Author Topic: Advice or recommendations on using color checker  (Read 376 times)

Jack Dahlgren

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Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« on: May 18, 2019, 07:02:45 »
I’ve got some architectural photography to do where color matching is important so I need to get a bit more serious about it. Primarily I process my photos in captureNX and use the eye dropper to set white balance, but am interested is how others manage color accuracy.

I’ve noticed use of the colorchecker passport in several photos here, so would appreciate opinions on how effective it is and how to best use it, particularly if you have advice beyond the instructions which come with it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out.

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 13:02:13 »
Nikon NX are color managged but do not support color checker.

Lightroom supports Color Checker and Photo Ninja supports color checker too. You can build camera and lens profiles, let the EXIF be detected and corrections applied on import, ... yet ... I still think the results are best for Nikon software with Nikon cameras ...
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charlie

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 20:52:12 »
You'll need to use software that supports creating profiles with the color checker to fully utilize it. In addition to the programs Frank mentioned Capture One and Photoshop (ACR) also support color checker profiles.
 
Besides Capture NX, what other software are you using?

As far as effectiveness in the profiles it creates I have found that profiling does not make colors 100% accurate, that's with both Nikon and Canon cameras. Particularly with pinks & reds the hue is shifted both before and after profiling, though it does get better. Often I find the built in profiles of NX, Capture One, and Lightroom are more pleasing compared to the color checker created profiles so I'll only use it when the color needs to be as true as possible, even then some manual correction is sometimes needed.   

I find the color checker to consistently give warmer white balance than I prefer, even when using the "cool" WB patches.

MFloyd

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 23:24:42 »
I’m using the Swiss Datacolor system for several years. I just upgraded to their new Spyder X probe. Only on very rare occasion I need to calibrate (though Spydercheckr) a scene (reproduction). The provided software works with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Hasselblad Phocus.
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pluton

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 04:12:50 »
As I understand it, calibrating with a color checker is intended for one specific lighting setup....one specific color quality of light. 
Additionally, the use of the color checker calibration assumes that the photographer wishes the light to appear to be absolutely neutral in color.  This is essentially what you'd get if you included a white card in every setup and used the eyedropper white balance tool in post.
When shooting under the total control of studio lighting, the color checker calibration should deliver a good result.
When documentary shooting in the world of existing light, you'd have to calibrate every time you change location or the the color of the light changes.  Also, the color of the scene lighting would always be dead neutral, even if you were photographing by the light of a red sunset or cool blue rainy day. For fast moving documentary work, it would obviously be impractical to shoot the color checker in every setup.
For slower-moving architectural work, it might be more practical to insert a color checker into each major setup.
I shoot 98% documentary shots, but experimentally tried the Lightroom color checker calibration for my Nikon and Fujifilm cameras.  I liked the general look of the color checker calibration, and still use it knowing that I'll be fine-tuning the color rendition for many or most shots.
In the end, it may be more important that the finished set of photos match each other, rather than match a real world material sample.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Ann

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 05:58:50 »
 I photograph my ColorChecker under many different kinds of lighting and make individual Profiles for each type of lighting for each of my cameras.

I use the appropriate Profile in ACR (or one could use them in Lr) when converting my RAW NEFs instead of using the canned Profiles which ship with ACR.

This works well and saves me a lot of time when I am processing.


CS

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 06:17:54 »
I understand the use of profiles for some folks. But, I'm not one of those folks, and I hope that the folks that do rely on profiles understand those of us that don't. :)
Carl

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 06:17:56 »
very true words, Keith, esp the color consistency in the series.

Jack. In the end you always produce pictures, not photos. Pictures are produced to taste, yours or your customers respectively. Spectral consistency is after all considerations less important than emotional appeal.

One more thing: in real life you do have different light (and shadow) sources in the frame very often, each with its own "correct" white balance and spectral composition...
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

CS

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 06:34:41 »
As I understand it, calibrating with a color checker is intended for one specific lighting setup....one specific color quality of light. 
Additionally, the use of the color checker calibration assumes that the photographer wishes the light to appear to be absolutely neutral in color.  This is essentially what you'd get if you included a white card in every setup and used the eyedropper white balance tool in post.
When shooting under the total control of studio lighting, the color checker calibration should deliver a good result.
When documentary shooting in the world of existing light, you'd have to calibrate every time you change location or the the color of the light changes.  Also, the color of the scene lighting would always be dead neutral, even if you were photographing by the light of a red sunset or cool blue rainy day. For fast moving documentary work, it would obviously be impractical to shoot the color checker in every setup.
For slower-moving architectural work, it might be more practical to insert a color checker into each major setup.
I shoot 98% documentary shots, but experimentally tried the Lightroom color checker calibration for my Nikon and Fujifilm cameras.  I liked the general look of the color checker calibration, and still use it knowing that I'll be fine-tuning the color rendition for many or most shots.
In the end, it may be more important that the finished set of photos match each other, rather than match a real world material sample.

