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Archive 2012 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems
  
 
Travis Rhoads
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p.1 #1 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


OK, I need some help, I can't get the color and WB right on this image. I am not really sure why the original had a weird color cast, it was not shot with any type of filter attached. The sun was getting low in the sky, so not quite that "golden" light, but getting there. I can't seem to keep the rainbow and get the color right. On my monitor I am seeing it just a little green. Any help a pointers would be great, I really like the shot, and want to get it right.




  Canon EOS 7D    30mm    f/8.0    1/640s    200 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Sep 02, 2012 at 04:01 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


I opened this in Safari, and while I am not good at color judgement, it did look off but not sure how. I ran an action that corrects color cast. It is something given to me so I am not sure how good it is.

The change was subtle, but here is is.

And here is a link to the action.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=354








Sep 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Travis Rhoads
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p.1 #3 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


I just ran that process, and set the opacity to 20%, and I like what it did to the water, but it took away the light on the castle above, so I masked that off and I think it helped. the less opaque the color layer was, the more correct the water looked, but the rainbow gets lost, which was what I had trouble with in my attempts.


Sep 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Travis, you've got two things working against you on this one.

1) You are dealing with the mixed lighting from the cool overhead indirect blue sky and the warmer direct light from the sun. Not quite as obvious as the "golden hour" like you said, but it still presents a "two light" scenario.

2) Waterfalls are very "three dimensional" and reflect light from "everywhere"

These are both inherent to the task at hand, so it is just part of what's going on with the scene. With all that mixed lighting / blending combined and reflectance of the waterfall ... global efforts aren't going to be of much help ... so selective / masking / layering is the order of the day.

I first tried to get rid of the green and magenta casts in the water, as well as the heavy blue in the shadows with selective masking. Then, after neutralizing the nearby casts, the rainbow can be sat/contrast tweaked @ more masking).

Took some liberties along the way. ... but you get the gist.






Edited on Sep 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM · View previous versions



Sep 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


So Rusty, I am confused. I understand the light varies with its source, but if you were standing there, you would see the variance not some sort of selective correction. It seems to me that the variance is what it is. So by that same token, any WB correction ought to be global.

Your correction looks great by the way, I just want to understand. There are some artifacts in the sky however. Look at all the sky below the ballon.



Sep 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #6 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


+1 @ artifacts ... I tried to push a bit too much playing with the blues/cyans before I noticed I had created a problem along the way.

The problem is that people think the light is homogenized to "one color" ... but it is more of a gradient as the angle of reflection changes from pointing at the cool blue sky to pointing at the warm yellow/red sun (time of day dependent). Items that are "flat" (i.e. consistent angle of reflection) like the house tend to only reflect "one" of the sources, whereas waterfalls, are anything but "planar".

Waterfalls by their very nature have part of them in a horizontal plane (the river/stream) and other parts in a vertical plane (the fall). Combine that with the churning of the water and you've got a myriad of reflective surfaces pointing at a myriad of gradient color (sky, sun, foliage, etc.) For this reason, efforts @ a "global" color correction in mixed lighting is an unrealistic expectation, imo.

Take your scene and CRANK THE SATURATION TO 100% ... you'll see what colors are "in play". In this case, you can see the waterfall has areas that are BLUE (deep shadows where no direct sunlight reaches), YELLOW (areas that don't reflect up toward the blue sky), GREEN (areas that receive both blue & yellow) and "white" in areas that "match" the assigned WB..

We don't see STRONG blues in the open areas because the INTENSITY of the warm direct light is stronger than the intensity of the indirect cool light ... i.e. 3 parts warm, 1 part cool ... with that relationship constantly changing as the sun moves across the sky and around the earth.








Edited on Sep 02, 2012 at 08:16 PM · View previous versions



Sep 02, 2012 at 08:05 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #7 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Good explanation Rusty. But this means a hopelessly complex correction, so I assume you do it in such a way that fixes the large more prominent parts while leaving the smaller parts.

Simplifying this scene, that white water is mostly facing the sun, the darker parts are not, (they provide the texture) the part facing the sky is out of view other than the texture. The trees and buildings are sun lit while the sky is sky. Seems like the sky could be treated globally.

