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Author Topic: Colours in LR versus CM unaware software  (Read 5308 times)
AndyDahlem
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« on: March 17, 2008, 08:59:14 AM »
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Hello!

This forum is an incredible resource with so many generous people willing to share their knowledge. Hence I am trying to browse through it on a regular basis.

I am running PS CS3 and LR 1.3.1 on Win XP. My LCD is profiled with a Gretag i1 Display and Iím using a custom profile for my Canon printer. The colours that I see in LR and PS match those that are printed. However when I export the files from LR into sRGB JPG files for sharing or web viewing and open the photos in CM unaware software like Windows file viewer or a web browser the colours are less saturated, have less contrast and look slightly warmer (a very slight yellow and magenta tint). I know that this might be due to the inability of these programmes to use the embedded profile. Hence I chose to convert them into the sRGB colour space. Nevertheless the photographs I view in forums like this one, on website or Flickr look better. In comparison mine lack contrast, vibrancy and the colours donít look as right anymore as they do in LR or when printed.

Gian described a similar problem in this thread in LL LR forum but there werenít any real solutions put forward.
Nik's suggestion, though it works, is a workaround but it really counteracts the advantages of using Lightroom in the first instance. Why should I adjust my RAW files in Lightroom first, when I need to use PS anyway to produce pleasing JPG conversions.

Am I making a mistake in my export/conversion process? Or do I have to adjust my workflow or the settings before exporting photos for viewing in CM unaware programmes?

I thank you very much for your kind feedback and for helping me improve my post-processing skills!

All the best,
Andy
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Andrew Fee
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 02:43:07 AM »
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You're probably not doing anything wrong if your colour is matching across colour-aware applications.

Photoshop should be set up like this:

(note: I'm using CS2, but it should be roughly the same)

And Lightroom's settings should be like this:



What you are seeing is probably the difference between your monitor and the sRGB spec. With my laptop LCD where the gamut is much smaller than the sRGB colour space images look very pale/washed out when there is no colour management in effect. I imagine that viewing images on a display where the gamut exceeds the sRGB spec will look oversaturated in unmanaged applications.

It's just a case of having to trust that the image will look as it is meant to on more accurate displays.

Safari (and Internet Explorer, I believe) has had colour management on OSX for many years now, so as long as your images are tagged with a profile they will look correct for anyone viewing in it.

Fortunately, there are now two browsers for Windows that are colour managed - the Safari Beta, which should do a reasonable job, and the Firefox 3 beta.

In Firefox colour management is disabled by default, but you can enable it by typing about:config in the address bar. Now, in the filter section, type in management. Double-click gfx.color_management.enabled to change it to true, close all browser windows and re-open it, and it should be working. The great thing about Firefox is that it automatically assumes everything is sRGB if it is untagged, so everything is colour managed. (I suppose there are cases where this could cause problems, but generally anything on the internet is supposed to be sRGB)
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 05:11:06 AM »
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The colours that I see in LR and PS match those that are printed. However when I export the files from LR into sRGB JPG files for sharing or web viewing and open the photos in CM unaware software like Windows file viewer or a web browser the colours are less saturated, have less contrast and look slightly warmer (a very slight yellow and magenta tint).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182101\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Just thinking out loud : could this be because the dummy apps don't use your specific display profile, whereas LR and PS do?
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 08:49:46 AM »
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Andrew and Niko, thank you for your feedback and special thanks to Andrew for kind effort to post screen caps as well as pointing me to Safari and Firefox!

Andrew, your caps reassured me that my colour management settings in Photoshop and Lightroom arenít the cause of the ďproblemĒ, as mine match yours except for Gray Gamma 1.8 and CMYK. I chose Gamma 2.2 as Iím using a windows machine and my CMYK setting is based on a European standard.

I hesitated to install Firefox and Safari as they are still in beta stage, but I have heard good things about them. Hence I should maybe give them a try.


