Color Matching Analyzer

by Magnusson Productions in Scripts and Addons

"It's Just Not Real Enough!"

The biggest struggle I had in my early Blender days was merging my render on top of a background image.  For some reason, the render and the background didn't match, even when I used the same lighting setup.  I couldn't put my finger on why.  It just wasn't real enough.

While I studied Blender for visual effects and compositing (see here), I realized the game-changer in integration: color range.  See, every image has its own color range.  One image's black and white values won't be the same as another's.  And my render and background had different color ranges, hence the feeling that it still looked fake.



So I knew the problem, but I lacked the solution.  Clamping both the render and background image values led to more color data lost, and guess-timating the values lacked any sense of certainty.  So I created my own solution to speed up the compositing workflow, and the Color Matching Analyzer was born.

What Does this Addon Do?

The Color Matching Analyzer speeds image merging workflow by analyzing the minimum and maximum values of any image or video, which can be automatically applied to the compositor.

"Let's Just Take the Analyzer Data..."

In the image and movie clip editor, you can get the maximum and minimum RGB values of an image with a single click.  This works for most images/videos - one button, and you're done!


For further precision, I added a custom-built color picker in the image editor.  Now, you can directly pick the black and white areas, ignoring the saturated colors trying to throwing you off.  Once you've color picked to your pleasure, confirm it with a mouse click.

The picker compares its results to the black and white values you currently have, so if you don't find a darker black or whiter white, it'll stay as it is.  If you realize you color picked the wrong area, the reset button has got your back.

"...and Put It in the Compositor"

Okay, you say, but now what?  Brace yourself: more is coming.   Once you've found the white and black values of the image, press one more button.  Then, those values will be applied to an "alpha over" node group that takes the color range into account.

Now when you put your renders on a background image, the color ranges will match!  Better yet, my node setup is based on a scene-referred color space, so your color values are preserved!

"It was real!"

Whether you're adding a background image for your car model or creating visual effects, you need a guarantee that your art will look real.  The Color Matching Analyzer enables you to do just that: make your work feel more real to your audience.  And when it feels real, they can focus on the message you're trying to convey—not on the images you're trying to merge.

Updates

2.0.0 - The analysis is now available in the Movie Clip Editor!!  Also a UI facelift and optimizations.

1.1.0 - A few changes to the compositor functionality for clarification.

1.0.1 - 2.80 compatible!  And I fixed a bug with empty images and render results for good measure.