My photos look fine to me. So why would I need something like ColorWasher?
Many people usually think that their photos look very good, even if they could look much better. When you let them compare the original photo with the same photo corrected by an expert or with ColorWasher, they are often amazed by the improvement in the corrected photo. So don't miss the opportunity to test ColorWasher on your photos. Don't you want to make your photos look their best?
I'm using the contrast/brightness and gamma correction tools in my graphics tool to correct photos, so why would I need to I use ColorWasher's Contrast and Exposure features?
Unfortunately many people use ordinary Brightness and Contrast sliders to correct their photos. Overdoing brightness adjustment results in a faded look, while too much contrast can cause a loss of detail and "burning" of the photo. Correcting photos with a brightness and contrast slider only makes sense if you have an interactive histogram view that helps to avoid a faded effect or lost details. But even with such an interactive histogram it means a lot of fiddling with the sliders or calculating the optimal brightness and contrast values.
Gamma correction, which is used in some applications (e.g. the middle slider of the Levels dialog in Photoshop) to correct the brightness of a photo, has some severe side effects, too. Especially or stronger adjustments it cuts off details in the shadows and lowers contrast dramatically. Additionally if their monitor isn't calibrated properly, people tend to overdo it with brightness and contrast.
ColorWasher saves you time and reduces the strain on our brain by automatically calculating the optimal contrast and brightness values. It also keeps you from fading, cutting off details or burning the image unintentionally. And even if your monitor isn't calibrated, you can achieve an optimal brightness and contrast if you keep Auto Contrast and Exposure Fix set to Normal in ColorWasher.
Last, but not least, ColorWasher's specially optimized Sensitivity, Highlight and Shadows features let you give your photos a professional touch by emphasizing dark or bright areas in the photo.
I use the ... software for correcting my photos and I'm quite satisfied with it. Does ColorWasher have advantages over similar tools?
When developing ColorWasher we compared it with a few dozens of other correction tools and found that no other tool matched ColorWasher's color correction accuracy. In fact, we developed ColorWasher because we hadn't been able to find a tool that would quickly and effectively correct the thousands of photos we have taken.
No other tool that we know of uses more than one algorithm for correcting the color of photos. ColorWasher on the other hand offers seven methods of color correction and automatically switches between three of them in Autodetect mode. ColorWasher is also the only tool that displays cast intensity values and interactive correction tips, so you always now how effective your current correction is and can try to make it better.
A few tools may have good contrast and brightness features, but they lack good color correction features, or vice versa. A lot of photo correction tools aren't really easy and intuitive to use, demand expert knowledge from the user or even seduce the user to worsen some photos. Last, but not least, tools that may be more or less comparable to ColorWasher are not available at such a low price as ColorWasher.
If you think you know of a tool that is better for correcting color casts, contrast and exposure, we'd like to hear about it.
Why does ColorWasher
ask me to select a part of the scene that is supposed to be
gray or white? From a photographer's perspective, I'm assuming
this is to set the white point, or neutral point, of the color
temperature of the image's light source or reflected light.
The advantage of a gray reference color is that there are no variations of gray. Gray is always gray, because gray has no saturation and no hue. Creating a sample area over a part of the photo that was white or neutral gray in the original scene is relatively easy, quickly done and produces great results with ColorWasher.
But what if the original
image contained neither white or gray?
Another trick is to take a neutral
gray card, a white paper or grab a friend with a white T-shirt
and make it a part of the scene when shooting the photo. Then
you will be able to use ColorWasher to remove a color cast with
Can I avoid adding color casts to my photos in the first place?
Avoiding color casts on analog film is very difficult and requires a lot of skill. Analog Film is usually optimized for a special color temperature range which means that a certain film only produces nice colors with certain light sources or conditions. So you would need different film types and use the correct one for a certain light condition. Nevertheless it is less likely that you get color casts on film than when shooting digital.
For digital cameras it is easier to avoid color casts. If your digital camera has a manual white balance feature, please use it as often as possible, especially when the light conditions change. Unfortunately many cheaper models only have an automatic white balance which often produces color casts. But even using the manual white balance feature of more expensive digital cameras doesn't produce perfect results in several cases. Additionally users often forget to use the manual white balance, don't apply it correctly, don't have a white or gray item for performing the manual white balance or simply never heard of it. In addition to that, most digital photos are poorly exposed or have a low contrast. So there's often no way around post-processing photos with a tool like ColorWasher.
Why are there no presets for selecting the type of film being used - tungsten balanced or daylight balanced, brand name, etc.. ?
First of all, presets often contain
only averaged or rough values. You can create such presets easily
yourself by taking a photo that was taken with a certain film
type and using a sample area to measure the color. Then you
just need to save the preset with the Save Preset button.
ColorWasher offers the RGB, HSL, Lab
and YCbCr color models which are more suitable for accurate
color corrections. ColorWasher also includes an advanced Color
Temperature feature that contains a saturation and brightness
Can I set the color temperature of the photo in ColorWasher?
ColorWasher allows you to set the Color Model combo box to Color Temperature. This displays a Color Temperature slider. The slider's edit box lets you enter color temperature values from 1000 to 9000 Kelvin. When you move the slider, you can see some descriptions of the selected color temperature. I tried to avoid tech terms, so e.g. "Bulb" and "Halogen" is the same as "Incandescent".
But please note that manually setting the color temperature doesn't always produce accurate results. ColorWasher's automatic and semi-automatic features usually create better and faster results and are easier to use.
Has there been any
thought about ColorWasher reading the exposure information contained
in a digital image?
Do I need to calibrate my monitor for photo correction or to use ColorWasher?
If you don't want to use ColorWasher more flexibly and avoid using the default Auto Contrast and Exposure Fix settings all the time, you should calibrate the gamma of your system. If you want to flexibly adjust the colors with ColorWasher, you should also calibrate your monitor to display gray values in a color-neutral fashion. For more information about monitor calibration, please read the Monitor Calibration page in the ColorWasher manual.
If you don't want to mess with monitor calibration, you could also rely on the automatic and semi-automatic features of ColorWasher which work perfectly even if your monitor's gamma or colors are messed up. You just have to trust ColorWasher a bit more in this case.
Should I use the Plugin or Standalone version of ColorWasher?
If you mainly edit your images in an application, e.g. Photoshop, Elements or Paint Shop Pro, you should choose the Plugin version. For quick image processing without extensive editing, you could additionally use the Standalone version. If you do not have or use a plugin-compatible application, you should go for the Standalone version.
Here are some points that should help you find a decision:
Advantages of the ColorWasher standalone:
Advantages of the ColorWasher plugin:
What is the difference between the Standalone and Lightroom version?
Essentially, the Standalone version is more flexible, but does not cooperate seamlessly with Adobe Lightroom. The Lightroom version is more convenient to use in connection with Adobe Lightroom. So the main point is whether you are using Lightroom or not.
If you use the Lightroom version, you need to select images in Adobe Lightroom before you run the ColorWasher Lightroom version. You also cannot change the image format or location where the images are saved. That is handled by Lightroom. The Standalone version on the other hand lets you open and save images from/to any location as you please. You can also close and open images any time without exiting.
It may take more time for the Lightroom version to start up, because Adobe Lightroom always converts RAW files to TIFF before it runs external editors like the ColorWasher Lightroom version. If you are editing TIFF or JPEG images in Lightroom, there is no start up delay. The Standalone version lets you open RAW files directly without any delay.