OM-D E-M1 Question: COLOR CREATOR, Does color cast really act as custom color filter for monochrome

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by G1Reflector_949, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. G1Reflector_949

    G1Reflector_949 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 25, 2013
    Sacramento, CA
    Hey, I just received my E-M1 and have been using it for nearly 2 weeks now.. loving it!

    BUT, I have a question about the color creator.

    From what I've read or seen in reviews about the E-M1 online and YouTube, there have been suggestions that the Color Creator when the Vivid is set all the way down to -4 (essentially monochrome), if you dial the color cast around to the various colors you can cast, that it supposedly acts like a custom color filter for your monochrome images. Like how you can set to use Red, Green, Yellow, Orange color filters in Monochrome mode... but with color creator you are suppose to be able to get nearly all the colors in between so you can dial in the color filter more precisely to your liking.

    Have any of you heard of this and tried it?

    It sounds really cool and could make for some choice creative black and white photos, but when I tried it, to be honest, it doesn't seem to do anything.. if anything, it's VERY VERY subtle.. hardly worth noting.

    And I compared an image with both Red & Green and set a Red Filter in Monochrome and took a shot, and then set a Green Filter and took a shot, and the effect is very obvious and strong shooting in monochrome mode.

    When I tried using color creator and turned down the vivid to 04 (monochrome) and set the color cast wheel to Red and took a shot, and then Green and took a shot, of the same image, the effect is negligible, if anything.

    Is this total crap that the color creator can actually be set to do custom color filters for monochrome? Or, is there something more I need to do in my camera settings to make the effects more apparent?

    Any insight would be appreciated just in case I missed something.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I'm not sure the logic makes much sense. The farther down you dial the color intensity toward monochrome the less difference there can be between any of the possible color shades.
  3. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    With mine at -4, the color makes no difference.
  4. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    For monochrome the best way that I have found is to shoot RAW and then use OV3, all the 'in camera' tweaks (inc B&W filters) can be applied at this stage, it's like a second go at taking the shot.

    If one shoots in momotone one gets a monotone picture (obviously) shoot in colour, one has the best of both worlds.

    The more I explore OV3 the more I like it.
  5. Ulysses

    Ulysses Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2013
    Color Creator and ColorChecker chart

    The Color Creator filters definitely make a difference when shooting monochrome (B&W) images, as well as can impart cast flavors if using differing Vivid saturation levels.

    I took some photos of a ColorChecker chart to illustrate. I left all settings for contrast, sharpness, etc. at their defaults, changing only the Color Creator to Vivid-4, and then dialing the hue setting to the 02:00 thru 12:00 positions. The animated illustration below was assembled from the in-camera JPEG files. Note that if you shoot in RAW, the Color Creator settings obviously will not be recognized in the RAW file by Lightroom, ACR, Capture One, etc., but will most likely be picked up by the Olympus software (which I have not installed).

    EDITED: Here is the original full-color ColorChecker chart:

    Here are the various B&W renderings:

    As you can see, the differences can be subtle. But for B&W specialists, who want very specific renderings of real-world colors into monochrome, these differences are going to be very important. So the result is that you have the control in your hands to customize your B&W images the way you want. This is a fantastic tool.

    See more about the Color Creator on Robin Wong's page:

    I'd like to research a bit more to find out if these settings in the Color Creator accurately correspond to the results you'd get if you used a screw-mount filter in front of the lens. THAT would be pretty amazing if it does.
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Aha, I see, when I do the same (take multiple shots at the various notches), I'm seeing some subtle differences too. When I tried it just looking through the viewfinder I couldn't tell a difference, but looking at the shots there its there, though it appears very subtle.
  7. Ulysses

    Ulysses Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2013
    Some colors and hues change dramatically when you look closely at those ColorChecker charts. I suspect that when you customize your contrast and sharpness settings, you would see even more difference. These differences will be important in real-world shooting, for example, when you're looking for a specific B&W translation for dark skin tones or light skin tones, or you want the tones in a blue sky to look a certain way, or foliage renderings. Some B&W specialists are very tuned in to these sorts of differences. If you "live" and photograph in a vivid color-based world, then those differences won't mean much.

