I am color blind ... suggestions?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jmontgomery, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. I am red-green color blind and have known this for a long time. I
    am not totally color blind but I will fail all but 1 of 5 of the
    Ishihara dot charts. (Of course, I remember my draft physical in
    the 60's when they just showed me a traffic light ... but that is
    another story!) Interesting thing is that I really don't realize
    this in much of my landscape photography ... but this may be the
    reason I love the blues from beach shots, etc.

    <p>So my question ... I have calibrated my Nikon scanner with
    purchased calibrated slides and use Vuescan to incorporate this
    information. I need to step up with a measured monitor calibration
    and am looking for some suggestions on mid-range equipment to let me
    over that hurdle and not just rely on Adobe Gamma. I have an Epson
    2200 and I use the latest profiles for the Epson papers that I use.

    <p>Now the more philosophical question ... other suggestions for
    someone red-green color blind + so that my color shots look faithful
    to others who are not color blind. I am assuming that if I have
    good color management and don't mess with the color (only contrast,
    curves, etc.) that I will do the best I can. I normally don't shoot
    a grey card or other standard color targets ... but with a grey card
    I can at least do a 3-point match (I just don't know how reliant I
    can be on this process?)

    <p>I really don't want to work in B&W ... Suggestions for minimizing
    issues with my perceptions of reality???

    <p>Thanks for your help :)
  2. First things first. It is extremely unlikely that you are actually red-green colorblind. You can probably see some red and some green. Just not as much as other people. It would be better to say that you are red-green deficient, and explain it as having a restricted color gamut. Because that's what it actually is.
    Now, just because you are shooting tranny film doesn't mean the color will be right. The only way to guarantee correct color from a tranny film is to shoot it in the studio where you can match the lighting exactly to the requirements of the film. If you do that, then you actually can have something close to WYSIWYG. Scan that on an ICC profiled scanner, and the image file in Photoshop will be very close to correct.
    If you shoot outdoors where you can't control the color of the light, all bets are off. That is, if your light measures 14,000K, your tranny is going to have a blue cast. You can read about this in detail; Charles Cramer's article in the lastest View Camera covers this explicitly.
    The easy way out for you, I think, is to include at least one neutral gray card in the scene. Then color balance by the numbers, not by what you see. That is, adjust the color balance so that sampling the color of the gray card gives the same value on all three color channels (like 60,60,60 or 196,196,196). If your gray is actually gray, then the rest will be close. You can cheat a bit - white clouds, gray granite, gray weathered fence post or downed tree, concrete block, and many more can be used as being very close to gray.
    Finally, color vision is tricky. What I see and what someone else sees can be different. I have "perfect" color vision by the tests, yet one eye sees considerably more blue that the other (about 20CC more). What I'm saying is that I wouldn't loose too much sleep over the idea of making your work "look faithful to others" because that's likely not even possible.
  3. The book "Professional Photoshop" by Dan Margulis has an extensive discussion about doing color correction by the numbers, including teaching a color blind individual to do color correction.
  4. <p>I'm colorblind too.
    <p>Still I love color photography and I am very uncomfortable with B&W. Well, I enjoy B&W
    when done by others but, as a medium, I find it very difficult to work with. So when,
    thanks to digital, I became the lab, I had to learn to color-correct.
    <p>I have calibrated my screen with a spyder. Don't bother with Adobe Gamma, people
    with perfect color vision find it difficult to use, how could it work for us?
    <p>I set in place learned a very strict procedure to get proper white balance using a
    neutral target
    (I originally used a grey card, now I use a WhiBal). The white balance is critical because it
    gives correct colors for more than 80% of the images.
    <p>Furthermore I know it is very difficult for me to rely on eye judgment: I will see a huge
    shift but I will miss subtleties... that (apparently :) others see. Using a neutral
    target, neatly solves the issue, except when there are several light sources or a patch of
    color that gets reflected.
    <p>I see that you are scanning so I imagine you use film. I shoot digital which I find more
    convenient for color correction but you can still use a neutral target
    and correct with curves, similar to white balancing JPEGs really.
    <p>Next, and equally importantly, I learned to use the eyedropper to evaluate the colors
    in an image. With practice, I got pretty good at this and now I often "see" with my
    eyedropper color shifts that my girlfriend (who is not color-blind) does not see or find so
    tiny that it does not bother her. I advise you learn this.
    <p>Best of all, after more than 4 years of eyedropping, I have improved my vision. I now
    see color nuances that I believe I would not have seen in the past.
    <p>A word of warning against a very tricky issue (for us, color-blind people): applying
    contrast in Photoshop changes the color balance. For most contrast changes, it does not
    matter but if you need to apply severe contrast, take the eyedropper and check your
    image. It might have shifted.
    <p>Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions and please share your experience. I'd
    love to hear from a fellow color blind photographer.
  5. I'm also color blind. Perhaps this thread will help us all find each other?

