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Author Topic: Hitting the Perfect Skin Tone?  (Read 54795 times)
paulmoorestudio
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2008, 01:44:07 PM »
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now this is how a forum should be.. I like it when the saturation is cranked up here.
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tgphoto
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2008, 01:51:07 PM »
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I wonder if the Leaf files look as good as they do out of the camera due to their relationship with Kodak?

Please understand, I am not trying to take away from either the skill of the photographer or the capabilities of the equipment.  

I just find it interesting that Leaf backs seem to be capable of producing more neutral skin tones with minimal effort than the Phase backs.  Could Kodak have somehow engineered the Leaf backs to mimic the color and/or tonal characteristics of film (i.e., Portra)?

Also, I've found in my correspondence with sales reps from both Phase and Leaf, each recognizes the strengths of the other.  For example, my Leaf rep, when talking about Phase, will always say something along the lines of, "well, the Leaf files look better straight out of the camera, but the Phase software does offer robust customization".  Perhaps the two companies realize there are two distinct photographic styles and thus choose to focus their attention each on just one?  This would seem to make sense in a niche market dealing in low volume.  Makes me wonder why we haven't seen this sort of specialization in the 35mm arena.

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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2008, 01:52:49 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
First off, what is fair about his points directed at me?

Forget it

I dont know jack about LAB or CMYK but im looking at at some nice prints on my office wall - all photoshopped till they looked good to my eye on my calibrated it once and couldnt see any difference lacie

Lets talk about tips and tricks for hitting perfect skin tone which is what the OP wants

preferably tricks from those who do hit perfect skin tone easily

it is my opinion that it is not possible with digital due to differece in sensitivities of the eye (brain ?  - girls in the bar on a friday night after 11pm dont have spots) and digital recording device


S
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:55:19 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2008, 01:54:59 PM »
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@John,
For a semi good emulation of film try Alien Skin Exposure II.
It comes according to some experts very close to film, I often use it as a finishing touch and love the ektachrome profiles.

I did not look at the work of the TS sorry he has no link to his work, I just replied to the question with all good intentions by the way.
It's a shame by the way that alot of discussions on LL are beginning to get out of control the last few months.....
I'm almost afraid to post something anymore.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:57:45 PM by Frank Doorhof » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2008, 02:02:45 PM »
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Quote from: Morgan_Moore
Lets talk about tips and tricks for hitting perfect skin tone which is what the OP wants

preferably tricks from those who do hit perfect skin tone easily

I already did so. At least a more modern technique for hitting skin tone ratio's in RGB.

And prefect? One man's perfect is another's not so hot. Ultimately what you feel is prefect is prefect for you.

Quote
it is my opinion that it is not possible with digital due to differece in sensitivities of the eye (brain ? - girls in the bar on a friday night after 11pm dont have spots) and digital recording device

There are a lot of really good photographers who would disagree with that. Check out the work of Douglas Dubler:

http://douglasdubler3.com/

This guy is all about "perfection" with skin (among other things) and its nearly all digital, at least for the last many years. His work is seen in the Epson booth's (and Print Academy), pretty flawless.
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Andrew Rodney
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2008, 02:13:27 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
I already did so. At least a more modern technique for hitting skin tone ratio's in RGB.

And prefect? One man's perfect is another's not so hot. Ultimately what you feel is prefect is prefect for you.



There are a lot of really good photographers who would disagree with that. Check out the work of Douglas Dubler:

http://douglasdubler3.com/

This guy is all about "perfection" with skin (among other things) and its nearly all digital, at least for the last many years. His work is seen in the Epson booth's (and Print Academy), pretty flawless.

