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Author Topic: Why does MFDB color suck so bad?  (Read 23993 times)
eronald
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2008, 06:57:50 PM »
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Edwin,

I don't know where you get the camera company software has crappy workflow.  Some do, some don't, some are rock solid, some flaky.

I use all the converters for my cameras, and for the phase from time to time go to LR, or Raw Developer, but 95% of what I do can easily, be done in 3.78 or V4 and done fast.

JR
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James,

 The name my parents wrote on the certificate was Edmund

 Quite a few people who shoot onto cards seem to prefer the single-software workflow with LR or ACR to the better results from Leaf or Phase software - as can be seen from the queries about color in these threads.As for Canon's DPP whose results are superb, I've never met anyone who uses it for large batches.

 It's clear that people are now judging "camera color" as "Lightroom color" for a lot of prosumer cameras

I wouldn't call any of the manufacturer software fragile, just a bit a pain to use. For what I do (frequent white balance, profile and curve adjustments), C1 keeps making me switch tabs, drives me crazy. Quality is good, though.  

Edmund
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 07:00:13 PM by eronald » Logged
Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2008, 07:45:05 PM »
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...
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2008, 02:39:25 AM »
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With film, you get color from a company who are selling you nothing but COLOR. The film has bad color the company woulda gone broke. That's what film is all about - color and quality control. With digital you get a camera, and then you get a Raw converter written by some huge company with zillions of other things on its mind. The main thing on the mind of all these companies is how fast they can get you to upgrade. What d'you expect ? If the quality from the converters is so bad, why d'you put up with it ?

If you want decent color, start by using the Raw converter from the company that made your camera - the camera manufacturer software tends to have crappy workflow but very good quality.
Edmund


You know Edmund...

I'm kinda on the same page there with you.

Many people believed that the 3rd party raw converter PIXMANTEC.com RawShooter had a great user interface, was very fast and efficient, convinient, ahead of other raw processors in many areas (that's why Adobe bought them) but the color many people didn't like.

Solution:

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Pixmantec’s RawShooter | Color Engine (powered by technology and intellectual property licensed from Etcetera Consulting) provides a great alternative to the standard “internal” camera color profiles included within RawShooter for each supported camera. The plug-in software is easy to install, use and maintain, regardless of the photographer’s experience or skill level. The RawShooter | Color Engine Plug-In is available as a software download at http://www.pixmantec.com for $59.00. Future Upgrade versions to Color Engine will be available for $29.95 for existing users. This first Upgrade is being made available for free, as a thanks to the early adopters of RawShooter | Color Engine.

So yes I believe that "better" profiles are inevitable. Nothing comes for free though. If I'd get the PERFECT profiles I'd happily spend 1000 $ on them. And every sensible MFDB shooter that spent probably way over 20 k$ on his system should too. MFDB has an edge over other equipment in very few areas (wait... isn't it just resolution and dynamic range?) so it MUST have great color to start with.

But reality is that people are cheap when it comes to add-ons and software. They spend what they have for hardware but on software people are shy.

Now I don't know your expertise with color and I would assume this effort to take more than shooting some color charts under different lights and creating a custom profile for it but instead doing a concentrated effort and studies on a scientific level on pleasing colors and color balances. Often slight color casts are very pleasing.

I believe most people don't want to capture the colors as they are. Our captures should look BETTER than reality. On a dull day you want more sparcle. More warmth to the skin. Have reddishness removed from the face and green/blue venes adapted to the surrounding skin color.

Accurate color is for art reproduction. But if you get paid 5 figure dollar amounts to shoot clothes that cost 2 figure amounts you don't want to show how cheap the fabric is and how washed out the colors look in real life.

There should be several different profiles available that represent different film looks or styles. Kinda like choosing the right film for the task. We didn't often use Velvia to shoot people... did we?

But also with colors and styles MFDB companies sleep (or in the case of Hasselblad are DEAD with their one crappy profile does all approach) while Canon seems to see where this is going. PICTURE STYLES will give an additional layer of creativity. Granted, currently picture styles seem to suck for the most part but it's a start.

