The image palettes we have available to us are remarkable. They’ve come so far since I first got into this business in 1983. We can now also easily change the palette in the software. Wow!
Still, many people have questions about which palette to use. My recommendations are as follows:
• While working in the field I strongly recommend using a “monochromatic” palette. Fluke has really perfected the AMBER palette, which incorporates red and blue saturation indicators. You can’t go wrong working in this palette day in and day out! My second choice is the GRAYSCALE but it is not as good as AMBER. RED-BLUE can work well in the field, but it tends to not print well in a report.
• For reports I often use the HIGH-CONTRAST palette because it looks so darned good in print! Be aware that sometimes it can be confusing to non-thermographers—even when they are nodding their heads saying “yes, I see…”—so make sure the imagery is clear and simple. And watch out for the green tones as they are not very intuitive.
• Don’t routinely use either of the inverted palettes (AMBER or GRAYSCALE) because they are not the norm. However, every once in a while I find them very useful, especially to show small hot spots. If you use an inverted palette, clearly indicate the same to minimize the chance of confusion.
I see many new thermographers continually switch through all the available palettes. This is a waste of time. Consider my recommendation, try them for yourself, and learn which ones work best and stick with them. If you ever do have a doubt, and some scenes are challenging to portray, simply drop the image into Smartview and change it though all the options. You’ll quickly see which one works best.
John Snell—The Snell Group, a Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner