Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

Digital Camera Experiments #003


Some notes on using a Ring – Around

essay by Brad Hinkel and Uwe Steinmueller (11/2/2005)



Printing a ring around is a traditional technique for evaluating images in the wet color darkroom. I did it for my basic color printing class. I did find the process useful, but much too tedious to repeat for any images other than that particular assignment. In the digital darkroom, this procedure is still effective, but infinitely easier.

The ring around is designed to help evaluate if an image has the appropriate color balance and/or density. (it can potentially be used for a wide range of options; anything that can be placed on an adjustment layer; we will be investigating more options in the future). The basic ring around shows some variations of an image for +R, +G, +B, -R, -G, -B, darker and lighter.

Use a Ring around:

• when you have an image that you think looks great – but just to test the final evaluation
• when you have an image that you just can’t seem to color balance well

It is important to remember that our eyes/brains will sometimes compensate for color balance issues in an image to make it appear better than it really is – take some time away from an image (even a couple minutes) and return to it to evaluate the color. A ring around forces a better evaluation of color.

We actually automated the whole process a bit. The action we provide helps to create a Ring - Around quite easily (sorry, the action is for PC as we need to write to disk, but the action is also a blue print for your own actions on the Mac).

Here is what this action does:

  • We create a folder "C:\tmp\ring_around"
  • Empty the folder
  • Run the action
  • Browse to the folder "C:\tmp\ring_around" in Bridge or the PS File browser
  • Run the Contact Sheet II tool from Bridge

  • Select a 3x3 matrix
  • Enable filename as caption
  • Confirm "ok"
  • Then PS creates a one page proof sheet
  • Print it with the correct profiles

We will soon also present a technique that uses variations to improve images. The Ring - Around got us started.


For Comments post in our News Group

2000-2004 Digital Outback Photo