PerfectColor color calibration software for LUT creation with ColorCheckers
PerfectColor is a tool for Windows that makes it fast and easy to create perfect color grading LUTs that can be used repetedly to get a neutral coloring in all of your videos, streams and photos.
Downloading and installing
PerfectColor can be downloaded from here. The tool is currently free and will hopefully be available on Microsoft Store in the future.
Why I made PerfectColor
Like many males I have deuteranopia, also known as red-green color blindness. This makes it difficult to do any form of work involving coloring. As I was just getting started creating videos I was looking for a way to do automatic color grading and found that ColorCheckers can help.
PerfectColor was made to fill a need I had after buying an ColorChecker clone from Ebay. These cheap ColorCheckers have colors that are slightly offset from the original X-Rite Classic or Macbeth charts. Original ColorCheckers can be used directly in video editing software like Davinci Resolve to pre-process video footage, but I found that my clone was not ideal and the process in Davinci Resolve was quite tedious and manual. I made PerfectColor in order for me to rapidly and automatically create near perfect color grading LUTs from images or video streams to be used in free softwares such as OBS Studio, Streamlabs, Davinci Resolve, Kdenlive, Lightworks and paid softwares such as Adobe Permiere Pro, Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro.
How to use PerfectColor
The process for creating the LUTs is quite straight forward:
- After installing PerfectColor you will find the “PerfectColor” folder in your Windows Documents folder. Inside the folder there are two files: “original.png” and “cc.jpg”. The first file is a neutral color LUT in image format and cc.jpg is a placeholder for an image to be processed with PerfectColor.
If you want to use PerfectColor to color correct videos from a phone or web camera you can take a screenshot while holding a supported ColorChecker and overwrite the cc.jpg file in the Documents folder.
- In the settings window you select whether you want to process a video stream from a webcam or the cc.jpg image in your Documents folder. If you select the camera option you also have to select the camera-number in the slider below the selection. The first option will typically be the built-in camera of a laptop or the external camera that was connected first after starting the computer. You need to experiment a bit to find the correct one.
- Next you select the type of ColorChecker you are using on the right side of the settings window. The options are:
1) The clone Colorchecker typically found on Ebay (default)
2) The original 4×6 ColorCheckers from X-Rite (ColorChecker Classic, ColorChecker Passport Photo)
3) The ColorChecker Passport Video (The other two ColorChecker Video checkers are not supported yet)
4) The Legacy ColorChecker Classic, with slightly different colors to the current checkers.
5) The datacolor SpyderCHECKR and SpyderCHECKR 24
6) The X-Rite ColorChecker Digital SG
7) The DGK Color Tools DKK Color Calibration Chart (affordable option on Amazon)
- A new window will appear if you select “Use camera” and press “Use selected settings”. This window will sometimes take time to appear while PerfectColor tries to connect to the camera. My external camera can take up to half a minute to appear. Now you need to show the colorchecker to the camera; Try keep the checker close to the object (me), try to tilt it to avoid sharp reflections and avoid occluding any of the checkers. Press ESC when ready to process the image.
The results – What is “loss”?
A final window will appear after processing the last frame of the video from the camera or the cc.jpg file in the Documents/PerfectColor folder. The “loss” is a number describing how well the model for the color correction of the colorchecker is matching the original colors found in the processed image or video frame. A low number (<8) is preferable. The process can be repeated to check whether a different tilting of the colorchecker or a different lighting will give a lower loss.
How to use the LUTs from PerfectColor?
The results of the color correction is saved to two LUT files in the Documents/PerfectColor folder : 1) “cc_LUT.cube” using the common format .cube from Adobe and 2) “cc_LUT.png” a LUT in a square image format that can be used as an alternative to .cube in OBS Studio or Streamlabs. The beauty of LUTs, in most video editing, recording and streaming software, is that they can be combined in sequence. By first adding the LUT from PerfectColor and then tweaking the colors with other grading you can create any color impression you want the viewer to experience.
Where can I learn more about PerfectColor?
Currently there is not much instructional material available. PerfectColor should be easy to install and use and I don’t really see the urgent need to create such material. I have my own YouTube channel, Even’s Oddities, though, that I will fill with instructional videos on how to install and use PerfectColor with different video editing software in the very near future. The tools should also be applicable to photos, so I will see whether I can use it with tools like GIMP or Adobe Photoshop and post YouTube videos and make blog posts about how to do this as well.
What is the basis for PerfectColor?
PerfectColor use OpenCV libraries for ColorChecker detection and color correction. The color correction part basically shapes the original LUT cube into a weird shape that fit the colors found in the image to the predefined colors of the ColorChecker. The original examples are console only applications and do color correction for a single image or video frame. PerfectColor is extending on these tools, adding a simple GUI and saving the results as reusable LUTs. The final part was quite a challenge, as I had limited knowledge of color grading, color spaces and LUTs in general.
What is the future for PerfectColor?
I just recently (March 2022) programmed, compiled and built the software and the installer and am making it avaiable (if Microsoft wants it) through the Microsoft Store Preview program. Hopefully this will be accepted and the tool will be universally available.
The code should be compatible with MacOS, so hopefully someday I can make PerfectColor available also for you Apple lovers.