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Photos show banding when viewed in the cloud, but not in Lightroom Classic

LEGEND ,
Mar 24, 2021 Mar 24, 2021

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Lightroom Classic 10.2, Windows 10, all photos shot in RAW (NEF) from my Nikon Z 6ii

 

I have photos that do not appear to show banding in the sky at the top left, when I look at them in Lightroom Classic. Example:

2021-03-24 18_02_19-Lightroom v10 - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic - Library.png

 

Then, I share the photos to the cloud, you can take a look at the at https://adobe.ly/31fgE4H but here is the corresponding photo seen in Microsoft Edge in the cloud, and the banding appears at the top left.

 

2021-03-24 18_03_39-Albion, NY — Mozilla Firefox.png

 

How do I prevent the banding when viewed in the cloud?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 24, 2021 Mar 24, 2021

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My hypothesis: You synced the image from LRC to LR Cloudy, and LRC always syncs raws as smart previews. Since the smart preview only has 8 bits per channel, you get the possibility of banding.  If you upload the image directly into LR Cloudy from your hard drive rather than via LRC syncing, I think you could get a preview in LR Cloudy without banding.

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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I do not use Lightroom (the cloud version). It is not installed. Everything is done in Lightroom Classic.

 

These same photos export from Lightroom Classic as JPG without banding. I can upload the photo to Flickr and there is no banding (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/15947776@N06/51070587776/), using Jeffrey Friedl's Flickr plugin.

 

So that's two examples of converting the photo to 8bits (JPG) without banding. Shouldn't any conversion to 8bit DNG and then upload to the cloud from Lightroom Classic work and not produce banding (just as converting to JPG doesn't produce banding)?

 

I'm sorry to have to say this, John, but I think you have missed the point. I should be able to get photos without banding using Lightroom Classic only, as far as I know, that is a capability of the software.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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LrC Smart Previews synced to the cloud are 2560 px long edge lossy DNG files. Banding issues are usually due to specific settings in the Develop module, which may be correctable to prevent banding. The best way to determine this is to Export the raw file with your settings to DNG file format, upload it to Dropbox or other file sharing site and put the share link in a reply here. I'll take a look at it and provide editing suggestions.

 

What export module settings are you using for the LrC JPEG export file? Try JPEG 75 Quality, Adobe RGB, Resize to Fit Long Edge 2560 and Output Sharpening Screen Standard. This should be similar to the Smart Preview synced to the Cloud.

 

Jeffrey Friedl's Flickr plugin may be converting the image to 16bit PNG file format, which is a Flickr supported file format.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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quote

 

What export module settings are you using for the LrC JPEG export file? Try JPEG 75 Quality, Adobe RGB, Resize to Fit Long Edge 2560 and Output Sharpening Screen Standard. This should be similar to the Smart Preview synced to the Cloud.


By @Todd Shaner

 

When I do this export with the exact settings you state above, there is no banding.

 

The DNG is at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xr66hdhq5vj008r/PMC_0237.dng?dl=0 When I open this DNG in ACR, the banding appears for a second (possibly showing a JPG preview?), and then gets smoothed out so there is no banding as ACR renders the DNG file. Which is what I expect. Then, if I open it in Photoshop from ACR, no banding.


I add that the original NEF, with no edits whatsoever, does not show banding, which again is what you would expect.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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[This post contains formatting and embedded images that don't appear in email. View the post in your Web browser.]

 

The first step is to understand why this is happening, then from that we can determine how to avoid the issue.

 

Your sample file confirms my hypothesis.   The banding is a result of the lossy 8-bit smart preview that LR Classic syncs to LR Cloud.  Uploading the DNG directly to LR Cloud avoids the banding.  Exporting the DNG from LR Classic as a quality-75 JPEG shows no banding, either at the original width of 6048 or the reduced width of 2560, which is why you don't see banding when published to Flickr.

