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Author Topic: Wide Gamut: is our logic upside down?  (Read 5226 times)
Mosccol
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« on: July 02, 2012, 08:24:38 AM »
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Reading through the French forum EOS-Numerique I came across a post that got me thinking... From HiFi to pixel count we always go for the big numbers as we can always down-sample later on. We also apply the same logic to thinking about wide Gamuts: set up LR to ProPhoto, because *one day* printers and monitors will all reach that wide gamut and angels will sing. However...

Aren't we shooting ourselves in the foot by choosing too wide a gamut? - Let me explain: most users go through a largely sRGB chain so, rather than downsampling once all the adjustments have been made, why not use the reduced colour space immediately and then have no surprises when printing?

If a user is a bit more sophisticated but is still on an amateur budget and they have, say, an iMac (full sRGB gamut) and an Epson R3000 (wide gamut), then what is the point of going beyond sRGB? - You will get a broader range of colours that you will have actually never seen on screen. I am not talking about the smoothing of colours within a photograph's boundaries, but additional colours that will have been specified beyond sRGB in the conversion between the ProPhoto workspace of LR and the (say) Adobe RGB+ gamut of the printer. Will these additional colours be better? - Maybe/maybe not. The thing is that you will have no control over them.

Am I missing something?

Thanks for your thoughts

François
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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 08:33:42 AM »
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Let me explain: most users go through a largely sRGB chain

They are? How? Expect for posting data to the web, I have no other sRGB chain.

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If a user is a bit more sophisticated but is still on an amateur budget and they have, say, an iMac (full sRGB gamut) and an Epson R3000 (wide gamut), then what is the point of going beyond sRGB?

To use the significantly wider gamut of the R3000!

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You will get a broader range of colours that you will have actually never seen on screen

You have two options. Reduce the gamut to see the colors and suffer on output, or be careful in terms of editing saturated colors due to the limitations of your current display and take full advantage of the printer.

What’s more important, the print or the screen? For most, it is the print. And in terms of editing colors you can’t see, just be careful. If you start moving a slider like Saturation or vibrance and all of a sudden, as you keep moving it, you see no change on screen, back off. You’ve hit display gamut limitations.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mosccol
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 09:57:50 AM »
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Thanks for this detailed answer Andrew.

There is still something I don't get in your argument: the limit to what you can control is what you can see so even a sophisticated tool like soft-proofing is limited by your screen. For example I have two screens: my macbook and my iMac. The gamut on the iMac gives much better reds (deeper versus more orange on the laptop). Obviously, this will come out better on a good printer but until I know about these reds when working on my laptop I have no way to control if they are a good representation (or not) of what I remember seeing when I took the photograph. Obviously I wouldn't do final work on the laptop, but it's a reasonable metaphor for narrow/wide gamut. So the alternative to a poorer starting gamut is the need for trial and error when printing?
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »
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So the alternative to a poorer starting gamut is the need for trial and error when printing?

Or a better monitor.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 10:29:16 AM »
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There is still something I don't get in your argument: the limit to what you can control is what you can see so even a sophisticated tool like soft-proofing is limited by your screen. For example I have two screens: my macbook and my iMac. The gamut on the iMac gives much better reds (deeper versus more orange on the laptop). Obviously, this will come out better on a good printer but until I know about these reds when working on my laptop I have no way to control if they are a good representation (or not) of what I remember seeing when I took the photograph. Obviously I wouldn't do final work on the laptop, but it's a reasonable metaphor for narrow/wide gamut. So the alternative to a poorer starting gamut is the need for trial and error when printing?

Neither of your displays is wide gamut (or anything to get excited over). But again, the question becomes do you limit what you send to your output device because of your display limitations or funnel the data into the lower, common denominator?
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Andrew Rodney
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michael
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 11:52:05 AM »
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And of course Lightroom 4 has gamut warnings for both ones specific monitor and printer/paper combo, so it's very straightforward to see any areas of concern.

Michael
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 12:19:24 PM »
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I believe one of the main reason is that, by converting to sRGB too early in the process, you are discarding extra colors that might be useful one day (not so far away) when the display and printout gamuts become better. Even today you can get a better printout with your existing printer by simple trial and error method, even if you can't see it onscreen.

I also believe (but I am not really sure) that, by working in a smaller space, you are having a similar effect as working in 8-bit space vs. 16-bit one, i.e., less refined adjustments.
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Slobodan

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Mosccol
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 02:03:50 PM »
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Thanks Michael, soft proofing seems to be the solution for the output issues and this Adobe video explains things pretty clearly.

What I still don't get however is the 'monitor-side' of the equation: how can I modify what I don't see? And in this respect, if I had a narrow gamut monitor, what would Lightroom show me in terms of warning? I must go back to your/Jeff's video to double check but I'm just confused...

François
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digitaldog
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 03:32:51 PM »
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And of course Lightroom 4 has gamut warnings for both ones specific monitor and printer/paper combo, so it's very straightforward to see any areas of concern.

Too bad it (and Photoshop) are a tad buggy. Open an sRGB doc in either and soft proof in sRGB with the gamut overlay. You see some OOG warning? Shouldn’t.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mosccol
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2012, 04:04:02 PM »
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The fog is lifting...

