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Working with Color Profiles


SidCowans

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I'm starting to gain a better understanding of color profiles and the "do's and don'ts" but I still have the odd state of total confusion !!!

My workflow is RAW to LIGHTROOM to PHOTOSHOP to PRINT/WEB. I export as 16bit ProPhoto RGB TIFFs from Lightroom and finish editing in Photoshop where I have the default working space as ProPhoto RGB. When finished editing, I save as 8bit sRGB TIFFs for subsequent (online) printing or saving as jpg for web use.

My issues seem to be with older TIFF files I have stored on the PC from the era when I knew nothing of color profiles so they are a mixture of Adobe RGB and sRGB TIFF files. Should I want to further process these files in Photoshop, how do I deal with the clash of color profiles because, at the moment, they come in looking "hot" and over-saturated presumably because I'm trying to view them in a wider color space than they were created in.

I thought that Photoshop would change working profiles to match the image but I figure I've got that totally wrong ..... and now confusion has set in !

My main concern is that I will do something with these older images that means subsequent online printing will produce a poor result.

Any help appreciated !
 
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thebestcpu

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Hi Sid

You are doing quite well in your approach so here are a few comments that may go a little beyond you questions to be inclusive of potential issues.

- First, it would be good to see a screen shot of your Edit > Color Settings with the advance options showing (older versions of PS have a optional button to show all settings)

- To get good matches in general you minimally need your monitor in a known fixed state (eg. brightness, contrast, and if available white point) followed by profiling ideally by hardware/software from Xrite or Datacolor.

- Keeping everything as you have in 16 bit ProPhoto RGB is fine to preserve the widest gamut colors (don't use 8 bit and Prophoto RGB as that can cause banding). I suggest saving a archive copy in 16 bit ProPhoto and when you need to print or display on the Web, convert to the color space, bit depth, and file format that is appropriate for the target medium (e.g. for web most often sRGB with JPEG (which is 8 bit)

- You are correct, if things are set up correctly, you should not have oversaturation issues when images with other color profiles are brought in to PS. I just edit in the color space with which the image arrive. You should not have color shifts if the Color Settings are set correctly. I use "Preserve Embedded Profile" Having a smaller gamut image come in and expanded to ProPhoto RGB does not improve the color gamut and can cause banding issues if the image is in 8 bit mode.

- Also, best to have the Color Settings, Color Management alerts all turned on. If you image is brought in with an embedded color profile, with Preserve Embedded profile, then you will edit in that Color Space (which is just fine). However, if the image comes in with no embedded profile, then that needs addressing. With the alerts turned on, PS will ask what you want to do. To have the right colors, you have to assign the color profile in which the image was created. That is the only time you should have problematic shifts in color when opening a file in PS. If you have correct embedded color profiles in the image, and the Color Settings correct in PS with a calibrated monitor, that would mean the color data in the image was bad e.g. was edited with software without proper color management or with a monitor that was not calibrated/profiled.

Hope this helps some yet keep asking if clarification is needed.

John Wheeler
 

SidCowans

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Thanks John ....... I've attached what I think you are looking for.

My monitor has been calibrated via an x-rite colormunki so colors should be good.

I've investigated further with regard my rogue batch of over-saturated images and it may be an album software issue. I have recently started using the Lumapix Memento Pro album creation software which is very good and they claim they work purely in an sRGB environment so I assumed they then outputted with an sRGB profile but ..... I've checked their JPG output (they only output in JPG or PDF) and it carries (in Photoshop) an embedded ProPhoto RGB profile which is even more strange when the images I imported to the software were old AdobeRGB profiled TIFFs !

I can only assume that the JPGs have somehow and for some reason adopted the resident Photoshop profile thus has jumped from sRGB to ProPhoto RGB which would blow out the saturation.

Now I'm even more confused !!!



settings.jpg
 

thebestcpu

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Hi Sid
I will need to think about your post a little bit to respond more fully yet here are a couple tihngs

1) Do check the options "Missing Profiles -- Ask When Opening. You want to be alerted if the images coming in are not tagged with a profile. That way you can assign the appropriate color profile to use. If the image is left untagged, it will go into PS as no color management. It would be saved untagged as well. However, the colors you see on your screen will be adjusted assuming that the color profile that should be applied is your working space. Sooooo, if you read in an untagged sRGB image, and leave it untagged i.e. don't color manage, the sRGB data will be interpreted as you working space of ProPhoto RGB and that will look very saturated on your screen.

Also, check the option to Ask When Pasting an image if there is a profile mismatch as well.