I am aware that the washed out colours are a result of the inability of apps like Windows Explore to make use of the embedded profile. However I cannot expect most users who will receive my photos by email or view them on the net to have calibrated and profiled screens or to use browsers/image viewing apps that are colour managed. Therefore I was wondering whether there is a method to make images look good/similar in apps that use embedded profiles and those that donít. If I increase the saturation to create a more vibrant impression when photos are viewed in CM unaware applications like Windows Explore, they will look oversaturated in software that employs the profile to display images as intended. Hopefully I am wrong by assuming that there isnít a solution to decrease the differences in appearance between colour managed and CM unaware apps.

Again many thanks for your input!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 08:51:33 AM by AndyDahlem » Logged
Andrew Fee
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 11:24:31 PM »
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If you check the Safari site again, it turns out that they just released version 3.1 today, which means that it's out of beta on Windows so you don't have to worry about that now.

I don't use CMYK, so I just left it at the default (I think) but ProPhoto uses a 1.8 gamma, so you should use that instead of 2.2. If you were using sRGB (or Adobe RGB, I think) then you would want a 2.2 grey gamma.

Like I said above, I believe the difference you're seeing is between your display and the sRGB spec. If you were to increase the saturation so it looks good in an unmanaged application on your machine, it would then look oversaturated on someone else's screen if it is closer the the sRGB spec or if they are using a colour managed browser.

It's annoying, but there's not much you can do about it really, you just have to trust that it will look closer to what you saw in Photoshop/Lightroom on other screens. With there now being two colour managed browsers on Windows, hopefully we'll start to see others follow their example. It would be great if Microsoft were to implement colour management in Internet Explorer, as that would mean that the three most-used browsers would then have it. (Firefox and Safari being the other two)
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 08:08:09 AM »
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Andrew, thank you for making me aware of the release of Safari 3.1. I just downloaded and installed it. My first impression of Safari is very good. I like it and I am particularly impressed by comparing the colour managed appearance of photos in Safari with that in Firefox or Explorer, which do not use the embedded profile. It makes browsing photo sites so much more enjoyable. In fact I am writing this message within Safari.

This is a very good tip and I am glad you convinced me to get Safari! Now I am getting even more tempted to switch to a Mac... well, I was considering it for a while. ;-)

I need to check whether to use the 1.8 or 2.2 gamma setting. I set gamma 2.2 in Gretag/X-rite's ColourMatch software, as I am using a windows machine. Hence I selected gamma 2.2 in PS. I believe the help-file recommended 2.2 for windows machines.

It seems that companies like X-rite are working harder on getting the need for colour management and in particular profiled displays into peoples heads. Hopefully we will see it becoming more mainstream this year. We have to wait and see how X-rite's just released ColorMunki performs. The Digital Pouch is a clever concept as it makes sharing and viewing photos that much better, as it checks whether the colour management settings on the viewer's computer are correct and whether the display has been profiled.
You're probably right that we have to trust that our photos look good or display correctly on other people's computers. I was just worried that one might not leave a good impression.
I was taking photos at my best friend's wedding. Although I am in control over the printed copies (i.e. the wedding album), we also intend to put together a CD or slideshow, which guests can watch on their computer and TVs as well as print out their own copies as they wish. Obviously I don't want these photos to look rubbish or people to believe that I did something wrong. Probably I have to take this risk...

Andrew, you have been very helpful and I am very grateful for your kind suggestions!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 08:08:46 AM by AndyDahlem » Logged
Andrew Fee
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 10:33:35 AM »
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Glad I could help.  

You still want to calibrate your display to 2.2 gamma, but it was mentioned in the Camera to Print tutorials that you should use 1.8 for your grey gamma if you are working in ProPhoto RGB. I hadn't heard this before, but I'm sure Jeff Schewe knows what he's talking about.
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gfabbri
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 03:04:50 PM »
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Hello!
Nevertheless the photographs I view in forums like this one, on website or Flickr look better. In comparison mine lack contrast, vibrancy and the colours donít look as right anymore as they do in LR or when printed.

Gian described a similar problem in this thread in LL LR forum but there werenít any real solutions put forward.

Aha!  It's not all in my head!  I apologize for vanishing and never posting screen caps in the previous thread -- life just got too busy...

