BabelColor ®
Color Measurement and Analysis

PRODUCTS MUSEUM

Products no-longer sold:

Munsell Color System Catalog Munsell Poster White Target DeltaE* for Android (software)

Munsell Color System Catalog

The Munsell Color System (MCS) Catalog presents more than 1700 color patches at fixed Munsell Hue, Munsell Value, and Munsell Chroma  spacings. You may want to consult our Munsell Color System description page. The patches are presented in a three-ring binder with removable pages, with each page dedicated to a single hue; the ten Munsell Hues (R, YR, Y, GY, G, BG, B, PB, P, and RP) are further separated in four intervals (2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10), for a total a 40 pages. An additional page presents gray (neutral) patches between N 0.5/ and N 9/, at 0.5 intervals. The patches are printed on Luster Finish photographic paper with a print permanence rating of 45 years in standardized viewing conditions  (up to 200 years if framed with a UV filter). Patch accuracy The patches printed in this catalog were mathematically selected to be within 2 DeltaE* (CIEDE2000) of the printer profile’s gamut. In practice, printing systems are neither perfectly accurate nor perfectly stable; in addition, small print-to-print variations are common and larger deviations may be seen near the gamut edges. To check the accuracy, we printed the patches and measured, with an i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer from X-Rite, that the average difference with the reference values was below 1 DeltaE*, with more than 95% (two-sigma) of the patches below 2 DeltaE* (ISO 13655-2009 measurement condition M0). A DeltaE* of 1 is typically defined as being the smallest noticeable difference for 50% of viewers. Please note that these results are indicative of the typical patch accuracy and shall not be interpreted as a committed specification. Also, while our measuring instrument is calibrated, its absolute accuracy relative to traceable standards, such as those of the NIST, is not given by the instrument manufacturer, which provides only an inter-instrument agreement specification (a common practice). Thus, when making measurements with your own instrument, you may see color differences higher than ours, even if using the same instrument model, if only because of inter-instrument differences.