I guess in the end it would be nice if you could tweak skin tones seperate from the rest of the picture. If you shoot a reddish, pale model you automatically give it a bit more warmth and more greens to compensate. But now the background has a cast. So you need to convert two versions and then overlay/mask out some bits.

Damn... I'd spend an additional 10'000 $  if digibacks would greet me with pleasing color, rich skintones (even on pale european people) immediately after setting the whitebalance (which should be auto and working at least as well as on Canons anyway). It would cut down post tremendously (in regard to color correctioin) and give me time to focus on the next shoot or have more time for retouching.

I wonder what these 80 Phase One employees do all day long... I know they are not fixing my color or bringing wireless image transfer like they promissed over 2 years ago. And it seems they don't announce new products/roadmaps 18 month in ahead as they said.


Cheers
Boris
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 02:42:52 AM by Boris_Epix » Logged
JDG
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2008, 10:40:34 AM »
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I guess in the end it would be nice if you could tweak skin tones seperate from the rest of the picture. If you shoot a reddish, pale model you automatically give it a bit more warmth and more greens to compensate. But now the background has a cast. So you need to convert two versions and then overlay/mask out some bits.

Damn... I'd spend an additional 10'000 $  if digibacks would greet me with pleasing color, rich skintones (even on pale european people) immediately after setting the whitebalance (which should be auto and working at least as well as on Canons anyway). It would cut down post tremendously (in regard to color correctioin) and give me time to focus on the next shoot or have more time for retouching.

I wonder what these 80 Phase One employees do all day long... I know they are not fixing my color or bringing wireless image transfer like they promissed over 2 years ago. And it seems they don't announce new products/roadmaps 18 month in ahead as they said.
Cheers
Boris
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Have you tried using the Color Editor in Capture One Pro?  Its very easy-to-use color profile editing software and you can isolate tones for correction.

I think if I were a manufacturer it makes more sense to create profiles that can reproduce a scene as close to actual colors as possible and allow the users to edit to their liking from there.  My idea of pleasing tones might be different from someone elses...
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Boris_Epix
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2008, 12:18:59 PM »
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Have you tried using the Color Editor in Capture One Pro?  Its very easy-to-use color profile editing software and you can isolate tones for correction.

Yes I have. But I don't feel the current implementation in 3.x is sufficient, intuitive or userfriendly. The small area in the color editor bugs me. It's like the old NIK Color Efex filter set where you probably see 2-3% of the entire frame in the preview at 100%.

The new Nikon software has something similar going on with the local adjustments but that is much more intuitive.

And honestly... I would prefer to use Lightroom mainly as my workflow and only use C1 for files that make no sense in Lightroom.

Maybe it would be a sensible feature if you could shoot a gretag mcbeth chart of every scene before you start shooting and then the RAW proggy would have a quick way to analize that (even when it's only a small part of the frame) and then apply corrections to the rest of the set's shots. The effort wouldn't be much bigger than placing a greycard into the scene.

I also understand that your taste may or may not match with mine. Right now I'm really into rich, saturated "film-like" skin colors. Digital however usually ends up much to orange. Already with the 1Ds MK2 you needed to desaturate skin to make it look realistic and "fashionista".

Cheers
Boris
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2008, 12:26:28 PM »
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I also understand that your taste may or may not match with mine. Right now I'm really into rich, saturated "film-like" skin colors. Digital however usually ends up much to orange. Already with the 1Ds MK2 you needed to desaturate skin to make it look realistic and "fashionista".

Run one of the calibration scripts for ACR, and the "reds too orange" problem will go away. It will significantly improve color overall.
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Weldon Brewster
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2008, 08:44:04 AM »
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I disagree with some of the points brought up about film being consistent color.  As someone that has shot tens of thousands of sheets of film.  It's like a great bottle of wine, each one is a little different.  With film each emulsion batch has slightly different color, iso and reciprocity.  Add in that each E-6 line is slightly different and you got something that can make your heart jump when they pull if off the rack.

Imagine shooting a Macbeth color checker with 100 sheets of film from 100 different emulsion batches in 100 different E-6 lines (If you could find 100 E-6 lines on this planet.)  Every sheet would be slightly different.  If that happened with any digital camera, people would freak.

