Light Sources and Color Management (Part Two)

June 20, 2012

In my previous post I argued that your light source dictates the range of color you have to work with.  The simplest way to prove that is to show you, so I’m using a tool called ColorThink, which maps the colors in an image on a conventional gamut map.

I shot a ColorChecker under mixed lighting with North light and tungsten, as I would a painting in my client’s studio.  I also shot it under so-called “full-spectrum” fluorescent.  Here’s how they compare:

Think “boxes of crayons” here.  These gamut maps show how many crayons you have to work with after all’s said and done, once the file is processed and in Photoshop format.  Even with the small range of 24 color patches in the ColorChecker you can see that “full spectrum fluorescent” doesn’t give you as many colors to work with as daylight, or daylight with tungsten.

Imagine what this would look like when you’re looking at the full range of colors in a painting.

These were shot RAW, processed in Adobe Camera Raw using the X-Rite Passport profiling system to achieve optimal color rendering.  They were shot with the Nikon D5000 and the 55mm Micro Nikkor 3.5.

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