In any event, I'll be following this thread closely as I am still having the same issues, particularly with magentas... I have to create a virtual copy, tweak the colors to a grotesque level, and then export to sRGB for the exported images viewed via Windoze Explorer or IE to approach what I see in my original Lightroom files.

Highly annoying, especially for dawn and dusk shots...

Hopefully Microsoft and/or Adobe will figure this out... but I'm not holding my breath.  Too bad I'm addicted to LR!!!

Cheers to all,

Gian

flickr.com/photos/gfabbri
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Andrew Fee
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008, 10:06:47 PM »
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There's nothing to "figure out" really, Microsoft just needs to make these programs colour aware - which probably won't happen until the next iteration of Windows if we're lucky. (well, perhaps IE will, but not Explorer) Actually, Vista may be better in this regard, but I don't have it installed now to check as it was giving me a lot of problems elsewhere. I think the quick image viewer in Vista is managed, but I'm not sure about explorer. Perhaps someoh else can comment on that.

The easiest way to check would be to save this image and see whether it appears blue or green.  If it shows up blue, then it is colour managed, if it's green then it's not. (taken from: http://color.org/version4html.xalter)

This is one of the reasons Macs are used for photography/design - almost everything seems to be colour managed. The Finder (explorer equivalent) Preview application etc all support profiles so everything looks as it should.

You shouldn't be tweaking your images to look good in unmanaged applications as they will look wrong in colour-aware programs or on more accurate displays.
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 02:42:24 AM »
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Gian, I am not experiencing this colour shift that you're describing. The colours just look desaturated and lack contrast. As Andrew explained this is likely the result of apps being unable to use the embedded profile. There does not seem to be a satisfying solution yet. I started to slightly increase the saturation and contrast in images for images that I share with people who aren't aware of colour management. I try to find a balance between what still looks good in a colour managed environment and what doesn't look to washed out and flat in a CM unaware application. So far I was very careful with using saturation and contrast, especially when preparing images for printing.

Andrew, I haven't watched the "Camera to Print" video tutorials yet. I might purchase them. It is interesting that Jeff Schewe recommended a 1.8 gamma setting. Obviously I don't know if his suggestion applies only to the Mac or also to a Windows PC, and whether it makes a difference to use a 1.8 or 2.2 setting. On the other hand Martin Evening (in his Adobe Photoshop for Photographers book) and Keith Cooper (in his review of the Eye One Display 2 colorimeter) recommend setting gamma to 2.2 and select D65/6500 K as colour temperature. This shows how much confusion and inconsistency (?) there is about colour management.
     Since both Jeff Schewe and Keith Cooper are members of this forum and as such provide good feedback, I hope that they can shed light on this issue (whether one should use a 1.8 or 2.2 gamma setting).
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 02:45:28 AM »
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Off topic: Gian, just browsed through your photos on flickr. I am particularly impressed by your flower macro shots.
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Andrew Fee
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 03:39:33 AM »
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Andrew, I haven't watched the "Camera to Print" video tutorials yet. I might purchase them. It is interesting that Jeff Schewe recommended a 1.8 gamma setting. Obviously I don't know if his suggestion applies only to the Mac or also to a Windows PC, and whether it makes a difference to use a 1.8 or 2.2 setting. On the other hand Martin Evening (in his Adobe Photoshop for Photographers book) and Keith Cooper (in his review of the Eye One Display 2 colorimeter) recommend setting gamma to 2.2 and select D65/6500 K as colour temperature. This shows how much confusion and inconsistency (?) there is about colour management.
To paraphrase:
"For black and white you want to match your grey gamma working space to the gamma of your colour working space, which is 1.8 for ProPhoto. sRGB and Adobe RGB are 2.2, ColorMatch and ProPhoto are 1.8.  This lets you copy & paste between greyscale and colour images without any tone/gamma conversions."

You still want to be calibrating your display to 2.2 Gamma, D65 (not 6500k) but should use a 1.8 grey gamma in Photoshop if you are working with ProPhoto RGB for colour.