Look, we used spend hours testing film to figure out which cc filters we need to neutralize it only for it to change the next week.  It was not fun.

Now we have a 'profile' for all files for coming into Flexcolor that is based on what I visualize the images should look like.  It's awesome, I can have Fuji greens and Kodak blues in the same shot.  We get consistent color and iso without all the hassles of loading holders.

This goes for any camera:  The camera companies just give us a starting place.  Make your own profiles or looks, it's your responsibility to your vision, your images and your clients.  Don't think linearly, film has some pretty crazy curves built into it.

Peace,
Weldon

P.s. I can’t resist one funny film story.  I had been shooting 8x10 all day at the LA Harbor and we went to get in a boat to go to a different vantage point.  The AD starts to grab my assistant as she falls off the boat. He wisely got a tighter grip on the case full of 8x10 holders and let her fall in the water.  She was mad as a little wet hen but to this day LOVES the shots:)
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Plekto
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2008, 05:50:26 PM »
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I've been reading this and an article I ran across a while back came to mind.  It was discussing the differences between a typical Bayer type sensor and other technologies.

The problem may be due to the fact that the sensor has a markedly lower dynamic range for the red and blue channels and as such it has to either compensate in-camera(and often blows it badly) or it comes out looking flat until you adjust it back to a normal value with the RAW converter.  

http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=007RWm

http://www.ddisoftware.com/sd14-5d/
Read the article and ignore resolution but instead focus on the color issues.  

Interesting if you look at the article in terms of this problem.  Ie - not about "pxiels" but the ratios of each on the sensor.  I have a feeling that the problem is with the design of the sensor itself and may require a totally new technology to fix.  

Foveon's technology looks promising, but they are virtually dead in terms of new products.  Nothing for MF, and nothing soon by the looks of it.
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Boris_Epix
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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2008, 05:29:10 PM »
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I disagree with some of the points brought up about film being consistent color.  As someone that has shot tens of thousands of sheets of film.  It's like a great bottle of wine, each one is a little different.  With film each emulsion batch has slightly different color, iso and reciprocity.  Add in that each E-6 line is slightly different and you got something that can make your heart jump when they pull if off the rack.

<SNIP>
Peace,
Weldon

I don't recall that anyone has made a statement that film has more consistent color. But then again I make a lotta statements and have a bad memory :-)

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What I'm having a hard time understanding is why color is so terrible with DSLR's and MFDB's. And why manufacturers don't offer more options when it comes to color reproductions (styles or color profiles). I find myself doing selective color manipulations, paint with light, painting in shadowskin-tones, etc that I rarely ever do with film.

With film my stuff looks rather natural. With DSLR's and MFDB's my work suddenly looks all digital flat or freaks out. I have a hard time to find a balance in the colors that is pleasing to me while still looking natural. So I tend to go to far. Sure some customers like that and even book me for that look. But I prefer the rich skintones film provides.

I believe this thread is about bad digitally looking color. It's about "why can't we have pleasing color and many styles to choose from".

But as the thread starter I must say this thread has been pretty disappointing.

People just keep telling that you need to run this and that (homebrew) skript from someone on some internet page. Don't just talk about some skript that may or may not support Lightroom, C1, etc. but rather back up your results with pictures. What difference did the script make? Show before/after files.

The point is the manufacturers should do whatever the FORS script or custom calibration is supposed to do. And again... this is not about accurate color. Most people in this thread just talk about getting the color more accurate. I don't need accurate colors - I need PLEASING colors.

Some people are so quick to blame themselves and take over work that the vendor should get done. You expect your operating system to just work. You don't go out and reprogram it yourself to fix bugs.

You expect the brakes to stop your car without a script you find by chance on the internet.

Why would you need any script from the internet to fix your cameras/backs color?  

I don't get it. You can get 10 or more well working used cars for the price of one P45+ back. Or 2-3 new cars. It's a lot of money. Should be enough money to get a perfect product in return (and if the FORS skript makes color perfect... why isn't it included with the backs?).

Someone made the very good point that the fine folks at Fujifilm and Kodak used to take decisions on how a film should reproduce colors. What is pleasing... what works as a look... what can the emulsion provide and what not. They had many decades of time to improve and engineers with tons of experience and expertise to do that. Why re-invent the wheel. Let the experts take care of it. At least the starting point.

