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Thread: White balance card - do I need to be shooting in RAW?

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    White balance card - do I need to be shooting in RAW?

    Do you have to be shooting in RAW to use a whibal card?

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    Do you have to be shooting in RAW to use a whibal card?
    In a word no.

    Getting accurate colours really comes down to (essentially) 2 things:

    1. Having an accurate spectrally neutral reference (ie something like a whibal card), and

    2. Having software that can make the necessary correction.

    By far the easiest way that I know of is to use the white balance tool in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) which (as of CS3 version & above) can handle both RAW & JPEG images.

    However, if your having to make big corrections then doing it in RAW will result in less image damage.

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    Re: Raw

    Can I do the corrections in PSE6?

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    Can I do the corrections in PSE6?
    Hi Heather,

    PSE6 uses ACR for RAW conversion, so it should have a white-balance eye dropper tool for white balancing RAW files, but I'm not sure if it can process JPEG files (in ACR) like the CS3 and CS4 versions can, although Dave (or someone else) could probably answer that.

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    Re: Raw

    Thanks Colin.

    Seems like you are always there for a timely answer

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    PSE6 uses ACR for RAW conversion, so it should have a white-balance eye dropper tool for white balancing RAW files, but I'm not sure if it can process JPEG files (in ACR) like the CS3 and CS4 versions can, although Dave (or someone else) could probably answer that.
    I have to say I haven't found a way, I don't think Windows knows about ACR, it is just something PSE calls when it encounters a RAW format file, a bit like a plug-in.

    You can do eye dropper WB correction in PSE though; from menu bar; Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color Cast

    On a jpg, I don't think it will make much difference from ACR method quality wise, although you have more control in ACR (from memory), the PSE method is more of a one-click solution - but you can Reset if you don't get it right first go.

    I must get myself one of those things (a WhiBal card I mean), but I can't decide on keyring size or next size up

    Cheers,

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I have to say I haven't found a way, I don't think Windows knows about ACR, it is just something PSE calls when it encounters a RAW format file, a bit like a plug-in.
    Hi Dave,

    On CS3 (and presumably above) there is a setting in preferences that basically says "Prefer ACR for JPEG images" - I take it that PSE doesn't have this?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Raw

    No, don't think so, this is the closest I got was this;

    White balance card - do I need to be shooting in RAW?

    I'm sure if I had it, it would be here.


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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    Thanks Colin.

    Seems like you are always there for a timely answer
    Thanks Heather - I try

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post

    I must get myself one of those things (a WhiBal card I mean), but I can't decide on keyring size or next size up
    Mine is about the size of a postcard. I imagine that the small version could be a bit marginal with a wide-angle lens from a distance.

    You didn't hear this from me, but I've heard that a white coffee filter can be used in a similar fashion

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I have to say I haven't found a way, I don't think Windows knows about ACR, it is just something PSE calls when it encounters a RAW format file, a bit like a plug-in.

    You can do eye dropper WB correction in PSE though; from menu bar; Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color Cast

    On a jpg, I don't think it will make much difference from ACR method quality wise, although you have more control in ACR (from memory), the PSE method is more of a one-click solution - but you can Reset if you don't get it right first go.

    I must get myself one of those things (a WhiBal card I mean), but I can't decide on keyring size or next size up

    Cheers,
    So....How would I use the whibal card in PSE6? I'm assuming I can if that's what you use and are also looking to purchase a whibal yourself? Is it because you shoot RAW?

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    Re: Raw

    White Balance.
    Processing raw files in PSE 7 allows you to change the white balance at will. Thus, I don,t think you have to worry about it too much in natural light. Mine is usually set to cloudy but I'm not sure that when one is shooting in raw format the setting makes any difference. When one is working in incandescent, flourescent or even low light it might require other considerations. Not too much experience in these areas.
    ATB Paul

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    So....How would I use the whibal card in PSE6? I'm assuming I can if that's what you use and are also looking to purchase a whibal yourself? Is it because you shoot RAW?
    Hi Heather,

    Good question!

    If your shooting RAW then it's easy to include a Whibal card in one of the shots - click on the card in the RAW converter with the white balance tool - not the colour temperature and tint - and then manually or automatically apply these to all other images taken in that same lighting.

    But - if it's a JPEG - and your processing it in PSE, I'm not sure what you'd do as (going by what Dave was saying) it's easy to correct the image with the Whibal card in it, but I don't know how one would apply that to other images in the series.

