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Blown out Skin Tone Problem

Discussion in 'Badminton Photography' started by zasboy, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    I was playing in a badminton tournament and took the opportunity to bring my photography gears and take some photos.

    I made a previous post on where I was having a hard time getting sharp pictures. I think the reason why was that my DOF was too shallow. I was using f/1.8. Granted that this was taken during the night. You can view the post here: click me

    The tournament I played was in the same gym but was during the daytime. So lighting was much better. I think the roof windows provided the extra lighting I needed.

    When reviewing some of the pictures, I noticed that some of the player's skin tone look blown out. Almost like doll skin texture. I'll provide two pictures with two different kinds of edits.

    1) Camera Raw Auto Settings, no other edits
    [​IMG]

    2) Camera Raw Auto Settings, Noise Reduction, Unsharp Mask
    [​IMG]

    Settings and Equipments I used:
    - ISO1600, f/2.5, 1/250s
    - AI Servo AF
    - Manual Focus Point: Center Focus
    - Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
    - Canon Rebel XTi

    To me, the skin tone looks awful. Is there any improvement I could have done during the pre-process and post-process? I rather not do much edits in photoshop except for maybe noise reduction and unsharp mask to give the picture some 'pop' but I'm still puzzle why the skin tone in both photos looks awful.
     
    #1 zasboy, Jan 23, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  2. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    first thing you need to fix is the white balance. go back to the gym and shoot a WB card, or a piece of (very white) paper. or trial and error and find a suitable WB.

    the girl in your pic look like a zombie with her very blue skin tone. after you've fixed that, i think you might find the skin tone more appealing.

    also, depending on the USM parameter, it may over-saturate and over-sharpen the image and make it look unrealistic.
     
  3. DinkAlot

    DinkAlot dcbadminton
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    What Kwun said, the WB is way off. :p
     
  4. wood_22_chuck

    wood_22_chuck Regular Member

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    Maybe she's a smurfette :D Hope she doesn't read these forums!

    -dave
     
  5. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    Is there really a blue tint? I don't see it. Maybe my monitor isn't calibrated correctly? I am using the Adobe Gamma program.

    I'll try the custom white balance feature next time. I'll stick a plain white paper in my bag and set the white balanace using that.

    Also, she does read the forum. Hopefully, she doesn't smash a birdie at me when she see that I used her as a test subject :eek:

    This photography stuff is complicated but sure is fun :)
     
  6. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    yeah. i have a calibrate monitor at home and it definitely look blue-ish.

    part of the problem may also be the mixed lighting environment. if you have fluorescent and day light mixture, depending on which is the dominant light and the location of the light, you may get highlights which are not consistent with the average.
     
  7. DinkAlot

    DinkAlot dcbadminton
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    Yep, my monitor is calibrated to a WB of 5,000K and I can see the smurf color in the skin tones too. :p
     
  8. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    u might think the skin tone was unnatural. but from my eyes. it's quite ok. the only thing wrong was the highlight color. which was tending to cyan a bit. as for the midtone and shadow. they were all natural coz those were some reflected colors from her t-shirt and the floor.
     
  9. storkbill

    storkbill Regular Member

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    my monitor is calibrated to 6500k. Yes, the skin colours are off. But what do you expect, you're using AutoWB in a mixed lighting environment.... it'll take a miracle for a Canon Rebel to figure out the 'correct' white balance...

    If the Canon Rebel can actually set the correct WB in auto mode in such a tough situaton, i think all professional photographers who need to shoot indoors and still using Nikon had better switch to Canon ;)
     
  10. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    Good points. But there is post processing and since i used RAW, I can adjust the white balance but I'm a complete newbie. I'll adjusted the temperature and tint so that it looks "good" to my eyes. Well, if everybody is saying that is has a blue tint, I'm obviously doing something wrong.

    Also on the subject of post processing, I was wondering if I got the terminology correct. Please do correct me if I get it wrong. Highlights would be the bright areas such as the skin. The midtone would be the clothes and the shadow would be, well the shadows. I'm probably way off but when I think of highlights, midtone, shadows, I think of colors like cyan, magenta, and yellow.

    So if people are saying the highlights are bluish, that would indicate the skin is blue but I don't see it. I did notice that the wall should be a dark grayish color and it looks a bit blue. So I went back into Camera RAW and adjusted the temperature and tint so that the wall looks more gray.

    How does it look now?
    3) Camera Raw Auto Settings with Modified Temperature/Tint + Noise Reduction + USM(made is milder slightly)
    [​IMG]

    Would it be possible that I can send someone the RAW file and maybe they could adjust the white balance on their computer? I would like to see the difference between my calibrated monitor versus another calibrated monitor.
     
    #10 zasboy, Jan 23, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  11. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    it can be explained. u opened that raw file with auto setting right?
    most of the parts of your picture were yellow. the floor and the yellow t-shirt. therefore, the system's auto setting was fooled by those yellow color. after all, it tried to correct it by increase the amount of blue to the image. as a result, your picture was tending towards more blue rather than yellow.
     
  12. Pete LSD

    Pete LSD Regular Member

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    :D Who is the gal?
     
  13. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    If you take a look at her shirt, you can make out her name which is Tran. She is the current President of the UC Santa Cruz Badminton Club. She's a good friend of mine and I would also to point out that if you take a extreme close look at ther left ring finger, you'll see something shiney :p
     
  14. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i used Adobe Lightroom which picked up the in camera WB setting of 3700K. after some curve adjustment and simple PP, i came up with this, what do you think?

    i updated pic again to rotate her so she appears to lean forward a bit more.
     

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  15. DinkAlot

    DinkAlot dcbadminton
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    Much, much better on my 24" LCD @ 5,000K. She's no longer smurfy. :D
     
  16. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    So I read some tutorials and understood the Camera RAW software a bit better. I went back to the photos and made some changes. Feel free to check out the results in my gallery: Click Me

    Thanks Kwun for posting the picture. The picture seems too dark for my taste. I would have increased the exposure or brightness a bit, but that's just me :)
     
  17. storkbill

    storkbill Regular Member

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    Zasboy, the picture is not really that much darker, its more of a case of increased contrast. If your monitor is unable to reproduce shadow detail well, you may perceive it as dark and muddy.

    I recommend Spyder2express as a cheap and good calibration tool (the hardware is identical to the more expensive Spyder2pro and the express can use the pro software).
     
  18. zasboy

    zasboy Regular Member

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    Thank storkill. I will check that product out at my local computer store.
     
  19. Aaronmd

    Aaronmd Regular Member

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    I think you may have pushed the correction a little far, although her skin tone is 100x better the imager is overall a little on the warm side. The WB issues is due to nothing more than a mix of artificial and natural light...tough one to work around.
     

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