Monitor - Eye Adaptation


Louis Dina
 

I have a question about eye adaptation (not sure if that is the correct term). When editing an image in Photoshop, the longer I spend staring at the monitor, the more my eye adapts to what I am viewing, and the more normal it begins to appear. Sometimes, after 45 minutes working on an image, my wife will walk up and immediately say, "That's too green, contrasty, saturated, flat, or whatever." And, if I walk away from the computer for 5 minutes and come back, it becomes glaringly obvious to me too. The eye's ability to adapt to different lighting conditions is great for daily living, but it makes editing images difficult at times. I work visually and also use numbers (RGB, CMYK and Lab) as guides for white, neutrals, blacks, skin, sky, grass, etc, but still visual adaptation creeps in and messes me up. I know most people struggle with this issue to some extent. One thing I like about LightRoom is the ability to adjust images very quickly, so my visual system doesn't have as much time to "normalize" and play tricks on me. Unfortunately, LightRoom has many limitations, so most of my important images go to Photoshop. I know I can get up and walk away to 'recalibrate', but I prefer to stay put and just work on an image until it's done.

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.

Thanks,

Lou Dina


David Lawrence
 

--- In colortheory@..., "LouisD" <lou@...> wrote:

I have a question about eye adaptation (not sure if that is the correct term). When editing an image in Photoshop, the longer I spend staring at the monitor, the more my eye adapts to what I am viewing, and the more normal it begins to appear. Sometimes, after 45 minutes working on an image, my wife will walk up and immediately say, "That's too green, contrasty, saturated, flat, or whatever." And, if I walk away from the computer for 5 minutes and come back, it becomes glaringly obvious to me too. The eye's ability to adapt to different lighting conditions is great for daily living, but it makes editing images difficult at times. I work visually and also use numbers (RGB, CMYK and Lab) as guides for white, neutrals, blacks, skin, sky, grass, etc, but still visual adaptation creeps in and messes me up. I know most people struggle with this issue to some extent. One thing I like about LightRoom is the ability to adjust images very quickly, so my visual system doesn't have as much time to "normalize" and play tricks on me. Unfortunately, LightRoom has many limitations, so most of my important images go to Photoshop. I know I can get up and walk away to 'recalibrate', but I prefer to stay put and just work on an image until it's done.

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.

Thanks,

Lou Dina
Lou,

I use a gradient map adjustment layer. Select the third choice which is called black and white. Just add it to the top of the layer stack and turn it on every now and then to rest your eyes for a bit. When you turn it off you'll definitely notice any color issues.

David Lawrence
PixelPurfect.com


thoenphoto <jeff@...>
 

Lou,
I have found that the first work I do on any image is color, tone, and contrast enhancements. This takes about 5 minutes. So I don't have any issue with eye adaptation.
If I work on an image for 30-45 minutes for these basic corrections, then I do experience that problem. So if you can get faster it will help.
Another way to combat that issue (that helps me anyways) is to keep you bottom layer (background) untouched and work on a duplicate layer along with adjustment layers. Then you can periodically turn off all the other layers ( option click on the background layer eye ball in photoshop) and just view the uncorrected image. This give you a before and after look at your work and helps re-calibrate your eyes.
Hope this helps.

Jeff Natrop
Thoen & Associates Advertising Photography, Inc.
www.thoenphoto.com

--- In colortheory@..., "LouisD" <lou@...> wrote:

I have a question about eye adaptation (not sure if that is the correct term). When editing an image in Photoshop, the longer I spend staring at the monitor, the more my eye adapts to what I am viewing, and the more normal it begins to appear. Sometimes, after 45 minutes working on an image, my wife will walk up and immediately say, "That's too green, contrasty, saturated, flat, or whatever." And, if I walk away from the computer for 5 minutes and come back, it becomes glaringly obvious to me too. The eye's ability to adapt to different lighting conditions is great for daily living, but it makes editing images difficult at times. I work visually and also use numbers (RGB, CMYK and Lab) as guides for white, neutrals, blacks, skin, sky, grass, etc, but still visual adaptation creeps in and messes me up. I know most people struggle with this issue to some extent. One thing I like about LightRoom is the ability to adjust images very quickly, so my visual system doesn't have as much time to "normalize" and play tricks on me. Unfortunately, LightRoom has many limitations, so most of my important images go to Photoshop. I know I can get up and walk away to 'recalibrate', but I prefer to stay put and just work on an image until it's done.

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.

Thanks,

Lou Dina


Dick Dougall
 

On 7/8/2011 6:07 AM, LouisD wrote:
Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.

Thanks,

Lou Dina
Lou - is your PhotoShop set up so the screen area around the picture being work on is neutral gray? That usually helps me judge color cast. Beyond that, I think you are into the suggestions published by our own Dan Margulis. Maybe someone can pinpoint us to one of several discussions where typical numbers are given for a variety of situations like caucasian flesh tones - grass green - clear blue sky - etc etc. Knowing these typical numbers can give you a clue as to the color balance of your image when you do not have an obvious neutral area to measure.

