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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Colour References for Tartan Images
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09/13/2016 01:29:18 PM · #1

My Significant Other is a tartan historian and this includes work for the Scottish Tartan Authority. He has asked me for some advice on colour referencing photographic examples of old cloth that he finds. There are two aspects - a) how can he truly tell the colour of the threads based on a photograph and b) how can he (increasingly me) take photographs with some form of colour sample/referencing tool.

He has some photographs that include a colour reference card but would like to know more about it; what is it called? how is it best used etc. An example can be seen in link below:

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1187520.jpg

And secondary to the whole photography piece.....if you or anyone you know think they might have a piece of tartan that predates 1800 he'd be interested to hear about it! A number of exceptionally important old pieces have been unearthed in Canada and the USA. Following a recent discovery in Canada, he recreated and wove a sett that probably hadn't been seen since the 1750s.

Anyway - thanks in advance for your help!

PB
09/13/2016 05:25:40 PM · #2
For analyzing colors I'd just zoom in real close and use Photoshop's "Info" window -- is shows the exact color values for whatever pixel (or small area, depending on settings) the cursor is over, any any two color spaces you want. However, that doesn't help completely if the photo has a color-cast/color shift with no reference ... in that case hope there is something white or of a "known color" (e.g. Coca Cola can) which can be used.

For pictures he's you're taking now, I'd suggest continuing to use a reference card, perhaps similar to the one linked below, to help "standardize" the pictures before analysis. I don't know what else to call it but a color-reference card ... since these are more-or-less "forensic" photos you might also include a measurement reference (ruler) in the photo to allow analysis of scale (thread count, pattern size).

I use this to create custom White-Balance settings to simulate using a color filter, but it should also work in the "other direction" to correct a color shift. You'd want to use the top 8 swatches ...

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1153431.jpg

Message edited by author 2016-09-13 19:09:28.
09/13/2016 06:39:06 PM · #3
What a cool project! Part of the problem is that colors are rarely "true" across the many media the images passes through: from the capture (and the light being used), to the camera settings, to the processing, to the screen settings. I don't do this sort of work so I can't help you :(
09/15/2016 03:54:09 PM · #4
Thanks for your comments. I'll have to go and play!
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