Is there a software for automatic colour conversion?


As far as I understand the literature, if one intends to get prints with correct colours, the right choice is to calibrate the monitor to 5000K.

But if the same photos will be looked at by others on non-calibrated monitors (without having the prints), calibrating my monitor to 6500K would be the right choice for processing.

Is there a software that can automatically generate derivative image files to modify their colours so that others in a 6500K environment will see more or less the same colours, which I saw in my darkroom when processing the photos on a 5000K monitor?

Your advice will be highly appreciated.

That’s not exactly right. If one wants to print with correct colors, all one needs is a good printer and an accurate printer profile, properly applied. The condition of the monitor does not directly affect the printer output.

However, most people also want their monitor to match their printer output so they can accurately predict what their prints will look like. So, they calibrate their monitor - and the usual recommended starting point for this is 6500 for most home users. This gives a good representation of daylight white on a monitor in the usual viewing conditions.

What I think you might have heard is that in press room situations, they will calibrate their monitor to 5000 to match their press. This is under very controlled lighting and does not usually work in other situations - 5000 would look too warm. It has something to do with how our eyes see reflective light differently than emissive light and how our eyes perceive color differently at higher brightness levels.

But in normal scenarios a 6500 Kelvin monitor will match pretty well to a daylight (D50) calibrated printer profile.

Concerning others with non-calibrated monitors, there’s not much you can predict there. What they will be seeing is all over the board. For example, a CRT in its natural state would often put out a white point of 9800 K! The most we can do is convert our images to the sRGB profile to approximate their gamut.

A nice thing to keep in mind in all of this is that our eyes naturally “white-balance” to whatever white they are seeing at the moment. So sometimes, the “perceived” differences are not as far off as one would expect.

Dear Patrick,

Thanks for your fast response and your explanation.

I understand that you suggest keeping things simple and calibrating my monitor to 6500K. I also understand what you said about the flexibility of human eyes.

Nevertheless, my ultimate aim is to produce quality prints - though I am a simple amateur without any ‘threat’ of having my pictures published in a nice book … Anyway, I would like to compare my prints to my on-screen photos, so I intend to keep the rules of using a 5000K monitor in a “real darkroom” and a Color Master 1 from Just-Normlicht to check and compare my prints.

Regardless of whether calibrating my monitor to 5000K or 6500K, my original question remained unanswered … For me at this moment the real question is not which particular colour temperature (5000K, 6500K, or any other colour temperature) is worth using for processing a photo. The real question is whether there is any software in the market, which is capable of generating such new versions of TIFF and/or JPEG files the colours of which are automatically modified as if the images had been processed on a monitor with a different colour temperature. In other words, if I process a photo on a monitor calibrated to 5000K and save the resulting TIFF or JPEG file, it would be great to have an application that is able to convert this image into another file, opening of which on a 6500K monitor would show the same colours as my monitor (calibrated to 5000K).

I understand that the perception of colours highly depends on the ambient lighting conditions. In an ideal world we would know exactly under which conditions our photos will be looked at by other, and our image processing monitor would be calibrated accordingly.

I also understand that the actual colour temperature of my monitor does not have a direct impact on the printer. However, there is an obvious and crucial indirect impact: I make modifications of the image on the basis of what I can see on the monitor … And my percention of colours changes with changing the colour temperature of my monitor.