Indeed perception, the perfect representation of the red nose wine man is not the perfect picture of him if he is the client

Maybe my question is, and possibly the OPs too, is not how to get the perfect representation but pleasant pictures

The perfect representation  is fairly simple- greg card - calibrate - bosh

Mr Dublers home page image is indeed a very pleasant picture - a perfect representation I doubt it - free from the hand of PS - Id eat my keyboard

S
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 02:20:27 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2008, 02:45:40 PM »
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Quote from: Frank Doorhof
@John,
For a semi good emulation of film try Alien Skin Exposure II.
It comes according to some experts very close to film, I often use it as a finishing touch and love the ektachrome profiles.

That plugin is wonderful. The presets are just a starting point.
Give it some time and you'll see.
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Snook
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2008, 04:46:34 PM »
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Sorry Guys.. have no more comments...
Going to hang out in the Aptuss 22 VS. 5DII thread for a while..
Just made some Pop Corn cuz it might get exciting over there..
Someone Challenged Frank DoofusDorf (Sp?)  about his photographic knowledge!!!

Snook
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 04:47:37 PM by Snook » Logged
Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2008, 05:06:26 PM »
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Quote from: Snook
Sorry Guys.. have no more comments...
Going to hang out in the Aptuss 22 VS. 5DII thread for a while..
Just made some Pop Corn cuz it might get exciting over there..
Someone Challenged Frank DoofusDorf (Sp?)  about his photographic knowledge!!!

Snook

Pfff very mature is that really that gets you off ?
My 10 year old would say, get a life.
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william
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2008, 07:37:22 PM »
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You have amassed quite a track record here of obnoxious comments.  Nicely done.

Quote from: Snook
Sorry Guys.. have no more comments...
Going to hang out in the Aptuss 22 VS. 5DII thread for a while..
Just made some Pop Corn cuz it might get exciting over there..
Someone Challenged Frank DoofusDorf (Sp?)  about his photographic knowledge!!!

Snook
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thsinar
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2008, 08:05:43 PM »
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I wonder if it's a question of education or maturity, or both may be.

It's about time to stop being such unpleasant and offensive in your comments and instead to show some respect to all members, if you agree with them or not, if they are right or not.
Argue if you want and if you have the right arguments, nobody has anything against, but changing the tone would be much appreciated by the majority.

Thierry

Quote from: Snook
Sorry Guys.. have no more comments...
Going to hang out in the Aptuss 22 VS. 5DII thread for a while..
Just made some Pop Corn cuz it might get exciting over there..
Someone Challenged Frank DoofusDorf (Sp?)  about his photographic knowledge!!!

Snook
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Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2008, 08:33:23 PM »
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Hi,

I would suggest that you should use an XRite Color Checker and build a profile for your lighting condition. It is very easily done with the  "DNG profile editor" download able from Adobe. That's for natural tones. Getting good or pleasant tones is another proposition. There are some very good ideas on this thread.

Some of my suggestions:

1) Flash light is rich in infrared, infrared filtering may be an idea to try, epecially if model has "blotchy" skin
2) There are different filters implementing film like colors, from Pixel Genius, DxO and others
3) A simple trick I use in Lightroom is to decrease saturation and increase "vibrance" instead

I'm no portrait shooter, but the ideas I mention are technically sound.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: gwhitf
I know this forum is mostly landscapes and such, but I wonder if anyone here is truly feeling good about nailing the perfect, natural skin tone, even with strobe, without a ton of post work needed after the fact?

I have owned 1ds, 1ds2, 1ds3, P45, P30, P21, and I fight it every single job. I call it the search for that Natural Global Brown Skin Tone. I have a theory that the whole reason that all this crazy over-processed style came about was because all these film guys switched to digital one day, and they were clueless about how to hit skin, so they said Well if I cant hit it, then let's just start another fad, and we'll desaturate the skin and add some contrast, and it'll be cool. But not every job is appropriate for that. And sometimes it comes down to the real basics -- how to nail the skin, without a dozen Adjustment Layers. The nicest skin, to me, still results from Color Neg film, even in 2008. I'm talking just natural even skin, without those harsh transitions, and without runaway Reds and Yellows.

