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Author Topic: Current thinking on sRGB, soft proofing for the web?  (Read 2326 times)
novascotiaskier
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« on: January 09, 2013, 02:30:48 PM »
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I've always had trouble posting pics to the web and having consistent results, but now am resolved to try and do something about it. I have Googled the topic, but all I come up with are old (two + years old) articles and am wondering if things have changed with respect to PS and browsers.  In summary, what I can piece together is:

- convert image to sRGB
- adjust to suit using soft proof in PS using the "monitor" profile
- save image as JPG but do NOT embed sRGB profile.
- FF and Safari seemed to have CM, Chrome to a certain degree, but not IE (but these were old posts, so things may have changed), so mileage will vary upon viewing the image.

The last two seem odd to me, but that seems to be the consistent message from my searching.  Thoughts?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 02:47:13 PM »
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Not quite sure why one wouldn't embed sRGB.
As for viewer applications being colour-managed, even if they are, nearly all the monitors out there are not appropriately profiled and calibrated so, in the words of Andrew Rodney, the internet is a bit like the 'Wild West'.
Ultimately there is no current way to guarantee how an image will actually look to a third-party viewer.

Tony Jay
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 12:48:12 AM »
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If you want to get a general idea how the public at large are going to see your images just view them on off the shelf demo PC's, Macs and mobile devices connected to the internet at your local electronics store like at a Best Buy.

My images viewed on a number of image viewing devices at Best Buy (especially skin tones) will either look overly yellow or desaturated peach and even as intended (iPad and Mac without calibration) so you'll see it's a crap shoot when it comes to expecting consistent color across a wide range of devices.
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novascotiaskier
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 01:03:28 AM »
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Thanks for the quick reply, guys. 

Browser colour management is beyond anyone's control, as is a viewer's CM on their monitor, but I think soft proofing is still a good idea because these can only improve AND for those with proper CM (or something close to it) then my images should show better.

I probably wasn't clear, but the issue that I am having is how to soft proof using PS.

Picking sRGB from the profile list absolutely does not work, and the suggestion from some of the articles I have read is to use "monitor" profile instead. Something to do with PS and "the monitor" both trying to CM at the same time? Maybe this is like doing CM both with PS and the printer at the same time? I'm not sure because the articles I've read don't really clarify, and they are ancient (most call up CS 4 or older as examples).

So my question on this is:
 - what profile do you use to soft proof files for the internet?

The second thing that is not clear is the issue with embedding sRGB. Many of the articles suggest that CM on the browsers gets thrown off if sRGB is embedded. Another says that they can handle it fine. Since these articles are old (at least two years or more), which is "decades" for software development, I was wondering what the current view is.

So my second question is:
 - do you embed the sRGB profile?


thanks,
-Scott.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 05:45:55 AM »
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but I think soft proofing is still a good idea because these can only improve AND for those with proper CM (or something close to it) then my images should show better.
how so? It can only make things worse ... especially for those viewers who use a colormanaged browser (I do). "Softproofing" with Monitor-RGB as target disables the CM for the monitor. So all you get is a non-colormanaged view and therefore a view that is only relevant for your particular monitor (and on no other monitor on earth).

I wonder where this strange idea comes from? The only reason I can think of is the TRC of sRGB. sRGB is not Gamma 2.2, it has its own TRC. Visually spoken sRGB has a better differentiation in dark tonal values (as a matter of form: technically spoken it's the other way around - Gamma 2.2 has a better differentiation in dark tonal values). In effect: if you view an sRGB image non color managend on a Gamma 2.2 display you will "lose" differentiation in dark tonal values.
Then again: on Windows the system profile is sRGB. So unless you use a dedicated Gamma 2.2 monitor profile sRGB images should look "okay" on a Windows computer...

Anyway: it simply doesn't make sense to adjust images with regard to non color managed viewing. But the vast majority of internet users don't use color managed computers/monitors/browsers.

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- do you embed the sRGB profile?
for web purposes all the time

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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 08:57:21 AM »
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Extending what others have said:
  • Generally I think it's better to embed a profile.  The only reason why not (IMHO) is in very very small graphics on web sites, where embedding profiles makes a substantial percentage increase in file size.  The sRGB profile is about 4kb, so not significant with most photos.
  • "Monitor profile" is a kludge in Photoshop to turn off colour mangaement.  I don't think there's any equivalent in LR, and personally I don't think it's a good idea anyway.  All it's doing is showing you how the image would appear in your monitor without colour management.  It doesn't help you guess how it's going to look in any other monitor - colour managed or not.

