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Enhancing pictures using SmartColor

Learn how to enable SmartColor to automatically improve the quality of your pictures.

What is SmartColor?

SmartColor™ is an optional module for Color Factory that enables automatic improvement of the color balance and contrast of images. It analyzes the pictures and applies processing to improve the contrast, colors, shadows, highlights and natural color balance in your pictures.

Configuring SmartColor™

Where: Channel | SmartColor™

The SmartColor™ settings in the Color Factory Configuration lets you fine-tune the various areas of image enhancement. After making changes to these setting you should always run a few sample files through the channel to assess the effect on the output image.

Adjusting the effect of the SmartColor Filter

Generally, to check the result of the SmartColor™ feature, you can use a preview image (as described below) and simply pull the slider labeled Overall Enhancement Effect to preview what the output image will look like. In the Color & Contrast field you will find sliders that allow you to adjust every aspect of the filter individually if you wish to do so. When enabling SmartColor™, the default overall enhancement effect is set to 50, but this may be a bit conservative for some applications. We recommend adjusting the slider to a value between 50 and 100 using a preview image to get an idea of the filter’s effect.

 

Contrast Enhancement: The contrast enhancement determines the optimum settings for white and black point settings and gamma correction using advanced object recognition technology. We suggest using a preview image (described below) to determine the level of contrast enhancement to apply.

 

Color Enhancement: This is a non-linear color enhancement that treats color casts in shadows differently from casts in highlights.

 

Shadows Enhancement: The shadows enhancement can greatly improve the visibility of details in shadows. This filter relies on the Contrast Enhancement setting, so with Contrast Enhancement set to 0 this filter will have no effect.

 

Highlights Enhancement: Highlights enhancement can improve gradation in highlights. For example, it can bring back skin tones in an overexposed face and improve detail in pictures shot at night using a flash. This filter relies on the Contrast Enhancement setting, so with Contrast Enhancement set to 0 this filter will have no effect.

 

Natural Color Enhancement: This enhancement helps improve colors so that they appear more pleasing to the human eye. Colors normally considered less pleasing will be drawn closer to a more pleasing tone. This filter relies on the Color Enhancement setting, so with Color Enhancement set to 0 this filter has no effect.

Red eye reduction settings

If your channel processed digital camera images, you may want to enable the red-eye reduction filter by selecting the Enable Red Eye Reduction checkbox. This filter will examine the flash information in the images’ EXIF data to determine whether red eyes may be a problem, but you can override this setting and enable red-eye reduction on all images regardless by also selecting Use on all photos. Ignore flash information in Exif.

Avoiding SmartColor™ processing of certain images

If you need to make sure that some pictures are not processed using SmartColor™, select the checkbox labeled Do NOT process file if and choose the field and content criteria that must be met.

For example, pictures that have already had manual repro done should be excluded from SmartColor processing to avoid changes to the picture's appearance. To prevent double processing of these pictures, you can add a metadata tag to a field used for this particular purpose and have Color Factory look for that tag to know which files it should simply route through the channel without applying the SmartColor filter.

Testing your SmartColor™ settings on a single image

 To test your SmartColor™ settings on a single image, click on the Open Preview Image button and locate an image file. The SmartColor settings will be applied to the image and it will be previewed in a separate image window. You can then click on the Preview checkbox on the SmartColor™ settings page to switch SmartColor™ processing on and off and compare the result. You can also drag the sliders to see the effect it has on the image.

Is there a recommended way to tune SmartColor?

Given the complexity of the SmartColor filter it will take a bit of experimenting to find the optimal tuning to create the results you require. Generally, we advise doing the initial test runs by simply adjusting the Overall Enhancement Effect slider, leaving the individual Color and Contrast filters at their default levels. If after processing some sample pictures you find that this does not quite produce the desired output, ou can for example increase the individual filter somewhat to for example add more light to shadows, or increase the vividity of natural colors, or add some extra contrast.

The premise of the SmartColor module is that it will not work wonders on pictures that are irreparably bad at the outset, but it will improve relatively good pictures without going "over the top" and rendering the processed result useless.

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