I have used the Color Editor in PhaseOne 3.79 a good bit, to create new custom Input Profiles. It works OK. Yet I find that damn near with each job, in each new lighting situation, you almost have a create a new style. Every job.

With Canon DPP, you've got Contrast, and you've got Hue, and you've got Saturation, and I've found that Canon always skews toward the Red, (as does Phase). So you think, Well just drop the Saturation, or slide the Hue, but then you're affecting everything, which is awful. And even then, still hard to hit that magic skin.

If I was Phase, I'd include about TWENTY different input profiles just for skin alone, canned inside CaptureOne. I have found it's best, with CaptureOne, to use NO COLOR CORRECTION input profile with Phase, and then tweak it in Photoshop later. NCC is much much more neutral, and you reduce that weird "Yellow to Red" transitions that happen with Phase chip.

Same with Canon and DPP. Right now, there's Neutral, and Standard, Landscape, and such, but I'd like the ability to have twenty "styles" inside of DPP for skin alone. A true professional solution.

I have no idea how Leaf deals with this, or Hasselblad. Never used their software, (other than the old Flexcolor, with the Imacon scanner).

You see these retouched samples inside of say Victor Magazine, and they're stunning, but what they don't tell you, of course, is that who knows what the hell the RAW file looked like, right out of the can, and they never include the five figure invoice from the Retoucher either.

Is it just me, or is everyone else hitting perfect skin, right out of the can?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 11:31:28 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Jonathan H
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2008, 09:08:10 PM »
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Quote from: Snook
Sorry Guys.. have no more comments...
Going to hang out in the Aptuss 22 VS. 5DII thread for a while..
Just made some Pop Corn cuz it might get exciting over there..
Someone Challenged Frank DoofusDorf (Sp?)  about his photographic knowledge!!!

Snook

I used to look up to you.  The shots you were posting on FM back in the day blew my mind.  This is pretty sad Eric.
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Long walks on the beach, nights by the fireplace, and sushi.
Jann Lipka
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2008, 11:45:04 PM »
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I know Andrew R have experience with Color Monkey device .

While chasing this perfect skin color I was thinking about this :

What about sampling some nice skin colors using that device ?

Would that work ?




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digitaldog
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« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2008, 07:41:39 AM »
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Quote from: Jann Lipka
I know Andrew R have experience with Color Monkey device .

While chasing this perfect skin color I was thinking about this :

What about sampling some nice skin colors using that device ?

Would that work ?

You would need to convert the LAB supplied values into RGB for your preferred working space. But yes, in theory it would work. I've done this with an EyeOne Pro using MeasureTool (part of ProfileMaker) or using the free EyeOne share. I don't recall if the Munki software has such software functionality but it should. And if you get LAB values, you can convert them using Bruce Lindbloom's calculator on his site: http://www.brucelindbloom.com/
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2008, 08:39:01 AM »
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Quote from: tgphoto
I wonder if the Leaf files look as good as they do out of the camera due to their relationship with Kodak?

Please understand, I am not trying to take away from either the skill of the photographer or the capabilities of the equipment.  

I just find it interesting that Leaf backs seem to be capable of producing more neutral skin tones with minimal effort than the Phase backs.  Could Kodak have somehow engineered the Leaf backs to mimic the color and/or tonal characteristics of film (i.e., Portra)?

Also, I've found in my correspondence with sales reps from both Phase and Leaf, each recognizes the strengths of the other.  For example, my Leaf rep, when talking about Phase, will always say something along the lines of, "well, the Leaf files look better straight out of the camera, but the Phase software does offer robust customization".  Perhaps the two companies realize there are two distinct photographic styles and thus choose to focus their attention each on just one?  This would seem to make sense in a niche market dealing in low volume.  Makes me wonder why we haven't seen this sort of specialization in the 35mm arena.