When there is a neutral area - white, gray or black, I use one of the eye droppers in Curves or Levels to make sure I am neutral. It is rare that an image does not have these tones -- and to that point, you will find a common bit of advice is to carry around a chip of 18% gray or a chart that has white, black and 18% gray which you insert into the first of a series of pictures taken under a given lighting condition - use that to bring that sample image in to color balance and then use that setting in ACR to snap all the others in the series into line.

Hope this helps.

Dick Dougall


Ron Kelly <ron@...>
 

Lou

You won't like my answer, probably. The answer is: if it's destined for print, proof it. That's the only way I know to get around your problem.

Even working by the numbers and using a calibrated monitor doesn't do it.

My experience is that my ability to "read" a screen is less reliable than I would like. There's the adaptation problem you've identified, and then there's
other things: you're not a robot, maybe you change one day to the next the way you see things because of fatigue, aging, nutrition, stress,
or even drugs such as alcohol and caffeine. That's not to mention that you're environment might change: the window light from the summer vs. other
seasons, equipment changes, etc.

My work schedule is also highly variable: my computer sits idle for long stretches while I'm away, and when I return it is a re-learning process.

I wonder how things go for people who sit in front of their screens every day, Do they find that they can see with "certainty?"

The gizmo pundits often imply that this is possible, but I never get there which leads me to the conclusion that I am insufficient, or they
are exaggerating, or some combination of both is at work.

Good luck,
Ron Kelly

PS Hey, what if somebody is controlling you through the Maxtrix? Don't forget to consider that one. ; - )

On 2011-07-08, at 5:07 AM, LouisD wrote:

I have a question about eye adaptation (not sure if that is the correct term). When editing an image in Photoshop, the longer I spend staring at the monitor, the more my eye adapts to what I am viewing, and the more normal it begins to appear. Sometimes, after 45 minutes working on an image, my wife will walk up and immediately say, "That's too green, contrasty, saturated, flat, or whatever." And, if I walk away from the computer for 5 minutes and come back, it becomes glaringly obvious to me too. The eye's ability to adapt to different lighting conditions is great for daily living, but it makes editing images difficult at times. I work visually and also use numbers (RGB, CMYK and Lab) as guides for white, neutrals, blacks, skin, sky, grass, etc, but still visual adaptation creeps in and messes me up. I know most people struggle with this issue to some extent. One thing I like about LightRoom is the ability to adjust images very quickly, so my visual system doesn't have as much time to "normalize" and play tricks on me. Unfortunately, LightRoom has many limitations, so most of my important images go to Photoshop. I know I can get up and walk away to 'recalibrate', but I prefer to stay put and just work on an image until it's done.

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious wh


J Walton <jw@...>
 

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 4:07 AM, LouisD <lou@...> wrote:

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.
I do a lot of internet surfing at work and rarely correct a single
image for more than 3-5 minutes. And I like to see inkjet proofs, but
the first two things get rid of most of my problems.

J Walton


Jacob Rus
 

Keep in mind that getting up and walking away to "recalibrate" only
works if the color temperature of the lighting wherever you go to walk
around is similar to that of your screen, and the average brightness
is somewhat comparable to gray on the screen (if you go walk around
outside at noon, or down a hallway lit with dim yellow bulbs, it might
not really help you adapt to neutrals).

But anyway, as you suggest, the only real way to "reset" is to adapt
your eyes back. Standing up every once in a while is probably a good
idea from a muscle/joint fatigue perspective, but you could also just
stare at a middle gray screen for a few minutes to "reset". This is
probably the best kind of adaptation reset, from a visual perception
perspective, because your eyes will adapt to compensate for the
mixture of display + ambient light in the room, which should also be
present while working on an image.

I'll echo other commenters' recommendations to not put big areas of
very light, very dark, or non-neutral colors on your screen near what
you're working on, and to every once in a while work on just the
lightness component of an image with color stripped away, so that any
casts are obvious when you switch back to full color.

Photoshop's full-screen modes with a mid-gray background are great
(press "F" once or twice; set which color shows up in the background
by going to photoshop -> preferences -> interface, picking "select
custom color" from the drop-downs on the left, and choosing something
between L* = 50, a* = 0, b* = 0 and L* = 60, a* = 0, b* = 0)

Cheers,
Jacob


Louis Dina
 

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or solutions to help solve this human visual adaptation problem? Any links or articles that address it, and offer helpful suggestions? I'm curious what others do.
Thanks everyone for all the great ideas and suggestions to help with eye/brain 'recalibration'. Some excellent ideas worth trying, and I will try them all.

Best,

Lou Dina


Dan Margulis
 

Lou writes,


Thanks everyone for all the great ideas and suggestions to help with eye/brain 'recalibration'. Some excellent ideas worth trying, and I will try them all.
I agree with Lou that the suggestions were very good. Let me reinforce one warning to users of the Picture Postcard Workflow.

The PPW deliberately produces an excessively colored version and then figures out how to tone it down gracefully. If the last thing we saw was the wildly colored version, our tendency will be to make the toned down version too loud.

The solution, of course, is when you believe you are finished, compare it to the original. Often you will find you wish to blend some of the tamer original color into what you thought at the time was pretty good.

Dan Margulis