Using X-Transformer and Lightroom

Started 1 month ago | Questions thread
Erik Baumgartner Regular Member • Posts: 213
Re: Using X-Transformer and Lightroom
6

Try this -

*WARNING* This is a stupid long post, but I don’t have a blog to link you to. Hopefully this will clarify the best and easiest way to use Iridient X-Transformer with Lightroom, the text is long, but the actual workflow is very simple - literally edit RAFs in LR as usual, a few mouse clicks, add new sharpening and NR settings, done. If you are a Lightroom user who is unhappy with the less than stellar Adobe RAF processing, but are otherwise satisfied and really don’t want to make major changes to your workflow to improve the image quality, read on. If you are happy with your LR results as-is or don’t believe in sharpening or pixel peeping or whatever, you can stop here.

Note: The following assumes you have a version of Lightroom Classic CC that is capable of opening the Fuji RAFs from your camera, and that the RAFs are already imported into Lightroom in the typical fashion. I’m pretty sure that this workflow isn’t possible with LR6.

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation floating around about how to configure and get the most out of Lightroom with Iridient X-Transformer. The following is a suggested workflow using X-Transformer as a quick and easy final clarification/sharpening step at the end of your current workflow. You will only be processing select images, all your original RAFs will be preserved (important if something better comes along in the future), and you will use far less hard drive space than converting everything (destructively, I might add) to DNG. Once XT is set properly, all your editing will be done, start to finish without ever leaving LR.

First, you’ll have to install Iridient X-Transformer on you computer, the free watermarked version will work if you want to try without buying (it’s $29.99 to buy) https://www.iridientdigital.com/products/xtransformer_download.html

Second, you will need to configure XT as described below. Make sure you have it set to “Preserve Lightroom/ACR Settings”. I also have it set to turn off all LR sharpening and NR after conversion because you’ll want to apply different sharpening and NR settings to the new DNGs than what you are using with LR alone. You might also need to click “install IXT as a LR plug-in” - found in the IXT “help” dialog.

The new DNGs will look identical to your original RAFs, including all your edits, but will have been processed with the superior Iridient demosaicing and, as mentioned above, will be without any sharpening or NR applied (you will apply new NR/Sharpening settings later). If all your develop settings don’t transfer to the new DNGs, you will need set Lightroom to retain the settings with the file (File>Catalog Settings>Metadata>Include Develop Settings in Metadata... check it.

Before you go on about what you read or how the other guy said you should set up and use XT, try this, seriously, this is the simplest, easiest, and probably the best way for most people to use X-Transformer with LR. The results are excellent.

XT Settings:

So, how does this work? In LR, I will, as usual, sort through all my images, culling, cropping and usually pre-editing and tagging the keepers as I go (I use a star). I’ll then isolate the starred files with the Attribute tab and select all the images that I want to convert as a group. Then... click on “File” (upper left hand corner), click “Plug-in Extras”, click “Process Selected RAF(s) to DNG”. After conversion (still kinda slow) the DNGs will appear next to the original files in LR. I will isolate them by clicking on the Metadata tab and replacing or creating a new column for “File Type”, select Digital Negative/Lossless. If I havn’t yet finished editing, I’ll finish up and add new sharpening and NR setting (see below) and I’m done. Any images you have already edited in LR can be treated the same way - Select the image > click File > click Plug-in Extras > click Process Selected RAFs > open the new DNG > add sharpening/NR preset > tweak as needed. It’s actually very quick, easy and the results are excellent, especially with images that are critically sharp and contain fine detail. You will see very little or no improvement with a blurry, noisy, soft image.

Note: If you are one of those people that just can’t get a handle on LR sharpening and would rather use Photoshop or something else, the freshly created XT DNGs will have had no sharpening or NR applied and are ideal for that. I prefer LR and do suggest you give it another try before dismissing it.

Below are my default LR sharpening and NR settings, the first are what I set in LR to be automatically applied when opening a newly imported 24MP Fuji RAF (would be different for 16MP files, probably similar for 26MP). Below that are the settings I will apply to the newly created XT DNGs with a preset.

In both scenarios I often diverge significantly from these settings, but they are typically good starting points which will sharpen everything up nicely without introducing noise and artifacts to featureless areas. Note: as the ISO rises, the Sharpening Radius might go up a little, the Detail slider will go down (even near or to zero with a very noisy extreme ISO image), and the Masking slider will often go up. The actual sharpening level might go either way. With super clean and critically sharp files the Detail slider might go up, and the Sharpening, Masking and Sharpening Radius sliders might go down. Try to minimize the use of NR - be careful not to sharpen (and accentuate) the noise, the Detail and Masking sliders are your friends here. Correctly setting them will greatly reduce the need for aggressive NR at higher ISOs. The lens used, aperture used, ISO used, quality of light etc. will all influence settings. Sorry, for best results there is no single settings recipe here.

LR default starting point settings, Fujifilm 24MP RAF files at ISO 200,

Lightroom alone. This is what I use for normal LR editing before or without converting with XT:

SHARPENING -

Sharpening - 50

Radius - 1.0

Detail - 25

Masking - 12

NR -

Luminance - 8

Detail - 86

Contrast - 0

Color - 8

Detail - 66

Smoothness- 72

X-Transformer DNG with no sharpening or NR applied during conversion. This is what you’ll want to try after converting to DNG (with XT):

SHARPENING -

Sharpening - 30

Radius - 1.0

Detail - 50

Masking - 18

NR -

Luminance - 12

Detail - 86

Contrast - 0

Color - 8

Detail - 66

Smoothness- 72

There is more than one way to skin a cat and I’m sure others have their own workflows that produce similar results. This is currently the easiest and least disruptive way that I could come up with to include X-Transformer in my Lightroom workflow and it will probably work well for most users. If anyone has a better alternate system or refinements to improve this one I’d like to hear about them.

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