Here's the current state with colour management in browsers:
  • FF is colour managed for all images with embedded profiles.  Optionally, it's also colour manged for images without embedded profiles (assuming them to be sRGB) but this option is turned off by default.  You have to change option gfx.color_management.mode from the default of 2 to 1, or it doesn't manage images without embedded profiles.
  • Safari is colour managed, but only for images with embedded profiles (same as the default for FF)
  • Chrome is half colour managed: it uses the monitor profile, but not the image profile.  It works for sRGB images (whether or not there's an embedded profile) but not for images of other profiles.
  • IE8 and earlier aren't colour managed.
  • IE9 and IE10 (in Windows 8 ) are half colour managed, but the other half to Chrome!  They use the image profile (if embedded) but not the monitor profile.  That is, images with embedded profiles will be correctly colour managed only for monitors whose natural colour space happens to be exactly sRGB.  For all other monitors (which means for nearly all monitors) colours are wrong.

Confusing, isn't it?  However, bottom line: FF and Safari are both properly colour managed, provided the monitor has a profile and images have embedded profiles.  

Most monitors aren't calibrated/profiled, and most people don't use colour management for their browsers.  Hence some people say that it's better to check colour on web images without using colour management yourself.  IMHO, this is not right.  Thing is: there isn't a particular "look" of an unmanaged browser - they're all different.  So your monitor, unmanaged, is just one random point in a wide space of unmanaged browsers.  IMHO, far better to make sure the colour is accurate.  That is, use colour management yourself.  That way you're probably aiming for the middle of the big space of unmanaged browsers.  

The one thing you can say of unmanaged browsers is that most users tend to have brightness, contrast and saturation too high.  But if that's the way they like it, better they see your pictures that way too.  If you compensate your pictures to be "correct" on an over-bright, over-contrasty, over-saturated monitor then the user will probably think your picture looks very flat and dull by comparison with what they're used to.  So, make your pictures look right on a colour-managed monitor, and users with gaudy colour will see them the way they like!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 10:09:55 AM »
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Most monitors aren't calibrated/profiled, and most people don't use colour management for their browsers.  Hence some people say that it's better to check colour on web images without using colour management yourself.  IMHO, this is not right.  

I agree. IF an audience doesn't calibrate their display, nor use a color managed method to view the images, it's a crap shoot. There is simply no way to assume what someone else is seeing.

As to embedding the little 4K or so profile, I see no harm unless as others have pointed out, you are uploading a billion images and then it would add up.
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Andrew Rodney
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novascotiaskier
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 12:01:31 PM »
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While I was logged out of the forum, I did my own subjective testing with my browsers (I have them all, and use a VM for my Windows) and Simon's summary is certainly what I saw for browser representation of my test photos (I used my XRite colour target and used a variety of colour spaces and embed/not embed options).

There was only one odd thing beyond what was mentioned. I posted some pics to Flickr, then pulled them through to by blog. While the non-embedded pics on Flickr when viewed on Chrome were bad, Chrome absolutely destroyed the images that did not have the profile embedded when they were pulled through to Blogger. Something odd in the API, perhaps.

Anyway, my conclusion reflects the advice above:
 - convert to sRGB,
 - do not soft proof with the "monitor: profile (In my case, the results were images that were much too dark).
 - adjust to taste following the conversion
 - save with the sRGB profile embedded.

In many cases, not converting to sRGB and saving with the Prophoto profile embedded produced very good results as well.

I appreciate the responses, guys, as it confirms what I was seeing myself yet contradicts much of what I was reading in the older articles.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 01:06:50 PM »
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...saving with the Prophoto profile embedded produced very good results as well.

Yes, good results on YOUR system in a color managed environment but for anyone else who doesn't view your images in a color managed browser on an sRGB-ish gamut display it will make your images appear as if they were painted with poop!

OTOH those with wide gamut monitors viewing in non-color managed browsers will see over saturated images converting to sRGB.

Don't waste your time trying to control how your images are going to be viewed on the web. Just convert to sRGB, embed the profile in the image, upload to the web and forget about it.
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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 03:08:47 AM »
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Yes, good results on YOUR system [using ProPhoto] in a color managed environment but for anyone else who doesn't view your images in a color managed browser on an sRGB-ish gamut display it will make your images appear as if they were painted with poop!

