/picasa/?hl=en
4/9/09
Original Poster
dpstrand

undo auto raw conversion

Many times picasa does the right thing with my RAW (.nef) files, but sometimes it tries so hard to preserve just a sliver of sky that my main subjects are super dark. If I edit the raw file in another editor, picasa says "updating thumbnails" and for a moment it looks like I want, and then it becomes super dark again.
 
Is there any way, or can a way be added, to undo the automatic raw file tuning? Using fill light and highlights on the auto tuned (darkened) image just doesn't look as good as the original in this case.
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All Replies (18)
tom.ohaver
4/9/09
tom.ohaver
Yes, have your camera save JPGs rather than, or in addition to, RAWs.  JPGs are not auto-corrected by Picasa and are much more standardized.  Archiving RAWs is dangerous because they are proprietary, not industry standards, and thus may become inaccessible in the future when software and camera firmware changes.
4/9/09
Original Poster
dpstrand
Every major image editing software has Nikon RAW conversion capability, not to mention Nikon's own raw converter, so I have no worries about them becoming inaccessible. I shoot raw because then I always have the raw dynamic range headroom to fix images with incorrect exposure or white balance.
 
I shot raw+jpeg for a while and found it to be a pain having to decide to tune the raw or the jpeg in picasa and then scrolling through double of every photo and then selecting which ones to upload to picasaweb out of the doubles. Shooting only raw has been much better for me.
 
Since everything done in picasa can be undone, the raw auto correction should add an undo point as well.
Don Lind
4/9/09
Don Lind
And the editing of the raws that you're doing in the other software is probably storing its editing info in a "sidecar" file that Picasa is not even looking at. 
Picasa is just going to take the basic raw data and do its best take on conversion to JPEG. 
Remember, Picasa's support of raws is heavily tilted towards "ease of use" - it's fully automatic.  This means that you can easily post raws to the Picasa Web Albums site because Picasa will automatically create a JPEG from the raw (much like your camera would do if you shot JPEGs rather than raws). 

If you need to get involved in the conversion to raw (e.g., you don't like the default conversion making your main subject dark), you need to do what you've done (edit in a "real" raw processing program) and then have that program save a JPEG.   Picasa will then work with the JPEG and you'll be seeing exactly what you did during the raw processing.

Save your raws... but generate JPEGs with your "real" raw tool if you don't like the default conversion that Picasa does....

Don
4/9/09
Original Poster
dpstrand
That is my work around at the moment.
 
Picasa is definitely seeing the changes I make in Nikon's ViewNX raw editor, right after I save the changes in viewNX, picasa pops up an "updating thumbnails" box for the image that I edited, and for a brief moment I see the results of the edit in the picasa thumbnail, and then a moment later picasa updates the thumbnail back to how picasa thinks the auto correction should have turned out.
 
Don't get me wrong, in many cases picasa does a pretty good job; but occasionally it tries so hard to preserve some small blown highlight that it makes the entire image dark and unusable, so I would just like to be able to tell picasa to undo it's auto correction - i.e. convert the image as is with no correction.
Don Lind
4/9/09
Don Lind
The initial view *might* be a new thumbnail for the raw that the other tool is putting in there?   You'd see that as a blury enlargement for a couple of seconds while Picasa went back and did it's default conversion again.   That's just a guess...

And yeah... Picasa's default conversion to JPEG is probably pretty similar to a camera's default conversion to JPEG - which is what happens if you shoot JPEGs in your camera. 

You can't really "undo" the default conversion, though... A raw has to be converted to be displayed... the raws are in various weird formats.   And they're generally using 12-bit or 14-bit values for each color rather than the 8-bits per color that JPEGs (and video displays?) use.  So Picasa has to do SOME sort of conversion to display the photo.

I think what you'd like is something like this:   Picasa would learn to understand the "sidecar" editing instructions that the varous raw converters use.  And it'd use that data in its "default" conversion.  That way, if you did some work in a real raw conversion tool, Picasa could use that same info in its rendering of the raw into a JPEG. 

This would probably be pretty nice.   But it might be pretty tricky, too...  A raw processing progrm would add some new feature and the sidecar file would have new editing instructions that Picasa wouldn't understand... and we'd be having issues with this that parallel the "Picasa doesn't understand the raw from my new camera!!!" problems.  And I have no idea if somethign like this is on their "things to do" list for Picasa.  :-)

Don
kiril k
5/24/09
kiril k
As mentioned you also see full res image with camera or RAW editor setting until picasa messes it up.
 
If they want picasa to be of any use than better they sit and fix it now.
lpm99
9/28/09
lpm99
I agree fully with dpstand, I have the same problem: I take images of my wife's paintings with a Nikon D40. Naturally, she's very particular about seeing the true colors (I use a neutral gray card to first color adjust the camera), then I bracket each photo with many exposures. By the time Picasa gets through with the images, they all look exactly the same; it 'corrects' them all to the same exposure, which in reality may be too light or too dark.
 
I, too, wish there were some way to tell Picasa to just import the images without changing them. Or at least give me an option of turning this feature off (like an 'I'm feeling UNlucky' botton!
zec
10/28/09
zec
It is very weird! After seeing an image in Picasa and after its automatic adjustment, I can't see the original image in Adobe Photoshop!!! I see the thumbnail as it is supposed to be but the original image can't be edited anymore in Camera Raw!! This is a very dangerus feature in Picasa. It changes the images for good!!!
tom.ohaver
10/28/09
tom.ohaver
I think Lightroom would be much better software for you folks who are shooting RAWs.    
zec
10/28/09
zec
The difference (biiig) is in the cost of both options! And, if this is the only drawback of Picasa... It must be fixable!
7 MORE
elihpaudio
11/2/10
elihpaudio
Folks- RAW images carry a metadata tag that carries the white balance and some color settings, as well as contrast and brightness and exposure compensation adjustment.
 
The good news is that you won't actually "lose" anything when Picasa does something arbitrary and wrong to one of your RAW images. It's just changing metadata that can be changed to the correct levels in the RAW converter software that comes with any camera that can shoot RAW, or with any recent version of Photoshop or Lightroom.
 
The bottom line as far as I can tell, it that there isn't a way currently to "turn off" RAW file auto color management in Picasa. I only shoot RAW and this is a real pain. If you need to manage lots and lots of color images at a time, Lightroom is a great tool to color manage a lot of images at once. Photoshop, is more limited but gives you more other stuff on a single image editing level. Both allow you to do large-scale RAW to JPEG conversions if you want to (like me) use Picasa as a photo album viewer/web album uploader.
 
Again- Picasa won't "hurt" your RAWs- it will just insist on changing them as it sees fit.
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