The default colors for a supported camera in Capture One are made by analyzing a large number of images including images of color targets as well as real world images.
The default colors in Capture One are designed to be a compromise between precise but yet pleasing colors. The colors of the real world have a very large dynamic range. The default colors in Capture One takes this large dynamic range into account to ensure that colors look natural from the deep shadows all the way up to when data starts clipping in the highlight.
Create a new default color profile
In the days of analog photography people had different preferences for what film they would use for their cameras. Also today photographers have different preferences for the default color rendition. Some, for instance, prefer the colors to be vivid and saturated, others prefer the colors to be natural or others like a warm overall tone.
With the Color Editor in Capture One you have a powerful tool, which allows you to tweak and optimize the colors in an image. But you can also use the Color Editor to tweak the general color look of your camera and create a new default color ICC profile.
Getting the White Balance right to begin with
Before you start tweaking the default colors for your camera make sure that your White Balance is right. All colors are depending on the White Balance, so this is essentially the foundation for creating a good color profile.
If you are using Auto WB (White Balance) on your camera, make a test shot of a quality White Balance card at noon to make sure that your auto WB works well. Some cameras have the option to fine-tune the Auto WB. At noon on a sunny day the WB chart should give a neutral reading, which means same value in R, G and B channel +/- 1 or 2 values. If you mostly work with Flash or in daylight, it can be a good idea to generate a custom WB for your camera. This will guarantee that the WB is perfect for your specific camera and not based on an average camera, something many camera manufactures do.
Making a new default color ICC profile
In the example below I will make a new default color ICC profile for a camera, resulting in a profile that gives me a deeper blue sky.
I have taken an image of the Phase One headquarters and the typical blue sky I would like to change for the camera. I made sure to include an image of a quality White Balance card. I don’t have to use the same image, but it needs be shot under the same lighting conditions.
As I will be doing visual adjustments to the image, and these adjustments later will be used as a new default look for my camera, it is important that my monitor is working well and is well calibrated.
These are the steps I take to create a new default camera ICC profile:
- I start by setting the White Balance by pointing at the neutral patch on my WB card with the White balance picker. The most neutral patch on the Color Checker Chart is the second brightest patch. If the WB card is not part of the image with the blue sky then copy and paste the WB setting from the image with the WB card to the image with the blue sky.
- In the Color Editor I select the Advanced Tool tab in the Color Editor Tool and use the color picker to pick the color of the blue sky.
- In the Color Editor I use the “Full Slice” icon to expand the color selection to cover all blue tones from natural to full saturation. In the image below the “Full Slice” icon is indicated by the circle on the right-hand side.
- I check the “View selected color range” box (indicated by the circle on the left-hand side) to make sure that my selection actually covers the whole blue color range of the sky. The “View selected color range” will show the selected color in color but all other colors will be shown in black and white. Once I am satisfied with the selected color range, I uncheck it again.
- Now I use the Hue, Saturation and Lightness slider to achieve the kind of blue sky I prefer. In this case I need to change the hue +7, add a little extra saturation +7.6 and lover the lightness a bit by -5. It is not a huge change I make, but enough to give me my preferred blue sky color.
- In the Color Editor’s toolbar I select the Action Menu, the last item shown with the “arrow down” icon, to get to the “Save as ICC Profile… ” option (marked with a circle in the image below)
- When saving the ICC profile the tool gives you a default name for the ICC profile that includes the name of the camera used. Capture One uses this name including the dash to make sure that the new profile will show up in the ICC selector for files made with this camera. I make sure to keep the first part of the suggested name and change the last part of the name to Landscape, as I will be using this profile for landscape images.
- I select another image from the same camera and select the Base Characteristics Tool. When I open the ICC Profile dropdown menu I can now choose the brand new ICC profile “ Landscape”.
- From the tool menu in the base characteristics tool I select the “Save as default”. The “Landscape” profile will be used as the new default profile for all new images I bring in to Capture One from this camera.
I have now changed my default colors for my camera. If I at any time later decide to go back to the original default color profile I can from the Action menu in the Base Characteristics Tool and just select “ Reset Defaults for …”
All the best,
The Image Quality Professor
The digital pioneer, Niels V. Knudsen, is Phase One’s Image Quality Professor and founder of the IQP blog. Moreover, he is responsible for breakthrough advancements in image quality both in Phase One’s medium format camera systems and in Capture One Pro.