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Really struggling with colour correcting images..

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  #1  
Old 04-25-2010, 04:37 AM
CapnBloodbeard CapnBloodbeard is offline
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Really struggling with colour correcting images..

First time posting here...

I'm having massive troubles with my digital workflow, so first off I'm wondering - which method do people use to colour balance/correct their images, in LR or PS?

I mainly use LR2, but CS sometimes - I mainly ask because the Kelby books I've got outline a couple of different methods, so I was wondering what people use.

Until now I've just done white balance, but this largely becomes a subjective judgement, is problematic when I don't even know how accurate my monitor's colours are (despite using my X-rite i1, which is causing all sorts of frustration), and I struggle to maintain consistency between images.

So, any advice on this particular aspect?

I'm nowhere near printing yet, and I realise that's a whole other aspect.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:14 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

Welcome to RetouchPro. If you have properly exposed images which have a global color cast because the camera white balance was off or the ambient lighting was too cool or too warm, then most of the time you just need to adjust the temperature & tint sliders in Camera RAW. A reliable way to do that is to set an eyedropper target down in one or more neutral areas (white, black, gray) and adjust the sliders until the R,G,B values are close to equal. The numbers never lie, so your monitor can be unclaibrated and you can still properly color balance the image.
Regards, Murray
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:58 PM
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Panpan Panpan is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

I'm reading this article by modifiedphoto. He's practical and understandable.
http://modifiedphoto.wordpress.com/2...n-for-dummies/
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:13 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

Cap,
Welcome to RetouchPro, by the way !

I might also ask... what do you mean when you say "having massive troubles". Seems silly, but this is important. Do you mean, because of what you see, or what you print ?

If it's what you see, then....
- how is your vision ?
- how is your viewing environment ?
- are you confident in your monitor calibration ?

If it's what you print, then....
- how is your print workflow ? confident in it ?
- are you printing yourself at home ? printer calibrated ?
- are you printing 3rd party ? confident in their abilities/knowledge ?

Also, are you the photographer, or someone else. This will also play a big part in our suggestions.

I suppose you need to just give us a little feedback, so we can narrow this down.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:10 PM
CapnBloodbeard CapnBloodbeard is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

Hi guys, thanks for the welcome.

mistermonday - for WB I normally try to just use the eyedropper in a neutral area, then go from eye from there (sometimes the 'neutral target' may not be as neutral as I hope!) - never thought about moving the eye dropper back there to check pixel values

However, I've seen a few methods for colour correcting images, I wasn't too sure if the simple WB method is what most people use.

TommyO - I haven't printed many of my images, and when I have they've only been minilab prints. I have had some photos published in a magazine and they came out a little too dark and too contrasty, and I'm currently processing another batch for that magazine. I do want to start printing more - I intend to 'fool around' with printing on my home printer, however it is hardly high-end so I'll probably do good quality prints through a decent lab.

So in terms of the viewing of images, even then I find that I may not have consistency between images of the same shoot. For instance, an old shoot I did was photographing a musical performance at a dinner show - mixed, dim lighting (no flash). Despite this, I still feel that the processed images were very inconsistent in terms of exposure and colour - images wound up with different brightness and contrast levels, and the skin tones were different on the same people in different shots (probably moreso than they should've been, given the mixed, rapidly changing lighting).

I'm aware that printing complicates issues further with matching colour spaces and profiles, and so forth.


I have a Gretag Macbeth X-Rite i1 Display 2, but I've had big troubles calibrating my monitor (and naturally I still need to determine if my calibration is truly neutral or if there's still somewhat of a colour cast, which can often happen). I have an old, cheap LCD monitor that I'm using as my 2nd monitor off my laptop (even when I try to calibrate my laptop monitor it's just too contrasty and too saturated). Far from the best for photo editing, but far better than my laptop. I think I've finally got a decent calibration on it, but I'm going to upload some before/after shots over the next few days to get some opinions.

My vision's fine, although I need some more practice at identifying slight colour casts. My viewing environment is far from idea - bright, coloured walls.
I'm not confident in my monitor calibration, but like I said I hope I've got it as good as possible with my monitor now.

I am the photographer for these images. Basically, I'm sick of having all these images on my HDD and not doing anything with them because I don't have enough confidence in my digital skills to do them justice, so I want to work on this. I've got the Kelby LR book which is helping.

I just processed a shoot from four wheel driving over the weekend and am paying more attention to other shots - ie I adjust WB/exposure on one image, then compare it to a similar image by eye to see how similar it is, and I think this is helping. Naturally as the light can be different just from moving my camera lens from one part of the track to another they won't always be the same - I tried comparing pixel values on the same surface, but I've found this doesn't work, but I think I've improved on this shoot (still far from perfect though!)
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:15 PM
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

Cap,
Thanks for the feedback. Based upon what you've said, I'm leaning toward the actual photography being the issue, not the postprocessing. While there may be issues in post without a good environment and a good monitor + calibration, these are more subtle problems. What you describe are inconsistent exposures from your camera.

Would this be accurate ? If so, then we would be better discussing issues of TTL metering, etc. Let us know on this.

If not, I think we could say the majority of your post problems come from a lower end LCD and inaccurate calibration.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:19 PM
CapnBloodbeard CapnBloodbeard is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

That's certainly part of the issue - exposing properly is certainly not one of my strongest skills.

while a low-end LCD undoubtedly causes some difficulties (I won't be able to afford a decent one anytime soon, though I've decided it's my next camera-related priority), even with a decent, properly calibrated LCD, post-processing still comes to my own skill, particularly in terms of getting consistent adjustments across a shoot, correct? Naturally correct exposure is going to make the biggest difference, and through the 4wd shoot there were a few that were significantly under exposed and even various shots on the same track may have different exposures.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:08 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Really struggling with colour correcting image

Then, I guess we're back to a few quick suggestions.

One, what Murray suggested...
Quote:
...set an eyedropper target down in one or more neutral areas (white, black, gray) and adjust the sliders until the R,G,B values are close to equal.
Two, in ACR simply pick the white balance tool [I] and place on a spot you know should be white. You're done.

Either works, just depending on the scene.

Beyond that, adjustments do become somewhat subjective. As the photographer you are creating your own style and viewing environment. I just don't know what else to suggest, unless of course you are seeing larger issues in print. Then, there are many other things to examine.

Hopefully, others will way in and offer their input. If not, try posting in another forum, like Photography.
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