The process behind ACR generic camera profiles and color rendering

Hi,

 

I am interested to know the process behind camera profiles. A big priority for me is color output and throughout the years I have sometimes based my camera purchases almost entirely on color character. Unfortunately the only brand that seems somewhat consistent with their "look" is Fujifilm. I am a Canon-shooter and noticed that the output can be vastly different depending on sensor, year, model etc. Some have very vivid profiles (like the older canons) whereas newer ones have a more muted look with the same profiles in ACR (like 'Camera Standard' or 'Adobe Standard') 

So, is there some documentation to read about this? Or could you explain the process with camera profiling? I once used a Canon 70D and I loved its vivid "look" with the Camera Standard. I've been trying to match my existing models as close as possible with different profile editors but with no real luck. Yesterday I found a DCP tool to decompile a dcp profile, edit it and rename it as a camera model of your choice. So I took the 70D profile and forced it as 5DS in the model-tag and then compiled it back to a dcp profile. It did change the look in my 5DS files for sure. The rendering got a bit more vivid and tones overall more magenta which I like. 

I am sure this is not the proper way to go though. Do you have any other suggestions and more information on this topic? Is it even possible to make another Canon to look exactly like the 70D for example. Is it just the profile or does the CFA play a big role  here as well?

Thanks a lot.

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The process behind ACR generic camera profiles and color rendering

Hi,

 

I am interested to know the process behind camera profiles. A big priority for me is color output and throughout the years I have sometimes based my camera purchases almost entirely on color character. Unfortunately the only brand that seems somewhat consistent with their "look" is Fujifilm. I am a Canon-shooter and noticed that the output can be vastly different depending on sensor, year, model etc. Some have very vivid profiles (like the older canons) whereas newer ones have a more muted look with the same profiles in ACR (like 'Camera Standard' or 'Adobe Standard') 

So, is there some documentation to read about this? Or could you explain the process with camera profiling? I once used a Canon 70D and I loved its vivid "look" with the Camera Standard. I've been trying to match my existing models as close as possible with different profile editors but with no real luck. Yesterday I found a DCP tool to decompile a dcp profile, edit it and rename it as a camera model of your choice. So I took the 70D profile and forced it as 5DS in the model-tag and then compiled it back to a dcp profile. It did change the look in my 5DS files for sure. The rendering got a bit more vivid and tones overall more magenta which I like. 

I am sure this is not the proper way to go though. Do you have any other suggestions and more information on this topic? Is it even possible to make another Canon to look exactly like the 70D for example. Is it just the profile or does the CFA play a big role  here as well?

Thanks a lot.

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Correct Answer by gary_sc
Adobe Community Professional, Feb 26, 2019
Correct Answer by gary_sc
Adobe Community Professional, Feb 26, 2019

Hi hbengstsson,

You are very correct in your following statement:

"If you load two identical RAW images in LR - one from a 5D mark IV and one from 1D Mark IV. Use Adobe Standard. The color difference is massive. The 1D4 is way way more vivid and overall "better" looking - if one is looking for a pleasing result rather than technically correct. Most people prefer a pleasing look."

As I'm sure you've observed, nothing is stationary in the digital world. Even Adobe has changed things over the years with the always changing algorithms to how interpret a raw image and/or evolving from "Adobe Standard" to "Adobe Color." And, as you point out, the changes from the 1D4 to 5D IV, how things are interpreted are always changing.

So who's to say that the Fuji camera you buy today will be mirrored in the Fuji camera you buy 5 years from now?

My point is that you are far better off to use the Color Passport to get yourself to a solid registered Center and vary off of that to the look you prefer. The advantage you have here is that you now have a "look" that you wish to aim toward. A number of people flounder around wondering where their look will be.

Recently I discovered that the new "Dehaze" control does an amazing job of making colors "richer." That's the only way I can describe it. If you push it too much, it's yucky, but just a tad does wonderful things to my eyes. It's different than Clarity and it keeps you away from Saturation. Check it out if you haven't already.

I do wish to correct you on one point: What XRite is not doing is to set you to their recipe. Rather, it's calibrating a range of colors to a known set amount. This is no different than screen calibration. In either case, the software is setting each color so that the true "red" (256, 0, 0) will read and/or project the same "red" (not 250, 4, 2). What YOU do with that color is your business.

You can get little gadgets that help you tune your musical instrument. This gets you to a real established sound so that the "E" string is playing the same "E" note that everyone agrees upon. If you start doing a blues rift and sharpen that "E," that's fine. but you'll also be able to play with others around the sharper notes.

I go back to the concept that you should start from a standard, then finesse the colors and intensity to get the look you prefer, than save those as presets. That way you know you'll be getting accurate colors that have been finessed as opposed to some colors that will change as your camera changes and you have to start from scratch again.

Oh, and remember that camera sensors change over time as well. If you have any old cameras, please look at early photos against recent photos and dollars to donuts, some of the colors have drifted over time. Not all, and you may have to "pixel-ponder' to find them, but you'll find them. This is why you should calibrate your computer's monitor about once a month to catch that change before it's too obvious.

