Friday, January 29, 2010

Matching Colours.

Photography on Linux is not the smoothest of rides. Good software is available to do most things. There are problems. The Gimp is a good example. Photographers want 16 bit colour, the project does not want to deliver it just yet. It should not be too difficult, Cinepaint has already proven that. What is the problem? The project's priority. We should try not to get crotchety about this. Projects have to set out their stall, let the community know what they are working on. In the case of larger projects like the Gimp these paths have to be agreed. What photographers need to do is get more involved in the communities so that their voice is heard when project plans are considered.

16 bit colour has not been a problem for me. What has been a problem is colour matching. You know, the profile for you camera, printer and screen are all loaded and then colours look the same on all the devices you use. Apple users have had it for ages, Windows has had colour profiling for quiet a long time. It has even been available on Linux for some time, but it was not integrated well between applications. My friends include a couple of KDE users, who tell me that colour management is now available on KDE and has been for a short time. Now Richard Hughes has given Gnome a package, available in the GIT. It is not perfect yet, far from it. My workflow is not yet all covered but it is getting better.

Has it made a difference? It has. Suddenly my prints have at least the colour cast I expect. It has made a much bigger difference than 16 bit colour ever has for me. And I said that the Gnome package was far from perfect, but is being actively worked on. Even with this development package colour profiles have made such a difference to the enjoyment I get from photography. So much so, I am looking at hardware calibration possibilities! This could cost a lot of money but it looks like it will be worth it.

A Huey is reasonable value and will allow my screens to be calibrated. A ColorMunki is more expensive but allows the printer to be calibrated. If anyone can give me advice I would welcome it.

Cantankerous? Not at the moment. I am excited at the prospect of having real colour profiles and ending the problems I have suffered since I purchased my DSLR.