    Perhaps the best answer is to always shoot RAW!

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    White Balance.
    Processing raw files in PSE 7 allows you to change the white balance at will. Thus, I don,t think you have to worry about it too much in natural light. Mine is usually set to cloudy but I'm not sure that when one is shooting in raw format the setting makes any difference. When one is working in incandescent, flourescent or even low light it might require other considerations. Not too much experience in these areas.
    ATB Paul
    Hi Paul,

    As you say, if you shoot RAW then you can change the white balance at will - the trick is knowing what to change it to, and that's where the likes of the Whibal card comes in, as it gives you a definitive spectrally neutral reference.

    It is possible to adjust it based on the "Mk. 1 Eyeball", but it's often quite inaccurate - I tested this with a collegue who shoots weddings; I gave him an image of me (poor chap) with the WB mucked up, and asked him to adjust the WB so that the skin tones looked as close as possible - he did his best job and then we compared it to one where a Whibal card had been used as a reference. He was close, but not that close -- the Whibal reference did a much better job.

    If your shooting outside with your WB set to cloudy then the accuracy of the colours is directly proportional to how far the current colour temperature varies from around 6000K - most often it's probably quite close enough for family snaps - but I wouldn't rely on it for professional work. Towards the end of the day it'll be a long way out.

    BTW, if you have your camera set to cloudy and shoot RAW it doesn't change the colour temp of the capture (it can't - a RAW file doesn't have any temperature), but it does pass along the selected mode as one of the Metadata tags, and then it's up to the processing program to either use it or ignore it. ACR uses it as the "as shot" starting point.

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    Re: Raw

    Colin, thanx for your usual informative reply. Until today I did not know there was such a thing as whbal card. I can guess what it is but how does one use it? Before taking the picture or during post processing? I guess they are obtainable from most photo shops. Is there a reference to them in the tutorials? If not, I will search out some how-to.
    ATB Paul

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    Re: Raw

    Instead of a White Balance card, I have a X-Rite ColorChecker which has 24 squares consisting of Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow primaries, 6 neutral squares ranging from White, through Greys, to Black, and 12 squares of common object hues.

    Here is the X-Rite web site.

    The ColorChecker is available in two sizes, Classic (8.25 x 11 in.) and Mini (2.25 x 3.25 in).

    X-Rite has a great Flash video explaining the ColorChecker, a White Balance Card, a Grey Scale Balance Card and their Digital ColorChecker SG plus demos how their used:

    ColorChecker Flash Video

    Even if you go with a White or Grey card, the use will be the same as shown on the ColorChecker video.

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Colin, thanx for your usual informative reply. Until today I did not know there was such a thing as whbal card. I can guess what it is but how does one use it? Before taking the picture or during post processing? I guess they are obtainable from most photo shops. Is there a reference to them in the tutorials? If not, I will search out some how-to.
    ATB Paul
    Hi Paul,

    You just include it in one of the shots and then in post processing you can use the white balance tool to correctly white balance the "test shot" (thus giving you accurate colour temperature information) which can then be applied to all of the "real" shots automatically.

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    Instead of a White Balance card, I have a X-Rite ColorChecker which has 24 squares consisting of Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow primaries, 6 neutral squares ranging from White, through Greys, to Black, and 12 squares of common object hues.
    I might add that for white balancing these are very good too (so long as you can see the appropriate squares which isn't normally an issue, unless you're using a very wide-angle lens and shooting the test shot from a distance).

    The "forte" of the X-Rite 24 patch card (aka GretagMacbeth colour checker) is that it's also great for checking exposure and colour accuracy (I use both the 24 and 115 patch versions).

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    Re: Raw

    Am I not also right in thinking you could snap the WhiBal card and use it to set the DSLRs Custom WB?

    Admittedly there is very little point if shooting RAW; it will get the Meta set WB correct for you, potentially removing a step in PP.
    It might be a better bet for the jpg shooters though.

    That said, I shoot RAW and leave the WB on Auto and tweak by eye in PP if no neutral grey or white object is in shot to use the eye dropper on. not ideal, hence the intention to get a card.

    Cheers to all,

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    Re: Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Perhaps the best answer is to always shoot RAW!
    I have a Canon rebel xs. Shooting raw can only be done in fully manual mode, correct? Not quite sure I am ready for that

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