I would be tempted to desaturate blue or change its hue rather than do a mask.

I am really interested in this color stuff because it is one of my weakest areas when it comes to post processing. So I am more than willing to show my ignorance if it helps me understand.

Edit, I need to give you time to edit and include an image. I do it that way myself. Great tip on the 100% saturation.



Sep 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


+1 @ hopelessly complex correction (goal @ plausible realism) ... hmmm @ green water
I mostly strive to "correct" those areas that challenge my "plausible realism" ... i.e. blue snow, blue hair, blue shadows, etc.

But, when you find a "correction" for the shadows and a different one for the highlights, it has a way of clarifying casts from mixed lighting ... imo, better than trying to use a global WB. Obviously, this goes against the WB Click protocol ... but that works fine in controlled lighting of a single color ... i.e. full daylight, full shade, overcast, studio, etc.. Mixed lighting @ cool overhead & warm direct changes things such that when you try to apply a "global" ... you'll be pushing one while pulling the other.

Most people are satisfied with a "split the diff" approach, which works fine for many scenes ... EXCEPT, when "plausible realism" (blue snow) calls your attention otherwise. Most people accept that as being normal to have blue shadows/snow, etc. as just being the nature of the beast. I don't always take out "all" of the blue, or other cast ... depends, but when dealing with the warm vs. cool ... it's a push / pull when you try to do global WB corrections ... i.e. push/pull.

+1 @ leaving smaller parts
+1 @ sat vs. mask ... I do both and blend via opacity @ layers, etc. I try to get the neutrals corrected first ... then I move to desat once I "hit the wall" and am struggling to figure out the color cast corrections.

+1 @ needing to study which elements of the scene are being illuminated by indirect light vs. direct light ... and then make your "correction" decisions/image goals armed with that understsanding.

I guess my question would be this ...

Looking at the waterfall and realizing that the green, yellow & blue areas of the water are really the same color as the "white" water .. just reflecting different color of light ... which area do you choose for your "WB Click"?

If you click on a green area, you induce a magenta correction. Click on a yellow area and you induce a blue correction. Click on a blue area and you induce a yellow correction. Click on the same area that is "white" and you retain the green, yellow and blue. From that realization ... global WB corrections cannot simultaneously correct a warm and a cool. "Fixing" one, worsens the other.



Sep 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #9 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Best I could manage was selectively pulling some cyan and green from the water. Here's a version with nine adjustment layers and some fiddling, including reducing the green and cyan in the water and boosting the vib and sat of the rainbow, and blurring and boosting the vibrance of the sky:







Sep 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Travis Rhoads
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p.1 #10 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Wl have to view all this when I get home. The water did have a green tint to it.


Sep 02, 2012 at 09:38 PM
 

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Oregon Gal
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p.1 #11 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Travis, I think you have a good image that just needs a little tweaking to correct the color balance issues. I did a quick re-work to show some corrections. I used a mid tone levels increase to 142 because it is slightly underexposed, at least to me, used selective color to tweak the color balance issues, saturation increase +45 on the rainbow and castle using a hide all layer mask on the balance of the image and using a brush to paint the color back in with the brush set to varying opacities. I also used an auto curves adjustment and an exposure adjustment set to -10 gamma to 92.









Sep 02, 2012 at 11:11 PM
T-D-S
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p.1 #12 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


I'm drawn most to Oregon Gal's rework. I especially like the brighter water. Just my 2 cents from a totally untrained noob!


Sep 03, 2012 at 01:26 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Took another stab at it.

Went the LAB route mostly tweaking on the green/magenta curves to get control of the yellow. More mundane tweaks afterward.

As always, S&P to taste.







Sep 03, 2012 at 02:16 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


4 separate and different color corrections here by some very good color correctors.

Makes me shiver at ever being able to do this myself. This is one thing I wish my camera could do automatically.



