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Color and Color Management Myths Debunked


by Alan Winslow – August 23rd, 2018

Let’s take some time and have some fun debunking some of the myths we hear about color and color management practices. If you have any other fun color theories you would like us to test leave a comment below! Enjoy!

X-Rite ColorChecker White Balance Target

Myth: I don’t need a White Balance Target I can merely white balance off any white object.

White balancing off a piece of paper, a t-shirt, or any other white or gray element in a scene seems like a quick and easy solution, but you run a high risk of producing an inaccurate measurement. Most objects are not neutral under all lighting conditions let alone consistent. The ColorChecker White Balance target is a spectrally flat target that provides a neutral reference across different lighting conditions. The goal also reflects light equally across the visible spectrum allowing for consistent and accurate measurements in any lighting condition.

Myth: When I calibrate and profile my monitor I am matching it to my printer.

Calibrating and profiling your monitor brings it to industry standard giving you the highest probability of your specific monitor matching your prints. Depending on the substrate that you are printing on (Matte, Gloss, Canvas, etc.) color, brightness, and contrast of the final image will change. Soft proofing in your post-processing software on a calibrated monitor will yield the best results.


Myth: Once I calibrate my monitor once it’s okay.

A monitors color and performance drift over time. Calibration should be done at regular intervals. X-Rite allows you to turn on a calibration warning to remind you to calibrate at least once every couple weeks, it only takes a few minutes, and it will give you just the right amount of time to grab a cup of coffee!

Myth: I do not need a calibration device I can use my eyes to calibrate.

Surrounding colors and lighting conditions profoundly influence your eyes. This is one of the reasons why some professional retouchers paint their studios 18 percent gray. We don’t think everyone needs to go to this extreme, but you should be using a software/hardware solutions. Using the Xrite i1Studio as an example, the new software sends industry stand color patches to the monitor. The i1Studio device reads the patches and knows what the colors should be if they are off it corrects the error by building a new profile for the display. To show you just how surrounding colors influence our eyes to take a look at the illusions below.

Color and Color Management Myths Debunked

The famous dress that took the internet by storm. Is it Blue and Black or Gold and White? In fact the dress is Blue and Black the surrounding colors are effecting the way some of use are seeing these colors.

Color and Color Management Myths Debunked

Known as Adelson’s checker shadow illusion. Does square A and B look the same? In fact, both squares are precisely the same shade of grey.

Color and Color Management Myths Debunked

In this illusion by Paul Nasca contrasting colors can give the illusion of motion.

Myth: If you are colorblind you can not see any color.

Colorblindness is a misnomer. Many people are in fact color deficient. Color deficient vision is the inability to distinguish colors not the failure to see them, and this varies from individual to individual. To see how you see hue the X-Rite Color Challenge here.

Color and Color Management Myths Debunked

What do you see? This image is one of the 38 Plates from Ishihara’s Test for Color Deficiency developed by Dr. Shinobu Ishihara in 1917.

Now come on over and check out all of X-Rites color management solutions and other quick tips on photography and video production visit us at Xritephoto.com



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