The Accurate Reproduction Of Skin Tones - part 8 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2005



To some extent the pages leading up to this conclusion are simply legitimising the advice we are about to give. We hear so much guff about the effect of Adobe RGB and sRGB, this RAW file processor or that, this white balance setting versus another, etc etc that it is timely to put the record straight! Here is our advice summary:

• It matters little which colour space that you use as long as you honour the profile as you move the file around.

• Moving to a bigger colour space increases saturation, moving to a smaller colour space decreases saturation. In some instances going the "wrong" way actually makes a more pleasing final print!

• If you use RAW files you have a better chance of controlling the eventual result. Some JPEG algorithms do funny thing to your files and colour space - beware!

• If you work in Adobe RGB and fit your skin tones within the bounds shown in the graph on the third page of this feature you are reasonably certain to be in the right ballpark. Most problem files we are presented with are outside that range eg shooting with the incorrect white balance will shift you out of the range if you start near to a boundary. If you work with both Lab and HSB co-ordinates in the Info Palette you will get a better idea of what is going on with your skin tones.

• One sound piece of advice is to always ensure that your yellow value (measured in CMKY in the Info palette) is always higher than your magenta value and that your cyan lies at less than 1/3rd of the magenta value.

• The average values for white Caucasians are shown in the table for HSB and Lab and also for sRGB and Adobe RGB. Note that Gretag seem to be varying their notion of "average", the new SG chart does not have the same values as the older Color Checker 24. Be aware that to most Caucasians a slight tan is preferred but

the opposite is true for most Asian, Oriental and South American cultures, who prize lighter skin and generally avoid exposure to the sun.

• Although babies are pinker than their, parents make sure that their skin tones do not drift towards blue magenta. • At the present time we have no answer to the red-head problem other than selective masking as described - we are working on it!

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1st Published 01/06/2005
last update 06/11/2019 11:04:11

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