I am now back home and had a chance to carry out a side by side comparison of my laptop and iMac using the LR softproof clipping indicators

Obviously the paper clipping will be the same on both machines, but they have different clipping zones for screen, with the laptop performing significantly worse. Very clever!

So if I go back to Andrew's original answer, I would even suggest a workflow step: do the basic cleanup but, before colour work, immediately carry out a softproofing of both monitor and paper to anticipate the colour types and zones of the image where you are likely to get problems. Obviously also great when trying to decide between papers (but I guess that one was obvious).
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digitaldog
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2012, 05:22:47 PM »
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The OOG overlays are both buggy and of questionable value.

It’s going to be quite common and not at all surprising to find OOG colors in an image that fall outside display gamut. So in this case, there are colors you could edit you can’t see. Just be careful with the Vibrance and Saturation sliders. Understand that if you find soft proofing being less than 100% spot on (something I’d expect anyway when you consider the differences between a reflective print and an emissive display), don’t worry. The proof is in the print. Soft proofing can be pretty darn close. In this context, having a wide gamut display gets you there better than a lower gamut display. But don’t put too much into the OOG overlay. Certainly when using it to show you OOG for the output profile.
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Andrew Rodney
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2012, 05:39:02 PM »
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... Understand that if you find soft proofing being less than 100% spot on (something I’d expect anyway when you consider the differences between a reflective print and an emissive display), don’t worry. The proof is in the print. Soft proofing can be pretty darn close. In this context, having a wide gamut display gets you there better than a lower gamut display...

Andrew emphasizes a really important point.
Softproofing can be very accurate but never absolutely precise due to the difference in media - a transmissive monitor versus a reflective print.
Using a wide-gamut monitor with appropriate brightness settings is a no-brainer here.
On a practical level getting well used to a particular paper/printer combination is crucial in getting to grips with the craft of softproofing.
Flitting around from paper to paper will result in disappointment and perhaps confusion.
The whole point of softproofing is to achieve consistent results.

Regards

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 05:42:47 PM by Tony Jay » Logged
afx
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 07:08:53 AM »
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Another explanation:

http://www.afximages.com/articles.php?article=WorkingColorProfile

Your camera is wide gamut, so why castrate your workflow early?
The result can be easily seen in the print, even if it is only a $100 toy printer...

cheers
afx
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Mosccol
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2012, 08:12:24 AM »
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Great article Afx. The case for ProPhoto etc. when using RAW is clear. The $64 question remains though: you will not know what your printout looks like until you print because you simply can't... (although the clipping indicators in LR4 will help to point the likely areas where you will see a difference) Which means that if you want certainty about a photo sent to an sRGB lab then you need to convert it first and then your monitor and output will match.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2012, 08:32:18 AM »
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Great article Afx. The case for ProPhoto etc. when using RAW is clear. The $64 question remains though: you will not know what your printout looks like until you print because you simply can't... (although the clipping indicators in LR4 will help to point the likely areas where you will see a difference) Which means that if you want certainty about a photo sent to an sRGB lab then you need to convert it first and then your monitor and output will match.

If you are using a lab that only accepts sRGB files for printing - then maybe....

If you yourself are printing with current high-end photographic printers using appropriate paper/printer profiles with appropriate colour management practices such as calibrated and profiled wide-gamut monitors using sRGB as a colour space anywhere in the workflow is plainly illogical if the desire is to let the printer deliver to its capabilities.

Several of us have stressed that using softproofing you will get a really good idea of what the final print will look like - to suggest otherwise is plain wrong. Rendering intent and out of gamut warnings (for the printer) does not change this reality since the softproofed image is still showing you what you will see in the print (within the limits of comparing a transmissive medium to a reflective medium).

My suggestion is to learn to print - either buy a printer or use someone elses and see for yourself. Hopefully you are in the position to do this - it would be worth your while.

Regards

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:34:45 AM by Tony Jay » Logged
Rhossydd
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2012, 08:43:25 AM »
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Which means that if you want certainty about a photo sent to an sRGB lab then you need to convert it first and then your monitor and output will match.
If a lab needs sRGB files you absolutely MUST convert to sRGB regardless.



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digitaldog
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2012, 08:46:47 AM »
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The $64 question remains though: you will not know what your printout looks like until you print because you simply can't... (although the clipping indicators in LR4 will help to point the likely areas where you will see a difference) Which means that if you want certainty about a photo sent to an sRGB lab then you need to convert it first and then your monitor and output will match.

You can’t know for certain what a print will look like until you print it, period. You can get a very good indication of what you’ll get simulated on-screen if you have good profiles and properly soft proof. Even if I made up a value, say a soft proof could be 90% of a match to a print, that’s better than anything less than 90% right? If you send sRGB to a lab, you might get a 80% match (again I’m making up values for illustration, YMMV). I’d prefer that 90% match. Which means I need an output profile from the lab and I have to be able to use it. I can’t guess what rendering intent or CMM or whether black point compensation is used when they get my sRGB doc. And sRGB is pretty small gamut and I’ll get you dollars to doughnuts that if I had that output profile, I’d see there are colors that exceed sRGB gamut. IOW, the ‘send us sRGB to print’ workflow isn’t anything close to ideal.
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Andrew Rodney
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