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Issue with ColorChecker Profiles

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100 comments

  • Richard Bock
    I created a profile with Xrite and the colors are great (accurate). Black levels...bad.

    In my quest for greater overall image fidelity, I sprung for Lumariver Profile Designer this weekend ($113). The blacks are much improved but the colors are bleh...skin tones in particular. I followed Martin Bailey's instructions here: https://vimeo.com/268585170 as well as very methodically walking through the Lumariver instructions. After creating 6 or 7 profiles, I couldn't get colors that looked as good as my Xrite profile.

    So I wasted the better part of an afternoon (and probably $113). I suppose operator error could be in play here, but the instructions are not that complicated. I may take another shot when I get time but as of now, disappointment lurks.
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  • C-M-B

    Hey Dinarius,

    X-rite has not changed anything, their profiles are still broken. Perhaps you were using "camera profile" as your export setting so that issue did not appear.

    They have not fixed their software (even though I complained multiple times) and we're still left with no true black tones.

     

    So I ditched X-rite completely and instead used CoCa and Lumariver with different targets (CMP and others).

    The results are 1000 times better, X-rite obviously is having difficulties with fixing their bugs.

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  • Jolyon Brown

    Hey C-M-B

    I've just come across this myself. Have you heard anything since? I'm thinking of to raising a case myself with X-rite.

     

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  • C-M-B

    Of course:

    I have to case numbers/references, the first one is from the basic support team from X-Rite Photo Europe:

    Case #SC51313: Schwarz-Wert bei ICC Profilerstellung​

     

    The second refence number is from the upper tier support (Application Specialist) :

    X-Rite Case 2019-00259474 [ ref:_00D30IRW._5000z1M6vJP:ref ]

    I have been in contact with Xrite from June 2019 - October 2019 (yes, 4 Months) and in the end the whole thing was brought up with the product manager.
    They even produced a beta version that should have fixed the issue but it didn't work.

    So if they couldn't fix it after I've been pestering them for 4 months I have little faith that they're able to fix it now...

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  • Denis Mortell

    1. If you are following the instructions correctly, then you should be getting about RGB 50,50,50 for black. This is the value that the black should have when all the other colours in the Gretag CC are correct. It is NOT the value for the black after you have applied the profile to image of the artwork you are copying. I presume that you have created the profile using Linear Response? Now you must reinstate the curve that Linear Response has removed in order for the image of you artwork to look right.

    2. As I wrote in an earlier post, I switched to Lumariver. The ICC Repro profiles it creates are superb. I use https://deltae.picturae.com/wiki to check the profiles. It's old, but it still works. I get **** (four star) results from them. (See p.11 of link below)

    3. I'm not aware that X-Rite have solved their problems with C1. Perhaps someone would like to confirm this? At the very least, it would be an opportunity to compare profiles.

    4. You might be interested in this. It's pretty much all you need to know. https://usermanual.wiki/Document/Instructionmanualforphotographing2DobjectsV63.1011524829/view

    5. You will have more problems dealing with clients who are looking at your work on unprofiled monitors. :)

     

    D.

     

     

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  • Denis Mortell

    Just to be clear...

    You're creating the profile with X-Rite software, correct?

    Because, I always set C1 to Linear before exporting to create the profile, and I never achieved 0,0,0.

    But, I'm not using C1 21, still on V.20.

    Many thanks.


    D.

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  • Mike5675

    I've been struggling with this for 3 years, hoping one day it will work.

    The colour correction is great, but the elevated black levels are a killer.

    As has been said before: as soon as you apply the icc profile created by the colourchecker calibration tool you lose true blacks and contrast, no matter what you do to the image sliders.

    I tried it on a totally black zero exposure image and as soon as I apply the xrite the levels pop up from 0,0,0 to 0,3,3

     

    wish there was a solution

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  • ninjatune

    I just asked this in another thread but realised it had been marked as 'complete' so am not sure if I'll get much action with that one..

    I've read all of these posts now, twice even, and am none the wiser as to what an actual workflow for colour correction looks like. What is a definitive answer after all of these posts?

    Can we just hammer support to change this (even though it has been over 12 years since people have asked for this x-rite to be implemented into C1..)

    Is it even worth buying a colour checker given this issue? Or are there alternatives out there which would do the job instead? Thanks so much

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  • C-M-B

    Forget the ColorChecker. Really forget it. It does not work.

    The only thing that works for me is using Coca (which is basically a GUI for Agryll) with an IT8.7 target and those results are fantastic. True to life colours, true to life contrast, black is black and white is white. 

    My workflow: 

    Take image (as RAW with ICC set to "no color correction" and curve set to "Linear Response") making sure that the white patch is approx. 245/245/245 (RGB), select a grey patch for white balance and try to avoid any reflections shadows other issues that could interfere with the target.
    Then export as 16bit TIFF with ICC set to "embed camera profile".