This has been a fun conversation, very interesting.

3 Replies

Re: The process behind ACR generic camera profiles and color rendering

Adobe Community Professional, Feb 25, 2019

Hi hbengstsson,

I have a couple of thoughts for you. First of all, how one looks at a photograph is 100% personal. What you want to see in an image is what YOU want to see. I have one friend who takes almost all of his photos and processes them into B&W because he feels that these are more real to him. I should add that he is a professional photographer.

When I started doing HDR some 10 years ago, I was aghast looking at the shockingly glaring halo-induced, oversaturated monstrosities found on the web.

That said, if you like the color out of Fuji cameras, enjoy. [And I do not  disagree with you here. Back in the days of film I found that Kodak tended to enhance browns so that I loved the way it showed desert scenes while FujiFilm tended to enhance blues and greens so if I was taking photos of a forest I always took FujiFilm.]

One thing I can suggest is that you start from a solid base with your camera's color. Like you said, EVERY camera has it's own nuances with color. Not just models and/or years, EVERY camera. One way to get past that is to get yourself the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport:

ColorChecker® Passport Photo; X-Rite

This is beyond just a grey card to get rid of colorcasts, rather this is used to fine-tune the way that YOUR camera senses color. I currently use a Canon 7Dm2 and like all cameras that I've had, it tends to distort blue colors and renders them "off." By taking a photo of the Passport and letting X-Rite's software convert what it senses the camera saw versus what it was supposed to have seen, you get a more accurate correction for what the camera saw. [There should be one for shade, one for direct light, and when shooting in unique lighting where it's important.]

At that point you can easily create and save some profiles to get what you want

Hopefully this gives you some thoughts to mull on.

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Re: The process behind ACR generic camera profiles and color rendering

Thank you Gary for taking the time to write in this thread and share your thoughts - both in general regarding color rendition and also in particular regarding the colorchecker.

While I do agree that the colorchecker is a good tool (I own the passport and use it sometimes), it is not really what I meant. The colorchecker is used to calibrate a profile in different lighting. Of course you can also use it to create a regular daylight profile but still - it gives you a specific profile look according to Xrites receipe. That is not what I am after.

I am talking about Adobes and Canons own profiles and 70D in partucular. Also how Adobe (and Canon of course) treat different sensors and if there's an offical process when they determine which camera that should have a certain look. If you load two identical RAW images in LR - one from a 5D mark IV and one from 1D Mark IV. Use Adobe Standard. The color difference is massive. The 1D4 is way way more vivid and overall "better" looking - if one is looking for a pleasing result rather than technically correct. Most people prefer a pleasing look.

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Re: The process behind ACR generic camera profiles and color rendering

Correct Answer by gary_sc
Adobe Community Professional, Feb 26, 2019

Hi hbengstsson,

You are very correct in your following statement:

"If you load two identical RAW images in LR - one from a 5D mark IV and one from 1D Mark IV. Use Adobe Standard. The color difference is massive. The 1D4 is way way more vivid and overall "better" looking - if one is looking for a pleasing result rather than technically correct. Most people prefer a pleasing look."

As I'm sure you've observed, nothing is stationary in the digital world. Even Adobe has changed things over the years with the always changing algorithms to how interpret a raw image and/or evolving from "Adobe Standard" to "Adobe Color." And, as you point out, the changes from the 1D4 to 5D IV, how things are interpreted are always changing.

So who's to say that the Fuji camera you buy today will be mirrored in the Fuji camera you buy 5 years from now?

My point is that you are far better off to use the Color Passport to get yourself to a solid registered Center and vary off of that to the look you prefer. The advantage you have here is that you now have a "look" that you wish to aim toward. A number of people flounder around wondering where their look will be.

Recently I discovered that the new "Dehaze" control does an amazing job of making colors "richer." That's the only way I can describe it. If you push it too much, it's yucky, but just a tad does wonderful things to my eyes. It's different than Clarity and it keeps you away from Saturation. Check it out if you haven't already.

I do wish to correct you on one point: What XRite is not doing is to set you to their recipe. Rather, it's calibrating a range of colors to a known set amount. This is no different than screen calibration. In either case, the software is setting each color so that the true "red" (256, 0, 0) will read and/or project the same "red" (not 250, 4, 2). What YOU do with that color is your business.

You can get little gadgets that help you tune your musical instrument. This gets you to a real established sound so that the "E" string is playing the same "E" note that everyone agrees upon. If you start doing a blues rift and sharpen that "E," that's fine. but you'll also be able to play with others around the sharper notes.

I go back to the concept that you should start from a standard, then finesse the colors and intensity to get the look you prefer, than save those as presets. That way you know you'll be getting accurate colors that have been finessed as opposed to some colors that will change as your camera changes and you have to start from scratch again.

Oh, and remember that camera sensors change over time as well. If you have any old cameras, please look at early photos against recent photos and dollars to donuts, some of the colors have drifted over time. Not all, and you may have to "pixel-ponder' to find them, but you'll find them. This is why you should calibrate your computer's monitor about once a month to catch that change before it's too obvious.

This has been a fun conversation, very interesting.

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