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LightZone resurfaces?

raw converter zombie

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41 replies to this topic

#1 afx

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:24

http://lightzoneproject.org/

cheers
afx
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#2 simato73

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 20:47

Can you explain what LightZone is/was?
Simone

#3 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 21:48

It was a raw processor/editor that was written in Java and would run on Mac, Win and 'nix.
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#4 Alan7140

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 00:08

IF you have a Fuji X-Trans - this will process the RAF files exceptionally well! Finally!

HOWEVER, pay close attention to the instructions for installation. (This is so obviously written by the Linux mob that it hurts).

Windows: do exactly as is said with the link to the latest DCRAW (which has X-E1 added) and replace the downloaded dcraw.exe into the LightZone installation folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\LightZone 3) before launching Lightzone for the first time.

If it acts silly and won't process the X-Tans RAFs, start again from a total uninstallation of the program (including deleting its folder from the Program Files folder if that has not already been done). Don't install it over itself - that doesn't clean the errors out.

Mac users: sorry, you'll have to work it out for yourselves.

Linux users: you deserve whatever happens.

In operation it's not hard to work the browser/edit windows out, and the edit controls are really good. I'm still tripping up on the saving side of things, even though I have my prefs for saving saved - but that'll be user error.
It also does batch processing and saving.

It also does a bloody good job on NEF files.

Thank you, afx, thank you so much for this heads up!
Since the practical demise of AfterShotPro (as far as the Fuji is concerned), I've been looking for an easy-to-manage raw processor, and this might just be it.
It suppresses the spurious pixels and zippered edges that DCRAW produces exceptionally well without butchering the rest of the image as did ACR and to a lesser extent SilkyPix.

#5 schwett

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:49

funny - i grabbed the compiled .17 version of dcraw from their website (in the 'unstable' tree ;) a few days ago and wondered about the GUI that was originally being worked on. i'm surprised to hear that it does a better job than dcraw, since it uses dcraw!

pretty far from prime time, at least for x-e1 files. it seems to take at least 10 seconds or so to switch to the 'edit' pane, and then crashes unceremoniously! in their defense, they said that the .17 version of dcraw should be considered beta. perhaps they'll get it worked out.
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#6 Alan7140

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:55

I went through those hoops - you'll have to uninstall and follow their instructions exactly, using the links provided and downloading everything fresh. It might have something to do with the dcraw.dll, I think - it seems to appear to be modified after the first use, and simply deleting it and reinstalling the program over itself then relaunching to get a fresh file does not work.

In the end I uninstalled, deleted everything, then carefully set the prefs, closed the program and launched it again before even trying to open an image.

It's running fine here at the moment, no further dramas and I've processed maybe 40 or more rafs by now. The other thing I've found that it does not like is if you try to open the file from Explorer with "Open with...." - it likes to have the files opened from its own thumbnail strip along the bottom after LZ has been launched.

Of course it might behave differently with the X-E1 files, but I don't see why - all that's been added is the camera name directly after the X-Pro1's details.

#7 simato73

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:37

Thanks Ron for the explanation and Fred for the following post.
Very informative.
I might give this software a try, even though I don't have any Fuji camera.
Simone

#8 afx

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 15:26

Linux users: you deserve whatever happens.

It just works ;-)
The bigger hassle was to remember how to use GIT to get all cam profiles from GITHub with one command instead of explicit silly manual download.
Only to discover that there is no D700 profile ;-(

Thank you, afx, thank you so much for this heads up!

My pleasure, I merely found it a curiosity, did not realize that their backed processing on top of dcraw was so useful for the Fujis.

cheers
afx
"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
My latest book: The AfterShot Survival Guide  
sRGB clipping sucks and Adobe RGB is just as bad  Still no clue how to take decent pictures though, see afximages.com ;-(

#9 schwett

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 17:06

I went through those hoops - you'll have to uninstall and follow their instructions exactly, using the links provided and downloading everything fresh. It might have something to do with the dcraw.dll, I think - it seems to appear to be modified after the first use, and simply deleting it and reinstalling the program over itself then relaunching to get a fresh file does not work.

In the end I uninstalled, deleted everything, then carefully set the prefs, closed the program and launched it again before even trying to open an image.

