Monday, March 7, 2011

Munsell Color Values in Lightroom

A very important part of image quality control is having a properly calibrated monitor on which to evaluate exposure and color balance. Unfortunately, my monitors and my viewing conditions are less than ideal for image evaluation. I have two Dell flat screen monitors that are fine, but depending on what angle I view them at, the images can look too bright or too dark. I also have an enormous east-facing window behind me which fills my room with great sunlight and is very cheerful, but terrible for looking at my monitors (and the room light conditions change by the minute). So, I check image quality "by the numbers" using the Munsell Color Checker by X-Rite.

Every NYBG Herbarium specimen photographed includes a mini color checker (discontinued - now being replaced with the Color Checker Passport).

You may notice that we have cut the Color Checker in half to fit it along the top edge of the image. This is a trick I picked up from Rob Gerhardt, the imaging specialist at the Whitney Museum of Art. Thanks Rob!

I used to know the RGB values for the Color Checker in terms of 8 bit values, but  now Adobe Lightroom uses percent white as RGB values. So, I did a little math to figure out what values I wanted in % form. They are as follows:

I have seen this discussed on other blogs and we are all coming up with similar results so I am comfortable recommending these values to others.

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