Introducing Negative Lab Pro v2.0.
Now Available for Download
FREE UPGRADE to existing users
12-Shot Free Trial
When I launched Negative Lab Pro last year, I firmly believed that it was only scratching the surface of your negative’s full potential. So since launching, I’ve been working tirelessly to see just how far that potential can be pushed.
Version 2.0 is a major milestone in that effort to unlock your film’s potential, with dramatic improvements in every step of the conversion and editing of your negative scans:
- Truer Colors & Tonality – With the all-new image processing pipeline, you’ll see better tones and colors out of your negatives. Every step has been meticulously updated with better raw profiles, more accurate image analysis, a breakthrough color correction engine, AutoColor 2.0, film color profiles, and more.
- Dramatically Improved Editing Control - The tone and color engines powering Negative Lab Pro have been rebuilt from scratch to provide fluid, color-stable controls that allow more nuanced adjustments. It really makes editing a JOY!
- An even better, faster workflow - Version 2.0 builds on the all-raw, non-destructive workflow of v1 with some major improvements, including: saving default settings and a more stable, versatile batch mode.
- Built-in Support for Vuescan RAW DNGs and TIF Scans - Scanner lovers rejoice! Negative Lab Pro v2.0 improves native support for flatbed and film scanners, including raw scanner profiles for Vuescan RAW DNGs and a “Tiff Prep” utility built in Lightroom to prepare tiff scans for Negative Lab Pro conversions.
Best of all, this is FREE to existing users! As a “thank you” to everyone in the community who has been supporting and helping this effort, I’m making this a free update to all existing users. Thank you for supporting and believing in this project from the beginning. I know you will love these improvements! (Oh, and anyone still trying Negative Lab Pro gets 12 fresh conversions to try!)
OK, Brace yourselves, guys…. this update has been in the work for 6+ months so there’s a lot that’s new and improved with this version…
1. Truer Colors & Better Tonality
With Negative Lab Pro 2.0, you’ll see better tones and colors with every conversion.
There’s a lot that’s new under the hood powering Negative Lab Pro 2.0. Every part of the image processing pipeline has been updated and refined to bring out the true colors and tones of your negative.
AutoColor 2.0 is like Photoshop’s “snap to neutral” on steroids. It’s a major advancement towards getting better color from your negatives with less work.
The original AutoColor 1.0 had two problems:
- It was easily fooled by many scenes
- It was difficult to adjust the output or underlying assumptions
In some scenes, in fact, the AutoColor 1.0 potentially made things worse (as you’ll see below).
AutoColor 2.0 solves these issues in 3 ways:
- Behind the scenes, AutoColor 2.0 is actually inverting the negative and running a smarter, multi-layered scene analysis of that positive copy.
- Internally, AutoColor 2.0 can specifically look to correct certain hues at certain intensity levels, which you can control with the “AutoColor - Warming” and “AutoColor - Cooling” options.
- The output from AutoColor 2.0 is fully adjustable. You can change the axis of the correction by as little as 1 degree, or smoothly modify the strength of the correction.
This makes AutoColor 2.0 a much more robust solution than the previous AutoColor 1.0.
For instance, in this image above, AutoColor 1.0 sees the red leaves and thinks “Oh shoot! There’s too much red in this scene, let’s add some blue!” AutoColor 2.0 is actually evaluating the scene and making intelligent choices about the scene color balance.
You can also use the “AutoColor 2.0 - Warming” or “AutoColor 2.0 - Cooling” to specifically analyze the image to eliminate overly cold or overly warm tints.
The “AutoColor 2.0 Warming” setting is incredibly useful for color negatives, which can often have a cyan cast. The cyan cast is partially due to the inversion of the non-linear color couplers in the emulsion layers (i.e. the “orange mask”), but there are factors at play, such as the color temperature of the light in the scene (since film is color balanced for daylight), and the darkest and brightest elements in the scene (which virtually all processes rely on to set the boundaries of the conversion). Also note that like all color casts, the cyan cast is more apparent as contrast increases, so it will less noticeable using a linear (or linear+gamma) tone profile than a “standard” profile, which is adding contrast.
The best part, though, about AutoColor 2.0 is that you can see and modify the output from the analysis. Here is the output from the “AutoColor 2.0 - Warming” analysis for the scene above:
From here, we could easily tweak the hue of the correction or the strength of the correction.
The hue correction is in degrees from -180° to +180°. It follows a standard color wheel, with 0° being red. (It’s usually just easiest though to look at the color on the slider!).
The strength slider simply increases or decreases the amount of the correction. (You can also set a negative strength number to decrease a specific hue in an image, which can also be useful).
The new film color tab also includes static Film Profiles, which provide a good starting place for color correcting.
These profiles are based on an analysis of the most common hue corrections needed to correct films from various film manufacturers. In many cases, you may only need to tweak the strength to find your perfect color balance.
Standard - A good starting place for general use.
Kodak - Based on common Kodak film hue.
Fuji - Based on common Fuji film hue (less red, more green than Kodak).
Cinestill-T - Based on Cinestill 800T film hues.
Cinestill-D - Based on Cinestill 50D film hues.
CUSTOM - When you edit FilmHue or Strength, it automatically updates to show you are using a custom defined hue correction
"When would I want to use a film profile instead of AutoCorrect?"
One situation where film profiles are useful is when you are using a non-neutral lighting source, and you want the color of that light to come through (rather than be “corrected” to a neutral).
