Help me color balance this image

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by conrad_hoffman, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. A bit of background- this is part of a panorama. The building only gets sun late in the day. The light is more yellow than golden. The sky is always hazy but I helped(?) it a bit with a polarizer. Not sure if that was a mistake. The snow reflects the blue of the sky. The sign is pure white, but the front of the building is a yellowish off-white. IMO, the whole thing is just not pleasing no matter what I've done with it. This is untouched as-is out of the camera and I think it should look better even at this stage. Looking for how others might handle it. Have a go!

  2. SCL


    That was simple just a white eyedropper on the sign using levels Untitled.jpg
  3. The eyedropper and remove all yellow.
  4. 1551161_a50929eafdc183037eced33f6d3b2da0.jpg
    Keeping in mind that “pleasing” is in the eye of the beholder, here’s what I did in Lightroom to make it pleasing to me:
    1. I created a version that was white-balanced on the sign, and a second that was white-balanced on the snow; these gave me an idea of how much room was available to experiment with
    2. I created a third version that was white-balanced on the sign, giving a +9 temp and +11 tint, and I then increased the temp slightly more to +14, just to increase the warmth of the building front
    3. I added a graduated filter to the sky to cool it back down (-14 temp, -9 tint)
    4. I used an adjustment brush to cool the snow back down, but not as much as the sky (-6 temp, -6 tint)
    5. The image contrast was lower than I liked, so I messed with the histogram using the sliders: I increased whites to +58 to pull the right leg of the histogram to white, and I reduced highlights to -68 to stretch out the righthand histogram limb
  5. First things first. You have a raw or a 'baked' JPEG?
  6. Leslie, that is brilliant! I had done the simple balance on the white sign, which is also why I chose this frame to post. I just didn't like the bluish snow or the front of the building, which you've made look very good. When I made those things look better I didn't like the sky. Have to do more with graduated filters. Thanks!

    It is the jpeg, but I also have the raw to work with. I wanted to assemble the thing with 16 bit files and wider gamut, but I'm not sure this image contains anything that would challenge a jpeg.
    Leslie Reid likes this.
  7. Then you absolutely want to be dealing with WB on that, in a good raw processor. There is only so much you can 'fix' in a baked, rendered JPEG. The raw isn't the case whatsoever, WB has zero effect on the raw data.
    gordonjb likes this.
  8. The eye is generally more accepting of a warm (yellow/red) cast than a cool (blue) one, especially if flesh tones are involved. Green casts are a definite no-no whatever the subject.

    Anyhow. The main fault with the posted image is underexposure. Using the curves tool in the simple editor on my smartphone, I lowered the white-point and added a slight 'S' shape to the RGB curve to add some contrast. I also moved the Blue and Green shadow points more to the right to take some blue out of the snow.
    GIMP or PS would have given much better control of the curves, but the main issue of underexposure and lack of contrast has been dealt with.
  9. It is? You can post the raw the OP said exists so we can examine the raw Histogram which would tell us about the actual exposure of the data?
    Maybe you mean, the image isn't bright enough. That's not exposure of course.
  10. My 3rd world upload speed isn't suited to the raw, but in the raw the green channel of the white sign is just barely maxed out in some areas, as are a couple small bright spots at the edge of the snow. That would be about as much exposure as I'd want to give it; I almost always look at the histogram in the camera and adjust accordingly when shooting. I've gotten some good ideas here to get the image looking the way I want, even though the original scene was a bit drab. I do need to re-evaluate my camera jpeg settings though, as the un-tweaked results are pretty lousy. Thanks!
  11. The camera Histogram is the JPEG not a raw Histogram. You can only evaluate exposure of a raw by viewing a raw Histogram using something like RawDigger. You can download a demo or if you find a way to upload (Dropbox?) I can do this for you. RawDigger
    Exposure for RAW vs. Exposure for JPEG
  12. Here's the histogram of Conrad's original posting:
    And the histogram of Leslie's manipulation that Conrad likes:
    The fact that Conrad's histogram is shifted well to the left would seem to indicate underexposure to any right-thinking person.
  13. It's not a raw Histogram so it tells us NOTHING ABOUT EXPOSURE! Do you understand what exposure is? Shutter and aperture solely at capture. A rendered JPEG or a Histogram in a raw converter of a current rendering is NOT a raw Histogram and tells us NOTHING about exposure.
    You are confused between brightness or lack of it in a rendered image and exposure.
  14. Any right thinking person would understand these facts and not continue to post assumptions about exposure!
    .... Or Color targets
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  15. I honestly didnt found any sever WB issues with the OP image. What it lacked was a lot of contrast.

  16. Wrong on so many levels....
    digitaldog likes this.
  17. Indeed, if we move away from exposure assumptions to original RGB values from the OP's JPEG, examine the white of the building's sign, (untagged, I assigned sRGB) and more importantly the Lab values, they are pretty darn close to neutral with a 3x3 sampling (-2 aStar, Zero bStar). 232/237/235 sRGB.
  18. Learn something every day- I didn't realize the camera histogram was tied to the jpeg image. Thanks.
  19. Not just the Histogram, the white balance, the clipping, virtually everything you see on the LCD is a reflection of the JPEG, not the raw. Doesn’t matter what you set for WB if you shoot raw. Doesn't matter what picture style you set; doesn't affect the raw. Exposure (which is again, the sole attribute of how much light (photons) strike the sensor) is aperture and shutter speed. The only way to know about the exposure of raw is to view the actual raw Histogram and too few products provide this. Not raw converters but RawDigger and Fast RawViewer do.
  20. I realized that most everything else was independent of the raw, it just seemed sensible that the histogram and exposure would be tied directly to the sensor data. That said, for all the disrespect given to jpegs, they serve me well for most things I shoot. I'm no artist; most of what I shoot is documentation and catalog type stuff.

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