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Old Oct 26, 2007, 12:13 AM   #1
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Ioften forget about white balance, especially since I shoot raw most of the time. However, I've been doing some thinking about it recently, especially after reading an article about Lightroom and setting up routines to batch process a set of pictures. It's quite easy to do, but only works if all the pictures share the same white balance. The one time I tried to do something like this, it didn't work because I used AWB (auto white balance), and the camera will change the balance from frame to frame, depending on the subject. The article talked about always using "daylight" or whatever is appropriate to your lighting situation.

Today I was wandering around at lunch (like normal), but didn't go any place in particular for photos. I ended up in a parking structure and snapped a quick pic of this valve.



My first reaction was that the color was off (let's not talk about where the focus point was). So I went into the menu and used the custom white balance menu to change it. I didn't have a piece of paper, so I used the grey concrete at my feet. Worked quite well because this is what I actually saw:



Right after I left the structure, I changed the camera back to AWB.

As I was leaving the structure, I noticed the yellow flowers planted beside a sidewalk. They were in bright sunlight, but the light the last couple of days has been really strange because of all the smoke in the air. I took a picture and wasn't completely surprised to see how "off" the flowers appeared in the picture. This isabout what the flowers really looked like, but it isn't their normal color, and I thought it didn't do them justice.



So I once again used concrete (this time the sidewalk) as my "target" for establishing white balance and came up with this, which is pretty much what the flowers look like in normal sunlight.



The differences aren't huge, but enough that it was worthwhile to take the couple of seconds it takes to set a custom white balance. It was also nice, since I would have had trouble trying to adjust the flower picture (nothing that should be white/grey in the picture to use for a sample, and I'm not that good at adjusting it by eye).

So I was wondering how many people here think about using custom white balance, and when they actually do it. After today I'll definitely use it a lot more often.
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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I change it all the time. I use the manual WB every time I go ina building and frequently when I go into a different room.

When outside, I don't recall changing it too much but I go between the sunny and cloudy settings often.

I almost never use the AWB setting. For some reason it has never seemed as good to me as being a little more precise. Maybe it is just due to my common (cheap) glass.:sad:
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 1:54 PM   #3
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right now i am trying to get into shooting raw, i have noticed a big difference in white balance against

shooting jpeg wb set to tugsten

as compaired to

shooting raw converting to jpeg in camera and developing the wb to tugsten

even though both outputs is wb tugsten, there is still a big difference, the raw looks a lot better and this, i wondered how
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 3:48 PM   #4
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Hi Harriet,

As you know, I'm a jpeg shooter, so getting the WB close is important. I usually use AWB for most outdoor situations, then go to custom WB for indoor shots without flash. I do find that the AWB is sometimes a bit warm for direct sunlight, and a bit cool for shadows in direct sunlight, but still use it, then tweak the color cast in PP.

I always have a business card in my pocket, and use this to set the custom WB. Another trick that I used a lot with my FZ Panasonics was to stick a white address label on the inside of my lens caps. This gave me a readily available white surface to sample from for CWB. I also used to carry different paint sample swatches to vary the CWB from warm to cool, but now just use a white card.

I eventually found it easier to vary the color cast in PP with either ColorWasher 2.0 or Richard Rosenman's Advanced Color Corrector PS plugins, which both work with PSP (the second being the most sophisticated tool for this that I've found), so now I don't sweat WB settings except for artificial light, where the AWB and presets usually don't get me close enough for my liking.

Scott
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 5:17 PM   #5
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i'm just the opposite of scott. i only shoot raw so awb is just a starting point in acr. if i'm shooting a dog event i'll shoot in jpg and use awb outside and cwb indoors. i've got and 18% gray card with a white card on the reverse.. it's smal like 4x5'' and takes up no room. if it's not available there is also a napkin white wall or something around to use.

roy
edit: scott, the lens cap trick is right up there in DIY heaven. good idea.
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 9:20 PM   #6
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Really hate to put my ignorance out there for every one to see (again),but custom white balance is a feature that I am just learning to use . . . one of those "aha" moments that I wish had occurred much earlier. Read the manual but just didn't grasp the importance of the concept or the ease of putting it to use. Thanks for thesamples, much more helpful than just reading about it.

I appreciate how so many of you on this forum help one who finds simple things like this to be an important breakthrough in developing skills.

Regards, Lawrence
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 9:32 PM   #7
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Wheh have I? Never.. reading this topic made me say to myself, "Custom? Ah, must be a K10D thing." Then I looked at my K100D, there it is.. and it works fantastic! If I had a nickel for every great Pentax tip I picked up in this forum I could buy a new Pentax 100mm macro
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 9:45 PM   #8
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I have a free plugin for Photoshop called Auto Enhance from DCE Tools found at http://mediachance.com/plugins/index.html. Along with the Auto Enhance which does a great job most time with White Balance...There is a filter called Color Correction that will adjust the WB with just one click of the mouse...I use it quite often and have found it works very well.

These are included with the DCE Tools AutoEnhance package.It includes Auto Enhance, Color Cast, Exposure Compensation, Hot Pixels, Lens Distortion, Perspective Correction and Portrait Skin.

Go here for the download about halfway down the page on the right hand side...Just a 1.2 MB download and doesn't clog up the hard drive. As I said it is a plugin for all versions of photoshop and is accesable through the filter menu in photoshop after thedownload. http://mediachance.com/plugins/dceessentials.html



Dawg
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 9:47 PM   #9
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Dr. C wrote:
Quote:
one of those "aha" moments that I wish had occurred much earlier. Read the manual but just didn't grasp the importance of the concept or the ease of putting it to use.
Regards, Lawrence
L,
i know what you mean. most of my A HAs was first using a computer when all of sudden after many weeks the data of different things joined in what little gray matter i have.

roy
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 10:23 PM   #10
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bigdawg wrote:
Quote:
I have a free plugin for Photoshop called Auto Enhance from DCE Tools found at http://mediachance.com/plugins/index.html. Along with the Auto Enhance which does a great job most time with White Balance...There is a filter called Color Correction that will adjust the WB with just one click of the mouse...I use it quite often and have found it works very well.

These are included with the DCE Tools AutoEnhance package.It includes Auto Enhance, Color Cast, Exposure Compensation, Hot Pixels, Lens Distortion, Perspective Correction and Portrait Skin.

Go here for the download about halfway down the page on the right hand side...Just a 1.2 MB download and doesn't clog up the hard drive. As I said it is a plugin for all versions of photoshop and is accesable through the filter menu in photoshop after thedownload. http://mediachance.com/plugins/dceessentials.html



Dawg
Dang, Dawg, this is a nice set of plugins, thanks for the link. Looks like it's only $37 to register the program if ya like it, and they've got an HDR plug in, too, you can try. Sweet find (particularly the hot pixel correction, if it works. I've got 2 bright green-uns and a few slackers on my chip and the only easy way to kill them since I've got an older version of p-shop is to shoot RAW then convert with Pentax's software or healing brush them out)

Can't wait to try it out!
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