    Next I load the image into CoCa, select IT8.7 as target and I use the reference file from the target manufacterer. Export using Gamma + matrix, Relative Colorimetric at Ultra High Quality.
    The only tweak I apply is a white point adjustment of 1,20 which get me a slightly(!) softer graduation in the highlights - but other than that it's perfect. 

    Then you save the ICC profile in your Capture One Color Profile folder using the Camera name (e.g. FujiGFX50S") followed by some kind of designation like "Calibrated".

    Then you reload CaptureOne and you can select the ICC from the drop-down menu. Remember to also set the curve to "Film Standard", "Film High Contrast" or "Film Extra Shadow". If you select any of the custom curves it'll default back to the generic ICC profile without even telling you.

     

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  • Dan Stanfield

    Just thought I might add to this as I have been playing around with it myself and the issue does not seem to be resolved. I have found what I think to be a decent way of fixing the 'no true blacks' issue. This may just be a band-aid fix but it has been working well for me so far.

    If you can't get true blacks even when clipping them with levels and curves. Try using the Color Balance wheel instead. Go to the Shadow Tab and pull the Lightness bar on the right down a little. I can get the X-rite profile image to look very close to the standard profile image by doing this. The contrast is fixed without touching anything else and I am also getting 0,0,0,0 Blacks.

    Another tip while doing this, is to compare the standard profile image with the X-rite profile image side by side to match the blacks. once you are happy with it, save the color balance wheel as a preset so you can quickly fix it each time. It seems to be consistent for me.

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  • C-M-B
    I think I have found the problem:

    Capture One is not using "Black Point Compensation" during ICC Profile conversion.

    So any custom camera profile (such as the ones creates with the X-Rite Software) is not correctly translated into other ICC profiles such as Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB (etc) which results in a shift of black values, which prevents true blacks from being rendered/displayed!

    I contacted support and I suggest you check your own profile conversion if you are using a custom profile!!
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  • Louis Servedio-Morales
    According to the Lumariver Profile Designer software, "Capture One has a quite complex way to handle tone curves, so there are a few more steps to follow..." I've tested both and Lumariver seems to have resolved this issue IMHO.
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  • C-M-B
    Lumariver may have a correct black level but the colors are quite a bit off. A reddit user created a Lumariver profile with the same RAW and the colors were muted and badly seperated.

    With Xrite the colors are on point but the black levels are bad - so if Xrite and/or PhaseOne can get it together and work things out it would be the best solution.
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  • dee jjjaaaa
    C-M-B wrote:
    Lumariver may have a correct black level but the colors are quite a bit off. A reddit user created a Lumariver profile with the same RAW and the colors were muted and badly seperated.


    it all depends on how you build profile and that starts with how you shoot your target ... free dcamprof or commercial LrPD (both from Lumariver) are just a tool with many possible inputs and options (so "A reddit user created a Lumariver profile with the same RAW and the colors were muted and badly seperated." - says nothing at all about the tool, but a lot about the user) and unlike X-Rite software they allow (for a qualified user) to do so much more ...
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  • C-M-B
    True but I was just making an observation.

    The reddit user also mentioned that it was just a quick and straightforward profile - and I have to say that most users probably won't need anything but that (especially for free).

    As I said; if Xrite/Phase One can work it out, it'd be the best solution for me
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  • C-M-B
    Richard, please get in contact with X-rite. I have contacted them as well and they seem somewhat unfamiliar with this issue.
    The more users report this, the sooner a fix is going to happen!

    If I use "embed camera profile" as the Output ICC Profile in the "Process" settings, the colors and black levels are correct! Then I can use Photoshop to convert it to another Profile with 0 issue.

    But if I use any other output ICC Profile (like AdobeRGB or ProPhoto or sRGB) I am unable to get a true black value of "0 0 0 0" anywhere in the image - even if I totally underexpose or clip the blacks with levels and curves - it does not get even remotely close to a "0 RGB" value...


    Of course it's not an option to use the x-rite Profile for further editing or printing or sending images to clients, they need something commonly used and widely spread like AdobeRGB or (sometimes just) sRGB. Maybe ProPhoto.
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  • Denis Mortell
    Windows 10 x64

    I went to this link...

    www.xritephoto.com/cameraicc

    ...and filled in the form.

    I wasn't then given a link to download the beta software.

    What am I missing? I'd like to try it out.

    Thanks.

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    Try: https://www.xritephoto.com/ph_product_o ... reID=2059#

    and click on "PC Version".

    Then you need the Target and you can take a photo an create a profile using this target.