Munsell Poster

This 24 x 38 inch (61 x 96,5 cm) Munsell poster was originally available in Standard and Deluxe Editions. Due to customer preferences, it was later available solely in the Deluxe version, which was printed on a gallery grade paper, and which could display more patches. The Deluxe edition comprised 2092 patches divided in 40 groups. There were 4 groups of patches per row and 10 rows, with 1 row per Munsell Hue name. Please consult our Munsell Color System description page for more information on the Munsell color notation. The second image shows a detail view of the 5G patches layout (click on the image to enlarge). Each patch is identified with its Munsell notation. The background is a light grey with a nominal 89% lightness (lightness is the L* of L*a*b*). Poster color accuracy There is no point in producing a poster about a color system if the colors are not accurate. Defining "accurate" is a tough job though. What is accurate for a person will be rejected by another. Accuracy also depends of the end use; for example, in advertising, company logos and elements of products packaging often have precise colorimetric requirements. Since the accuracy requirements are higher than what can be obtained with blends of the primary printing inks (usually Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK, i.e. CMYK), additional inks of the exact color (called spot colors) are used to print these elements. In traditional printing, spot colors require a separate printing plate, at an extra cost, and it is not difficult to see why the number of spot colors is usually few. Here we have a poster which would ideally require thousands of spot colors! This could be done if we produced each patch individually, but is definitely impossible when printing all colors simultaneously. So we know that we will need some compromises, but where do we draw the line for accuracy? Let's make a small digression, starting with the raw data. For this poster, the raw data is defined by the "renotated" Munsell data (discussed in the Munsell Color System description page), which is XYZ (CIE1931) color coordinates of Munsell colors as measured with Illuminant C, a now obsolete daylight illuminant relatively close, but not equal, to the more modern D65. The data is first converted to Illuminant D50 in order to be compatible with the ICC Profile Connection Space (PCS) which is now ubiquitous in image processing. In a second operation, an ICC profile is used to convert between the D50 data and the printer colorimetric space. Selecting a perceptual rendering in the second step would maximize the number of colors that can be "perceived" as correct when printed; however, the perceptual rendering shifts ALL colors to maintain a certain relationship, with minimal regards for individual colors' accuracy. What is required here is an Absolute rendering, where we strive to reproduce the colors precisely, with the knowledge that this precision will fall dramatically when the colors are out of the printer's color gamut, defined by the range of colors which are possible to reproduce with specific printer's inks laid out on a given paper. The Munsell Color System can describe all visible colors; unfortunately, no printing system or mix of pigments can reproduce such a gamut. This means that all representations of the Munsell system, either in poster form or with large individual patches stored in 3-ring binders, can only show a subset of the system colors. However, with an ink-jet printer, we can "play" with the ink/paper combination in order to improve the gamut; alas, there is no great freedom in this game. Once you select a printer, this usually fixes the ink choices to sometimes two or three ink- sets, but most often only one, which leaves only the paper selection as the variable. On the plus side, there are more companies offering printers with high-gamut inks than ever before. Still, once a printer is selected, you can only play with the paper to adjust the gamut. Regrettably, some printer drivers are designed in such a way that it is difficult to use third party papers, even if you generate an ICC profile for them yourself, further limiting a quest for large gamut printing. Now, let’s go back from our digression. Where do we draw the line for accuracy? Like many things in life, and particularly for this task, we have to live in a grey zone! We first decided that this poster was not designed for quality control purposes, if only because each color patch is too small to be judged against a test sample. On the other hand, a lot of time was spent making sure the patches would be printed with "accurate" colors. We then decided that we would print only the patches that are considered "in-gamut" as judged with Photoshop's "Preview" tool. Because the technical details of this Photoshop feature are not documented, we made numerous print tests where we measured the patches, particularly the ones at the gamut's edge, and compared them to the reference data. We also compared the Photoshop results with PatchTool's "Clip check", which can predict if a color is within a profile's gamut, and if not, by how much. As well, we visually compared the in-gamut patches L*a*b* positions in 3D relative to the 3D gamut shape derived from the ICC profile. Overall, we measured that the Photoshop selection threshold was somewhat flexible; the DeltaE (CIEDE2000) of out-of-gamut colors which are on the gamut's edge varies between 2 and 7. Please note that these color difference numbers combine the printing error and the measuring instrument's accuracy, and, more importantly, that the colors are outside the gamut as flagged by Photoshop, which means that they were not retained for the poster. In short, this is where we drew our line. In practice this means that the absolute color accuracy is slightly less for some colors with maximum chroma, on the gamut's edge, while being consistently good within the gamut volume. But by how much you may ask? We evaluated that the average error was around or lower than 2 DeltaE (CIEDE2000), as measured on a black ISO background.