    When I first got into Photoshop and started doing my own printing, I was frustrated to the point of thinking that my color vision problem would be insurmountable. Several things have helped enormously, and I've become much more aware of color differences than ever before. The first was taking a photography class and getting my prints critiqued by an expert printer who could tell me what was wrong with the color and saturation and offer suggestions on possible fixes.

    My wife, who is an artist with excellent color vision, would look at one of my prints and immediately see a color cast that I couldn't. After a lot of wasted time, ink, and paper, I can now usually rely on myself to spot a color cast in a print by looking at it in extremely bright daylight coming through a window. At night I use my 5000K light box, mounted upside-down above my work table, as a viewing light. I also use the Kodak color print viewing filter kit; comparisons are of course much easier to make than absolute judgements. I've got to say that learning to see what I didn't know was there took about a year. I still don't *always* get it right, though, and always check with my wife before making an important print of a new image.

    After a couple of years of scanning film (a.k.a torture for the color blind), I now shoot digital and always in RAW. Almost all my photography is outdoors, and what I shoot doesn't usually lend itself to setting up a gray card. I look for neutrals in the scenes I'm shooting and make a mental note so that I'll know what to look for in the image when I get home. I know that certain colors fool me no matter what I do, so if it's something like gray rock, I'll check with whoever is with me just to be sure. Some things are reliably neutral: foamy white in moving water, raw concrete, chrome, a white shirt, etc.
    The Adobe Raw Converter eyedropper is my best color correction tool. It usually takes just a few sampling clicks to get white balance right. My monitor is calibrated with a Spyder, and I use Epson's profiles (slightly tweaked) with the 2200 printer.

    I have fantasies about doing photography that would show the rest of the world how it really looks!
  6. I've been out to dinner and Home Depot ... opened up the thread ... and WOW! This is encouraging! Of course, I know that I am really 'shade blind' as the slang goes. But I have been known to show my wife a print and have her tell me that it has a color cast that I didn't realize.

    <p>I have certainly used the eyedropper in PS on neutral parts of the shot, but I am assuming that a 3-point match with a black-grey-white scale would improve this even more. The only issue is making sure that the card is in the same light as the composition. I would assume that I would want to shoot with the target in the same generally lighting to get the best. Also ... I assume this is not perfect. If I am shooting in late / early light, the color temp is already off and the white is really seen differently and so I am assuming that in this case I would only do a black or grey match and not white to keep the magic glow?

    <p>Thanks for the help :)
  7. Bruce & John ... thanks for the reading suggestions, I will definitely followup with this reading :)
  8. Vuescan also has the ability to make film profiles using a camera target. This way you can take a picture of an IT8 camera target (Wolf Faust sells these too) under a particular light use it to correct the color for all other shots under the same light. Last time I tried it though it tended to clicp my contrast as well, but there have been improvements since my target melted in the back of my car.
  9. see your optometrist about being fitted with an X-chrome contact lens. This is a red contact
    lens which is only worn on one eye and helps the majority of red green deficient males see
    the more subtle shade of these colors. It will not help at all when you are doing monocular
    tasks, however.
  10. Color blind is a common term. Red / Green color blindness is most common. It is the majority of "color blind problems" ; something like 95 to 99 percent. Here one has problems in telling the difference in reds and greens. It is effects about 10 percent of males in the USA. The ratio varies with your background; ie your roots; where your folks came from. With females the ratio is 1/10 or less than males. It doesnt mean folks see in black and white! <BR><BR>As a printer; dealing with "color blind" artists is odd. They may zero in on a wacko odd hue; to please them. Knowning that your customer is color blind helps during the color and proofing process; and reduces the tension of turning out odd outputs. If you have an senstitive color blind artist bring in wild pastel artwork; be prepared for filling the trash can with duds. This can be challenging; and is often a losing game as far as making money. <BR><BR>Having known grey and white objects as references helps with color contorol and matching.<BR><BR>In small midwest towns; be carefull. The red and green traffic light positions were not standardized until the 1930's?. Several of my friends in college were "red green" color blind; and several times we got almost rear ended when in small towns; where the lights were reversed. The old green lights that are abit lime colored are the ones that use to fake off my color blind friends. With a 1920's traffic signal; the lights are often reversed; and the lime on appears as a red.
  11. Color blind folks can sometimes see a difference in color of an object, color photo, color painting, or clothes; that a NON color blind person CANNOT see. One must be carefull if one is NOT color blind; and assume the color blind person is bonkers! IF the materials are non common; then these things happen abit more. With artists that use a mix of material types and brands to create their masterpiece is where I have seen this is happen the most. The may point to two areas that appear different; that we non color blind see as the same color.
  12. This thread is a lot of fun. Mel your post is fantastic: it's good to share experience. The light box sounds interesting. I use a "daylight color" lamp but it is very difficult to work with compared with sunlight. Could you please provide references for the light box you use? How does it work?
    Almost all my photography is outdoors, and what I shoot doesn't usually lend itself to setting up a gray card.
    I am not suggesting that you have to change a procedure that works for you but I have found that landscape is one of the best subject for gray cards. I started using gray cards with landscape and only later learned how to use them in portraiture (more tricky IMHO).
    With landscape the color temperature is more or less identical where you stand compared to the subject so you can grab a frame with the target in your hands. You do this before, after or the in middle of your regular shooting, since it's only one frame. I like to setup the camera on the tripod and move in front with the WhiBal. I like to see my real shoot in the background so I can match the target to the subject but that's a matter of personal preferences.
    If I stay more than an hour, I grab another WhiBal to compensate for differences in lighting.
    At home, you load the target shoot, get the color balance right and just copy the settings to the other photos. Specifically you don't need to include the target in every shoot. CS2 offers a convenient setting copy.
    There are two benefits to using a WhiBal over using neutrals in the scene: you know it's neutral, no risk of color-correcting against non-neutral object and it guarantees that there will be something neutral to color correct against.
  13. I would assume that I would want to shoot with the target in the same generally lighting to get the best.
    Yes. There are special cases like a colored background that reflects on the subject, etc. but the general procedure is one frame with the target in a similar lighting.
    If I am shooting in late / early light, the color temp is already off and the white is really seen differently and so I am assuming that in this case I would only do a black or grey match and not white to keep the magic glow?
    If you want the magic glow, then don't color correct :) Just set the white balance to standard daylight value and you're done. If you want only some of the magic glow or you want to increase the effect, measure against the target, compute how much correction is needed and apply a certain percentage of the correction. Over time you'll learn to do it by sight only (the first time I got the magic glow right by sight was a huge achievement for me).
    Note that you don't color-correct against the white card. The white card is to set your highlights (and, in my experience, with the WhiBal the white is only white enough for landscape), the black card is for the shadows. You color correct against the gray card.
    What you are trying to measure is the color cast. A neutral target will reflect light evenly across the entire light spectrum so you can measure the cast.
    There are two problems with using a white target: (1) it is difficult to manufacture totally neutral white, oftentimes brightening agents are used which will throw the color balance off and (2) since the values are nearly clipping you are not taking as reliable a measurement as possible.
    Ideally you color correct on a white card only if the image is severely underexposed (which is not ideal anyway :).
    Since you're looking for books, I can recommend Professional digital photography, the book that taught me how to use the eyedropper. It does not deal with color blindness per se but offers a lot of information on color.
  14. You've brought up a good question with the color correction using the neutral grey. So once you've done that are we using the black and white to adjust the dynamic range (only) and not color?

