Topics

Look at your color correcting progress in a mirror


George Machen
 

This past Sunday I was watching a story about the "sight-size" method of portraiture developed during the Renaissance on CBS Sunday Morning:
<https://www.cbsnews.com/news/keeping-a-classic-technique-of-painting-alive-in-florence/>
...and while I don't know what the method per se might bring to color correction, one incidental technique briefly mentioned in the story seems eminently applicable to what we do:

...Francis Kelleher, a 30-year-old who is four-and-a-half years into his studies, was working on perfecting the technique of chiaroscuro (Italian for "light and shadow"). He used the most technologically-advanced implement they employ: a mirror.

"So, the main purpose of the mirror is to refresh your perspective," Kelleher said. "And we generally use it because over the process of the three hours that we normally work for, the eye becomes tired. And so you stop seeing your mistakes.

"By seeing it with a fresh eye, it's the same effect it would be if I came back to work in three or four days. I'm seeing it afresh, it's brand new to me, and I can immediately spot the mistakes."

"A mirror is so important," said Cecil. "We all make the same mistakes, and that's what is comforting. Because the human eye stumbles in the same way."

Dan has admonished that it's important to step away from our work and come back to it hours or even days later, lest we become too desensitized to our screens shining light in our eyes, resulting in overly-saturated colors, more contrast than we intended in areas, etc. Maybe even the law of simultaneous contrast could work against us when we stare at our efforts too long. (Never mind confirmation bias.)

But maybe turning around and inspecting our work in a mirror could accomplish seeing it with a sufficiently blunt perspective on-the-spot, and not having to wait all that time — providing a boon to our productivity.

– George Machen


Henry Davis
 

I think you're on it, George. Dan's example in this exercise seems to be exactly like the mirror - only different.

In the past, especially when I was unsure, I would make a copy and convert it to greyscale and study that for a while. I think I'll revisit that, maybe keep a greyscale handy as a reference for a color project.

Dan said a long time ago that people ought to focus on learning how to produce good greyscale images. There was more to it than that but that was the advice in a nutshell. Without color you're forced into a more careful analysis of light, dark and in between.

Henry Davis

On Feb 25, 2020, at 1:32 PM, George Machen wrote:
<Snip>
"So, the main purpose of the mirror is to refresh your perspective," Kelleher said. "And we generally use it because over the process of the three hours that we normally work for, the eye becomes tired. And so you stop seeing your mistakes.

"By seeing it with a fresh eye, it's the same effect it would be if I came back to work in three or four days. I'm seeing it afresh, it's brand new to me, and I can immediately spot the mistakes."

"A mirror is so important," said Cecil. "We all make the same mistakes, and that's what is comforting. Because the human eye stumbles in the same way."

Dan has admonished that it's important to step away from our work and come back to it hours or even days later, lest we become too desensitized to our screens shining light in our eyes, resulting in overly-saturated colors, more contrast than we intended in areas, etc. Maybe even the law of simultaneous contrast could work against us when we stare at our efforts too long. (Never mind confirmation bias.)

But maybe turning around and inspecting our work in a mirror could accomplish seeing it with a sufficiently blunt perspective on-the- spot, and not having to wait all that time — providing a boon to our productivity.

– George Machen


Kirk Thibault
 

If one shoots raw+JPEG, especially if using a mirrorless camera, it is definitely a worthwhile experiment to set the JPEG “picture style” or “film simulation” to black and white every once in a while and use that as a guide to composition and lighting in the field. Especially with mirrorless cameras (or DSLRs in Live View) you can get a live feed of the tonal range and relationships in your scene without the distraction of color. On some systems, you can select various black and white modes, including those that emulate the effect of a specific color filter, further giving you the ability to emphasize things like skin tones or the sky while studying the tonal relationships in the scene, under the prevailing continuous lighting. Most cameras also have the ability to change the contrast or the highlight and shadow density - pushing these settings to extremes to deliver a very high contrast mono rendering in the EVF or LCD helps really separate tone and see things like form and negative space.

Some cameras with an EVF have offset eyecups that make it easy to view the EVF with the dominant eye and view the scene directly with the other eye - you can get a read on the scene with the abstract EVF image and read the color from the scene simultaneously with the other eye, bouncing back and forth between the two views. Not only does this process help me perceive the scene in a more abstract way, it also encourages me to focus on my pre-visualization of the final image.

Of course, with the raw file simultaneously recorded, you capture the full color data that you can convert, however you see fit, in post.

Kirk Thibault

On Feb 25, 2020, at 4:42 PM, Henry Davis <davishr@bellsouth.net> wrote:

I think you're on it, George. Dan's example in this exercise seems to
be exactly like the mirror - only different.

In the past, especially when I was unsure, I would make a copy and
convert it to greyscale and study that for a while. I think I'll
revisit that, maybe keep a greyscale handy as a reference for a color
project.

Dan said a long time ago that people ought to focus on learning how to
produce good greyscale images. There was more to it than that but
that was the advice in a nutshell. Without color you're forced into a
more careful analysis of light, dark and in between.

Henry Davis

On Feb 25, 2020, at 1:32 PM, George Machen wrote:
TRIMMED