How to use created camera profiles with lightroom

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Can someone confirm if I am on the right track?

I bought a colorchecker passport, mostly to consume some store credit, but was very pleasantly surprised at how much better the color was with it (and how much more consistent my two cameras were with each other).

First what I think are some catches to their use:

- A profile in Lightroom is not used and remembered, it is reloaded each time you touch a photo. So in particular if you change or lose a profile, any photo to which it had been previously applied is implicitly altered (and if you lose it, the profile reverts to an adobe one). As opposed to a develop preset which is applied and done once, and changes to the development preset only affect subsequent applications.

- A profile in lightroom is stored (at least in Windows) in a place separate from user presets, so they are both computer and user specific, and need to be preserved if you replace a computer or change accounts.

So what I THINK I want to do is the following. What I could use is some validation or correction:

1) Create one dual-illumination profile for general use for the camera, and more profiles as needed for unusual lighting

2) Name the dual-illumination one something like "My Standard", and the others clearly.

3) Do the above for each camera. As I create them, rename the file (but not the profile) to be camera specific. So for example "My Standard D4.dcp" and "My Standard D800.dcp". Be certain each name is used for each camera.

4) Place these appropriately.

5) Update my development presets (which are not camera specific) to include the appropriate profile name (not the file name, e.g. "My Standard" as opposed to "My Standard D800.dcp".

6) Make darn sure I never change or lose one of these during upgrades, etc. (or if I change them be fore I'm OK that this changes every prior photo), so for example, if I want to change a profile without affecting the past, I need a "My Standard V2".

After doing this, I think I can save my profiles in "C:\Users\ferguson\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles", and if I import photos from any camera with the same preset, it will apply the appropriate profile.

Note I do not have the presets tagged to be ISO or serial number specific.

Do I have this correct?
 
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Incidentally, if you want to see what kind of difference it makes, this is the Adobe Camera Standard (which I had considered pretty good) compared to one built with the colorchecker (right).

I realize to some extent it just made it more saturated, but it did so preferentially. Much deeper blues and reds for example, but the yellow floor didn't change much.
 

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bobrobert

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Have the images been enhanced or have they just had the profile applied? The problem I see is what is the point of applying an "accurate" profile and then enhancing it by possibly changing hue, contrast and saturation? The checker costs money and the free adobe profile is a good starting point if you want further enhancements of the image?
 
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Have the images been enhanced or have they just had the profile applied? The problem I see is what is the point of applying an "accurate" profile and then enhancing it by possibly changing hue, contrast and saturation? The checker costs money and the free adobe profile is a good starting point if you want further enhancements of the image?

My apologies, Bob, I don't quite understand your question. Different individual cameras (not just models but instances of cameras) have different responses. The overall goal is to produce a more accurate image much as the same reason one has a calibrated monitor.

In my case, I also prefer that the two cameras produce images that look similar; I shoot with two bodies in many sports, for somewhat consecutive shots (e.g. far end of a basketball court running forward) and it is helpful if the images look consistent.

Or maybe you are saying my own adjustments have somehow precluded the good done by the profile?

As to the software, I have produced a profile separately with the included XRite software and with the Adobe calibration profile editor. Both produce approximately the same effect from the same image of a profile card. The profile card itself costs money (and perhaps I paid a bit extra for the software, not sure), but I don't see how one can build a profile without some color reference source. My eyes certainly are not accurate enough, any more than they are to calibrate my monitors (two monitors, different models, and again -- I want them to match).

All that aside, my real question is workflow... am I putting the files in the right places, and using them properly and interpreting how Lightroom uses (and requires them to forever be in place) correctly?
 
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Looks good to me Linwood
 

bobrobert

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Quote Linwood

My apologies, Bob, I don't quite understand your question.

Unquote.

You posted two versions of the same image with different profiles attached. What I am asking is was it only two different profiles attached or was there further processing done to the images?

Quote

The overall goal is to produce a more accurate image much as the same reason one has a calibrated monitor.

