I know that the Cook Picture Styles for Canon DSLR cameras has been a huge runaway success since their launch back in February 2014.
Back then The Cook Look cost you a few dollars… Not now, as the Cook Picture Styles are currently being offered for free.
Here is their instructions for getting The Cook Look.
Cook Picture Styles was the result of more than one year of developing to get the best possible dynamic range from Canon DSLR and also the best real world colors without flat look, without the need of post production grading, without hurt the textures in the image, without gradient banding.
Cook Picture Styes are free for use and distribution.
Read instructions below to get the best from it.
_DPP = to be used in digital photo professional software
_CAM = to be used inside the camera
there are different versions for camera and DPP software due to the camera has different color rendition compared to DPP in computer
using DPP versions on camera will introduce color banding, using camera versions in DPP will introduce color banding.
so use CAM versions in camera and DPP versions for RAW photos in computer
Vimeo group, be welcome to join: https://vimeo.com/groups/228980
How To Achieve The Cook Look:
FOR USE IN CAMERA:
(the -h versions are just for use in dpp, they do not do significant difference in camera.
there is the +h versions to be used in camera which increases the highlight preservation.)
Install the following versions in camera:
(Use Canon EOS Utility to load them via USB cable)
(after testing these to perceive the differences you can load others if you prefer, always _cam versions.
0 to 6 means the shadow lifting amount,
+h means more highlight preservation but reduces textures a little bit)
for the 600D T3i the shadow lifting up to 6 works ok
for the 5D Mark III the maximum recomended shadow lifting amount is 5
avoid loading the versions 6 to the 5D Mark III
Confirm in camera if the sliders are in default position for each version. (sharpness, contrast, saturation, tone)
Enable HTP when there is highlights in image, it helps. (highlight tone priority)
Always disable Auto Lighting Optimizer, it does not work good with custom picture style curves.
Choose from them considering the shadow/highlight in the scene
Just shadows = Cook0, 1 or 2
Light and shadows = Cook2, 3 or 4
Shadow/Highlight = Cook4, 5 or 6
you can use the versions 5 or 6 all the time, but increase contrast when needed (try from -2 to +2)
when there is more highlights use the +h versions and enable HTP.
Do the following for each scene (after choose the version):
If you use Variable ND or Polarizer filter, rotate it to find better balance between shadow/highlight.
Set correct exposure for Aperture, Shutter and ISO.
Set correct white balance for Kelvin and Green/Magenta bias.
Adjust contrast slider from -2 to +2 untill dynamic range is good but removing the flat look.
Try to keep good blacks without the grey look from flat images and without make the blacks too much deep.
if you want to use cook5 or cook6 all the time, increase contrast to avoid the flat look when needed.
Adjust the saturation slider to get a good balance with contrast.
If you increase contrast, decrease saturation.
If you decrease contrast, increase saturation.
Keep Tone Slider as default.
Sharpness at default (2) is recomended, more than this will increase halos, less than this will deliver a soft image.
The cook does not increase noise so much compared to Canon picture styles.
Neatvideo cleans it pretty good.
A tip is to disable all luminance spatial denoise and increase temporal denoise.
The chrominance spatial denoise can be increased to remove chroma noise.
sharpening in Neatvideo gives better results than sharpen filters in timeine, less pixelation.
sharpening with neatvideo can deliver exellent results for Canon DSLR, tweak it carefuly
The higher the shadow lifting amount in cook (from 3 to 6) are better for post production sharpening, less halos
the use of the Mosaic Enginnering VAF anti aliasing anti moire filter works great with Cook Picture Styles.
FOR USE IN COMPUTER IN DPP SOFTWARE:
Open the RAW photo in DPP software
Open the Tools Pallete
Disable Auto Lighting Optimizer in Tools Pallete
Load the version Cook0_dpp
Adjust exposure (brigthness) in Tools Pallete step by step
do this to get good exposure and good edges/tones transitions in highlights.
See image in 100% to perceive the edges/tones transitions and see all the image to perceive exposure.
Adjust contrast slider to get a good blacks and remove flat look
Now after these first adjusts try other versions from 0 to 6 until perceive the best one to lift the shadows
If highlight preservation is not needed use versions with -h
versions -h keep whites up to 255
Cook your images and enjoy.