I figured it out. Remember the "mealiness" I was talking about in this post? I now know where it was coming from.
I had forgotten that it is possible to set a default processing in Lightroom for a given camera. In Lightroom 2, I created a default for sharpening and noise reduction that was appropriate for my Sony DSC-R1 camera and Process Version 2003 used in Lightroom 2. Having forgotten that, when I moved to the Panasonic DMC-G1 camera, I created a Develop Preset for it and applied it to each image upon import into LR2. More on this in a bit.
When I upgraded to Lightroom 3, the default I'd set in Lightroom 2 was carried over and became the default for all imported images in Lightroom 3, Process Version 2010. Of course, the settings were not appropriate for Process Version 2010 nor my Panasonic camera, hence every image was looking "mealy" because they were over-sharpened and employed no noise control whatsoever. I was flummoxed with every image I'd work on until I realized this.
The first step was to set new defaults — as soon as I could find where to do so.
The default setting is found in the Develop Module under Develop/Set Default Settings . . .
This brings up this dialog box . . .
Aha! I canceled out of this dialog box, zeroed all develop controls, carefully worked the sharpen and noise reduction to something that looks good for this camera as a new default starting point with each image, and navigated back to the above dialog box and clicked on "Update to Current Settings." Now all the unprocessed RAW files I import start with this new default — without any mealiness to them.
Keep in mind three things:
- This is just a starting point
- This preset is not a factor in images you've already processed in the Develop Module.
- Images I brought over from LR2 that had the previous "default" setting remained at those settings even if I updated to Process Version 2010. I suspect this is because the previous default setting that had been applied meant that these image had been "developed" and therefore the default/developed settings were not updated.
Yowza, even if I update to Process Version 2010, the old default settings will still be applied? Yup. To remedy this and get to the new "default" settings, rather than click the Update Process Version exclamation point icon, just reset the image even though it hasn't had anything done to it yet other than the default. The reset will both update the image to Process Version 2010 and apply the new default settings to the image.
Unfortunately, like a lot of you I suspect, I applied a develop preset to every image when I imported them into the catalog. Having forgotten about the default settings business, I simply created a Develop Preset for my new Panasonic camera and applied it during the importation process. This means I don't have any images in the catalog that aren't already "developed" to at least that degree. So, I need to reset every image in my entire catalog — but only those that I've not done any serious developing work on. If I've done any work on an image after importation, I don't want to reset them or I'll lose all that work.
The best way I know to do this (at this point in my understanding) is in the Library Module, Grid View, and then Filter-by-Metadata. I can filter by Develop Preset for the preset I used on import. For example, I applied the Develop Preset Dakota Creek Sharpening 01 when I imported a bunch of the images in this folder:
All those images can safely be reset which will update them to Process Version 2010 and apply the new default settings. Sort of a pain, but better than trying to remember to do this six months from now when I will have forgotten all of this.
At least now I understand how I got where I am — I'm more knowledgeable, but dizzy.