Identifying bird coloring through computer imaging

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Crystalchic, May 2, 2009.

  1. Crystalchic

    Crystalchic Gone for a bit

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    Last month we purchased a lavender silkie trio. When they arrived, we took several pictures of the birds. To the naked eye, you can see the lavender coloring of the bird. We purchased these from Bren's Birds of Paradise and am quite satisfied with what we purchased. My husband, took the pictures into a computer imaging program (GIMP, which is similar to photoshop) and used the color picker tool to identify the color. When you pick a color on a picture, it gives you a spectrum of colors that "surround" the color that was picked. On these lavender birds, when he picked various colors on the bird, the spectrum returned by the computer showed colors in the purple to deep blue ranges. We concluded that the computer is therefore seeing purples.

    We purchased a blue rooster and a blue splash rooster and when we do the same thing, we get colors in the blue and grays.

    We then were thinking about other similar birds up for auction, claiming to be blues or lavenders. When we ran the picture provided by the seller through the program, we did not get blue or lavender. Instead, the computer returned results in the reds and browns. To the naked eye, you could see hints or reds/browns but not blues or violets even though the birds were advertised as blue, lavender or carrying one of these genes.

    So, our question is this, should we trust the computer and what it is seeing or should we trust the seller who says what color it is. Or, is this method of identifying color better than even seeing the bird in person with your own eyes.
     
  2. Sunny the Hippie Chick

    Sunny the Hippie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    Brookings Oregon
    Ive never heard of this.. This computer imaging program sort of interests me.. Can you tell me more..

    I have button quail.. I have slate, silver, smoke, and ivory.. All of them are bluish colors. To me what supposed to be the Ivory in Button Quail looks alot like what every one is calling Lavender.. I wonder if the color of them would show up the same as your lavender chickens.. Can you just use a few feathers to tell the color. Or do you need a picture of the whole bird..

    More information about this would interest me..

    Thank you in advanced...
     
  3. Crystalchic

    Crystalchic Gone for a bit

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    google gimp, it's a free program that provides graphic editing similar to photoshop
     
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    There are only two pigments that form all the various plumage colours in chickens: eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red).

    All the other colours and shades are formed by intensifying or diluting these two pigments. Some genes dilute only one of the two pigments; others dilute both.

    The blue gene dilutes eumelanin, but has little effect on pheomelanin. The lavender gene dilutes both equally.

    Another difference is that lavender has no affect unless two copies of the lav allele for the gene are present in the bird. If the bird is Lav Lav or Lav lav there will no absolutely no way of knowing that the bird carries lavender, except through breeding records; only if the bird is lav lav will the pigments be diluted. If the underlying gene-set was not that of a solid black bird, but also had gold showing, the gold would dilute to a colour called isabel rather than to self-blue.

    Blue is incompletely dominant rather than recessive. This means that one copy of the gene dilutes the bird somewhat whereas two copies dilutes the bird further. One copy of blue, Blbl dilutes a black bird to blue; a 2nd copy further dilutes the bird to splash. If gold, red or silver is showing on the bird it is unaffected by the blue dilution.

    And to further complicate matters, light and camera settings can alter the colour recorded, regardless of whether the image is recorded digitally or on film. If recorded on film, then the specific film used will affect colour.
     
  5. Crystalchic

    Crystalchic Gone for a bit

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    Sonora you just confused the flip out of me. This entire genetic thing is so mind boggling to me. Lil Rye is just a kid, I met him in chat, he has tried so many times to explain. I need a degree to breed my chickens.
     
  6. Sunny the Hippie Chick

    Sunny the Hippie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    Brookings Oregon
    I wonder if the color imaging would be of better quaility if you scanned a feather on a scanner and into the computer. Instead of using a photo.. That should make the color quaility better.. I would think. But i know nothing about this topic and I am trying to learn..
     
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    I don't think most scanners are sufficiently accurate.

    You need at least a photography studio, using indentical lighting and camera settings for each image. Don't even change anything except the object being photographed.

    A laboratory would be more accurately controlled, and you could specify the exact temperature of the light, the exact focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ...
     
  8. Crystalchic

    Crystalchic Gone for a bit

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    Thank you. My husband agreed with every thing you said. He had even shown me the way that other colors in the picture will reflect off the bird thereby "telling" the imaging program that other colors are at work. But, his point was this, all of the things you spoke of are extremely expensive. Especially if you were to apply those tests to every potential bird you acquire. He was suggesting using the pc as a first line of defense against people who start auctions alleging that the bird is a true lavender but who may be falsely stating the facts. So, that if a person claimed the bird was lav, and the pc found nothing but hard reds in the bird pictures, that it is less likely to be have a lav gene than a bird that the pc actually showed contained purple and deep blue tints. That's all. we agree that breeding records and testing is the only true way to know. This idea was more of a time and money saving idea.
     
  9. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    This is kind of over-analyzing the issue.

    Lavender is a gene. Solid lavenders are simply solid black chickens pure for the lavender gene. These are highly consistent in color/shade (but as mentioned the setting, camera etc can seem to alter the color slightly.. in person they tend to be highly similar though) Lavender can be found on other base color patterns- for example Porcelains are simply a Mille Fleur pure for lavender.

    One characterstic of lavender is the 'shade' is nearly or is literally perfectly even throughout the bird. Also if there are any 'non black' areas on the bird, these are strongly diluted also(as on Porcelain example above).

    The blue is highly variable, this is the one that can show lacing, roosters have hackles and saddles darker shade than the body etc. Blue has little or no effect on 'non black' areas, leaving them shiny and rich reds.. Blue Wheaten, some Pyles etc are examples of this.

    Usually
    a person familiar with both can tell which bird is which just by looking at them- no breeding or testing needed. There can be a few exceptions, but those are uncommon. If one is not sure, can always ask the person something like 'do those lavenders breed true' or ask for second opinion from someone who knows lavenders and blues by sight.
     
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    You are absolutely right, and I guess that was my unstated point--imaging the bird to tell its true colours is at best impractical, and most likely inaccurate.

    I have found that judges at a show are very willing to lend their expertise to share information with people--just wait until all judging is complete. Most exhibitors are also willing (eager) to talk about birds--their own or others'--and share information.

    Show staff are often very knowledgeable, but usually too busy during a show to devote much attention to explaining why one bird is better than another or to point out nuances in variety differences.
     

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