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Calibrated monitor needed??

Discussion in 'Printers, Monitors, and Color Management' started by Jetta32696, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. Good evening everyone,

    This is my first time posting in this particular forum, but I think this is where this post belongs.

    I've been doing some minor editing/color correction to some photos recently taken. I'm a bit confused with the results I've been getting, and others have noticed as well.

    I am working without a calibrated monitor and I think my colors are occasionally waaaaaaaaay off. In PS, doing auto levels drastically changes some photos but not all. At a lab, the color correction also makes similar changes to the colors, so I'm assuming that the problem is my monitor.

    Here are 3 images, my edited version, auto corrected version, and "smugmug" tanning salon color effect.

    My edited version:

    Auto corrected version:

    Tanning salon version:

    Which version is closest to correct on a calibrated monitor? And will a calibrated monitor provide me with similar or better results?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  2. Keith, first off I think you outdid yourself with this portrait, outstanding!

    Now, I find it hard to judge, since I don't know your subject. Even though the first one probably is best, it does seem a touch on the red side to me.
  3. Thanks alot Frits!! Someone else pointed out a red cast in many of my images. I don't know if that's being picked up from the red brick in the background, or from the coloring in Nafeesah's hair? Most of the shots I've posted recently have been taken near a red brick fireplace, maybe that's the culprit??

    Has your monitor been calibrated, and if so, what software have you used?

    Thanks again,

  4. Keith, I can't tell you which colors are correct either.

    What I have discovered in my own experience is that auto levels will often produce a color shift. If you watch each color's histogram when you apply auto levels, you'll see that each histogram is adjusted to fill the spectrum. If the image has a deficient blue channel, for instance, its endpoint will be adjusted all the way to the right. If the original scene doesn't have much blue, the corrected scene will have an unnatural color balance.

    That is why I rarely use auto levels.

    This is not to say that your monitor doesn't need calibration, however.
  5. Yes Keith, I am a big believer in calibrating the monitor. You can get some really good devices for little $$$ these days.
    I use the ColorVision Spyder2Express and am very pleased with it. I use the Express version because I don't make my own printer profiles (I have mine done by Kathy's).
  6. Thanks Jim. I usually try to stay away from auto levels too, but if I do it and notice that large color shift, I'll just undo it, and adjust levels manually.

    I've looked at the ColorVision products already and think I'm going to go with the basic calibration tool as I don't think I'll need all the bells and whistles just yet.

    Thanks again Frits.

  7. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Skin tones on your edited version are practically spot on. I would dial hue "-1..-2" for this type of skin, Saturation, especially in shadows, is a bit on a high side. In highlights and midtones it is very close, probably to "-1..-2". In shadows it is close to "-4" adjustment, and brightness is on a lower side, at list "+1" is needed. No, I did not use monitor to evaluate colour. I opened images in Photoshop to read tones with eyedropper and compare to known values. On a side note, white balance seems reddish, I would take off about 3 points red.
  8. Thanks alot Iliah!!! It sounds like I need to take a course in photoshop!! :biggrin: The image wasn't shot in RAW, is there still a way to adjust white

    I notice that when I look at an image using Windows Picture Viewer, then open the same image in Photoshop, there is a slight shift in the colors I see. Could that be due to my monitor not being calibrated???
  9. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    top one's redish. Second is pretty neutral but the highlights seem too bright. The bottom one is pleasing here but maybe a bit too much yellow. Unlike Iliah, I just used my eye and made subjective judgements.

    Calibrated LaCie 321 LCD. I use the LaCie calibrator that came with my monitor. I believe it to be a rebranded Gretag-MacBeth Eye One but am not sure.

    PS: I was comparing the brick work as much as fleshtone. Not knowing your model, I have no idea what range her skin tone falls into.
  10. AndrewT


    Mar 18, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    I agree with Frits, the first is the best (but dropping the magenta slightly wouldn't hurt). The second one is on the blue side and the third has a little case of Jaundice. :smile:

    I use Spyder2Express as well. I wouldn't worry about it being overkill . Express is the "bare bones" version and it works just fine. You can't go wrong with this kit.

    As for PP'ing skin tones, etc., Lee Varis has written a great book - "Skin:The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies". I picked it up a few months ago from Chapsters.ca, but I am sure you can get it from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. It's a great read. It also comes with a CD so that you can practice the techniques with the files he teaches with.

  11. I appreciate the input Mike!! I like my version, as it looks good to me and my eyes with slightly corrected vision (glasses). The auto corrected version just looks strange to me, especially the way the colors change going from vibrant to very dull with one click.

    Thank you Andrew. I'll check out that book as well. As soon as B&H is accepting orders again, I'll order a copy of Spyder2Express. Hopefully it makes a difference.
  12. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    > It sounds like I need to take a course in photoshop!!

    Yes, more then monitor calibration. Monitor calibration is never perfect, and never matches the print. It is physically impossible, even with 5000+ monitors.
    We always check numbers for colours. I posted a couple of times on using HSB numbers to colour-correct skin tones, maybe you can still google those posts.

    > The image wasn't shot in RAW, is there still a way to adjust white balance?

    Yes, curves in Photoshop.

    > I notice that when I look at an image using Windows Picture Viewer, then open the same image in Photoshop, there is a slight shift in the colors I see. Could that be due to my monitor not being calibrated???

    Yes, that is right.
  13. I appreciate all of your input Iliah, this information is very helpful. Time to do some more reading...
  14. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Keith, using an uncalibrated Dell and a calibrated HP your 1st image is the one. :wink: Yes there are red tones, but that really improves the image for me. :smile:
  15. Thanks Rob. I have an uncalibrated HP...but that's going to change as soon as B&H starts accepting orders again. :biggrin:
  16. Dark skin tones are tough, especially bi-racial. You have to know the person and have a calibrated monitor to avoid color shifts.
  17. I'm finding that out...I've had some issues before with slight color cast in other images, but it's usually not that bad. Thanks phecksel.
  18. Seth


    Jun 6, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Thanks for posting this thread, Keith. I've been pondering the same things and it looks like I'm going to purchase that Spyder2Express as well. I notice Amazon has it for $59.99 while B&H has it for $69.99. Amazon is taking orders right now if you'd like to save a few bucks and order immediately. Unless of course you simply would rather give B&H your business instead, which I can understand. =]

    /edit - now that I've looked closer it appears Amazon is selling them for Adorama which is also closed April 2 - 11. So, maybe you wouldn't get it any sooner ordering from Amazon. =]
  19. Thanks Seth!! I'll have to check that out. I'll probably just order from B&H though, I know if I order before 11:00 am, I'll receive the package the next day...
  20. Don't forget your color space used in the camera and in Photoshop and your color settings in Photoshop. Many suggest the Adobe RGB 1998 color space. You will find useful info in the Varis book and here: Mastering Digital Color, David Safir, Publisher: Thomson Course Technology
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