Hello Fellow Members,
I was lately browsing for some color profiling software for mac and came across X-Brite Color Checker which seems very popular among professionals. I loved the capabilities of this tool demonstrated on youtube however was wondering its compatibility with Apple's Aperture 3, being used for post processing. All the videos and various forum posts talk about Adobe Lightroom with the X-Brite Color Checker.
I look forward to hear from you.....
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#1. "RE: X-Brite Color Checker" | In response to Reply # 0walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Sat 14-May-11 10:11 AM
X-Rite Color Checker Passport can be used as a white balancing tool with a variety of software packages (including Aperture), but the color profiles you can generate with its software (which are very good) are not compatible with Aperture. Its profiles work with Adobe products, specifically Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.
#3. "RE: X-Rite Color Checker" | In response to Reply # 0
The good Mr. Walker is absolutely correct. In the big (or little) world of camera calibration, there are two broad approaches: to use DNG camera profiles (sometimes called DCP) or to use ICC profiles. To my understanding, Adobe pioneered the use of DCP while almost everyone else (Phase One, Apple, Nikon, ...) use ICC profiles. The proponents of DCP argue that their method is specific to raw or "scene-referred" as opposed to rendered or "output-referred" data. Look here for details.
On the other hand, DCP is not without its issues. The dcptool project on sourceforge is one outcome of these issues; or at least, of Adobe's use of their own Profile Editor. The biggest issue that dcptool addresses is the matter of hue twists that are a side-effect of just what DCP is supposed to be good at; namely, handling the varying nature of scene illumination. There is more on hue twist here. I should point out that you might best view those pages on hue twist with Firefox, and certainly not with Internet Explorer, which is notoriously bad in handling tagged image files. Anyway, the main thing is that ACP rotates (twists) points in color space as the illumination intensity increases. Many folks have noted color artifacts in Adobe Camera Raw handling of color under certain circumstances, in comparison to, say, Nikon or Capture One.
The author of dcptool shows how DCP files include tables to handle color in HSV space. However, at least those coming from Adobe's profile editor do not seem to handle any variations in V (value). He proposes a couple of modifications to Adobe's camera profiles that he implements in dcptool. These approaches aim to handle this hue twist issue.
I've been using the X-Rite Color Checker system for some time now, and I am very impressed with it in comparison to Adobe's built in profiles for my two Nikons (a D700 & a D80). I have used dcptool to compare (in XML mode) the camera profiles that it generates in contrast to those built-in with Lightroom. The most obvious difference that I can tell is that the X-Rite DCP files also account for variations in H, S, & V.
The ICC has a brief white paper on the whole topic of raw versus rendered approaches to camera profiling here. I would highly recommend that any photographer read this brief paper. The gist of the paper, as it pertains to hue twist (which is never mentioned specifically, but is there) is that accurate scene-referred color is very often not what a photographer is after except in certain cases (copying fine art, product or catalog photography). More often than not, a photographer is interested in modifying the color and tone that comes out of the camera to achieve a pleasing visual result; and is then concerned about getting the output (on screen or print) to look like what he or she has achieved. In this case, the paper suggests that it is far better simply to employ an ICC perceptual-intent color space that is appropriate for the intended output (sRGB for a standard monitor, AdobeRGB for a wide gamut monitor, ProPhotoRGB for print, etc).
Where a photographer really is interested in achieving accurate color, especially in a studio shoot with well-controlled illumination, then shooting a target like the X-Rite ColorChecker is a valid approach; but (the ICC paper counsels) one would likely have to create a new target profile for each illumination setup; e.g., move a light or two, shoot the target, make a new profile. I have seen this done in practice; for example, by Frank Doorhof. Watch his videos on Kelby Training to see what I mean. I'm just saying that he practices what he preaches in the use of the X-Rite system. It seems that Doorhof uses PhaseOne medium format cameras and X-Rite generated camera profiles in Lightroom, as opposed to Capture One, for raw conversion. But he also shoots the heck out of that ColorChecker target, even during a session. In this way, any scene-referred illumination changes in color accuracy are continuously being compensated for simply by capturing a new target reference in each and every case. Check out his gear guide.
Here's the bad news about that: you have to manage all of those DCP files around for as long as you might need to render a raw image from that shoot. If a client comes back two years later and wants another copy of an image from some session, either you have to have the DCP file or you have to recreate it from the target image you shot at the time, since it is the basis for your accurate color rendering.
X-Rite will tell you that this degree of accuracy isn't necessary. They and Adobe will tell you that you can create one profile for your camera and just use it over and over and over again independent of scene illumination. Then you get those pesky hue twists because color depends upon brightness in the DCP system.
You can get tools to make your own ICC camera profiles. From what I can tell in hunting the interwebs, such tools start at around $1500 or so and work their way up from there. Given what the ICC itself says about this, I'm not sure that these tools make sense relative to what comes bundled with NX2 or Aperture or Capture One or whatever.
Bottom line: if you want accurate color then go and get the X-Rite and shoot it and shoot it and shoot it, every time you want accurate color. OTOH, if you're shooting landscapes where you're never going to be able to get your X-Rite target on those distant hill-sides, use an ICC profile that matches your output intent (say ProPhoto) and be done with it.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.