    The exciting thing about this tool is that no one else gives you so much easy control over your B&W and tint customizations.

    BTW, I will edit my original post above so that it includes a color version of the Color Checker chart for reference.
  8. G1Reflector_949

    G1Reflector_949 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 25, 2013
    Sacramento, CA
    Wow. Thanks for the replies and various experiences and points of views.

    Ulysses, thanks for doing the color chart thing and illustrating the changes when using the color creator. U can really see some noticeable changes in tones and contrast as you go around the color creator wheel.

    My personal experience, I still feel the changes you make using the color creator set to vivid -4 and rotating the color position is very subtle. .. perhaps it is what I was testing this feature on.. however I was using a Pantone book with cyan, magenta, yellow, orange ane green color swatchrs showing. Again, the color creator made very subtle changes.. but when I used the color filters in monochrome mode, the differences were much more dramatic.. no doubt there was a difference.

    I will try and post my results so u guys can see.

    I think I may need to experiment with other settings to see if the tone and contrast changes using the color creator may be enhanced and more dramatic.
  9. Ulysses

    Ulysses Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2013
    Happy to post these. After doing the work for my own self-satisfaction, I had to post them somewhere where I knew there might be interest. LOL :) :)

    Yes, the results are subtle and yet not subtle at the same time. For example, some color chips change very little at all, while others can change very much. I'll also pass along a personal technique that works at least for me in the pro field when looking at B&W images: Start by looking at the relative contrast differences between the Blue, Green, and Red chips (the first three in the third row) rather than the overall ColorChecker chart. Those are the easiest to identify. After that, look at the chips representing skin tone; you'll see the changes there are much more subtle, but very important to balance against the others in order to get either realistic skin tones in B&W or else produce a stylized B&W image. The choice is yours. :)

    Side note: The lighting in the ColorChecker animation is exactly the same as they were fired in manual mode, and the E-M1 settings were also in manual mode. So what looks like brightness changes in lighting levels is not that at all; you're simply seeing the color response to the variations in the Color Creator filter. In fact, the RAW versions of the ColorChecker chart look the same in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW, as you would expect. I'd expect the Olympus software to recognize the B&W settings.

    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ulysses

    Ulysses Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2013
    G1Reflector, just a little further on your observations:

    I went back and took a look in the menu of the E-M1. At first I wasn't sure about what you were referring to, but I now see you're referring to the Monotone mode obtained in:

    Menu > Shooting Menu 1 > Picture Mode > Monotone > … where you can then select several different B&W filters:
    • N:Neutral
    • Ye:Yellow
    • Or:Orange
    • R:Red
    • G:Green

    You can also make changes to Contrast, Sharpness, Pict. Tone, and Gradation. I'm not surprised that these presets would give a more dramatic effect (though I haven't tried any of them yet). Lots of room for experimentation, making it plenty of fun. I'd like to try out the Color Creator with variations in contrast and sharpness for a B&W with lots of pop. Once you get something you like, you can always save it to a Myset.
  11. beameup

    beameup Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 23, 2013
    If you are going to shoot in RAW (ORF) then you could convert RAW to TIFF in Olympus Viewer
    and then bring it into Photoshop/Elements and use some of the Topaz & NIK plug-ins to get a
    vast number of results in color or b&w. (I particularly like Topaz B&W Effects).
  12. Ulysses

    Ulysses Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2013
    Ran a quick informal test using the Monotone mode that G1Reflector referred to. And yes, the distinction between filters there is more substantial than what you see with the Color Creator on its own. Very, very interesting results output from the OM-D. Again, it's great to have options like these to produce exactly the B&W images you want.
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