I would highly recommend the Camera to Print tutorial. I actually have no intention of making prints any time soon, but I found it to be very interesting/informative.


I do actually see colour shifts on my laptop screen rather than just saturation/contrast changes, but that's because it's so far off-spec compared to sRGB. Blues are particularly bad, but I know that it's the monitor at fault there and that on a better screen it will look a lot closer to how it does in a managed application.

Look at how far off Blue/Magenta in particular is compared to sRGB!

(sRGB in white, my monitor profile in colour)
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 04:30:14 AM »
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Andrew, thank you for clarifying the gamma settings issue! I assumed that one should choose the same gamma setting for gray as the monitor profile, especially since the Adobe Photoshop help file recommended 2.2 for Windows machines. However it makes sense to choose the gamma setting that is relevant for the colour space one is using. I was not aware that different colour spaces use different gray gamma settings.

Now that you recommended the Camera to Print tutorial, I am considering purchasing it, as it might provide me with insights into colour management. Michael and Jeff have a profound knowledge and it is great that they make it accessible to other photographers through their video tutorials.

The graph comparing the sRGB space with the profile of your monitor is interesting. Are you using a MacBook or a MacBookPro with LED backlight? I thought the LED backlit screens were an improvement. I was considering getting a new laptop later this year but need to reconsider my plan now. If I would have to use an external display, I could go for a desktop. The glossy screens of the new iMacs seem to be difficult to calibrate and profile. Not sure if I want to get a MacPro as my first Mac. I might not need such a powerful workstation, though they are only slightly more expensive than a MacBookPro and I could continue to use my external display. Mobility isn't important at the moment.

Andrew, I am really indebted to you for all your helpful advice (Safari and the C to P videos)!

Happy Easter holidays.
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Andrew Fee
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2008, 09:04:57 AM »
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The graph comparing the sRGB space with the profile of your monitor is interesting. Are you using a MacBook or a MacBookPro with LED backlight? I thought the LED backlit screens were an improvement. I was considering getting a new laptop later this year but need to reconsider my plan now. If I would have to use an external display, I could go for a desktop. The glossy screens of the new iMacs seem to be difficult to calibrate and profile. Not sure if I want to get a MacPro as my first Mac. I might not need such a powerful workstation, though they are only slightly more expensive than a MacBookPro and I could continue to use my external display. Mobility isn't important at the moment.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182904\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
This is an older MacBook Pro with a CCFL backlight rather than an LED screen (though it's just been replaced recently) but I believe Apple claimed that colour reproduction would be the same regardless of the backlight type.

I'm pretty sure most/all laptop LCDs have poor colour reproduction though, so you need to use an external display for colour-critical work. This new screen is measuring about 750:1 contrast which was a nice improvement though. If I remember correctly the old one was below 300. (and my Powerbook was even worse) I use a 22" IBM CRT with mine when doing any "serious" editing where colour matters as it matches up to sRGB quite well. That said, I have been meaning to get something even better for a while though.

I'm not a fan of glossy screens at all, so I would avoid them if you can. I've got a couple of MacBooks here as well, and aside from the fact that they're just terrible screens, the gloss makes things even worse.
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AndyDahlem
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2008, 04:01:15 AM »
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I suppose the "inferior" color reproduction of laptop displays is probably due to considerations of miniaturization and energy efficiency. I would probably continue to use my external display, as I like the greater screen estate compared to the MacBookPro's display. Only the high-resolution display of the 17" model is comparable to my current monitor. Though this kind of resolution looks good on 24" display, I am not sure if it is practical on a 17" screen. Besides the size of the larger PowerBookPro might impinge its portability.
Andrew, thank you for confirm that glossy screens aren't suited to critical post-production work.
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gfabbri
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2008, 08:48:07 PM »
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Off topic: Gian, just browsed through your photos on flickr. I am particularly impressed by your flower macro shots.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182888\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Many thanks for your kind words. I love playing with the color and form inherent in so many flowers.  Plus, flowers are usually pretty cooperative subjects -- much easier than chasing my kids around the house!
Cheers!

-Gian
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 08:52:14 PM by gfabbri » Logged
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