Image Quality Tools
TAG Heuer by Lynx cameras have the ability to adapt to varying color temperatures of light by adjusting the mix of Red, Green and Blue in the image that it takes. This process is called white balance; the way to think about it is that if it is set correctly, things which should be perfectly white in the image will be white, rather than a shade of some other color.
- To automatically set white balance for a TAG Heuer by Lynx camera:
- Create a new Event.
- Capture some image with content that should appear white (or grey) - a piece of blank paper or an item of clothing, for example.
- Right-click and drag to draw a selection box around an area that should all be white.
- Click Image | Set | White balance, or use the keyboard shortcut Alt-B.
- This will automatically set the White Balance settings. If the same image is captured again, it should be much whiter in this region.
Once the white balance procedure has been performed, look in the Setup tab of the Camera Settings dialog to see the value of the White Balance variables. These can be fine-tuned by hand if needed, but this should only be necessary if one of them is too high. If these numbers need to be re-adjusted at a later time because the color of the light has changed significantly, better results will be achieved by zeroing out these settings first.
There are five different values which can be adjusted on a TAG Heuer by Lynx image after it has been taken: Enhancement (increased contrast based on a defined zone of the image), Brightness, Contrast, Gamma and PLC (Phased-Light Compensation).
Image enhancement allows adjustment of the light level of the image after it has been taken. It cannot salvage terrible pictures, but it can be a big help in distinguishing between parts of an image which are very similar in tone.
It takes a little practice to achieve the desired results, but the good part is that “undoing” the enhancement is as easy as clicking on the unenhance icon, or selecting the Unenhance option from the Image .
To enhance an image, use the right mouse button to draw a box around and select a part of the image which is representative of the part that needs enhancement. For example, a region might be selected where an athlete’s chest blends in with the background.
A pop-up menu will appear, select the Enhance option, or click on the Enhance icon. The same result can be achieved by selecting the image area to be enhanced as described above, and selecting the Enhance option from the Image .
An enhanced image will be saved enhanced, but the enhancement can always be undone, even after the picture has been saved.
To assist in evaluating images where the finish line is “banded” with areas of light and shade, the Multiple Region Enhancement (MRE) can prove invaluable.
Contrast, Brightness and Gamma Adjustments
In some situations, automatic image enhancement might not be the correct action to take to enhance the brightness of an image. For example, it may be desirable to apply a small brightness function to all images. This is particularly useful in events where the background of the image is very similar in color to the objects passing through, as is most common in horse racing.
Fine adjustments to the Brightness, Contrast, Gamma and PLC values of an image can be made by selecting Adjustments... from the Image . Doing this will call up the Image Adjustments Dialog shown in Image Adjustments Dialog.
By using either the sliders, or the arrows at the ends of the slider boxes, the values for the Brightness, Contrast, Gamma and PLC of the image can be changed. The result of making any changes in this dialog can be seen instantly in the image - and it is considerably easier to discover for yourself the effects of altering these values than it is to explain.
Feel free to experiment, because even if the image is saved, the changes can still be undone by returning the sliders to the central position when the file is reopened. For this reason, the operator should not be nervous about experimenting with setting different values in this dialog.
Image Adjustments Floating Window
There is an 'Image Adjustments' floating window available under the Window menu. The controls are associated with a particular enhancement region when you click on part of an image or move the hash line with the arrow keys.
This function allows the user to create multiple enhancement regions in the image. The usefulness of this is in cases where, for example, a portion of the finish line is covered with a shadow and a portion is in bright light.
MRE allows these different sections of image to be enhanced separately, creating a total image of more regular intensity. An example of this feature can be seen by comparing the images shown below.
In some lighting conditions, the finish line may contain well-lit and significantly darker areas, for example, when a shadow falls across a portion of the finish line.
With the MRE feature, you can define specific areas of the field of view for electronic enhancement, allowing you to pull viable image from the darker areas. Like the standard enhancement feature, the enhancement can easily be undone, even after the image is saved.
Setting Up Regions
To create an enhancement region, the operator clicks to the left of the desired Image Pane in the Image Zone and selects Enhancement from the pop-up menu (as opposed to Lanes). A letter "E" will appear in the left side bar of the image pane.
To move the pane to the desired position, simply click with the left mouse button at the bottom of the side bar and - holding the mouse button down - slide the bottom of the region up to the desired position. The user can set up as many regions as needed, and each can be controlled in the same way as the standard enhancement feature.
As with the standard Enhancement feature, undoing the effects is simply a matter of clicking on the Unenhance icon. Also, enhancement effect can be undone even after the image has been saved.
The Enhancement Regions can also be used to apply the effects of the Image Adjustments dialog to a specific portion of the image.