    However as I said these profiles are flawed or just broken - there's a definite shift happening with the black values when processing the files to a different ICC profile like Adobe RGB. Something that happens with no other profile, neither the generic profile nor one created via lumariver.

    I've talked to support lvl1 and lvl2 and they escalated the whole issue to "Product Management" because they don't know what's wrong. They get the same results.

    So these profiles are NOT for professional use.

    I highly recommend using the generic profiles instaead until they've figured this out - which is really really annoying since I paid good money for the target which is now useless.
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  • Denis Mortell
    I followed the instructions in this video (better than X-Rite instructions).

    https://youtu.be/n4kO6HndQpc

    I presume that the rest of you are doing similar?

    Thanks.

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    Are you not experiencing the issue with the black level shift?

    Are you able to achieve a 0 0 0 RGB value with these profiles?
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  • Denis Mortell
    In what way are you’re trying (& failing) to achieve a 0,0,0, RGB value?

    I’m asking because I would not expect any 0,0,0, reading from the colour checker.

    So, I’m assuming you’re making adjustments (to Exposure?) in an effort to make the black patch 0,0,0, and not achieving this?

    But, I suspect I’m misunderstanding what you’re at.

    If you could walk me through your workflow, I’d be grateful.

    Thanks.

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    I'm trying to achieve 0 0 0 ANYWHERE in the image.

    So for example if I set the following parameters to an image:


    Exposure to -4
    Contrast: 50
    Shadow/Black Level: 255

    That would have to result in 0 0 0 0 - a "true" black level, no matter what.

    But when I export the image to a common RGB profile like Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB that value shifts. With one xRite profile it's 18 12 14 14 (Red Green Blue Brightness). With a different xRite profile it's 13 0 0 4. And yet another gets me to 9 0 0 3.

    So no only does it shift the "true" black levels to unuseable levels which can not be corrected properly, the shift also varies between each profile and also the shift between AdobeRGB and ProPhoto and sRGB is differnt!

    BUT! When you put the output ICC to "embed camera profile" (= no conversion from the x-rite profile to another profile) the blacks stay perfectly fine.
    However nobody would think of using a custom profile to send to clients or to be printed.

    Also when you use generic profiles or profiles generated with Lumariver the blacks don't shift.
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  • Denis Mortell
    Windows 10 x64

    Finally back at a computer, having been away, so a few observations...

    1. The colours I get in C1 on the Colour Checker, after making a profile, are bang on.

    2. But, as has been pointed out, it is impossible to get a true black in C1. e.g. in Levels, drag the shadow slider as far to the right as you like. You will not get 0, 0, 0, nor will your black/shadow warning blue kick in.

    3. After profiling, the black patch on the X-Rite CC (within C1) reads 53, 53, 53, (approximately, +/- 1 point) which is what I would expect. (I use the green value in the green patch as a gamma for the purposes of preparing the profile file for export from C1. So, after choosing Linear Response/No Colour Correction, I increase Exposure to get about 150 for the green value of the green patch, before exporting the file)

    4. If I now export this profiled image of the CC, in Adobe RGB, and open it in Photoshop and create a Levels adjustment layer, dragging the shadow slider 53 points to the right renders the black patch 0, 0, 0, which is what I would expect.

    So, the inability to create a 0, 0, 0, value in C1 would appear to be a C1 issue alone.

    While this may be a problem for those seeking to create punchy profile recipes for general use (though your contrast issues can be addressed afterwards in Photoshop or similar) I think that the workflow is usable for repro work.

    Any further thoughts appreciated.

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    This is unuable for repro work!

    First of all the profiles are not coherent in their black level shift:

    Profile A created with a tungsten light source (approx. 3090K) and an old camera lens results in a black level shift to 11 0 14 5 (Red Green Blue Brightness) when exported to AdobeRGB.
    Profile B created with a flash light source (approx. 5800K) and a modern camera lens results in a shift to 13 8 12 10 when exported to AdobeRGB.

    I also tested this with daylight at 12:00 and the result was pretty much the same.

    And if you use ProPhoto it shifts to a completely different value altogether.

    So it's impossible to predict the behaviour and if a shift to 13 8 12 10 occurs it would mean a lot (!) of correction which would ruin the whole concept of profiling. You'd be better off letting a bunch of blind monkeys take the image and then hammer on your keyboard in photoshop than using the x-rite profile and later correcting it.
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  • Denis Mortell
    C-M-B wrote:
    This is unuable for repro work!

    First of all the profiles are not coherent in their black level shift:

    Profile A created with a tungsten light source (approx. 3090K) and an old camera lens results in a black level shift to 11 0 14 5 (Red Green Blue Brightness) when exported to AdobeRGB.
    Profile B created with a flash light source (approx. 5800K) and a modern camera lens results in a shift to 13 8 12 10 when exported to AdobeRGB.