It's running fine here at the moment, no further dramas and I've processed maybe 40 or more rafs by now. The other thing I've found that it does not like is if you try to open the file from Explorer with "Open with...." - it likes to have the files opened from its own thumbnail strip along the bottom after LZ has been launched.

Of course it might behave differently with the X-E1 files, but I don't see why - all that's been added is the camera name directly after the X-Pro1's details.


fred - i did that, several times now. uninstall. remove all files manually including the folder under $user$/my docs/lightzone. follow their directions exactly, although it's not like there's much to do (i assume you mean these (http://lightzoneproject.org/node/55), including replacing dcraw.exe and downloading the raw curve file into the templates folder. i even stripped all the registry entries that the uninstaller didn't remove.

are you actually using the 'beta' dcraw 9.17 or the 'stable' 9.16? since the earlier one supports the x-pro just fine, maybe you're using 9.16?
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#10 schwett

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 17:20

i reinstalled once again without updating dcraw and browsed to a folder with nothing but nikon .nef files and jpgs in it.

same behavior. reminds me why every time i consider trying anything other than acr/bridge/photoshop i regret it.
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#11 simato73

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 18:35

I am intending to try this software on my Mac.
So far installation has been smooth. The first time I open it I am given the option to try or use a license code. Of course I have no code since I just heard about it.
On the website there is a link for recovering a lost code, but as far as I can tell there is no way to obtain a new one, since the company is out of business and the software is now open source (I think).

So how does it work wrt licensing if and when the trial time runs out?
Simone

#12 aerobat

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 19:36

I can't even download LZ 3.9 from the wayback server - it's apparently down.

Regards, Daniel

#13 simato73

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 20:34

I can't even download LZ 3.9 from the wayback server - it's apparently down.

Regards, Daniel


I managed just a few hours ago.

Please note the wayback server has some problems, if you want to download the file follow these instructions copied from the LightZone Project page:

Downloading the LightZone 3.9.2 installation package

If you don't already have LightZone installed, or if you've got an older version installed, you'll want to install the 3.9.2 version (which was the last version produced by Light Crafts). The LightZombie Project doesn't directly supply that file, out of respect for Light Crafts' copyright, but you can download it from Archive.org's Wayback Machine.
  • Click here.
  • You'll get a page that says, "Welcome to Wayback, Loading..."
  • Toward the bottom right of that page is a link that says, "Impatient?"
  • Cmd-click that link and select "Save Link As".
Don't dawdle too long before Cmd-clicking the "Impatient?" link.
Simone

#14 HansC

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 20:47

By the way, besides doing an apparently good job on the Fuji files, LightZone used to be big on their implementation of the Zone concept. Hence the name. It worke pretty well, albeit slow. Hopefully the guys can get the project going in a real open source way.

I did try it quite some years ago, when Anton Kast was still one of the employees of LightZone (or whatever the company was called). He did the Linux support as a sort of labour of love at the time. Now, he appears to be one of the main participants in this project, so hopes up.
HansC, doin' life

#15 Alan7140

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:56

fred - i did that, several times now. uninstall. remove all files manually including the folder under $user$/my docs/lightzone. follow their directions exactly, although it's not like there's much to do (i assume you mean these (http://lightzoneproject.org/node/55), including replacing dcraw.exe and downloading the raw curve file into the templates folder. i even stripped all the registry entries that the uninstaller didn't remove.

are you actually using the 'beta' dcraw 9.17 or the 'stable' 9.16? since the earlier one supports the x-pro just fine, maybe you're using 9.16?


I'm using 9.17. I thought it would be a simple enough thing to go back to stable 9.16 if 9.17 was too wobbly for my X-Pro1, doing so primarily out of interest for X-E1 owners - there seem to be more X-E1s popping up on forums than X-Pro1s these days - and for whom I didn't want to raise false hopes by waxing lyrical about yet another raw processor they couldn't use yet.

After the first two attempts and problems with crashes, it has been stable since the third completely fresh install and careful prfs setup before launching any files. I must admit I still find myself flinching when clicking on the (apparently) camera thumbnail jpeg initially displayed to launch the editor's DCRAW's processed raw file for further editing as this seems where the beta problem lies, with the connection/launch of DCRAW from within LightZone.

