Creating DNG Profiles with the ColorChecker Passport.
by eduardoangel – October 27th, 2009
by Joe Brady
In my previous post, I discussed the process of putting the ColorChecker Passport to work during a photo session. Let’s take a look more closely at the DNG Profile creation in Lightroom® with the DNG Profile Export plug-in and for use by Photoshop® with the Desktop Camera Calibration application and Adobe® Camera RAW.
As a quick review, my process is as follows:
1. Meter the scene using a handheld meter for the most accurate exposure
2. Create a custom white balance using the white balance card
3. Take a shot showing both the ColorChecker Passport Classic Target and the new Enhancement Target
Let’s Go Into Lightroom
If you did not do a custom white balance in camera or suspect there might have been a problem when you created one, you can also apply a white balance in Lightroom after the fact. Since all the images we’re going to edit still need a correct white balance, I would use the white balance card photo for the session using Lightroom’s white balance selector – easily accessed in both the Library and Develop modules by typing the “W” key. While it is true that you can also use a white patch from the Classic Target, the larger area of the White Balance card gives you more leeway should there be shadows or sensor dust in the way on the smaller patches of the Classic Target.
Now we’re ready to create our DNG Profile
Select your image with the Classic Target in it and from either the Library or Develop Modules, select File-Export as Preset-ColorChecker Passport. The plug-in will automatically find the target and generate a DNG Profile from the image. When complete, the plug-in asks you to give the profile a name and reminds you that Lightroom will need to be restarted to see the newly created DNG Profile.
The image below shows a detail of a scene with a flag before and after the application of the profile we created – notice the return of the intensity of the colors, thereby saving a lot of time trying to get back the colors lost through a generic profile.
DNG Profile Creation in Photoshop
The path to create a profile for Photoshop is a little different and takes a few more steps. The desktop camera calibration application takes care of this for us. To use this software we need to supply it with a DNG file that includes the Classic Target. This is easily accomplished in Adobe Camera RAW by choosing the image with the ColorChecker and then clicking on “Save image”.
“Save image” is a button at the bottom left in the window and its dialog box offers you save options. Choose .dng as your file type and save it in a location you can easily remember. I have a folder called “DNG Exports” that I keep all of my DNG files in. Now that we have a .dng file of our target, we can open the desktop application.
Here’s a shot of the desktop application waiting for an image. You can either drag a file onto the application or click File-Add Image. The software then locates the target in the image.
If the target is too small and the software has trouble locating the ColorChecker target, you can click on the corner marks on the ColorChecker target and drag the green corner dots to insure that each square is being correctly selected. Then click Create Profile and the software does its magic.
Once restarted, your applications can then use the profile. Let’s go back to Adobe Camera RAW and see where to apply the profile.
Back in Photoshop, we open the RAW image or images we wish to apply our new DNG profile to. This is found under the Camera Calibration Tab in the in Adobe Camera RAW processor as shown in the image below.
Click on the camera icon, select your profile name and open your image – it’s that easy. If you choose multiple images, click on Select All and Synchronize by selecting the Camera Calibration button. Your images now have the DNG profile applied and you have all the color back that had been missing! When you open the image in Photoshop, the profile is now embedded in the image.
Once again, having a DNG profile for your camera under a specific lighting condition (sunny, cloudy, tungsten, flash, shade, etc.) will correctly bring out the colors that were in your original capture and save you hours of color editing time on all of your RAW images.