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Clarification needed on color management workflow


Lanbot

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Forgive me for asking what may be obvious questions, but this topic has been bothering me for the longest time and I'd rather get it out of me and risk looking dumb than forever wonder if I'm doing it wrong.

I'm still using Photoshop CS5. That's the only photo editing software I use. Here is a screenshot of my current color settings:


workflow.jpg

I do all my post-processing on a Dell XPS 15 9510 laptop with 3.5K OLED screen. I specifically bought this laptop because it supports 100% sRGB, close to 100% Adobe RGB, and 100% DCI-P3. I calibrated my monitor with a Spyder and set my laptop to the custom calibrated color profile. I've seen different sources say to never pick monitor profile as your RGB working space in photoshop. I've seen some people say use Adobe RGB (1998) as the working space and other others say sRGB all the way if you mostly publish images on the web. I decided to uninstall the Dell PremiereColor app today so that it won't undo or interfere with my custom calibrated monitor profile.

I really don't know if I should keep Adobe RGB (1998) as my working space in photoshop or change it to DCI-P3. I don’t even know which profile on the list is the right DCI-P3 option to pick.

If I leave sRGB as my working space in photoshop like what most people recommend, does that mean I wasted my money buying an expensive color accurate laptop? Should I edit in the color gamut my laptop supports in order to get the most out of it?

I edit photos taken with my android smartphone camera more frequently than I do with photos from my Nikon dSLR camera. Therefore, most of the photos I post on my social media were already in sRGB to begin with. Whenever I open my smartphone photos in photoshop, I get the Embedded Profile Mismatch pop up message asking if I want to use the embedded sRGB profile or convert to the working space (Adobe RGB 1998).


profile mismatch.jpg

I’ve always chosen to keep the embedded sRGB profile. I don’t know if I’ve been making the wrong choice this whole time. Does my laptop screen calibration take precedence over the embedded color profile of the images I shot in sRGB?

When I finish editing my smartphone photos, I’ve been going through the steps of saving them for web publishing by doing Save for Web & Devices in photoshop. The screenshot below shows the settings I’ve been using:


save to web.jpg

Does it even make sense to convert an image to sRGB that I just got done editing with its embedded sRGB profile and have “embed color profile” checked before posting them on the web?

Which of these 2 workflows should I be using?
1. Open sRGB photo and keep embedded profile à ASSIGN TO and switch file to working space of Adobe RGB (1998) à edit photo in Adobe RGB à CONVERT TO PROFILE to switch file back to sRGB à resize photo à Save for Web & Devices à leave “convert to sRGB” and “keep embedded sRGB profile” checked

2. Open sRGB photo and convert to working space aka Adobe RGB (1998) à edit photo in Adobe RGB à resize photo à Save for Web & Devices à leave “convert to sRGB” and “keep embedded sRGB profile” checked


PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND! THANK YOU!
 

thebestcpu

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Forgive me for asking what may be obvious questions, but this topic has been bothering me for the longest time and I'd rather get it out of me and risk looking dumb than forever wonder if I'm doing it wrong.

Hi @Lambot
There are no dumb questions

I'm still using Photoshop CS5. That's the only photo editing software I use. Here is a screenshot of my current color settings:

View attachment 126134

I do all my post-processing on a Dell XPS 15 9510 laptop with 3.5K OLED screen. I specifically bought this laptop because it supports 100% sRGB, close to 100% Adobe RGB, and 100% DCI-P3. I calibrated my monitor with a Spyder and set my laptop to the custom calibrated color profile. I've seen different sources say to never pick monitor profile as your RGB working space in photoshop. I've seen some people say use Adobe RGB (1998) as the working space and other others say sRGB all the way if you mostly publish images on the web. I decided to uninstall the Dell PremiereColor app today so that it won't undo or interfere with my custom calibrated monitor profile.

Yes you should use a standard editing space such as sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB, or Display P3. Each of Color Spaces can be though of as a Color Scale. An Analogy is temperature can be in Fahrenheit or Celsius (and other less known scales). You actually don't know what the feel of a temperature is at unless you also either specify a temperature scale or have an assumed scale. Yet if someone tells you it is 32 out and you dress for really cold weather (if you assumed it was Fahrenheit) you would look pretty silly when you found out they were quoting in Celsius where the temperature in Fahrenheit would be closer to 90 degrees F. Choosing a monitor profile would be similar to choosing a unique temperature scale of which others would be unfamiliar e.g. in degrees "Lambot." :)
As far as what color space to chose for a default working space there are a couple things there are tradeoffs. There is not a best one. Here is a chart that gives my observations of the differences among three of the most popular color spaces. Order of better to not is good is Green, Yellow, Orange, Red


Color-Space-Tradeoffs.jpg

Also note that the wider gamut monitors only help for images that have those more saturated colors.