White Target

The BabelColor White-Balance target was made with the best solid white reference material you can find: sintered PTFE. PTFE is an acronym for polytetrafluoroethylene, a fluoropolymer better known as Teflon, a DuPont trademark. Sintered PTFE, obtained with an exacting and time- consuming manufacturing process, exhibits the highest and most constant diffuse reflectance in the visible spectrum. Its diffusing properties are highly Lambertian, which means that the apparent target brightness essentially remains the same for all viewing angles. This material is typically used in high-end light measuring instruments and accessories, such as integrating spheres. Sintered PTFE reflectance characteristics are very different from those of PTFE slabs and rods available from plastic suppliers, which are essentially useless for white reference purposes. The characteristics of sintered PTFE are in fact so unlike those of standard PTFE that some manufacturers use a trade name for the resulting product; for instance, Spectralon, a registered trademark of Labsphere Inc., is such a material. The manufacturing process of Labsphere's Spectralon is a trade secret, and so is the BabelColor white target manufacturing process; however, the resulting materials have very similar properties in terms of reflectance, resistance to heat and chemicals, etc. Ideal as a reference for “RAW” file calibration, as shown above. Top image: RAW image as opened (camera set with manual Tungsten White Balance). Middle image: White Balance obtained by clicking on the target. Bottom image: exposure corrected by monitoring the target white. Features / Specifications Reflectance: 99% ±1% over the visible spectrum L*a*b* (D50): 99.5 / -0.08 / -0.40 (typical; measured with an i1Pro). Very neutral appearance under any Illuminant. RGB: (253, 254, 254). Numbers representative of common RGB spaces such as Adobe (1998), ProPhoto, and sRGB. Stable reflectance under various lights and over time Highly diffused (non-specular, i.e. non-reflective) surface Waterproof Thermally stable Not fluorescent Nominal size: 1.18 inch (30 mm) diameter; 0.355 inch (9 mm) thickness Recommended by Derek Cooper explains how to use the BabelColor White Target for art reproduction in Tips 135 to 138 (Chapter 10) of Andrew Darlow's  book: 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques. The use of the BabelColor White Target in architectural lighting is discussed by Pierre-Felix Breton in Chapter 6 - Physically Based Materials  of this book: 3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualization -  Advanced to Expert. Extracts from a discussion in one of The Luminous Landscape forums: o The WB picker should be spot on, but not all gray cards are all that gray. The 2 mentioned above are relatively good (WhiBal), and exceptionally good (the Babelcolor White target). - Bart van der Wolf o I used a foam cup quite some times. It, for sure can give very good results, for me at least, often better than most other devices and cards. But I would like to add once more, how impressed I am by the BabelColor white target. That's another league all together. I had no color issues in post production. One click. - Nino Loss Extract from a  post by Andrew Rodney (The Digital Dog), the author of Color Management for Photographers, in the Digital Grin forum: o (...) First thing, don't WB on gray! Try a non specular white. Half of all the data in a Raw linear capture is in the first stop of highlight. What converter are you using? o Next, a "proper" WB may not produce an ideal color appearance! I often WB in Lightroom and ACR, then tweak the tint/temp sliders a tad as I usually find the results a bit too cool for my tastes. Also, if you have the proper WB target, that can help as something that's not spectrally neutral will affect the WB. Something like this: http://www.babelcolor.com/main_level/White_Target.htm (...)

 DeltaE* for Android

DeltaE* is a tool which computed color-differences using industry standard formulas. It was designed for older Android OS versions and did not work properly with some recent high-resolution phones and tablets. Unfortunately, there is no plan to update the program for the latest Android OS version and devices and it is not available anymore. DeltaE* manual and specifications
BabelColor ®

PRODUCTS MUSEUM

Products no-longer sold:

Munsell Color System Catalog Munsell Poster White Target DeltaE* for Android (software)

Munsell Color System Catalog

The Munsell Color System (MCS) Catalog presents more than 1700 color patches at fixed Munsell Hue, Munsell Value, and Munsell Chroma spacings. You may want to consult our Munsell Color System description page. The patches are presented in a three-ring binder with removable pages, with each page dedicated to a single hue; the ten Munsell Hues (R, YR, Y, GY, G, BG, B, PB, P, and RP) are further separated in four intervals (2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10), for a total a 40 pages. An additional page presents gray (neutral) patches between N 0.5/ and N 9/, at 0.5 intervals. The patches are printed on Luster Finish  photographic paper with a print permanence rating of 45 years in standardized viewing conditions (up to 200 years if framed with a UV filter). Patch accuracy The patches printed in this catalog were mathematically selected to be within 2 DeltaE* (CIEDE2000) of the printer profile’s gamut. In practice, printing systems are neither perfectly accurate nor perfectly stable; in addition, small print-to-print variations are common and larger deviations may be seen near the gamut edges. To check the accuracy, we printed the patches and measured, with an i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer from X-Rite, that the average difference with the reference values was below 1 DeltaE*, with more than 95% (two-sigma) of the patches below 2 DeltaE* (ISO 13655-2009 measurement condition M0). A DeltaE* of 1 is typically defined as being the smallest noticeable difference for 50% of viewers. Please note that these results are indicative of the typical patch accuracy and shall not be interpreted as a committed specification. Also, while our measuring instrument is calibrated, its absolute accuracy relative to traceable standards, such as those of the NIST, is not given by the instrument manufacturer, which provides only an inter- instrument agreement specification (a common practice). Thus, when making measurements with your own instrument, you may see color differences higher than ours, even if using the same instrument model, if only because of inter-instrument differences.