    <p>I have just reinstalled from scratch my OS and all my applications (including PS-CS) after having lost my HD (with backups -- but compounded by having Linux partitions I wanted to save as well ...). Last night I was finally scanning after having been down for more than a month and I started playing with the eyedropper. I have used this in the past primarily to look at dynamic range and very little for color cast. I was looking at a number of scans from Velvia 50 that were shot with longer exposures and seeing if I could 'see' the film color cast with the eyedropper ... and this does indeed seem to be a useful tool. I guess the issue is like you say ... if I want a color cast, well then I am back into virgin territory and I guess using a combination of the eyedropper and my own eyes to 'see' ... maybe ask my wife or others.

    <p>I did order the hardware (a MacBeth ...) for calibrating my monitor. This is probably overdue. I'll be interested to install this on Tues/Wed when I get it (isn't the Internet wonderful!).

    <p>BTW ... my motivation for starting this thread was a visit to the local bookstore. I finally bought a copy of Fraser, et al's book on Color Management. This just emphasized the need for me to improve my overall color management ... and to do my best to minimize the effects of red-green color blindness.

    <p>Thanks for the continued suggestions, I am finding this exchange very helpful ... and comforting that I'm not alone!
  15. So once you've done that are we using the black and white to adjust the dynamic range (only) and not color?
    Correct. White, black and gray are neutral (shades of gray if you like) so you should measure the same color cast (with the WhiBal, the four cards measure similar color cast with a very small percentage of error/difference). So it makes sense to use the most reliable card in the lot...
    As for dynamic, I have found that the WhiBal cards are seldom white/dark enough. Manufactured goods are "more white" than the white card. Shadows are more black than the black card. I use them for subjects that lack a true white or a true black point but if there's a white/black data in the image, I tend to set the black/white from the image itself (e.g. holding down the option key, checked with the eyedropper). There's good coverage of the technique in Professional digital photography.
    So the white/black cards I see as a backup. Convenient but not critical. Note that this is my experience with the WhiBal, other neutral targets (e.g. Gretag or Kodak color separation) may have different properties. Originally I was using a Kodak gray card (no black/white) and it was sufficient for 95% images.
    I plan to get a Kodak color separation card in the future to experiment with color cast when doing contrast adjustments. I'll see if it works better to set the dynamic range.
    and this does indeed seem to be a useful tool
    Note that the curves and levels tools, and most importantly ACR, have special eyedroppers to neutralize an image. When you click them on the target, they generate a curve/level that neutralize a color cast as measured from the target... one click and you're 90% there!
    if I want a color cast, well then I am back into virgin territory and I guess using a combination of the eyedropper and my own eyes to 'see' ... maybe ask my wife or others
    This is trickier, indeed. Take it one step at a time.
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