There are always trade-offs. But film that looks bad/flat/ugly to start with is not getting sold. Simple as that. Nobody would expect you to shoot terrible film stock that needs 5 hours of fixing and retouching to get it to a finished photo.

Some are more saturated, some less.  They gave us different starting points that often have been close to the final shot. But all have a use and proposition. Today with digital you have one flat raw file that you have to tweak to hell and back and people just accept it. The consensus is: Digital is flat and sucks to start with but you can make it whatever you want. You can define your own digital film emulsion.

It's not a CAN. It's a MUST.

But why? I waste so much time in the various raw converters and learn new converters all the time. For what? Often the embedded preview in the RAW is better than anything you can pull off after tweaking for 10 minutes. Particularly Lightroom and ACR do something to skin that just annoys me - it makes it all flat, boring and switches colors to mega-ugly. Worse than embedded. Why is it not possible to get the same look as a starting point to beginn with if the back/camera can embed it into the raw as a preview and then optimize from there? Or as said... emulate different existing films.

Cheers,
Boris
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2008, 06:44:03 PM »
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The point is the manufacturers should do whatever the FORS script or custom calibration is supposed to do. And again... this is not about accurate color. Most people in this thread just talk about getting the color more accurate. I don't need accurate colors - I need PLEASING colors.

Accurate color is a starting point from which you can easily whatever creative adjustments you find necessary to achieve "pleasing" color, whatver you may think that is. There's way too many divergent notions of what constitutes "pleasing" color for anyone to satisfy them with a few canned presets. Otherwise DXO filmpack or Capture One would rule whe world.

The main strength of the Fors and other calibration scripts is to get consistent and accurate color from multiple cameras. This makes matching the "look" of images shot with multiple cameras much easier. You can create your "pleasing color" look with an adjustment layer or PS action or whatever, and then simply run a batch process on all your RAWs. And if you buy a new camera, simply run the calibration script with the new camera, and matching the "look" of your previous work is easy.
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Plekto
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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2008, 08:23:52 PM »
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I don't get it. You can get 10 or more well working used cars for the price of one P45+ back. Or 2-3 new cars. It's a lot of money. Should be enough money to get a perfect product in return (and if the FORS skript makes color perfect... why isn't it included with the backs?).

Welcome to the way "pro" equipment is.  It's often made by small companies with little or no real experience in testing and mass production and so on, and then they charge you boutique prices for the few units a month they create.   Audio is the same way.  The second that you look at a mixing board, it's suddenly insane prices for what is obviously not even $1000 in actual materials.

Digital never looks correct unless you tweak with it.  Done.  End of story.  It's because of how CCD and Bayer sensors physically work.  Now, they could tweak it in-camera, and a lot of DSLRs do this with usually decent results.  But none of the digital backs seem to do this, probably because they are marketed towards multiple cameras(jack of all trades, master of none).  But you are correct, they could easily include a small CF type slot and sell a set of curves/adjustment points for each camera.  They should, considering the insane prices.  There are only a few dozen major cameras that accept digital backs, so it's not impossible to do, either.

Raw requires conversion.  Just the way it is with digital, other than maybe Foveon's sensor, which is patterned to physically mimic film.  But the resolution is seriously deficient, even for serious 35mm type cameras. 4.6 million true pixels is just too low to resolve fine details.  But the color does look great.  I keep hoping that they will make a real MF sensor with at least 20MP worth of actual pixels.

P.S. I never understood that, either.  Foveon could have raked the competition over the coals by insisting that their 4.6MP was actual pixels.  Instead we get silly claims by everyone.
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Jason Denning
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« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2008, 06:03:15 AM »
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Hi Boris, I think the first untouched film shot looks amazing, the "finished" version looks horrible, a beautiful woman made ugly by photoshop! She looks fake, why do people feel the need to do this? Are freckles considered ugly now?


Jason
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« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2008, 06:53:35 AM »
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Hi Boris, I think the first untouched film shot looks amazing, the "finished" version looks horrible, a beautiful woman made ugly by photoshop! She looks fake, why do people feel the need to do this? Are freckles considered ugly now?
Jason
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Have to agree with you there 100%.

