all of those points to the aforementioned bell-like curve showing the film granulation lesser at the highlight end and even much lesser at the dark end of the histogram.

    It is simpler to show ratrher than explain by words. So, below are screenshots, a 100% magnification, made from my film frames. Two types of film are presented here — Kodak Tri-X and Rollei IR-400 — because they manifest the most beautiful and sharp film granulation. These are 6 x 7 film frames scanned with an Imacon/Hasselblad drum scanner in 2014 at a 4,800 dpi resolution. When printing such super-MegaPixel scans on a 75 x 100 cm paper, they show a very nice granulated texture. Otherwise, say, if printing a digital image in such a large format without a film grain superimposed, it looks soapy that is absolutely rejected by collectors and art fans in general.

    P.S. A little bit of offtop. As a matter of fact that there is also a problem with the magnification of digital images, because for printing a 75 x 100 cm needs a 120-130 MPx image. Here is also a problem with iOS software. A Windows/MacOS workflow uses Benvista PhotoZoom Pro (costs 160 Pounds) with its a patented magnification algorithm of which has no other alternative for 600X+ magnification. There is only one iOS program application, Big Photo, which uses a similar algorithm. But it gives only a PNG-8 output in the moment. I already contected the developer on this subject; he obligated to add PNG-24 and TIFF 8 and16-bit output to the forthcoming release.

    So, below are a few of 100% magnification screenshots from my scanned film frames. You can easily see how the real film granulation has a maximum in the midtone areas, is a bit lesser in the highlight areas, and is much lesser in the very dark areas (on the black tree branches). Snapseed follows this way, so producing the film granulation in the right way, but only using a very large grain. Darkroom for iOS — does not; it applies the granulation equally throughout the image.

    I hope this will be useful to you. — Dmitri

    Kodak Tri-X 400 highlights

    Kodak Tri-X 400 midtones + highlights

    Kodak Tri-X 400 midtones + darks

    Rollei-IR 400 highlights + midtones + darks

    Rollei-IR 400 highlights + midtones + darks

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