Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recover from the Lightroom 4 Tone Curve Bug

Having a background in software, I can attest to the fact that no matter how diligent you are in testing a new application, no matter how many beta cycles, there is always something that slips through the cracks and evades discovery until AFTER its released into the wild.  The largest of these gremlins in the latest Lightroom 4 release is the "Tone Curve" bug.

If you're not aware, when you upgrade a previously processed image in Lightroom 4 to the latest 2012 Process engine, one of the things it DOES NOT do correctly is to bring forward any tone curve adjustments.  They are simply lost.  For many, this is a BIG deal.

Adobe is well aware of the issue and is already close to having a hotfix available to correct the problem.  If you've already upgraded to Lightroom 4 as I have, here are a few tips to help you avoid or recover from the "Tone Curve" bug until the fix is available.

  1. As a general rule, only upgrade one image at a time to the new processing engine until you're confident things are working as planned.  Then you can upgrade the rest of your catalog knowing things will be as you expect.  Point #1 in this post outlines how you can upgrade the process engine for an image.
  2. If you have upgraded and discovered you're image has been negatively impacted by the tone curve bug, don't panic.  Remember, all edits in Lightroom are non-destructive (they never alter  your original image), even the process upgrade option.  Simply jump into the development module and browse through the History panel to find the step immediately before "Update to Current Process (2012)".  Click on that previous step and you have your image back.  If you want to clear the history for everything but this view of the image, right click to create a snap shot on that step.  Once you've named your snapshot, click the "X" (Clear All) button at the top of the History panel and everything else is removed.
I'm sure we'll be seeing the fix coming from Adobe in the near future.  In the meantime, don't let this prevent you from upgrading your existing installation to Lightroom 4.

Have any experiences with Lightroom 4 that you'd like to share?  Drop us a note using the comments section below.

Until next time, keep on click'n.


Seth Carnill said...

I'm afraid you have totally missed the point of this Tone Curve issue. The bug affects all photos in Lightroom 4, even if they have not yet been upgraded to the 2012 process version. So your solution of not upgrading issues to the new process version or using the history to reselect the 2010 process version is irrelevant and will not solve the problem. Lightroom 4 simply doesn't read tone curve settings from Lightroom 3. Nothing to do with process versions.
I do really hope that they find a solution soon, if you find one let us know!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment, Seth. I'm going to have to verify this tonight, but I'm not sure I'm seeing that behavior. I'm fairly certain my installation is managing the point curve correctly on post upgraded and newly imported photos. You've piqued my interest enough to go back and verify though. Regardless, it looks like Adobe's getting closer to releasing a fix. Thanks again.

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