Sep 03, 2012 at 02:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


ben egbert wrote:
4 separate and different color corrections

Ektachrome vs. Kodachrome vs. Fujichrome vs. Agfachrome


Ben,

Many years ago ... when I first starting shooting ... I would get prints back from the lab that weren't the exposure or color that I aspired for. This was because the "computer" would analyze the negative and made its own decisions as to what it "thought" was supposed to be correct. The more control I learned @ exposure and in camera controls to put my values where I wanted them, the more the lab would "undo" my vision into something that was "normal" or average.

From that I had planned on learning to do my own printing ... which was when I was introduced into CMYK and the need for color correction. It made my head spin, and I ran faster than Jesse Owens in the other direction to chrome. I lived in the land of "what ya shot was what ya got" for decades ... until I embarked down the digital road.

Starting with AWB ... it became clear that I was back to the whole issue @ print labs with a computer making an interpretation. So, I instantly relived the decision @ either a process that included a computer variably assigning color balance, or shooting from a fixed temp or doing my own color correction. Since I was "happy" with my years of shooting chrome, I opted to begin shooting a fixed color temp, in a similar vein.

Old school, was to shoot chrome, and use filters to compensate or render to my aesthetic. As far as color & light goes ... nothing has really changed since "Let there be light."

One thing that was kinda tough to get my head around was the "getting it right" part. Then I came to realize that while I shot Fujichrome 50 for its fine detail, it also had a "profile" that was different from Ektachrome which was different from Kodachrome. Three well regarded slide films ... without lab/computer corrective influence ... that would render differently. From that, I deduced that it is not totally possible to "get it right" ... but rather there is a degree of "preference" involved.

Part of this preference is in regard to "how much" do we want to allow the color temp/sat of light to be shown in our image. Film choices were of course very limited @ color temp ... i.e. daylight or tungsten as predominant options. Even with daylight balanced film, the colors of the light throughout the day would render in accord with the amount of deviation from the film temp ... and we largely accepted that as such coming out of the camera ... which is necessary to yield the range of lighting colors. Whether we embrace or enhance vs. correct and reduce those variations is a matter of aesthetic choice.

For some, this was perfectly fine and seeing the "crayons" that the changing light brought were embraced. . For others, there was a desire to "correct" them when taking them to print (i.e. Cibachrome). I printed little from my slides, but when I did it was at a pro lab with a HUMAN making the decisions at color correction. I would convey to them (much like Travis has here) ... I want to change this, enhance this and leave this alone. Again, what came out of the camera was not the final product ... and a computer can't be trusted.

Somewhere in FM land ... I ran across a recommendation for Dan Margulis books on Photoshop color correction. I have two (old books) and they are rather "technical" oriented ... dry, boring and dull reading. Dan aspires to teach understanding, rather than "do this, do that" or cookie cutter style. Likely his most well known book is Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace.

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-LAB-Color-Adventures-Colorspace/dp/0321356780

Well, I decided that it was finally time for me to embark down the journey of learning color correction. It was either that ... or let the computer make those decisions for me. Rest assured ... I don't "get it right" and I don't pretend that it is a "simple" thing all the time. But, I find it very rewarding to achieve what it is that I want from my image making. I would love to "push the button" and have it convey what I want to convey ... but the darn thing is only a machine that has been programmed by someone else who has tried to write a program that will accommodate ... oh, gee ... more than one person. Combine that with the fact that the computer really can't assess whether you are in the nuances of mixed lighting, or homogenous (it largely must assume the latter).

For those of us who aspire to convey "our vision" ... I subscribe to the concept that it is NOT POSSIBLE for it to always do so. So, as I try to give you a "nudge" down the color correction path, I'd suggest this:

Don't be dissuaded by the complexity of it, but like any elephant ... you eat it one bite at a time. I have had Dan's books for a few years now and was only able to digest it in rationed doses. I've screwed up plenty along the way and had to "reload" and try again ... but, it has been a very rewarding (and some frustrating) journey.

I should also reference my realization that AA didn't "get it right" or the way he wanted to convey it on his first attempts and he spent years developing his "workflow" ... and he mostly avoided color in his passionate work.

To that end, I put it in the category of "If it was easy, anyone could do it." We take on the challenge of carrying our gear to remote locations, watching and waiting, enduring weather, shoot from various vantage points, with various lenses, exposures, apertures, speeds, filters, etc. ... then we repeat the effort because we didn't get the result we aspired for. We embrace the challenge and take a degree of resolve in our efforts that go beyond what those who stop at "easy" will do.

