New in ColorPerfect 2.0 - PerfectRAW for the color correct editing of digital camera RAW photos

The PerfectRAW system was the key novelty in version 2.0 of our ColorPerfect plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and PhotoLine. It was developed for digital camera RAW images and deals directly with fundamental flaws in the way essentially all digital camera images are normally handled. These problems are found in other systems for the initial processing of digital photos which means they apply to both software products other than ColorPerfect and digital cameras themselves.

In processing RAW images from most digital cameras with PerfectRAW you should experience a clarity and consistency of color that you have not seen before. The importance of this new technology to digital photography can hardly be overstated.

Before testing PerfectRAW you should be aware of a few tricks other RAW converters routinely use

In trying to deal with effects that often only exist because of the fundamental flaws in standard RAW image treatment, camera manufacturers, Adobe, and others have applied various tricks trying to make their color conversions look better than they really are. Before you compare your current RAW processing method to using ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW we therefore ask you to be aware of three of the most common of these tricks. First, Gamma is often altered, typically to somewhere around 0.8. This gives a lighter overall appearance to the image without blowing highlights but the way this is implemented usually can impair color. Second, the image saturation is often increased to make the colors brighter. Third, a contrast increasing RGB-curve is often applied which can also impair color by itself.

Now, if that is what you really want artistically, the same tricks can be used in ColorPerfect in a superior way. You can alter gamma, increase saturation, and alter contrast by adjusting individual zone values. But unlike other methods, ColorPerfect will retain the color purity of the original image and will deal with the highlights better.

The difference in color purity will be evident when using ColorPerfect and you may even find that such tweaks - usually made to hide the lack of color purity - can become completely unnecessary or that it suffices to use them to a significantly lesser degree for many images.

Using our MakeTiff RAW converter to produce input files suitable for PerfectRAW

The fundamental problems we found are buried deeply into the currently prevailing digital camera systems and to work properly ColorPerfect needs to have access to a truly linear but properly Bayer interpolated version of the camera RAW image - one that has not otherwise been altered (that is, ruined).

This has proven to be very tricky to do. We have developed an application called MakeTiff which puts together three applications that are freely available on the web and links them so that they convert digital camera RAW files to linear tiff files that will properly read into Photoshop and PhotoLine. You will find the MakeTiff download at the same place as the ColorPerfect download. MakeTiff is free for all registered users of ColorPerfect but it is against our free license for anyone else to use it for any other purpose than evaluating the trial version of ColorPerfect.

If you have your own favorite RAW conversion program, it is unlikely that it will produce files suitable for PerfectRAW even if it says it will produce linear tiff files. Being of linear gamma is only one of two requirements. The second requirement is that all input for PerfectRAW must be completely untouched in terms of color. If you intend to try another workflow please check your results working several images using both your favorite and MakeTiff.

Where can I read more about the nature of the fundamental problems in other RAW converters?

In the past we have made our discoveries in working with color imaging freely available on the web shortly after we have made them. We have not done that with the technology behind PerfectRAW for two reasons. First, it required a major effort over more than two years to unravel the mystery of why digital camera color is so often just not that good. Second, what we did find - fundamental flaws at the very core of digital image treatment - seems so incredible to us that we want to see the reaction of others to what we have done before we decide how to go on from here. Meanwhile, try the ColorPerfect PerfectRAW system and see what you think.