Is there such a thing as a RAW workflow across multiple applications with DNG along the path?

cayenne

EOS R6
CR Pro
Mar 28, 2012
2,578
548
I'm hoping someone can help me understand how to keep image quality and ability to make adjustments of images across multiple applications.

An example.

I shoot multiple RAW images in camera, let's say from my 5D3, at various points of focus for focus stacking.

I move these into Helicon Focus, using their RAW-to-DNG workflow....input original RAW images, focus stack composited by HF, and output as a DNG file.

So, at this first step...how "raw" is my file now?

Next, I move this file and a few others treated the same way through HF (multiple different focus stacked images, output as DNG)....and pull each of these into Capture One.

I do some color adjustments, sharpening, etc....will I be doing this at the same level of "raw" control as if I'd done this on each original image before focus stacking?

Let's take it one more step.

After each of these focus stacked images have been adjusted in Capture One...let's say I export them from C1 as individual DNG files, so the C1 adjustments are somewhat baked in....and bring these files into Affinity Photo (or even PS)....and I now use these to make a composite image from these.

So, in my pixel editor, I composite these, clean up, etc.

So...to this point, how RAW was my workflow? How lossless? Does moving it about and exports using DNG keeping it closer to what came off the sensor for each image along the way?

Is this they way to keep as much image quality along the workflow?

One last step. Let's say I come out of Affinity Photo (or even PS)....at this point, I have been pushing pixels around, so I'm guessing even if I were to export the composited image out, even to yet again another DNG image....to bring into Capture One in case I needed some final adjustments before output to jpg for printing....that coming out of my AP or PS....I'm now very far away from RAW, and that in Capture One, I'd have to be careful as that I could not push or change things too much since being so many generations away from original RAW images.

Does any of this make sense?

I know there a a lot of folks here that know this stuff inside and out and hope you can help me understand how this would work a little better.

Would you have a suggestion on how best to keep as much quality as possible with a workflow of this type across multiple applications....?

Thank you in advance,

cayenne
 

Joules

doom
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2017
1,592
1,909
Hamburg, Germany
When the data comes out of the camera as RAW, it is linear and not debayered. I believe what ever software you use for your first step to import these files can chose how much cooking it wants to apply when creating a DNG. It may well demosaice the image and put the data into some color space (which would mean it's not what we think of as RAW anymore) before writing the DNG. DNG is based on Tiff, so it can hold a regular Tiff as far as I know.

You gave your particular work flow, but I have no experience with most of those programs. So I don't know how many steps are applied or what options to control this they offer.
 
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cayenne

EOS R6
CR Pro
Mar 28, 2012
2,578
548
When the data comes out of the camera as RAW, it is linear and not debayered. I believe what ever software you use for your first step to import these files can chose how much cooking it wants to apply when creating a DNG. It may well demosaice the image and put the data into some color space (which would mean it's not what we think of as RAW anymore) before writing the DNG. DNG is based on Tiff, so it can hold a regular Tiff as far as I know.

You gave your particular work flow, but I have no experience with most of those programs. So I don't know how many steps are applied or what options to control this they offer.

Thank you....

I now have some terms I can start researching...thank your the reply.

If any others have some info/insight please continue to post....

Thanks in advance!!

C
 
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