    I also tested this with daylight at 12:00 and the result was pretty much the same.

    And if you use ProPhoto it shifts to a completely different value altogether.

    So it's impossible to predict the behaviour and if a shift to 13 8 12 10 occurs it would mean a lot (!) of correction which would ruin the whole concept of profiling. You'd be better off letting a bunch of blind monkeys take the image and then hammer on your keyboard in photoshop than using the x-rite profile and later correcting it.


    So, why am I getting 53,53,53 for the black patch in C1 and the exact same value in Photoshop when I export it as an ARGB Tiff file?

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    Because you're measuring the "black patch" which does not represent a true black tone of 0 0 0 RGB. That one shifts to a certain value (dependent on your profile).

    Try it yourself and set the Exposure to -4, contrast to +50 and clip the black levels at 255. That will give you an image that is 100% black with a value of 0 0 0 RGB.

    A friend of mine is currently examining these profiles and it seems like x-rite developers made some errors - they only set the L(0) (lightness) value as black and not L*a*b(0,0,0). That would explain everything.

    Only problem is that I'm getting close to 0 feedback from X-rite. They bumped the issue to product development and they are not reacting at all.
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  • Denis Mortell
    Thanks.

    But, my point is that while I can’t force an image to appear as a pure 0,0,0, as you rightly state (because if I drag the Levels shadow slider all the way to the right, the image goes completely black, not completely blue coz the shadow warning doesn’t activate. Also, that fully black image doesn’t read 0,0,0, but more like 0,5,12,) since I am only making small changes, does this apparent bug have practical implications? In terms of RGB readings of the patches and the visual appearance of the image on my calibrated monitor, it doesn’t appear to be detrimental.

    This bug only manifests in the blacks. If I blow the highlights, I get a fully red (highlights warning) screen and a 255,255,255, readout, which is what I’d expect.

    But, within the range of 20,20,20, to 240,240,240, within which I’m working, everything seems spot on.

    In short; image looks perfect and RGB patch readings are also perfect when the x-rite profile is applied. The only thing I can’t do is force a 0,0,0, image/reading, something I’ll never need.

    D.
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  • C-M-B
    Of course it matters!
    When I'm editing images and sending them to clients or to a lab for printing them I will always have to edit the images afterwards to get to a true black tone. And because different profiles (for different lenses) have different black levels (some have 4 0 0, other have something like 9 7 7!) there is no efficient and quick way to edit them to look the same. Which is the whole point of profiling each lens and camera.

    1. This causes additional time and effort in order to correct the mistake X-rite made with their profile software.

    2. This always has the potential for mistakes, oversight and error when trying to correct this mistake.

    3. This causes shifts in brightness/contrast and probably also color when you try to correct those images. So the whole point of creating a profile is completely moot.


    I think your case (20 20 20 - 240 240 240) is much too special for this topic. Most photographers work within the full range of available RGB values when they're using regular common RGB profiles, otherwise the images would certainly look very dull, especially when printed on glossy paper or when viewing them on a screen.

    ps.: One of my profiles results in a black level of rgb(18, 12, 15) - this profile has been created exactly as required by x-rite and using full spectrum daylight (at about 12:00) as a light source. Another one, created using the same parameters but using a different lens results in rgb (10 0 0 1).

    It is impossible to use these profiles and have the images look even remotely similar, especially with darker images. Imagine a photo of a landscape at dusk/dawn without the blacks starting at RGB 18, 12, 15. And the people with X-rite are still debating whether this is a bug/mistake or a desired result. Good god. 😂
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  • Denis Mortell
    Working perfectly for me now.

    Not sure if it's the Windows 1903 update, which I installed yesterday, or the C1 12.1.1 update, which I also installed yesterday.

    Anyway, I'm now getting a solid blue (shadow/black warning) on the entire image when I drag the Levels shadow slider all the way to the right. Previously, the image had been turning black not blue (Highlight/Shadow warning was switched on) and the blacks didn't look right. Now they're perfect.

    D.

    Ps. The Levels/Shadow Slider drag gives me a solid blue on any image. Moving Exposure to minus 4 does not except on already dark images.
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  • C-M-B
    Did you set the output ICC to "embed camera profile"? Because then yeah, you'll get black.
    But with any other RGB Profile like AdoberRGB you won't get it.


    I have tried it a few days ago with Windows 1903 with C1 12.1.1. and it didn't change anything. Same thing with current Mac OSX.

    Also that couldn't change due to a Windows/OSX or Capture One update, since the x-rite profiles themselves are faulty. So they would have to change their program and new profiles would have to be created.

    You can't get the missing L*a*b (0,0,0) coordinates from a profile by updating Windows or Capture One. Those were never the issue.
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