Any professional photographer knows that having color accurate images from one photo shoot to the next can be a challenge.
With various lighting conditions from shoot to shoot, this has not always been easy to obtain. Having consistent color and a strong color profile is crucial for all of you images to output correctly. The GretagMacbeth ColorChecker has been helping photographers with these problems since 1976.
Read on to find out how X-Rite’s ColorChecker Passport helps you create camera profiles for consistent, accurate color.
In this post, we will show you how to create and apply DNG profiles to your Camera using the ColorChecker Passport. This is an important process that will balance the white point of your images and retain the original colors that you shot. For the example outlined below, all photos were taken using a Canon EOS 60D with a Canon EF-S 18-135mm lens.
For this process, we shot every image in RAW format. RAW file format allows us to apply camera DNG profiles that we create using the Camera Calibration software included with the ColorChecker Passport.
RAW file format: File that contains minimally processed data from a digital camera. Raw files are processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut colorspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a file format (such as TIFF or JPEG). These adjustments include color calibration and white balance.
In this example, we are using the 2 most popular ColorChecker Passport Targets (there are 3 targets total – all of which are included with every ColorChecker Passport). The targets we are using are:
- The Classic Target: The industry standard color reference target for creating DNG profiles and for evaluating specific colors.
- The White Balance Target: For creating custom in-camera white balance for a consistent white point in a set of images, eliminating the need to correct each image later.
The following Step-by-Step process will show you how to create camera profiles, set the white balance, and apply these changes to your images.
ColorChecker Passport with Adobe CS5:
1. In Photoshop, open the first RAW photo you took that contains the ColorChecker Passport. This image will automatically be opened in Adobe Camera Raw. If you do not have Camera Raw installed (or need to update it), it can be downloaded HERE. Click on Save Image.
2. After clicking on Save Image, a new window appears. The default options include dng format, which is what will be used to load the image into the ColorChecker Passport software. After clicking Save, Camera Raw will process your RAW image and create a DNG file.
3. Open the ColorChecker Passport software. Drag and Drop the DNG file you just created.
4. When the image has loaded, the software will automatically identify the patches in the Passport. You will see a green marquee around each patch and green registration marks on the 4 corners of the target (as seen below).
5. After the Passport has been recognized, click on Create Profile. This is saved in your Adobe Camera Profiles folder on the hard drive. By Default, the name of the camera used is the profile name.
6. When the profile is complete, close and relaunch Photoshop. This will refresh the profile library and will include your new camera profile in the profile list.
7. In Photoshop, open all of the images you are creating the profile for. This will automatically launch Camera Raw.
8. Select All of your images, and then click on the Camera Calibration tab located on the right hand side of the Camera Raw window. Under Camera Profile, click on the Name pulldown menu and select the camera profile you created in step 5. This now applies the camera profile to all of your photos.
9. Click on the White Balance Tool. Then click on the White Balance Target in the ColorChecker. This will set the White Balance for all images selected.
10. Click on Save Image. When the Save Options window appears, click on the File Extension pull-down menu to select JPG or TIFF (These will be your print files). Click Save.
With the above process, you will be able to create DNG profiles for your camera for each photo shoot. The patches in the ColorChecker Passport will not change, regardless of lighting conditions on each shoot. If you need to output all of your photos with color accuracy and consistency, the ColorChecker Passport is an excellent (and affordable) solution. And combined with the ColorMunki, your entire workflow from Camera to software to print will consistently produce accurate color results.
Any questions? Comments? Let’s hear ’em!