Unquote

Profiling a monitor doesn't mean it is accurate only consistent and hopefully matches a print. Three different people could calibrate a monitor and get DIFFERENT satisfactory results depending on which black point or brightness level chosen.

What I am trying to get my head round is there any point in buying an "accurate" colour checker, applying it to an image and then enhancing the image by changing the hue, contrast or saturation of an image?:)
 

bobrobert

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BTW I am not trying to be argumentative only trying to understand this issue with the POSSIBLE view to buying one.

Quote Linwood

In my case, I also prefer that the two cameras produce images that look similar; I shoot with two bodies in many sports, for somewhat consecutive shots (e.g. far end of a basketball court running forward) and it is helpful if the images look consistent.

unquote.

This video explains that the checker has to be placed in the scene.

http://www.xrite.com/custom_page.aspx?PageID=73

Are you placing the checker in the scene at basketball matches in mixed lighting that has changes that can causes colour casts? After looking at various web sites that feature the use of the checker then it looks obvous to me that "accurate" isn't possible but consistent is what one would try for?
 
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BTW I am not trying to be argumentative only trying to understand this issue with the POSSIBLE view to buying one.

Thanks, that helps, and I am trying to understand what's going on better so the discussion helps.

The two images I displayed differed only in the profile, I made no other changes that were different. I had made edits however, it was not otherwise out of the camera, just the edits were identical in the before and after.

For curiosity, I went back and took a shot right out of the camera, zeroed all the settings in lightroom from the import, and compared the two profiles with no other changes (other than a bit of crop). They are attached. While not huge, the differences are again to add a lot more color to the blues, and even the skin tone (look at the guy's face). This is Camera Standard vs the custom profile produced in daylight.

Profiling a monitor doesn't mean it is accurate only consistent and hopefully matches a print. Three different people could calibrate a monitor and get DIFFERENT satisfactory results depending on which black point or brightness level chosen.

What I am trying to get my head round is there any point in buying an "accurate" colour checker, applying it to an image and then enhancing the image by changing the hue, contrast or saturation of an image?:)

That's true but the analogy doesn't quite apply. Monitor profiling has all those options somewhat for historical reasons (e.g. press vs web) and somewhat because people view monitors and prints in different light, and the D50 vs. D65 are meant to compensate for different viewing. The Macbeth chart (as I understand it -- and I may not) is to actually compare a set of known color standards to the recorded (demosiac'd) result, and adjust so they match. Light (i.e. white balance) has some effect of course, but the profile is not intended to substitute for that, since the profile is applied separately from the white balance adjustment. In fact, I took the profile from arena arc lights and tried it against a daylight shot, and compared to a daylight profile against a daylight shot, and the differences are very tiny.

I've tried reading about this (look up "twist" in this context) and it's complicated beyond anything I really understand, but I tend to think of it in a music analogy that probably is scientifically unsound, but suites me -- white balance is like the key of a piece of music, and the color profile more like the interval between each note in how a piano is tuned. The wrong interval between C and D will make music sound incorrect no matter what key it is in. It will make it sound incorrect, differently, but incorrect. Get the right intervals though, and you can shift keys for a different sound (light temperature) and the relative colors... tones .. sound more correct.

But again, I'm just trying to read and understand, someone with more science behind them may want to chime in and help.

To push that analogy further, however, one thing this appears to do is like turning two pianos relative to each other so they can play together. To the untrained ear, a piano tuned to 440 and tuned to 420 will both sound great if tuned with proper intervals. But played together they sound awful. That's something like what I was seeing when I shoot alternating cameras, and then someone looks at them in a collage. The overall tone flips back and forth, even if I get the color temperature correct. E.g. skin tones or whites may match between shots, but a blue in the uniform is different. It's a subtle issue, not nearly as bad as when color temperature is wrong between shots, but this made a noticeable improvement. Or seemed to; I'm aware any new toy gives a likelihood of bias because we want it to be better. :nod:

This video explains that the checker has to be placed in the scene.

http://www.xrite.com/custom_page.aspx?PageID=73

Are you placing the checker in the scene at basketball matches in mixed lighting that has changes that can causes colour casts? After looking at various web sites that feature the use of the checker then it looks obvious to me that "accurate" isn't possible but consistent is what one would try for?