Also, I don't share the opinion that 'MFDB suck so bad'?

How are you doing a grey balance?  Presets?  Not bothering?  

Jo S. x
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« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2008, 08:34:20 AM »
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I respectfully disagree with some of the points made here.  In the history of photography all we have ever been given is a starting point. From making wet plates to processing our own film to processing our own files.  All four of the major players give good color out of the box, it's your responsibility to make it your own.   I shoot with Hasselblad products but I could rent any back and get the same 'look.'  If someone gave me canned looks or profiles, I wouldn't even install them.

I agree with your remark about pleasing color, we all need that.  We shoot a grey card as starting point and tweak from there.  Other than the sunny f16 rule there are very little constants.  Every shoot is a little different, every model/product/house/wedding/car is a little different color.  Canned profiles or looks would just be starting place you would have to change them anyway.

Boris, I would find some photos you do like and study them.  Look at the tone, the relationship of the colors, the over all contrast, the micro contrast and the saturation of individual colors.  Build up that internal vocabulary.  Next translate that internal vocabulary to your raw convertor (any convertor) so you can control each nuance of your vision.  We aren't born with knowing that a model has 5 points too much red in her face - we have to learn it

Peace,
Weldon
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« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2008, 10:21:18 AM »
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Boris, I would find some photos you do like and study them.  Look at the tone, the relationship of the colors, the over all contrast, the micro contrast and the saturation of individual colors.  Build up that internal vocabulary.  Next translate that internal vocabulary to your raw convertor (any convertor) so you can control each nuance of your vision.  We aren't born with knowing that a model has 5 points too much red in her face - we have to learn it

Peace,
Weldon
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This is what Kodak, Fuji and Agfa used to do for photographers when we shot film. There was a multitude of very distinct options that you could pick and choose from that vaied in color balance, contrast and saturation, both on a global level and selectively with respect to certain colors. The engineers at these companies did the color science work for you, and quite well, IMO. Now, the makers of the MFDBs basically give you one film and a whole bunch of chemistry(i.e., a raw converter) and tell you to mix up the chemistry whatever way you want to produce exactly the look you want. That's fine for some, but perhaps Boris would prefer to be just a photographer, not a color scientist with expert Photoshop skills, and have someone else give him 30 options in the form of presets that he could use as starting points and then selectively adjust.
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« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2008, 11:36:15 AM »
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Yes, the engineers did the color science work and it was a good starting place.  However, I think film has been romanticized and over simplified.  It was rarely consistent with color and iso – it varied from batch to batch and year to year.  I constantly tweaked exposure and cc filters to get it where I liked it.  My standard push was +1/2 to get the contrast I liked and I pushed in 1/8 stop increments all the time.

We have it so much better now it’s not even funny.  I’m a photographer not a Photoshop guru – I just know it’s possible to get exactly what you want with a little effort.  Maybe some of the color and Photoshop gurus could speak up on a good workflow to help him get the color he wants.

Peace,
Weldon
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« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2008, 04:38:30 PM »
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Yes, the engineers did the color science work and it was a good starting place.  However, I think film has been romanticized and over simplified.  It was rarely consistent with color and iso – it varied from batch to batch and year to year.  I constantly tweaked exposure and cc filters to get it where I liked it.  My standard push was +1/2 to get the contrast I liked and I pushed in 1/8 stop increments all the time.

We have it so much better now it’s not even funny.  I’m a photographer not a Photoshop guru – I just know it’s possible to get exactly what you want with a little effort.  Maybe some of the color and Photoshop gurus could speak up on a good workflow to help him get the color he wants.

Peace,
Weldon
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I think Boris makes some strong points for better presets and as we all know thereis more need for cross read from convertors.

Whatever you set in any converter with a p30 file won't match a Canon, or a Leaf, at least without a lot of work and going from V4, to lightroom to 3.78 is night and day.

I don't mind rolling my own, but once I roll it, I'd like it to stay lit.

Today I am batching some images for the web and put the large retouched images in lightroom to batch out jpegs.

