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Controlling Color

(January 2011) posted on Wed Jan 12, 2011

New developments in color-management tools, technologies, and standards.

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By Stephen Beals

Capsure for matching colors: Pantone’s Capsure is a handheld device that lets users instantly measure and match a color source – everything from small, patterned, multi-colored textures and textiles to walls and carpeting. Created for professionals in fashion, home furnishings, interior, industrial and graphic design, Capsure allows users to quickly identify colors from any surface, material, fabric, or other color source and match them to a Pantone Color. The device uses tri-directional image-capture technology, illuminating the surface being measured from three different directions while simultaneously recording 27 color-accurate images in 1.6 seconds; Capsure then extracts up to four dominant colors so the viewer can identify the desired color and users can preview what they are measuring on its 1.75-in. color screen, in real time. Capsure can record the last 100 colors measured for later reference, and allows users to annotate colors with a voice recording as well as a time and date stamp. Additionally, the device provides harmonious shades and identifies related colors that are lighter, darker, or similar in tone to the identified color. Capsure comes pre-loaded with all Pantone Color Libraries allowing users to match more than 8000 colors.

Profiling via SpyderCheckr: Datacolor ( has released a new color chart for camera profiling. Called the SpyderCheckr, it’s designed to compete against X-Rite's ColorChecker Passport. Like the Passport, it has software that produces DNG profiles from a chart image. The product includes a neutral gray target and gray ramp for in-camera white balance and visual neutrality analysis and extensive skintone samples for portrait and fashion photography. The targets are replaceable and FadeCheckr, a light sensitive patch to warn you when its time to replace the Target Sheets, is also included. The software interacts with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements, and Camera Raw to produce calibration presets for the user’s workflow.

Universal test target: Tools to verify digital capture such as the UTT (Universal Test Target) from Image Engineering ( and the Golden Thread from Image Science Associates (see below) allow users to manage the digital-capture process. The UTT is a single test target that’s designed to provide insight into the complete image quality of all types of high-end cameras and scanners following the current ISO standards. The target is available with various options in the DIN sizes A3 to A0, making it suitable for all kinds of digitization projects.