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Thread: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    I've been struggling for a long while with bright red colours in synthetic polymer fabrics. Not only are the reds often blown, but there are colour shifts towards magenta depending of the angle of the light towards the fabrics. I see the problem with all cameras (except my old Fujis, the S3 and S5), but more with small sensor cameras like the GH2 and GH3 than with the only 35mm DSLR i have, the D700.

    While this might not be a major problem for many, I do most of my commercial photography in industrial environments, where protective, red polyester clothing is rather common.

    I've been a PS user almost since the beginning of time (PS2 if I remember correctly), and by using desaturation and colour balance tools in ACR as well as in PS, I've found workarounds that more or less work, but there's no standard formula, and it's very, very boring work which doesn't always end with success.

    I've gone as far as considering changing brand (perfect excuse for GAS, isn't it ), but after browsing the web for photos of red clothing, as well as checking photos I've taken with other cameras myself, I soon found out that it's a common problem. Then, for some reason, I woke up at 2 A.M. this morning, and since I couldn't sleep again, I thought I would make a serious attempt to look into the issue. How about trying another RAW processor?

    Aperture is out of the question, since I occasionally work on Windows computers, so C1 was top of my list. My test procedure was very simple:

    - Open the same RAW file in ACR and C1.
    - No adjustments other than ensuring the WB and tint were the same in both processors and all values set to "neutral" or "zero".

    These are screen grabs of the results I got, ACR first:



    then C1:



    There's an enormous difference in red tone between the two, and reality is somewhere between them, but much closer to the C1 result than the one from ACR. What is the really big difference is that:

    - There's no ugly colour shift with C1
    - Red channel is not blown
    - C1 has been able to retain most details
    - The image from C1 is robust enough to take colour adjustments, including increased saturation, while the result from ACR must be desaturated heavily before any adjustments are possible, and getting the saturation back up is virtually impossible.

    I should of course have tried C1 and other products earlier, but having used PS for almost 20 years.... you know
    It would be interesting to hear if others have had similar or other experiences in this area. For me, C1 seems to become an obvious addition to my toolbox
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    Re: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    I could have saved you a lot of time! "Does C1 handles high saturation reds better than ACR? ---- yes"

    Capture One's image quality team is top rate and gets a big seat at the table when it comes to prioritization, allocation of resources, and program design. After all C1's target market is not the consumer or casual enthusiast but rather then working pro or the serious enthusiast. Color discrimination, and proper color rendition under challenging situations, is one of the areas the results of such internal organization is most clearly manifest.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Not only are the reds often blown (...)
    You can't decide whether or not the reds are blown from the monitor view. Maybe it's simply your monitor (its native color space respectively) that clips high saturated colors (reds and in particular cyans). You have to inspect the file with a cursor and look at the color values (for instance in the info palette in Photoshop) - if the numbers show different color values although you can't tell them on your screen, then there is differentiation in the file... but the monitor can't show it.

    On the other hand I do agree that most RAW converters nowadays produce much too high saturated colors. The Vendors (above all Adobe) are proud that they produce a good match with Gretag Macbeth Charts (which show pretty low saturated colors)... but since they are mostly based on matrix corrections (rather than ICC input profiles that effectively limit the amount of satuation) highly saturated colors are often just insane.
    The color model working under the hood of C1 is really old school ... but IMO still the best for Photography (if the camera profiles are made with effort... unfortunately this is not always the case... but mostly). It's "real world" color...

    Once you've explored the capabilities of the Advanced Color Editor of C1 you'll hardly ever use anything else for RAW processing.
    Doug is a great source for learning the software (nope, this is no promotion for Doug's webinars... but he knows the software extremely good).

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    Re: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    If you happen to have access to ColorChecker charts or ColorChecker Passport, you could try making your own profile in Adobe DNG Profile Editor. The software is free for download from Adobe, the chart costs $60+. The profiles can sometimes make significant difference in these colors and the editor will even allow you to pick the offending color from your raw with an eye dropper and change hue and saturation to your liking.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    Color accuracy and the advanced color editor are a main reason I prefer to edit with C1. With the advanced CE and a passport you can make a dedicated capture icc profiles for your specific cameras under your specific studio or outdoor lighting conditions. Unlike LR, these are actual profiles and not a set of color correction adjustments.
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Oversaturated reds in polymer fabrics - ACR vs. C1

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Color accuracy and the advanced color editor are a main reason I prefer to edit with C1. With the advanced CE and a passport you can make a dedicated capture icc profiles for your specific cameras under your specific studio or outdoor lighting conditions. Unlike LR, these are actual profiles and not a set of color correction adjustments.
    According to this description, the DCP profiles don't seem to be technically inferior to ICC for digital camera profiling.

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