For example, if you are shooting indoor or night shots, you may WANT the color of the light to show up rather than be neutralized. The film profiles are great for this because they are not trying to correct for the scene, only eliminate the orange mask itself.
These film profiles assume that your light table or scanner light source is ~5,000k and that you haven’t used any color gels or filters during digitization. If you are using Vuescan RAW DNG, it assumes you used “image” or “transparency” as the mode, and not “negative” mode.
2. Dramatically Improved Editing Control
The tone and color engines powering Negative Lab Pro have been rebuilt from scratch to provide fluid, color-stable controls that allow more nuanced adjustments with incredible color stability.
The beauty of color and b+w negatives is the amount of nuance and detail they contain. And finally, with version 2.0, you can really enjoy that nuance as you edit.
Better Color Stability, More Nuance, More Control
You really just have to try it for yourself. Editing is so much more fun! No more jumps or unexpected hue-shifts - leaving you to just focus on your negative and your craft.
All the controls are just so much more refined!
New & Updated Controls
While all the controls have been improved, there are a few especially worth mentioning.
Tone Profiles – All the tone profiles have been updated to be more dynamic. All (except for “Linear” and “Linear + Gamma”) use a new version of “AutoTone” to create better, more consistent results across shots.
Brightness – The brightness slider now adjusts the brightness of the negative more similarly to the gamma of photographic paper, creating more natural looking results (especially in shadows)
Contrast – Quickly add or remove mid-tone contrast. Incredibly useful, I really should have added this sooner!
Soft Highs – Apply a smooth, tonal roll-off to the white point. This will soften the details in the brightest part of of the negative and restore clipped colors.
Soft Lows – Apply a smooth tonal roll-off to the black point. This will soften the details in the darkest part of of the negative and restore clipped colors.
3. Better, faster workflow
Version 2.0 builds on the all-raw, non-destructive workflow of v1 with some major improvements.
If you like to keep your film border in your image (and don’t want to have to crop and recrop), now you can with the “Border Buffer” setting.
This setting determines the amount of border area to disregard during conversion.
For example, let’s say you have this scan which includes both some film border as well as some black from the scanning mask.
The default “Border Buffer” setting of 5% would ignore 5% on all sides of the image during it’s analysis.
So your conversion will be just fine, and you don’t have to recrop (unless you want to).
Batch Mode Improvements
Batch mode in v1 was… errr… a bit hit or miss. Version 2.0 adds a much improved stability and usability.
For starters you can now use batch mode in the develop module with the film strip pane. This is a great, fast way to “sync scenes” across photos (which copies everything to the photo, including the underlying image analysis) or just sync the Negative Lab Pro settings from one photo to another.
Users with large batches of negatives will also be excited to know that the memory handling of batch mode has been greatly improved and should be able to process 100s of negatives in a single go!
Save and Load Default Settings**
You can now save your current settings to be your default settings (and load them on the current or other images at any time).
This is very useful if you find there is a specific “starting point” you want to be your default.
SAVE - this saves your current tone and color correction settings as the default settings for future images. So when you go to convert a new negative for the first time, these settings will be the default settings applied.
LOAD - This sets the current image’s settings to your saved default settings.
RESET - This “zeros” out all the settings on the current image. It does not change your default saved settings.
4. Support For TIF Scans and Vuescan RAW DNGs
Now you can select the source of your negative scan, and the calibrations will automatically be updated.
The input options are:
This is for RAW files from a digital camera.
Vuescan RAW DNG
This is for files which have been scanned using Vuescan, following the instructions on creating a RAW DNG positive scan. To make proper use of this, your scanner must be on the list of profiled scanners and you must have added the profile to your Lightroom profiles directory.
At present, this setting covers any other flatbed, drum or dedicated film scan, including EpsonScan, CanonScan, Silverfast, FlexColor, Pakon / PPRC, Tango Drum Scans… really any combination of scanner and scanning software.
To use a tiff scan, the most important thing is that the histogram from the scan needs to be wide enough to be adjusted inside Lightroom’s tone curve panel.
If your histogram from your scan looks like above, it is not going to convert well… it just isn’t wide enough for Lightroom to set accurate points in the tone curve.
There’s an included utility now for preparing your tiff files. Go to “File > Plugin-Manager > Tif Scan Prep”
It should open a little plugin like this:
After running Tiff Scan Prep, your new, gamma-corrected photo’s histogram should look like this:
Ah! That’s better! Plenty of width for the tone curves to do their thing!
Lots of other goodies
- Sticky pre-conversion settings - the pre-conversion settings now default to your last used conversion settings. So for instance, if you are converting Vuescan DNG files, it will remember that you did that last time, and default to that on the next file you open.
- V2 RAW Profiles - v2 of the raw profiles fixes an issue with LR that caused color discrepancies based on the exposure level of your scan. To take advance of this (and the new AutoColor 2.0 analysis) you’ll need to unconvert, then reconvert your photos.
- Profiles for Newer Cameras - The profile list is now up to date with supported cameras for Lightroom Classic 8.3.
- Zoom for sharpening - There is now a control to zoom to 100% next to the sharpening control
- Dynamic Sharpening - The sharpening module now makes adjustments based on the size of your scan. This is particularly important for very high megapixel scans.
- Tiff & Jpeg Copy Options - You now how the option to create in a subfolder, or stack with the original image.
- Fixed bug with authenticator - In some circumstances, the license authentication was incorrectly blocking license usage.
- Other bug fixes - and likely the creation of some new ones.
Let’s see it!
Show off your best stuff with NLP v2.0 in the thread below! Or if you have any questions, ask away!