Skin tones driving me NUTS

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Amamba, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Especially in artificial light / flash. Using WB aid doesn't help.. It just produces yellow / orange tones. It should be PINK.

    I bought Huelight profile for Nex 6 but there's little difference.

    Here's a typical photo


    This does not look natural to me...

    What do you do ?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    I usually use the dedicated skin tone white balance tool that came with one of the latest updates to Aperture to get correct skin tones in my RAW files. I'm sure there are similar tools in LR too.
  3. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    That looks quite horrible indeed. If this were my picture, I'd start profiling the camera with an X-Rite ColorChecker chart. I got one at the time for my Panasonic G1 which just didn't deliver nice colors and profiling made a subtle, but all-important difference. Unfortunately these cards don't come cheap, I think I paid something like € 70. The good news is that Adobe's DNG Profile Editor is free and produces the profiles for Lightroom and Camera Raw without further ado when using the chart.

    To be honest, the profile I made for my NEX-6 made little difference compared to the standard Adobe profile supplied with LR. I will profile my A7, just to be sure.
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    In Lightroom I sometimes resort to manually tweaking the "Temp" and "Tint" sliders for WB. Also, the "HSL" and/or "Color" sliders to fine-tune individual colors.

    When all else fails, I go B&W! :biggrin:

    Guitar Slinger by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr
  5. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    This is getting very curious.

    Over a year ago, before committing to LR, I bough AfterShpot Pro. I very quickly gave up on it because things like sharpening, noise reduction, and often WB were too difficult to get good results with. LR sliders work wonders, by comparison.

    I just tried to edit the same photo in ASP. With very little effort I got this skin color:

    DSC08713_edit_2 by BugsDaddy, on Flickr

    While I wouldn't call it perfect, it's much closer to what I call normal.

    So, there's something goofy going on with Lightroom and Nex.

    BTW, this is not an issue in good light.
  6. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Are you having two light sources with different color temperatures? Incandescent light bulbs have much lower color temperature than flashes. It is almost impossible to do automatic white balance in such a situation.
  7. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, yes, this is one issue. However, Canon tended to produce under the same circumstances, with same lighting, skin tones with some degrees of pink; it took a bit of LR work to make them appear normal.

    With Nex, the skin is some sort of brownish-orange. Not only with flashes, but I got similar results shooting in the early evening (just started to get darker than usual) outside.

    I am curious if that's LR thing. As I said, ASP produced much nicer / more natural results. I'd hate to go back to ASP, though..
  8. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    It is not the camera, it is very well known post processing problem (where I cannot help because I use mostly flash or flash with florescent lights and use Raw Therapee+GIMP). Old school technique is gel the flash to produce same color temperature.

    I think that the problem lies in unnatural distribution on wavelengths. Normally distribution is so called black body radiation one (one peak) but if you have two light sources with different color temperatures the distribution can have even two peaks or almost even top. I think (no personal experience) that you have to lower both red and blue channels and adjust white balance afterwards.

    There may be some kind of filter available for your SW. White balance tint will probably help too.
  9. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well this is something else !

    I decided to give some other raw converters a try. Downloaded CaptureOne and while waiting for it to install read about Photo Ninja and decided to give it a try... holy sh1t !!!


    I am not very excitable, and I am not usually using all caps. But, the result is just... wow.

    I can't save anything without trial license which I've requested, but you be the judge. This is screenshot of what it did on full auto (I had to adjust exposure up a bit). Since it wouldn't let me save the file, I couldn't apply the finishing touches, it's a bit too dark - but the pink skin tones that I was trying to achieve are right here.

    View attachment 38578
    PNJ by BugsDaddy, on Flickr

    It is also very quick.

    Negatives - it has zero local edits. No brushes. So every photo needs to be processed in PS / PSP / Gimp / whatever. No organizing capabilities of LR but frankly I am not using them all that much.

    Another $100 into this hobby ? :mad:
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    To be honest, I like neither of them. The earlier ones are greenish and the Capture One sample looks too colorless to me, verging on the border of a magenta cast; could be that color is off because of a mishap in color space transitions somewhere in the chain between your screenshot and the rendering on my PC.

    C1 (Capture One) is a very nice program with excellent raw-processing, but I stayed with LR nevertheless. C1 has a tendency to wipe you of your feet, in my case due to excellent detail rendering, but on closer inspection part of it was due to different sharpening and less color. C1 does a very good job out-of-the box due to carefully made camera profiles so it looks good immediately. LR needs more work sometimes, profiling in my case, which incidentally C1 won't let you do as easily and cheaply. I'd take some time with your other pics before making a final decision.
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    That's what I do as well. When the results are unsatisfactory, I use Nik Viveza.
  12. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, I got my temp license for PhotoNinja. Here's output, basically straight out of program, except I increased exposure on the eyes in PSP.

    DSC08713_v1 by BugsDaddy, on Flickr

    So far I like it a lot. Not only the skin tones are (to me) the most natural, but the "good" tones are applied automatically and after that it requires just a little tweaking. The problem is, no local edit tools whatsoever. Since I almost always need to make the eyes a tad brighter, every portrait would need to go in PSP (if I end up using PN).
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