 

It appears that LR is using an inferior algorithm for building the smart previews from raws.  I don't know how to get to the smart previews synced with LR Classic, but you can access those built by Library > Previews >  Build Smart Previews (they're stored in the catalog folder in *Smart Previews.lrdata). They're a little smaller than those synced to LR Cloud (2268 wide versus 2560).  If you build a smart preview in LR Classic for the sample DNG and then open it in Photoshop, you can see the banding.  But if you export a quality-75 JPEG at width 2268, there is no banding visible.  The JPEG is 1.6 MB, while the smart preview is 1.5 MB.

 

Some workarounds:

 

- Export the raw back into the catalog as a full-size quality-75 or -85 JPEG and sync the JPEG.

 

- Upload the photo directly to LR Web (http://lightroom.adobe.com) rather than syncing it from LR Classic.

 

- Maybe Todd can suggest alternative editing steps that will avoid the problem.

 

You can see the three versions of files in LR Web here:

https://adobe.ly/31kp1w6 

(the full-size quality-75 JPEG synced from LR Classic, the DNG synced from LR classic, the DNG directly uploaded to LR Web.)

 

Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 10.20.45 AM.png

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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It appears that LR is using an inferior algorithm for building the smart previews from raws.

 

It appears that LrC is using an inferior algorithm ...

 

I am surprised by this, and I don't recall other people reporting that they have this problem. But I shouldn't have to use Lightroom (cloudy) to obtain results. And I shouldn't have to export and re-import and then upload to the cloud to see the photo without banding, as I thought this was an actual feature of Lightroom Classic (and if it is not an actual feature, then I am absolutely flabbergasted by this).

 

I can confirm that the exported DNG, uploaded to the cloud, does not show banding, but this sort of destroys the usefulness of creating a collection and then uploading it to the cloud. I also note that the exporteed DNG, when uploaded to the cloud, shows none of my edits, and maybe I'm doing something wrong because I don't use the cloud much, but really I shouldn't have to specify to use the edits embedded in the DNG (that ACR has no trouble finding).

 

Although you didn't say this, it sounds like a bug that should be reported to Adobe.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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Also, when I import the sample DNG into my LR Classic with Build Previews: Standard, I see the banding in Library Loupe with Fit zoom.  If I force a 1:1 preview to be built by zooming to 100% or doing Library > Previews > Build 1:1 Previews, the banding goes away.  This suggests that the smart previews synced with LR Cloud is sharing the same inferior preview-building code with Library previews.

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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"I shouldn't have to use Lightroom (cloudy) to obtain results. And I shouldn't have to export and re-import and then upload to the cloud to see the photo without banding, as I thought this was an actual feature of Lightroom Classic ... Although you didn't say this, it sounds like a bug that should be reported to Adobe."

 

I agree.Though given Adobe's explicitly stated policy of no more improvements to LR Classic sync after LR Cloud was released, I wonder if they would ever prioritize a fix.

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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This suggests that the smart previews synced with LR Cloud is sharing the same inferior preview-building code with Library previews.

 

Again, I'm surprised by this, I thought the point was to show the image with roughly the same quality (although fewer pixels) as in LrC. And I can't recall others complaining about this.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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DJ I use lossy DNG file format quite a bit to reduce the file size of large HDR and Panorama DNG files. 99% of these lossy DNG files look identical to the original raw file. In general heavily underexposed image files (-greater than 2.0 EV) suffer from lossy DNG file format artifacting. Your original file is not underexposed and all settings changes I tried failed eliminate the banding in the smart preview uploaded to the Cloud. You can create the same smart preview file type for examination using the LrC Export module with the below settings.

 

Lossy DNG Export.jpg

 

I suggest reporting this in the Photoshop Family forum. https://feedback.photoshop.com/

 

I reported an issue with lossy DNG file format concerning Spot Removal two years ago with no fix to date. It's still worthwhile filing a new report for this banding example. Place a link back here to the report and we can add further comments there to help get Adobe's attention.

 

https://feedback.photoshop.com/conversations/lightroom-classic/lightroomcamera-raw-converting-raw-fi...

 

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2021 Mar 25, 2021

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