Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Infrared Processing in Lightroom

If you have your RAW image from an infrared converted camera in Lightroom, having to go to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements with Elements+ to swap the red and blue channels is a pain. When I made the move from Aperture to Lightroom 6, I was delighted to find, in a Google search, Jarno Heikkinen’s solution to the problem on his Capture Monkey website. His download provides Camera Calibration Profiles with reversed colour matrices for a number of cameras. To reiterate, it simply extends the profiles available within Lightroom. It does not, of course, work for jpegs.

I also remembered that Jason O'Dell had described an approach similar to, but easier than, changing Hue in Nikon Capture 2 using Viveza 2 (I have Nik Software as a plug-in for Lightroom).

I thought I would compare the basic conversions using these three methods. The starting point was a NEF image from a converted Nikon D80 with a 590 nm filter over the sensor.

As you can see there are differences from the same raw image. All I have done is to apply the conversion and then in Lightroom use Auto Tone. I have not done any further processing.

A Lightroom 6 to Photoshop Elements with Elements+. Red/Blue Channel Swap. Auto Tone in Lightroom

B Lightroom 6. Camera Calibration Profile Red/Blue Swap (Jamo Heikkinen). Auto Tone in Lightroom

C Lightroom 6. Edit in Viveza 2. Near 180 degree shift in Hue. Auto Tone in Lightroom

I then did a simple black-and-white conversion within Lightroom and these are the results:

Which method you prefer depends on the final look you are trying to achieve and how easy it is to get where you want to be. Each provides the starting point for further processing both in colour and black-and-white. For most purposes, particularly black-and-white, and at the moment I think I can manage with the wholly within Lightroom solution of Jarno Heikkinen, although for some faux colour images I rather like the Viveza 2 process. Whether or not I can manage completely without the channel swapping step in Photoshop time will tell as I try images with the different cut-off filters over the sensors of my converted cameras, with different white balance settings, with additional external filters and with different lighting.