Last Tuesday night, at an ASMPNorCal event led by Bill Atkinson and Joseph Holmes titled, The Color of Nature: From High-End Digital Capture to Fine Art, I watched an entire room of professional photographers experience an epiphany.
Bill was explaining color management. Most photographers know this is an important subject, so they listened carefully as Bill, along with Joseph, walked everyone through the different color spaces, starting with device color, then to working color, and then finally to output color. It was clear that the technical discussion was leaving some of the audience behind. But then Bill opened up an application called ColorThink and when he was finished using it to describe color space I don’t think there was a person left in the room who didn’t get it.
ColorThink from Chromix, is an amazing application that 3-dimensionally maps and displays the colors in an image to a particular color space. You can then overlay another color space on top of that space and see at a glance what colors from the original color space fit and what are out of gamut.
I first saw Bill use ColorThink when he helped me prepare George Jardine’s color image for the cover of my Photoshop Lightroom Adventure book. We took the CYMK profile provided by Friesens, the printer, and used ColorThink to compare it to the original Adobe RGB color space George used. We easily noted what colors matched and what did not. Using the information we got from ColorThink—combined with what we learned by looking at hard–copy proofs Bill made on his Epson Stylus Pro 9800–we were able to adjust and prepare the image accordingly.
The application isn’t cheap, and there are two versions to choose from. ColorThink 2 cost $149 and ColorThink Pro costs more than Lightroom, $399. But you can download a full version of either application and run it in demo mode for free to see what I am talking about. For educators trying to explain color management and color space either version is well worth the price. And for anyone who finally wants to see what color space is all about, and how critical it is to getting a great print, I can’t think of a better tool.