The lightroom preview doesn't match the photoshop preview, with lightroom being more saturated and red.

Don't get it, don't really understand why one preview of a processed tiff will look different in a software suite, though I probably have some colorspace setting that is not correct or lightroom is just making up it's own brand of film.

Who knows?

Still, to compare any of the digital processes to film to me is a mute point.  Film, at least in my world is as dead as Zed.

JR
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« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2008, 05:16:02 PM »
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The lightroom preview doesn't match the photoshop preview, with lightroom being more saturated and red.
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I hear you on that one. The LR preview (sub 100%) is less accurate saturation wise compared to the PS preview e.g. choosing defrindge all edges in LR really kills the colour and it's only reflected at 100% which makes it a pain to correct.
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« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2008, 05:59:56 PM »
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Whatever you set in any converter with a p30 file won't match a Canon, or a Leaf, at least without a lot of work and going from V4, to lightroom to 3.78 is night and day.

I don't mind rolling my own, but once I roll it, I'd like it to stay lit.

This is a strong argument for accurate color out of the RAW converter, and then applying creative color tweaks as a batch process in PS, or as a controlled deviation from "accurate" in the RAW converter. If you know how to go from "accurate" to "pleasing", then getting "pleasing" from any camera becomes a simple matter of running a calibration script to find the settings for accurate color (something that only needs to be done once per camera), then running the accurate > pleasing process.
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Boris_Epix
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« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2008, 06:14:45 PM »
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This is what Kodak, Fuji and Agfa used to do for photographers when we shot film. There was a multitude of very distinct options that you could pick and choose from that vaied in color balance, contrast and saturation, both on a global level and selectively with respect to certain colors. The engineers at these companies did the color science work for you, and quite well, IMO. Now, the makers of the MFDBs basically give you one film and a whole bunch of chemistry(i.e., a raw converter) and tell you to mix up the chemistry whatever way you want to produce exactly the look you want. That's fine for some, but perhaps Boris would prefer to be just a photographer, not a color scientist with expert Photoshop skills, and have someone else give him 30 options in the form of presets that he could use as starting points and then selectively adjust.

I couldn't have said it better myself. And I obviously didn't otherwise we wouldn't still be talking about scripts, and every photographer reinventing the color wheel.

You really got straight to the point. Thank you. I love you man  :-)

I use 645 & 6x7 Film, MFDB's and DSLR's (mostly Canons like the 5D and now added the 1Ds MK3 for it's high ISO ability). Funny thing is I bought a Canon 5D while I also owned a Canon 1Ds MK2 and a 1Ds before that. Why did I do that? Because the 1Ds MK2 sucked in many areas compared to the 1Ds (beside noise where the mark2 was much better). You know what? In some cases I feel the 5D gives much better pictures. And it's not just because of color or sharpness. It's just a entirely different feel to it. And while I'm sure you can correct a gretag mcbeth colorchart of both cameras to virtually the same they still have different properties and qualities that will apply in real life situations.

For gods sake I use(d) 5 or 6 different RAW converters. I'm getting tired of learning new converters. Some converters I used are not even available anymore today or in new versions that may or may not support the files shot with older digital cameras. And never versions can significantly change the rendition of previously converted files.

It's almost bizzare that some people talk about calibrating different cameras to give you the same result.

WHY ARE YOU SHOOTING A DIFFERENT CAMERA IF YOU WANT THE SAME RESULT?

I shoot different cameras and use different RAW converters because I want to offer a variety of styles and different reproductions of the same scene. It's like eating italian or french or at McDonalds. You can't have the same thing every day.

Now MFDB chef's... give us the italian, french, McDonalds (spot on), etc flavour color profiles :-)

And give a quick way to shoot a gretag mcbeth colorchart instead of greycards that can be applied to all pics from a set (to satisfy the color accuracy freaks *ROFL*). I may even like that at times.

Cheers and have a nice weekend
Boris

PS: And James is absolutely right about Lightroom's color problems. It kills me because at the moment it's the tool I feel has the best workflow for me and you can add pieces to it to make it really work for you. It gives great comic colors though :-)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 03:44:42 PM by Boris_Epix » Logged
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