Don't waste your time trying to control how your images are going to be viewed on the web. Just convert to sRGB, embed the profile in the image, upload to the web and forget about it.
Agreed.  Using sRGB for the web is almost invariably better.  The only exception I can think of is when you have a very specific target audience where you know that they will all be using colour-managed browsers. 
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D Fosse
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 09:22:25 AM »
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Don't waste your time trying to control how your images are going to be viewed on the web. Just convert to sRGB, embed the profile in the image, upload to the web and forget about it.

That's about it. I don't see why one should even occupy a single neuron on what the majority will see on their all-over-the-map monitors. It's their problem, not mine.

Same with wide gamut monitors. If anyone has one and still uses a functionally nonmanaged browser like IE, they deserve what they get. It's not my problem.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 09:24:34 AM by D Fosse » Logged
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 10:12:49 AM »
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That's about it. I don't see why one should even occupy a single neuron on what the majority will see on their all-over-the-map monitors. It's their problem, not mine.

Same with wide gamut monitors. If anyone has one and still uses a functionally nonmanaged browser like IE, they deserve what they get. It's not my problem.

And the thought of all the many display manufacturers, OS and image viewing app CSR's right now having to deal with customers complaining about why their images/websites look like crap online on their $1000+ systems because they don't care to learn and adopt this technology makes me glad I'm not a CSR for the tech industry. A lot of money and energy wasted on a technology that comes free on most systems.

Even an eyeball calibration using the display manufacturer's default matrix based profile would do a better job than doing nothing.

Geez! The subsequent RMA's must be a PITA on ROI just over dealing with color.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 10:16:39 AM »
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As wide gamut displays become more common, what will the future hold for the 'just use sRGB for web'? It's going to get messy.
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Andrew Rodney
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 10:23:07 AM »
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As wide gamut displays become more common, what will the future hold for the 'just use sRGB for web'? It's going to get messy.

How has the TV broadcast industry managed it all these 40+ years? They've been doing OK with billions of dollars more than what most have spent to make it work on the internet.

I can't help but think broadcast engineers are having a good laugh over this.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 10:35:40 AM »
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How has the TV broadcast industry managed it all these 40+ years? They've been doing OK with billions of dollars more than what most have spent to make it work on the internet.

First, how do we (you) know the amount of money each industry is using towards managing their color? In total money spent for both industries, broadcast spends billions more on just the color? That may certainly be true, but I'd love to know where you got the figures.

Next, we have no standards for web like the broadcast industry. There are dozens of browsers, some color managed, some not.

Question: Is there any standards for aiming output on all the possible computer or similar technologies in terms of the actual output device (all LCD, CRT, phone, tablet and similar hardware)? How many differing emissive technologies are there for web based data versus broadcast?

Lastly, look at the differences in the audiences. Do you think that the vast majority of both web users and TV users can tell the differences and agonize over the color of their content like those here? Do you believe that the majority of those viewing content on the web even know what they saw and what others see don't match (even here on LuLa, some are just understanding that fact).

And there lay another big difference. The broadcast industry rarely output's an individual users content, the web, just the opposite. People who supply content are usually far more critical of the results being viewed. The same people watching an episode of Family Guy who have no idea what the content should look like.

I don't think the analogy is so good...
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Andrew Rodney
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2013, 10:59:14 AM »
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That may certainly be true, but I'd love to know where you got the figures.

It's just a guesstimation considering the 40+ plus years I've watched color TV. My folks bought their first color set back in '68 and the first thing I did was tweak the Tint, Brightness and Color knobs to get Barnabas Collin's skin tone right watching "Dark Shadows" until I figured out he was suppose to look like a 250 year old vampire. Grin

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I don't think the analogy is so good...

You must've misread my response. I wasn't making an analogy between the internet and broadcast industry in general but the technology each uses to get color to look right. I know all this must be costing something just dealing with it. At least with the broadcast industry TVs (in particular CRT's) were manufactured to include color adjustment knobs which worked quite well compared to how crappy they are on LCD's used primarily for internet browsing.

The digital data displayed through the internet is an interactive experience more so compared to TV where if someone now knows they can return a blouse they saw as purple online because it looks blue when it arrives at their door I would think puts a dent in ROI somewhat. Anyone factored that cost into all this?

HSN must have to deal with the same situation on the TV side as well but most folks don't see the picture as digital data they own on their system. The interactivity aspect of the internet amplifies this ownership of content attitude implying that what they see is being driven by technology that is superior to what they see on TV and so expectation rises accordingly.

This is just my observation so take it for the 2˘ it's worth.

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