To that end, I'd challenge those who aspire to take their image making to another level to embrace color correction beyond the ease of "global" correction, one click WB (particularly @ nature/landscape/ambient). Make no mistake ... it'll be fraught with mistakes and redo's ... but then what aspect of image making hasn't been along the way to garnering control of your image making (nobody ever talks about that part).

How refined you want your control to be ... that's an individual choice ... but in the land of "micro-nit", global WB in challenging "mixed lighting" scenes leaves me yearning for something that a global correction (where you gonna click ) just can't achieve.

As always, S&P to taste.

... I need one after all that.



Sep 03, 2012 at 03:48 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Good points Rusty. I always shot Kodachrome because supposedly the lab could only push process it to bump ISO and only if asked and nothing else. I never asked for anything else. Since I only used it for daylight or with flash, I just accepted what came back from the lab.

My few attempts with print film were disastrous. Three bracketed shots all got fixed to look the same.

I recall reading that AA never liked color because he thought it did not produce correct color and was outside his control to fix. I am pretty sure this applied to chrome. I read a book once with some pretty nice chromes he shot.

When I tried B&W, it never had enough saturation :-)

So now I use a color checker to get a profile and sometimes even use it for a WB reference in the field. Then cal my monitor and trust AWB for the most part.

I end up usually with a warmer look than real. I do watch my whites and blacks. But I have never done local color adjustments. I may get that book and try to learn more about it.

My thinking has been that true color is not as critical in landscape as it is in portrait or product stuff. But this shot and some of my own give me pause.






Sep 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #17 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


ben egbert wrote:
My thinking has been that true color is not as critical in landscape as it is in portrait or product stuff.


If you make portraits for a living, satisfying the customer becomes far more important than technically "right" or matching your personal sense of the right color. Long ago I learned customers want a certain color look and simply couldn't care less whether your gray card and color swatches were properly rendered. And, ... they express their opinions with their wallets. For most portraits, it's far better to have pleasing skin tones than accurate ones.

Product illustration is a whole different kettle of worms.



Sep 03, 2012 at 08:02 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


AuntiPode wrote:
... they express their opinions with their wallets. For most portraits, it's far better to have pleasing skin tones than accurate ones.


The epitome of "S&P to taste".


But ... to me ... cyan, magenta, etc. color casts in the sclera fall in the same category as blue snow, as does shadows in hair ... it may not need to be corrected to "pure white" or perfectly neutral, but there is a point at which those color casts tell on themselves and rob from the image, imo. Similar to the waterfall, the sclera can be susceptible to revealing such casts more so than might be noticed in more colored areas.

Golden hour puts a nice glow on skin from warm sidelighting, but seeing dark hair reflecting the blue overhead sky, or blonde hair that does the same and renders green just strikes me as something that should be corrected for, and a global WB change doesn't always accommodate for both ... hence the need for selective techniques.

To me, color correction isn't as much about being "perfectly accurate" as it is about safeguarding the clarity of the image and hiding the telltale signs that detract from "plausible realism". Blue and green hair isn't typically aesthetically pleasing, imo. But, many people simply "gloss over it" while admiring the warmth of the golden lighting on the skin.





Sep 03, 2012 at 08:26 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


Good stuff. I tried your 100% saturation on one of my images. It certainly showed where the reds greens and blues were. But I was not sure they should not be there.

I am sure the trick here is when blue shows up where none ought to be. Now I have to think about that one.



Sep 03, 2012 at 10:01 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · Rheinfalls-Color & WB Problems


After cranking to 100% ... then I'll slowly pull it back through lower values to see where I get the most "diverse" (still oversaturated) color palette. Those two points "clue" me where the casts might be ... as you say, "none ought to be" and what might be some colors that could be interesting to "bring out" that are being hidden by the casts when at normal sat.

Sometimes 100% is too strong, but whether you are are 50% oversat or 100% oversat, it helps you see things that are too subtle for us to see at normal sat.



Sep 03, 2012 at 10:24 PM
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