The referenced video is about white balance, not camera profile. White balance has to be sampled each time the lighting changes. The camera profile is a bit different, and is not intended to be as strongly influenced by light temperature, because that correction is made separately in the raw processing. I don't mean to say it is irrelevant, just different. The profile specification, for example, is designed to contain two sets of reference data, normally (or perhaps historically) one tungsten and one daylight. The guidance I've read says made that, and use that as "normal", then if you have unusual lighting, you can make a special one for that unusual lighting. I did so for arena lighting by making one shot, and was pleased to see it was not all that different from the impact of the daylight and tungsten profile; pleased because arena lights tend to cycle color many times a second, and it's impossible to pick a correct, single white balance, and all requests to strap a color checker around each players neck would not be well received.

So what I do for arena shots is very imprecise -- I use a develop preset with a guestimate of the right white balance, then I hand-adjust the tone of each shot by eye. Not the color slides, just the temperature and tone under white balance. Sometimes I can get a good neutral tone sample, more often I guess at good skin tones. These lights are just terrible, as one part of the arena can simultaneously be pink while another is green in a shot, based on power phase.

Now if I were shooting portraits, I could put it right beside each subject's face for an initial test shot, and use it for both a custom profile for that light (which I suspect makes little difference from a "standard" one for that camera), as well as to pull a white balance from the neutral colors right off the color checker with the eye dropper in either lightroom or photo shop. But those are two different usages, just happen to have squares on the chart for both. In fact in the Passport version there's a separate, larger page with just a white balance sheet, so you don't have to hit the tiny square, and then yet another sheet with separate not-really-neutral squares that they suggest for creative color balancing to produce warmer and cooler tunes, like old style filters. but these are NOT used to produce the profile.
 

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sizzlingbadger

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Can someone confirm if I am on the right track?

So what I THINK I want to do is the following. What I could use is some validation or correction:

1) Create one dual-illumination profile for general use for the camera, and more profiles as needed for unusual lighting

2) Name the dual-illumination one something like "My Standard", and the others clearly.

3) Do the above for each camera. As I create them, rename the file (but not the profile) to be camera specific. So for example "My Standard D4.dcp" and "My Standard D800.dcp". Be certain each name is used for each camera.

4) Place these appropriately.

5) Update my development presets (which are not camera specific) to include the appropriate profile name (not the file name, e.g. "My Standard" as opposed to "My Standard D800.dcp".

6) Make darn sure I never change or lose one of these during upgrades, etc. (or if I change them be fore I'm OK that this changes every prior photo), so for example, if I want to change a profile without affecting the past, I need a "My Standard V2".

After doing this, I think I can save my profiles in "C:\Users\ferguson\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles", and if I import photos from any camera with the same preset, it will apply the appropriate profile.

Note I do not have the presets tagged to be ISO or serial number specific.

Do I have this correct?

Yes this sounds fine.

One thing to note is that the included Adobe Presets are quite intelligent and contain a lot of lookup information that help them maintain consistency under many different lighting conditions. If you compare the size of the xrite profiles to the Adobe profiles you will see the xrite profiles are much smaller.

I found the xrite profiles are very good when shot for a specific lighting situation but don't work so well if used again under a different lighting situation. Even the dual illuminant profiles didn't react well to lighting changes. This is my experience with the D300, D700 & D800.

The xrite plugin only creates profiles with the Adobe Standard tone curve. If you use the Adobe DNG editor you can create profiles with tone curves based on other profiles like Camera Standard or Camera Portrait etc. You can also create your own custom curves too.

If you select your new profile and then set the defaults (Develop/Default Settings...) for that camera your profile will be used every time you import your images.
 
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Thank you.

I found a profile decompiler, so I'll take a more careful look at the standard ones (assuming it can decompile those). I also tried the DNG editor, but didn't adjust the tone curve while doing so (and got the same result as xrite, at least to the eye). I'll play a bit with starting with a different profile's curve also.

Sometimes I think we have too many options.
 
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