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Thread: Getting skintones right

  1. #1

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    Getting skintones right

    PP is not my favorite sport but we'll skip that for now and ask what's the preferred way to get skin tones right in post?

    My method is, with jpegs, using the Smugmug guide. However does anyone have a particular accurate way to cover all skin tones from raw? By numbers I mean as my eyes arn't too good and cannot be trusted to 'look right' on screen.

    My dance school classes have come out very good using the above and I didn't really get the same quick fix in Canon's DPP. (under flouros).

    DPP and CS2 is all I have.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Getting skintones right

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    (under flouros)
    That quite possibly is your problem. Fluoros, especially the cool white type are deficient in the red end of the spectrum and give absolutely horrible skin tones.

    If you are concerned about getting the colours right; include a test target in your shot to allow you ensure that your colour balance is correct. There are a number of different models on the market, from a fairly basic grey card to a more sophisticated x-rite color checker passport. As long as you have the target in the same lighting conditions as your subject, you can quite easily use it to remove colour casts.

    I don't remember CS2's implementation of ACR, but the newer versions let you do a simple click with the eyedropper tool on the target and the colour casts are removed.

    Doing it by formula also works, as per your Smugmug example.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 5th June 2013 at 04:19 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Getting skintones right

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post

    If you are concerned about getting the colours right; include a test target in your shot to allow you ensure that your colour balance is correct. There are a number of different models on the market, from a fairly basic grey card to a more sophisticated x-rite color checker passport. As long as you have the target in the same lighting conditions as your subject, you can quite easily use it to remove colour casts.
    Unfortunately not because flouros cycle and if the test shot with the target is in the picture then taken away then the cycle of the flouros won't match the other photos. Did a custom white balance and it didn't work for that reason



    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Doing it by formula also works, as per your Smugmug example.
    However this doesn't work in raw with Canon DPP as far as I can see.

    The white balance target I considered has to be at head height to the pupils so this rules out cropping a target out as I considered this as I have several white balance aids already.

    Ideally I need a formula to do this from the raw file for flouros otherwise I might just as well stick with jpegs.

  4. #4
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Getting skintones right

    I think you missed the point about fluros - you need to shoot flash or some other light source with fluros because the skin colour is so awful. Under certain types of fluro you will never get a good skin tone because they are deficient in reds and have a terrible green spike in the spectrum. Yes, they do cycle, and depending on the ballast design at least at twice the line frequency; which means in Europe you are going to have to shoot at 1/50s or below to get a couple of full cycles in; of course bringing your own light source fixes that quite nicely. More modern (electronic) ballasts cycle even faster, so less of a problem but they are still not necessarily going to give you a good skin tone.

    I don't know why you would crop out the target - you use the test shot, do the white balance correction in your RAW conversion there and then apply the same conversion to all the other shots taken under the same lighting conditions. I don't know DPP, but you say you have CS2 and it certainly works there using ACR to bring in your RAW files.

    As for a formula for fluros - no way it can be done; the problem is that each manufacturer uses there own blend of phosphors in the lamp and the spectrum for the same type of lighting type will vary from brand to brand. Even coming from the same manufacturer, they make a host of different types; cool white, warm white, daylight, etc. etc, and these too will use different phosphors giving off different spectrum of light. Add to this output variation as they age. Any bulb that is over 3 years old should be replaced, but they never are. They are absolutely the worst light to shoot under and even B&W conversions are not necessarily going to give pleasing results.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 6th June 2013 at 11:52 AM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Getting skintones right

    Thanks for that Manfred. I've had reasonable sucess in commercial premises with fluros but now I realise they'd be the modern anti-flicker type but this dance school room wouldn't have the same regulations applying hence they'll be domestic old type.

    Previously I've used portable flash but the installation of mirros lead to a test session with weird reflections so the colour balance seemed the easier solution at the time. Another lesson learned ...

    Oh, and for those who might be interested in Canon DPP there is the option to dial in numbers and 230 over 80 or 220 over 70 works very well. It's the button to the right of the eyedropper.

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