I really don't know if I should keep Adobe RGB (1998) as my working space in photoshop or change it to DCI-P3. I don’t even know which profile on the list is the right DCI-P3 option to pick.

Another popular space these days is P3. It is also wide gamut with a little less greens than Adobe RGB yet more Reds and Yellows. If you are going to use this space you should use Display P3 and not DCI-P3 because DCI-P3 truncates the darkest darks and the whitest whites. As I recall used for video applications mostly. Some are choosing display P3 because a lot of mobile devices (Apple in particular) use this color space.

Its great that you are color calibrating and profiling your monitor as well as using a color managed workflow


If I leave sRGB as my working space in photoshop like what most people recommend, does that mean I wasted my money buying an expensive color accurate laptop? Should I edit in the color gamut my laptop supports in order to get the most out of it?

I edit photos taken with my android smartphone camera more frequently than I do with photos from my Nikon dSLR camera. Therefore, most of the photos I post on my social media were already in sRGB to begin with. Whenever I open my smartphone photos in photoshop, I get the Embedded Profile Mismatch pop up message asking if I want to use the embedded sRGB profile or convert to the working space (Adobe RGB 1998).


View attachment 126135

I have already covered tradeoffs among the various editing groups. If you never ever want to have a wider gamut space with more saturated colors on your screen or for printing on ink jet printers and only used sRGB, then you really did not need a wide gamut monitor. It is a simpler workflow in some respects if you accept the color gamut limitations. Yet you do not have to.
You can have the best of both worlds. You can use sRGB when the image is already in sRGB (and you don't plan post processing to make the image more saturated) and when you havce an image with quite saturated colors, you can view that on your wide gamut display and print a wider gamut for printers that support a wider gamut (many inkjet printers do).
I too have the color profile mismatch set so that I am reminded each time if I want the image to stay in its native color space or change it to another color space. Just a choice. You can always turn off that warning if you don't want to be bothered. I personally prefer to know when Photoshop is going to change scales on me.

I’ve always chosen to keep the embedded sRGB profile. I don’t know if I’ve been making the wrong choice this whole time. Does my laptop screen calibration take precedence over the embedded color profile of the images I shot in sRGB?

We are talking apples and oranges here. The purpose of any monitor profile is to translate the image from your editing color space (scale) to the monitor color space (scale) so that the monitor will best display the colors consistently. You may have a wide gamut monitor that is said to be X% Adobe RGB yet it is not exactly Adobe RGB. Its similar again to color scales. Your monitor has a unique color scale and to display the exact "color" it may need slightly different color numbers to do so. The monitor profile makes that translation for you. The embedded color space is just information so the the color management system knows that is the color scale to translate from. So yes it is always best in my mind to embed the color space or the color management system will have to guess in which color space the color data was created (good default practice is to assume sRGB yet you iamge may not be in that color space and the colors will all look off.


When I finish editing my smartphone photos, I’ve been going through the steps of saving them for web publishing by doing Save for Web & Devices in photoshop. The screenshot below shows the settings I’ve been using:


View attachment 126136

Does it even make sense to convert an image to sRGB that I just got done editing with its embedded sRGB profile and have “embed color profile” checked before posting them on the web?

You are doing it just right. If you are already in sRGB, it actually skips that conversion and just embeds the Color Space.


Which of these 2 workflows should I be using?
1. Open sRGB photo and keep embedded profile à ASSIGN TO and switch file to working space of Adobe RGB (1998) à edit photo in Adobe RGB à CONVERT TO PROFILE to switch file back to sRGB à resize photo à Save for Web & Devices à leave “convert to sRGB” and “keep embedded sRGB profile” checked

2. Open sRGB photo and convert to working space aka Adobe RGB (1998) à edit photo in Adobe RGB à resize photo à Save for Web & Devices à leave “convert to sRGB” and “keep embedded sRGB profile” checked


If you have an sRGB image, I usually leave it in sRGB. The exceptoin to this would be if you plan to do some post processing that cranks up the saturation where a wider gamut might be useful. Please note that PS Converts to another profile where it translates the color data numbers to another color scale. It also has an option to "Assign" a color space which is something totally different. That is only used when the image does not have an embedded profile and you want to embed a profile (it does not change the color data). Only used in special circumstance. I only mention this as you used the word "Assign" above and did not want there to be confusion.
There usually is not a case where you would to convert to Adobe RGB from sRGB, post process, and then jump back to sRGB. Why not just stay in sRGB? In all cases do embed a color profile with the image.

PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND! THANK YOU!


You asked a lot of questions and not sure I answered them all or answered them all clear enough to easily understand. If I missed something or you want more clarity, just ask
John Wheeler
 

Lanbot

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You asked a lot of questions and not sure I answered them all or answered them all clear enough to easily understand. If I missed something or you want more clarity, just ask
John Wheeler

You answered all my questions thoroughly and I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy life to share your knowledge with me. Stay blessed!
 

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