Munsell Poster

This 24 x 38 inch (61 x 96,5 cm) Munsell poster was originally available in Standard and Deluxe Editions. Due to customer preferences, it was later available solely in the Deluxe version, which was printed on a gallery grade paper, and which could display more patches. The Deluxe edition comprised 2092 patches divided in 40 groups. There were 4 groups of patches per row and 10 rows, with 1 row per Munsell Hue name. Please consult our Munsell Color System description page for more information on the Munsell color notation. The second image shows a detail view of the 5G patches layout (click on the image to enlarge). Each patch is identified with its Munsell notation. The background is a light grey with a nominal 89% lightness (lightness is the L* of L*a*b*). Poster color accuracy There is no point in producing a poster about a color system if the colors are not accurate. Defining "accurate" is a tough job though. What is accurate for a person will be rejected by another. Accuracy also depends of the end use; for example, in advertising, company logos and elements of products packaging often have precise colorimetric requirements. Since the accuracy requirements are higher than what can be obtained with blends of the primary printing inks (usually Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK, i.e. CMYK), additional inks of the exact color (called spot colors) are used to print these elements. In traditional printing, spot colors require a separate printing plate, at an extra cost, and it is not difficult to see why the number of spot colors is usually few. Here we have a poster which would ideally require thousands of spot colors! This could be done if we produced each patch individually, but is definitely impossible when printing all colors simultaneously. So we know that we will need some compromises, but where do we draw the line for accuracy? Let's make a small digression, starting with the raw data. For this poster, the raw data is defined by the "renotated" Munsell data (discussed in the Munsell Color System description page), which is XYZ (CIE1931) color coordinates of Munsell colors as measured with Illuminant C, a now obsolete daylight illuminant relatively close, but not equal, to the more modern D65. The data is first converted to Illuminant D50 in order to be compatible with the ICC Profile Connection Space (PCS) which is now ubiquitous in image processing. In a second operation, an ICC profile is used to convert between the D50 data and the printer colorimetric space. Selecting a perceptual rendering in the second step would maximize the number of colors that can be "perceived" as correct when printed; however, the perceptual rendering shifts ALL colors to maintain a certain relationship, with minimal regards for individual colors' accuracy. What is required here is an Absolute rendering, where we strive to reproduce the colors precisely, with the knowledge that this precision will fall dramatically when the colors are out of the printer's color gamut, defined by the range of colors which are possible to reproduce with specific printer's inks laid out on a given paper. The Munsell Color System can describe all visible colors; unfortunately, no printing system or mix of pigments can reproduce such a gamut. This means that all representations of the Munsell system, either in poster form or with large individual patches stored in 3-ring binders, can only show a subset of the system colors. However, with an ink-jet printer, we can "play" with the ink/paper combination in order to improve the gamut; alas, there is no great freedom in this game. Once you select a printer, this usually fixes the ink choices to sometimes two or three ink-sets, but most often only one, which leaves only the paper selection as the variable. On the plus side, there are more companies offering printers with high-gamut inks than ever before. Still, once a printer is selected, you can only play with the paper to adjust the gamut. Regrettably, some printer drivers are designed in such a way that it is difficult to use third party papers, even if you generate an ICC profile for them yourself, further limiting a quest for large gamut printing. Now, let’s go back from our digression. Where do we draw the line for accuracy? Like many things in life, and particularly for this task, we have to live in a grey zone! We first decided that this poster was not designed for quality control purposes, if only because each color patch is too small to be judged against a test sample. On the other hand, a lot of time was spent making sure the patches would be printed with "accurate" colors. We then decided that we would print only the patches that are considered "in-gamut" as judged with Photoshop's "Preview" tool. Because the technical details of this Photoshop feature are not documented, we made numerous print tests where we measured the patches, particularly the ones at the gamut's edge, and compared them to the reference data. We also compared the Photoshop results with PatchTool's "Clip check", which can predict if a color is within a profile's gamut, and if not, by how much. As well, we visually compared the in-gamut patches L*a*b* positions in 3D relative to the 3D gamut shape derived from the ICC profile. Overall, we measured that the Photoshop selection threshold was somewhat flexible; the DeltaE (CIEDE2000) of out-of-gamut colors which are on the gamut's edge varies between 2 and 7. Please note that these color difference numbers combine the printing error and the measuring instrument's accuracy, and, more importantly, that the colors are outside the gamut as flagged by Photoshop, which means that they were not retained for the poster. In short, this is where we drew our line. In practice this means that the absolute color accuracy is slightly less for some colors with maximum chroma, on the gamut's edge, while being consistently good within the gamut volume. But by how much you may ask? We evaluated that the average error was around or lower than 2 DeltaE (CIEDE2000), as measured on a black ISO background.