This gets the to the heart of the OP's question. As noted by Morgan_Moore this is not a discussion on accuracy. A Phase back (one of the OP's many cameras) is going to produce extremely accurate color when using the default "flash" profile. The "flash" profile from P1 is so accurate that the vast majority of photographers will have no need to reprofile the camera unless they are consistently using light sources that are different than the generic HQ flashes used by P1 to create this profile.

The OP rather is concerned with getting a specific skin tone. His idea of what the "right" skin tone should be in the final product is (and I'm sorry gwhitf if I'm presuming to get inside your head) will have been formed from years of influences as wide as what his favorite film produced to what skin tones were printed in the magazines he most respected to the skin tone of his first love. This is all by way of saying that the specific tone that he wants skin to print as is completely subjective. All references to "Good Skin Tone" are subjective.

Both Phase and Leaf have "portrait" profiles intended to bend colors from "accurate" towards someone's definition of "pleasing". If you happen to like what Leaf's profile renders then Leaf files will look better "out of the box". Likewise if you like Phase's profile better then you will like Phase files better "out of the box". However, any photographer who is concerned with "skin tones" and has not both 1) tried different raw developers and 2) created their own profile is REALLY missing out. There is no need to start an argument over whether LightRoom or Capture One is "better"; it is enough to know that they are different and therefore you need to look* at each to decide which works for you. Here of course I get to brag about Capture One which uses the camera-specific profiles as a starting point and allows unlimited alteration of the underlying ICC profile through The Color Editor. As of version 4.5 this is now fully integrated into the program itself (it used to be a semi-autonomous program). With literally an hour or two of work you could easily have a Phase profile in hand which does a pretty good job of rendering skin tones where and how you like them.  

While it's true that gwhitf has to make a new profile for each situation he is shooting the reason likely has more to do with the degree of specificity that he is trying to accomplish. He is likely (please gwhitf chime in if I'm wrong) using Color Editor to make changes to relatively narrow bands of color which make that profile more pleasing (to his eye**) for the situation he is adjusting but less able to hold up in changing conditions. The result is he's able to get 95% of the way there on the specific image he is working with, but has to redo his efforts for each image. A more general approach would be to make minor changes to broad slices of color with moderate-to-high smoothness. This will compress the colors surrounding the skin tones that you don't like towards the skin tones that you do like, but in a subtle way which will be more generally applicable. If the lighting situation changes the profile will still do most of the work, but rather than get to gwhitf's 95% by tuning to the specific image it would get you 80% of the way on most images (warning: numbers arbitrarily made up).

O and I AM unashamedly trying to sell our online training :-). We'll be covering advanced uses of the color editor in the Master's Level online screen-sharing-based classes.

*We also have an intro class if you haven't used C1 before. If you just downloaded C1, opened it, played with it for 10 minutes and decided "It's not like Lightroom; I don't like it" then you've done yourself a great disservice.

*and what an eye!

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio
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« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2008, 09:08:35 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 08:28:14 AM by gwhitf » Logged
Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2008, 09:30:20 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
I go into the Color Editor and just stumble around. That's my problem. I just grab those Reds and Magentas and drag them around, and try to calm them down. Who knows if I'm doing a good job. It just seems sad to have come this far, and then you leave it to some clueless photographer to try to stumble through creating a Profile to get acceptable skin. The Input Profile section of Capture One could be MUCH MORE POWERFUL and THOROUGH. Again, think of the VARIATIONS palette in Photoshop; imagine if Capture One had that. Imagine a photographer standing in a studio with a Digital Tech, on a Beauty Job, and then photographer could just walk over to the Eizo, and the Tech says "Which Skin do you like?" and the photographer could just point to one out of six, and then it's DONE. And it's being done right at the RAW level, before the TIFF is ever created. That's the way it ought to be. Of course, you'll take it further when you get it into Photoshop, but you've gotten way on down the road, at the RAW level.

Canon should do the same, but that ain't ever going to happen with Canon; they do the least amount possible to get the software out the door.