Well Keith, I have a local friend, a brilliant EE and physics guy. For all of that, he loves Luminar on the Mac, because of the profiles, and god bless him but, I hate profiles! I also hope that doesn't get us both banned, but it's just a different path for different folks, as I see it. What say you?
Carl

Jack Dahlgren

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 06:57:46 »
very true words, Keith, esp the color consistency in the series.

Jack. In the end you always produce pictures, not photos. Pictures are produced to taste, yours or your customers respectively. Spectral consistency is after all considerations less important than emotional appeal.

One more thing: in real life you do have different light (and shadow) sources in the frame very often, each with its own "correct" white balance and spectral composition...

Yes, generally I photograph under “natural” light which ranges from blue to yellow, to pink and green, and all combinations. But for architectural work it starts to be important that a photo of a sample matches the sample, or at least allows you to accurately compare one photo of one sample to another photo of another sample. And both might have been taken at different times and places.

pluton

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 22:51:08 »
Yes, generally I photograph under “natural” light which ranges from blue to yellow, to pink and green, and all combinations. But for architectural work it starts to be important that a photo of a sample matches the sample, or at least allows you to accurately compare one photo of one sample to another photo of another sample. And both might have been taken at different times and places.
If the mixed or discontinuous spectrum lighting is not able to be corrected by careful use of adjustment brush corrections(painting the excess blue out of the shadows, fixing the hideous cast of a low pressure sodium vapor lamp, etc), the solution is to abandon the existing or available light and bring in artificial lighting.  Imagine:  Total Control.  Unfortunately, for physically large subjects, this could get to be an expensive operation.  Sometimes, you can get away with bringing artificial light in on just a portion of the overall scene, and plan/wait for harmonious natural light to match.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Ann

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2019, 23:21:17 »
Once you have made, and saved, your own Profiles, it is pretty simple to substitute the appropriate Customised one for the software-provided Profile when one is processing.

I have made some dual-spectrum profiles (Daylight+Tungsten for example) and they handle images shot in mixed lighting rather successfully.

That said, the provided Profiles in the latest versions of commercial processing software are pretty good these days but you still have to use the right Profile for any particular set of images which is highly unlikely to be "Camera Standard"!

Frank Fremerey

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 08:17:04 »
Yes, generally I photograph under “natural” light which ranges from blue to yellow, to pink and green, and all combinations. But for architectural work it starts to be important that a photo of a sample matches the sample, or at least allows you to accurately compare one photo of one sample to another photo of another sample. And both might have been taken at different times and places.

the Gold Standard for Architectural Photos, not documentary but aestetic work is determining the right time, angle and light, often even the right time of year. Then come back, when the light is right.

Documentary work should be done in comparable light, so either bring your own or decide for a set like: "overcast, 10 in the morning, view from South East" ... you can not match Californian midday sun and sunset hour in Bejing, even if you choose the same materials and angles ... sometimes the very same slab of concrete can look orange, sometimes like slate ... you will not be able to work around this with a color checker
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Ann

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 19:33:58 »
For architectural Interiors, you are highly likely to have to deal with multiple different lighting sources within the scene itself and the use of a Dual Lighting Sources Camera profile can help considerably.

I seldom photograph the ColorChecker itself during an actual shoot (Product shots containing important fabric-colours would be an exception) but I always process my RAWs starting with my most appropriate pre-made Camera Profile.
(I never shoot JPGs.)

Then I adjust all the ACR Sliders manually, and use Adjustment Brushes liberally, to pull the rendering that i want from the RAW.

Mostly  I am not trying, (or needing!) to match the original scene but am much more likely to want to create a series of images which portray the scene as I wish the Viewer to see it — while the series also needs to work when viewed together in a printed spread.

It doesn't matter how much you use ColorChecker, you are unlikely to be able to reproduce the Spot Color inks used in product-packaging, or the colours of certain acryllic artist's paints,  in Press CMYK output or inkjet prints so "Pleasing Colour" is the best you can hope for in those cases.

This Lion was shot at sunrise (so the overall colour temperature of the scene was Blue) but a beam from the rising sun (bright Orange!) spot-lit his face. 
My ColorChecker-created dual "Daylight+Tungsten" camera Profile handled the situation easily while none of the canned camera profiles could.



Frank Fremerey

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Re: Advice or recommendations on using color checker
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2019, 20:05:46 »
what Ann says plus an emphasis on the out-of-gamut-colors part. There is an early thread somewhere on nikongear from a shirt fabric shooting for a customer. A greenish blueish tone far beyond any target color space. We created a series of  edits from the RAW and in the end found half a match in sRGB and quite a useful match in AdobeRGB
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.