Technology of color correction with a reference color™

Traditional technology of color correction consists in the following steps:

  1. change of transfer characteristics of color components;
  2. processing;
  3. estimation of colors in the obtained image.

If colors of the obtained image are unsatisfactory then the process of color correction is repeated. As a rule, one does not succeed in achieving an acceptable result with the first attempt therefore one can define the traditional technology of color correction as “cut-and-try method”.


Imperfections of the traditional technology of color correction:

  • demands special knowledge from a user: to know which color components should be changed, what changes should be made and in what direction should they be shifted;
  • demands the user make a decision like: “Which color components should one change? Increase or reduce? How many: 5% or 15%?”;
  • requires much time;
  • requires a good monitor and “correct external light” when correcting colors;
  • requires a difficult interface.

The special case of the “cut-and-try method” is templates (sets of transfer characteristics of color channels). But they limit users much as the process of color correction is directed by “sets-rails”. When using this method, the user is deprived of creativity and, as a rule, the possibility to achieve a good enough result especially for non-standard cases.

The task of color correction is achievement of desired colors, then is it possible to give the user the ability to indicate the desired colors releasing him from routine operation of controlling component colors? To give a user the possibility to directly indicate the desired colors “Two Pilots” has developed technology of color correction in a language of color. This technology uses reference colors. The idea of reference colors is like Archimedes’s idea: “Give me a fulcrum, and I shall move the world”.


Advantages of the technology of color correction in a language of color (hereinafter technology):

  • The main advantage is that the user can indicate a color he likes and wants to be present in a processed image. In general, the concept “to like – not to like” is a shape of human behavior. For example, a visitor in an art gallery can easily determine which pictures he likes.
  • There is no need for a user to know the theory of color, to know which color components should be changed to achieve a necessary color of grass or face. Therefore, there appear no limits in comparison with the traditional technology.
  • Ease of mastering the technology because “to say” what color is pleasant is natural for a human.
  • The technology assumes a possibility of gathering experience (training). For that, successful colors can be accumulated in a collection. For example, one can pick out “a color of grass” from a successful digital photo and add it in the collection. Each color in the collection may have a commentary, e.g.: “the color of grass at an early sunny morning”.
  • Reiteration. Having found a successful color and added it in the collection, one can always reiterate the result.
  • Adaptability of the technology to user’s specific tasks: forming the collection of colors to correct images aimed for printing on a photoprinter or e. g. for publishing in Internet.
  • The technology has an innate capability to adapt to a concrete technical condition of a scanner or a digital camera as the result of color correction aims to the reference color and depends not much, in this sense, on an initial image.
  • As control of color correction is realized the “language of color” is natural for a human, the technology is right both for beginners and for experienced users. The difference, as practice has shown, is that experienced users pick out hues of color on an initial image more creatively. Experienced users have a much bigger vocabulary of hues.
  • The technology has an easy user interface and can be built in a digital camera, which allows to operatively correct images directly in the camera. It is useful for cameras which can be directly connected to a printer.


Our software that uses the technology of color correction with a reference color: Color Pilot | Color Pilot Plug-in.