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Re: Unsharp mask was Re: filmscanners: Getting started question

----- Original Message -----
From: rafeb <rafeb@channel1.com>

> At 01:11 PM 7/16/01 -0400, Dave King wrote:
> >I disagree with him (Margulis) on one point however, and I consider
> >myself a color balance freak.  Why?  In an "average" color
> >global color contrast is maximized at one point only -- the most
> >"accurate" color balance possible for that scene.  I just don't see
> >how one can get there working by the numbers only (unless one also
> >wants to make prints by the iterative "hard" proofing process), but
> >do see how one can get there on a properly color calibrated system.
> >Or at least much closer.  I would guess it's 80% vs 95%.  There's
> >substitute for *looking* at actual color when judging this (that
> >presently aware of).  The most accomplished fine art color
> >photographers also making digital prints would seem to agree
> >by their approaches.
> Early on in Professional Photoshop (v.4 -- the one I
> read, way back) Dan explains how he had a color-blind
> friend doing color corrections, using the basic
> principles/goals that he outlines.  This friend
> made a few errors, but in fact most of his corrections
> yielded beautiful results, which do appear in the book.
> Dan insists that you could use a monochrome monitor
> to do color corrections.  Now, I admit I haven't
> tried that.  But it is quite a provocative claim,
> and follows logically from Dan's numerical approach.

I don't find this assertion provocative at all, because I've proven to
my own satisfaction this approach works well enough for general
quality publication work.  Some scenes are corrected to almost 100%
accuracy by the numbers, but most are not in my experience.

> I don't remember Dan using the word "accuracy" anywhere
> in that book.  Ie., color accuracy, per se, isn't held
> up as a major goal.  Speaking for myself: my goal is to
> produce pleasing, believable photographs, of subjects
> I've chosen.  Matching colors to Pantone swatches is
> nowhere on my list of priorities.
> In this regard, I reserve for my own color work the
> freedom that BW photographers enjoy, where nobody
> argues about the "accuracy" of the rendition.  It's
> inherently subjective.
> So, maybe it's not for everybody.  If you have clients
> with specific demands for color accuracy, you may need to
> go with the more mainstream, ICC-sanctioned methods.
> rafe b.

I don't match swatches either.  I have matched paintings critically on
occasion however, and found it quite instructive.  There is such a
thing as accuracy in color photography, but you can choose to ignore
it if you like, and probably be none the worse for it if you're doing
creative work to please yourself.

But, consider a few things...  Contrast determines form, and there are
only two types, tonal and color.  Color contrast becomes progressively
compressed as you move away from the most "accurate" balance possible
under the circumstances.  It's going toward and eventually ending in
monochrome.  If you're essentially a "colorist" in your approach to
composition, "inaccurate" color in photography may not be a good
thing.  Or it may not matter, or inaccurate balances may work better,
depending on intent.  But the point is, it's not a bad thing to have
full control over the aesthetics of color in composition.  I would
argue this is only possible (in a practical sense) by direct viewing,
because color interactions can be pretty subtle and still be quite
important.  Until digital allowed effective color management this
level of visual aesthetic control was only possible by the iterative
print process.  Digital editing and accurate displays speed up the
process considerably, and allow decisions that arguably wouldn't be
possible otherwise.



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