White Target

The BabelColor White-Balance target was made with the best solid white reference material you can find: sintered PTFE. PTFE is an acronym for polytetrafluoroethylene, a fluoropolymer better known as Teflon, a DuPont trademark. Sintered PTFE, obtained with an exacting and time-consuming manufacturing process, exhibits the highest and most constant diffuse reflectance in the visible spectrum. Its diffusing properties are highly Lambertian, which means that the apparent target brightness essentially remains the same for all viewing angles. This material is typically used in high-end light measuring instruments and accessories, such as integrating spheres. Sintered PTFE reflectance characteristics are very different from those of PTFE slabs and rods available from plastic suppliers, which are essentially useless for white reference purposes. The characteristics of sintered PTFE are in fact so unlike those of standard PTFE that some manufacturers use a trade name for the resulting product; for instance, Spectralon, a registered trademark of Labsphere Inc., is such a material. The manufacturing process of Labsphere's Spectralon is a trade secret, and so is the BabelColor white target manufacturing process; however, the resulting materials have very similar properties in terms of reflectance, resistance to heat and chemicals, etc. Ideal as a reference for “RAW” file calibration, as shown above. Top image: RAW image as opened (camera set with manual Tungsten White Balance). Middle image: White Balance obtained by clicking on the target. Bottom image: exposure corrected by monitoring the target white. Features / Specifications Reflectance: 99% ±1% over the visible spectrum L*a*b* (D50): 99.5 / -0.08 / -0.40 (typical; measured with an i1Pro). Very neutral appearance under any Illuminant. RGB: (253, 254, 254). Numbers representative of common RGB spaces such as Adobe (1998), ProPhoto, and sRGB. Stable reflectance under various lights and over time Highly diffused (non-specular, i.e. non-reflective) surface Waterproof Thermally stable Not fluorescent Nominal size: 1.18 inch (30 mm) diameter; 0.355 inch (9 mm) thickness Recommended by Derek Cooper explains how to use the BabelColor White Target for art reproduction in Tips 135 to 138 (Chapter 10) of Andrew Darlow's book: 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques. The use of the BabelColor White Target in architectural lighting is discussed by Pierre-Felix Breton in Chapter 6 - Physically Based Materials of this book: 3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualization -  Advanced to Expert. Extracts from a discussion in one of The Luminous Landscape forums: o The WB picker should be spot on, but not all gray cards are all that gray. The 2 mentioned above are relatively good (WhiBal), and exceptionally good (the Babelcolor White target). - Bart van der Wolf o I used a foam cup quite some times. It, for sure can give very good results, for me at least, often better than most other devices and cards. But I would like to add once more, how impressed I am by the BabelColor white target. That's another league all together. I had no color issues in post production. One click. - Nino Loss Extract from a  post by Andrew Rodney (The Digital Dog), the author of Color Management for Photographers, in the Digital Grin forum: o (...) First thing, don't WB on gray! Try a non specular white. Half of all the data in a Raw linear capture is in the first stop of highlight. What converter are you using? o Next, a "proper" WB may not produce an ideal color appearance! I often WB in Lightroom and ACR, then tweak the tint/temp sliders a tad as I usually find the results a bit too cool for my tastes. Also, if you have the proper WB target, that can help as something that's not spectrally neutral will affect the WB. Something like this: http://www.babelcolor.com/main_level/White_Targ et.htm (...)

 DeltaE* for Android

DeltaE* is a tool which computed color-differences using industry standard formulas. It was designed for older Android OS versions and did not work properly with some recent high-resolution phones and tablets. Unfortunately, there is no plan to update the program for the latest Android OS version and devices and it is not available anymore. DeltaE* manual and specifications