Recently I was critiqued on a painting of mine… sort of. The artist, Byron Pickering, mentioned that he had an issue with the value of colors and contrast. This concerned me because I thought the painting looked great. First, I thought it MUST have something to do with my colorblindness, however, this particular painting was prominently blue. My colorblindness is red-green and should not have anything to do with what he and I are seeing.
So what was the issue? The image I was showing was taken with a digital camera and was later presented on someone else’s monitor. While this doesn’t sound like an issue, consider what happens when you take a digital image:
When you take a photo light must travel through air (or space), though the camera lens, into the camera CMOS (think ‘film’), onto my computer, and then to your monitor. Check out the two examples below.
Digital Photograph (before)
Direct Scan (after)
So much image quality and color are lost! So how do you combat the lossy-ness nature of digital imagery? Here are two simple and achievable answers.
Get A Direct Scan
Getting a direct scan from your giclee printer or another professional is a great way to ensure your colors are correct. Usually there is a color correction process that takes place to ensure the colors you see on screen are the same you see in real life. The life cycle of light in this example is light directly to image (from a flat bed scanner), to the computer, through digital color correction software, to your screen.
Correct the Image Yourself
One other thing you can do is take the digital image as you normally would. Please make sure that you take your image is non-direct sunlight. Doing this allows a full spectrum of color to be seen, unlike indoor lights that limit some colors (mainly blues). Import the image into your favorite photo editing software, crop and color correct. The color correction process is very much trial and error. In Photoshop the first thing you should try is the ‘Auto Adjust’ feature. This usually nets great results. After that play around with the Contrast and Saturation (in the Image menu).
The goal is to get the image to look as much as the original as possible. The results can be amazing and could also help get an online sale!