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Color Management

PMA 2009 Part 2: The SpyderCube

Advances in raw processing technology offer , it can be difficult photographers find it difficult to correct RAW exposures in their images efficiently. But the real workflow boost comes in developing a systematic approach to optimizing your RAW files.

photo_spydercube2_500.jpgTo help simplify the raw correction process, Datacolor created the SpyderCube, a unique improvement on the venerable gray card for setting exposure and white balance that can form the backbone for a simplified version of the digital Zone system. Including the SpyderCube in the first photograph of a shoot allows you to correct that particular image, then copy your corrections to the rest of the images shot in the same lighting. And voila . . . much of your post-processing is complete.

Like other white balance or exposure cards, the SpyderCube has middle-gray, highlight and shadow patches. The highlight patches are useful for setting the white balance using the White Balance tool in your favorite camera raw processing software and the middle gray patch can aid in setting exposure in-camera.

Unlike other exposure cards, the SpyderCube is three-dimensional and gives you pairs of highlight and midtone patches and two different black patches. This helps you evaluate and adjust contrast between the highlights, midtones and shadows. For example, let’s say you’ve recently completed a photo shoot of a bride and groom and photographed the SpyderCube in the same lighting as the newlyweds. Using Lightroom’s Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT), you can improve the contrast between the two highlighted faces of the cube. When these corrections are copied to the remaining images from the shoot, this contrast adjustment will improve the appearance of detail in the bride’s white dress.

I’m looking forward to putting the SpyderCube through the paces in a variety of photographic situations. Its unique design promises to expedite the image-correction process.

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