Gwhitf:

With all of the times you do make these attempts at adjustment in Color Editor, do you ever save those profiles? It seems if you've worked enough variation of skin tones and saved them, you'd have at least the beginings of a palette to work with that could be expanded as you go forward.

I know many are giving 4.5.2 some time to get acclimated before moving to it, but this is precisely to me where the "Styles" element of 4.5.2 would really shine. Numerous saved (successful and pleasing) skin tones, all in a pull down menu that automatically render themselves to the shown image as you pull down through each one until someone says - Stop right there!


Steve Hendrix/Phase One
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zachary_goulko
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« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2008, 09:51:56 AM »
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Quote from: Snook
Worse than what you mention is that when I get the skin tones like I want.. Usually the Printers Screw everything up anyways when they put in their Profiles and change to cymk...:+}

Snook,

For this reason, I never let the printer do the CMYK conversions on their end. They just don't care enough about properly converting and color correcting each individual file.

After correcting the sink tones to my liking via softproofing, I then print a proof on our SWOP certified system in-house, and double check the print under the viewing station. It's also very important to send the proof with all of the SWOP color bars, so they can verify on their end.

Most of the time, the skin tones come out dead on, as well as the rest of the colors.
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« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2008, 09:53:02 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
The problem is: Most photographers are just photographers. They are not software engineers, and it's not even in their personality to sit down and screw around with that Color Editor. (Even though that is the power of Capture One, in terms of creating your own custom film, if you will). I just wish that Phase would have some Beauty Photographer come over there to their factory for a few days, and get a good model and good makeup artist, and do a real shoot, and then let the Photographer sit down with the Phase software guy, and let the Photographer lead the software guy through the steps of creating ten or fifteen "looks", regarding skin. I think that alone could go a long way toward eliminating that buzzword sentence that's out there in the culture that says "Leaf is more filmlike", or "Leaf has better skin". I'm saying that it probably happened damn near by accident -- some Leaf software guy just happened to write a good Input Profile one day, and then Bam, Leaf is known as "The Beauty Back".

I go into the Color Editor and just stumble around. That's my problem. I just grab those Reds and Magentas and drag them around, and try to calm them down. Who knows if I'm doing a good job. It just seems sad to have come this far, and then you leave it to some clueless photographer to try to stumble through creating a Profile to get acceptable skin. The Input Profile section of Capture One could be MUCH MORE POWERFUL and THOROUGH. Again, think of the VARIATIONS palette in Photoshop; imagine if Capture One had that. Imagine a photographer standing in a studio with a Digital Tech, on a Beauty Job, and then photographer could just walk over to the Eizo, and the Tech says "Which Skin do you like?" and the photographer could just point to one out of six, and then it's DONE. And it's being done right at the RAW level, before the TIFF is ever created. That's the way it ought to be. Of course, you'll take it further when you get it into Photoshop, but you've gotten way on down the road, at the RAW level.

Canon should do the same, but that ain't ever going to happen with Canon; they do the least amount possible to get the software out the door.

What a really spectacular idea. Your suggestion to P1 if I'm understanding it correctly, is to focus less on finely tuning one specific "portrait" profile and instead offer a variety of both subtly and drastically different portrait profiles.

Assuming such an array of profiles was made, as steve said, these profiles could be save as part of a style and then when you go to hover over each style the photo would change to reflect each profile and you could pick the one that suited the image, your mood, and the art director.

I have a feeling that P1 has not created a wide array for fear of opening themselves to "Phase can't do skin tones so they have to do all sorts of tricks and you have to pick the one you like unlike ____ brand which is good out of the box". In reality that argument would hold zero weight, but it would sure sound good, especially to anyone new to high-end or color management.

This is the sort of great collaboration I'm optimistic we'll get in the Masters Level Online C1 Training (yes! I am going to pitch that in every post). Experienced photographers, experienced techs, and the head of development for C1 all working together during the Q&A to identify needs and solutions.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio
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Phase One IQ250 FAQ
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