HOWTO: color toning instead of misusing white balance?

Hi, this is my first post, I hope my question makes sense… but first of all a BIG THANKS SO MUCH for this wonderful piece of software!!!

On the rawpedia white balance page it suggests to not use the WB controls for color toning but use the “color toning” tool for that purpose. I think I understand the reasons. Now, using a gray card and the “pick” tool it is easy to get perfect white balance.

But how do I (re-)introduce a color tone that is similar (though maybe less extreme) to the original lighting conditions?

How can I make these two photos look different:

  1. picture taken well after sunset in very blue light
  2. picture taken at a campfire in very red light

The WB tool seems ideal for this purpose. In the “color toning” tool I do not see a “color temp” slider or anything like it. If I understand the recommendation on the wiki correctly, how do I achieve this goal without misusing the WB tool for this purpose?

Thanks a lot for your help!

@drrossum Welcome to the forum!

Color toning is one of many tools that you can use. It is just an example. The purpose of the section is to let users know the downsides of using WB liberally; i.e., some tools depend on it being correct. However, if your “correction”, although not radiometrically true, makes the image look balanced who is to say that it isn’t a good starting point? Simply be aware of the consequences and your goals.

I know you were asking for a howto but I hope that my post gets you thinking about your workflow.

PS I forgot to mention that the excellent CIECAM02 module provides you the ability to change the temperature of your colours. It is an advanced module, so you may end up having more questions than answers but @jdc is a kind and patient dev. :wink:


If the tone you’re looking for resides in the color temperature line, I’d say go for it. Indeed, I think “candlelight warm” is a look; Stanley Kubrick demonstrated such in Barry Lyndon.

For white balance, temp/tint doesn’t work well for me. I prefer to modify the RGB multipliers directly. More intuitive to me, R=G=B for white balance makes more sense than 6500K…

If it does the specific thing you need, use the tool with confidence.

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Hi @drrossum and welcome!

It sounds as if you could gain much by looking up

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

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I am not at home, but in vacation with my family.
No computer, just smartphone

Further i will give a longuer answer, but now short.

The good way in your case seems

  • good wb with 2-choices : sliders or wbauto (uses itcwb in autowb branch, good in 90%)
    -then simple solution cat02 auto branch cat02wb. Or complete with Ciecam02
    -or warm cool (use cat02 algo) in newlocallab branch
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Thanks Claes, ggbutcher, afre, Jaques, for the quick replies!

I will experiment with CIACAM02 and read up on cat02 and film simulation over the next couple of evenings and report back how that goes.