ColorPerfect: Introduction to converting color negatives with the Photoshop Plug-in's ColorNeg mode

ColorPerfect processes scans with color integrity and gives unprecedented flexibility in creative image editing. It even offers a new and superior approach to digital photography but that is a different story. To harness the full potential of our Photoshop Plug-in you will want to read much of what he have on our web pages but most importantly you'll want to get started using it. To help you with that we have recorded this introductory video for you.

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The ColorPerfect color negative introductory video

This is the ColorPerfect color negative introductory video. Many ColorPerfect users are professional photographers working with current color negative films, but many others simply have an old box of negatives they want to restore and preserve. For this introductory video I am going to use a negative that is over fifty years old, taken on the Kodacolor of that era. First we bring the image into Photoshop.

ColorNeg mode works best on linear negative scans

We have scanned this negative as a linear tiff file and as you can see, what we have is the negative itself, orange mask and all. Often such images will appear darker than this one does. Making a proper scan is very important and we have instructions on the web site to get the user started in this.

Starting ColorPerfect from the Filter menu in Photoshop

Now we call up ColorPerfect. As is often the case, the image is already reasonably good. The orange or whatever color mask has automatically disappeared. But we have this set for a Fuji film. Even though ColorPerfect has characterizations for hundreds of films, our image is old enough that we probably won't find an exact match. But surely we can get closer.

Selecting a more or less matching negative film characterization

OK, Kodak films and from that long list we find Kodacolor II. Kodacolor II is a later film but it is similar to Kodacolor and in this case it seems to work OK. We may find that the color balance is a little bit off however. ColorPerfect has several ways of adjusting the color balance.

Adjusting the color balance with the ring around

In this case we will use one called the Ring-Around, so we click the box labeled Ring. Now our image is surrounded by a ring of images where the color has been adjusted in each one. Each image has a small square in the corner - see there is the red one - showing the color shift of that image. We can judge the color better here if we zoom in a little bit and get a larger image. Here it seems to my taste that the red image is a little bit better and so I'll click it. When I do that the center image moves halfway to where the red was. I think I'd still like a little bit more red, so I click again. Now I think perhaps the yellow would be an improvement, so I'll click that. The amount of color adjustment in these boxes is adjustable using the slider. If we move up we get a much larger shift in color, if we move down, we get something where we can fine-tune color when we're very close. The Ring goes away when I click another box and I will click Black.

Adjusting brightness by using Black / compressing Highlights

If we now adjust Black, it controls the amount of light falling on the image so if I adjust to lighter you can see that the highlight areas have become blown and if I adjust darker everything comes in. Now if I just back up to a reasonable level you can see that we have lost detail on the back of this sheep. We can get the detail back by using a highlight adjustment.

Adjusting White to remove fog and control contrast / compressing Shadows

White adds or removes white from the image, effectively adding or removing white fog. The strongest effect is in the shadows. If we move the slider up we get a fog effect if we move the slider down it removes fog from the image. Again, there is a shadow control which prevents losing detail from the darker areas.

ColorPerfect offers many other controls

I want to save this place so I can get back to it. There are many other controls in ColorPerfect like Saturation and Gamma but we will go back now to where we saved and we will OK out to save the image and there is our final result.