Given past experience with DCRAW as a command line and through Helicon Filter as a GUI, there is obviously some very well worked out combination of arguments and numbers being applied in LightZone's initial DCRAW processing that I never got close to with my efforts in the previous programs. It would appear there is really someone who understands photography and images working on this program.

Being an X-Pro1 owner I have been suffering the lousy raw file processing problem than any X-E1 owner of course, and was getting increasingly concerned that the solution I had been banking on as being inevitable and probably only just around the corner was maybe never going to happen.

I'm not saying this is perfect yet, but comparing the results from (in order) Corel PaintShop Pro, ACR, SilkyPix, in-camera JPEG, and then out in front Helicon Filter and now LightZone, thankfully there is finally a choice of two usable options, with LightZone being the best overall, both in image and interface, but with Helicon Filter providing a better indication of the ultimate quality and sharpness that is inherent in the X-Trans sensor, albeit with more artifacts at the moment.

Sometime soon there will be a raw processor which makes full use of the sensor's abilities without the artifacts or without softening the result to kill the artifacts, but one which also simply processes a clean raw image with no softening or blurring. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

I did mention it, but I think for special files from the D3s, LightZone will be my weapon of choice with those as well. It does a fantastic job on the NEF files I've tried so far.

For post-processing sharpening, though, Helicon Filter's plug-in to Photoshop is great, because their "Sharpen fine details" filter is the best, most artifact-free sharpening I have yet come across.

#16 willl

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 23:08

funny - i grabbed the compiled .17 version of dcraw from their website (in the 'unstable' tree ;) a few days ago and wondered about the GUI that was originally being worked on. i'm surprised to hear that it does a better job than dcraw, since it uses dcraw!


Found a forum thread here - http://lightzoneproj...347#comment-347, which links to another forum post by the original developer of LightZone, Fabio Riccardi - http://www.openphoto...19&postcount=24

As some of you remarked already prior to LightZone 1.5 we used the excellent dcraw to perform the demosaicing, which unfortunately turns out to be quite slow. Thereby I developed my own algorithm.

For the curious: we still use dcraw to decode the RAW image format and extract the RAW data from it, it does an excellent job and saves us a lot of development effort.

As some of you already remarked, our approach to RAW conversion is to do the minimum post-processing as possible by default: no sharpening, noise reduction or else in the conversion. We prefer to start with a "really raw" image and then use our regular tools to post process it.


So it would seem the algorithm created by Fabio Raccardi works quite well for the X-Pro 1.

#17 schwett

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 00:02

... completely fresh install and careful prfs setup before launching any files....


could you eleborate on what you mean by "careful prfs setup" ?
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#18 schwett

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 00:36

could you eleborate on what you mean by "careful prfs setup" ?


scratch that... i got it to work. not sure specifically what it was, but i changed a number of the preferences (different scratch disk etc) and it works now.

detail level is pretty good, but it does produce the same dithery/speckly highlight edges as dcraw. it almost looks to me like it's the same processing algorithm as dcraw, which makes sense given the lineage. i can't see this as a real or even usable solution at this point, but it does suggest that better things are possible!
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#19 Alan7140

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 00:57

Don't be afraid to use both the gaussian blur and noise reduction (in sensible moderation, of course) - you can all but eliminate any zippering that does show up, albeit at the expense of some fine detail. Helicon Filter's Fine Detail sharpener can restore this to some degree.

It's not perfect, but compared with ACR or SilkyPix - simply no contest. At least the files are usable now.

At normal, print size where the printer can't resolve the zippering Helicon Filter processing from the start gives a slightly snappier result in a print, but for best ease of processing and excellent print quality LightZone is the best thing so far.

Unfortunately it seems impossible to buy it at the moment, the store link times out. I vaguely remember seeing an offer for a lifetime license at around $40 (??) offered to buyers before the "Pro" version is released when I first went to the site, and perhaps I should have bought on spec then because I cannot find either the offer or the purchase link now.

Edited by Fred Nirque, 02 January 2013 - 01:15 .


#20 schwett

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 00:59

here's a comparison, 1:1 crops from ACR and Lightzone. ACR has the horrible smeary paintery effect, LZ has the speckly dithery edges. apologies to whatever the correct terminology that i'm butchering is. ;)

overall image
Posted Image

smeary but smooth acr result
Posted Image

speckly but "sharp" lightzone result.
Posted Image
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]





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