color blind :)

Joined
May 10, 2008
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516
Location
New Hampshire
Well, not really but I do have a difficult time getting photos to look natural.

Nothing special here, was just playing with available light and tried iso 1600 at 1.4 with my Sigma 30mm.

So I opened up CS3 and did Auto Levels, Auto Color and Smart Sharpen but the whole White Balance thing has me stumped. When I start with a Raw file and click "auto" I dont think I can get it even close to looking right. Starting with jpg using the D90's defaults I think I come closer. I'm even thinking of getting a ColorRight just so I have a starting point.

Any help will be appreciated.

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May 10, 2008
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New Hampshire
That was after, this is the jpg right out of the D90....resize only.

So would something like the ColorRight be useful for me?

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Joined
Nov 10, 2008
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Chicago
First ditch Auto WB. Use sun or cloudy or flash for whatever condition you are in. Any camera will give a good WB if you set it for proper condition.

Put a reference grey card in the first photo of a series. Balance that so RGB all read 128 with the eye dropper tool. All the rest will be right on.

JPEG looses too much info if you need to WB later. RAW is 1000% better

open two images in PS one of which was previously balanced out correctly so you need not operate from memory to get the new one to balance out. Top row, window- display- tile and you can see both at once.

Cyan-red are opposites Magenta green are opposites blue yellow are opposites.
So if a new photo looks green, add magenta. If it looks yellow, add blue or subtract yellow.

Beautiful pic of a red head girl. She is a doll. Color is dead on. I just wish I could get a consumer lab to print that well.
 
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
516
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New Hampshire
Thanks, she's my 5 yr old granddaughter.

I had balanced the color on my laptop with Eye One but it still looked a bit red to me. Looking on my main monitor it does look good.

ColorRight is a 15 second white balance you use at your shoots. It's $65 and gets very good reviews. Their claim is that there is no need to post process. I'm undecided as to its purchase.
 
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
516
Location
New Hampshire
Ahhh, I see. Have you tried shooting raw?
Yes, I shoot RAW+Normal. My issue with RAW is the same as JPG, My eye for natural color...or my monitors, is off. I have the Eye One LT to calibrate my monitors but when I shoot raw typically the "as shot" looks the best to me.

Looking back at the RAW and JPG versions of this pic, they are very, very close. I think the angle that I was looking at my laptop screen both made the pic appear darker and more red than it actually is.

This is the first live subject shot I've taken with my new D90, perhaps it does a better job of Auto WB than the D40 did.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
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33,093
Location
St. George, Utah
Well first of all she is a darling little girl. It would be hard for any of us to judge the color of her skin sight unseen. Personally I like the auto adjust in this instance. Most red heads have a fairly light complexion and the auto adjust image comes closest to that in my opinion. I also like the vibrant colors of the shirt and the hair as well in the auto adjust version. There are several ways to obtain accurate color in your images such as Expo Disc, WhiBal card, etc. I use the WhiBal card but still find that I might like some light tweaking in PP just to make it look like I want it to. When it gets right down to it, it is personal preference. Of course a calibrated monitor is a must.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
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Santa Cruz, CA
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The above is one idea... First, color is one of the more difficult things IMO in photography to evaluate and get right. The problem is again IMO nothing works every time. That the auto tools you used didn't work (again IMO) for this photo doesn't mean that they won't work for another.

What I did is this: I used the eyedropper ("White Balance Selector") in Lightroom (There are similar tools in most raw converters) and picked what I think should be an intermediate gray tone. In this case I picked a spot in the gray strip that runs by her right ear at a point about 1/2 way between her hair and the top of the image. It decreased cyan and decreased magenta a very small amount, but I think it improved the color a great deal. Notice that the light colored wall behind the cyan is toned down greatly.

Anyway, this particular trick is to look for a gray tone in your image and use it to set the overall white balance. It works sometimes. Also in this image there are many things that could serve as the gray tone point. Trying different ones until you find the "right" one also is something that I try. Some people place gray cards and the like in the scene beforehand to do just this thing.

Anyway, very nice photo... cute kid.

Cheers,

-Yamo-
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Messages
1,092
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
Yamo, that looks really good. Is that as easy to do in CS2?
I think the white balance tool in the Adobe Camera Raw part of Photoshop does about the same thing (if not identical, to what was shown previously form Lightroom)... at least in CS3. I don't know how the ACR part works between the new releases of ACR and CS2...

Cheers,

-Yamo-
 

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