So are your sure that the images come in tagged as ProPhoto? If you check the boxes I mentioned, if they are untagged, a notification box will come up asking you if you want to leave it untagged, assigned it your working space, or assign it a different profile.

Give that a try before we do more debugging.

I am not always on the forum yet will be back on and off and other forum members also often jump in to help.
 

SidCowans

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Out of desperation, I've run a basic test to try and work out where things are going wrong !

I have taken three old TIFF images embedded with an Adobe RGB profile. I have then converted that profile in Photoshop to sRGB and verified that afterwards.

I then uploaded these to my album creating software (Lumapix Memento Pro) which doesn't work with profiles beyond sRGB and then created a test page using the three images. I then rendered and downloaded the test page. There are no profile options when rendering/saving and Lumapix states that it works solely in an sRGB environment.

I then went into Photoshop and opened the testpage.jpg and ..... it was red hot, over-saturated and carrying an embedded ProPhoto RGB profile !

The temptation would be to proclaim that Photoshop is replacing the color profile with the default working space profile despite my settings above. At no stage prior to opening the images in Photoshop have they ever had a ProPhoto RGB profile embedded in them.

Very strange !
 

thebestcpu

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Hi Sid
I suggest posting here
1) The exact image file you are sending to your Lumapix Memento Pro software
2) Also the exact image file as it comes out of Lumapix memento Pro that you are using
3) And after loading the lumapix image into PS, save the file with Save As and have the option to embed the color profile with the image and post that here as well (e.g. JPEG would be fine).

Also, I am assuming when you converted to sRGB from other color profiles in PS, you used the Edit > Convert to Profile and NOT the Edit > Assign Profile (which does not color conversion)

It is highly unlikely that a properly operating PS is causing the issue.

Just a suggestion

John Wheeler
 

SidCowans

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I think (stress THINK) I may have resolved this but without necessarily understanding how or why !

After further tests and analysis, I can see that the JPGs coming out of Memento are NOT sRGB but "Untagged RGB" which I believe, rightly or wrongly, are either being converted by Photoshop to the working space ProPhoto RGB or are simply being displayed wrongly. I'm not getting any warnings from Photobox which appears to think they are ProPhoto RGB but at the foot of the Photoshop screen it clearly states "Untagged RGB".

When I assign the appropriate profile then the images look okay so I know how to resolve this but have no idea why this is happening. I have raised it with the support team for Memento too as the finger is pointed their way at the moment !
 
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thebestcpu

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Hi Sid

Did you change your settings to check the box that has the red arrow pointing at it. You would get that exact behavior if that box is not checked (that was in my first post though buried in the last paragraph text). An untagged sRGB should have brought up an option box if the check box is checked (best to double check to make sure it stuck)

Also, I suggest checking the box with the yellow arrow as well. Gives you a heads up when you are going to possibly have issues.

I bet you have your root cause

John Wheeler
 

SidCowans

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My error ..... I didn't have the missing profiles box ticked !

Still need to understand why Memento is throwing out images without a profile but I'm getting there.

One last, probably dumb, question to ask here ..........

If my output is always going to be online printing or web use for which sRGB has to be the color profile, why do I bother using ProPhoto RGB in the workflow ? I get the wider color range/space but if, ultimately, you are always going to crush the image back to sRGB then why not just work in sRGB from RAW onwards ...... in other words a workflow of RAW-sRGB-sRGB instead of RAW-ProPhoto RGB-sRGB.

Are there actually any gains in the final output from editing in ProPhoto RGB or are they all lost in final conversion to sRGB ?
 
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thebestcpu

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Hi Sid

You have a good question and your suggested approach may work just fine for you. I have a couple comments.

Raw files have both larger color gamut and higher bit depth. Even if you don't care about the wider color gamut and are fine moving to sRGB color space, I suggest keeping the higher bit depth and use 16 bit up until you need to convert to 8 bit. Some post processing will result in higher quality using 16 bit processing instead of 8 bit. So staying in 16 bit and file saves to a format that supports 16 bit (e.g. TIFF) would be my recommendation until you need to save to 8 bit or to JPEG (which only supports 8 bit).

As far as trade-offs on which color space to use, I have a chart I put together years ago that help me understand those trade-offs. It is color coded with green being best, orange next best, yellow next best, and red worst choice for a particular category. Note that there are pros and cons with each color space and if you only need sRGB and never need to possible wider gamut colors, an all 16 bit sRGB workflow may be just fine for you and simplify and/or avoid the downsides of wider gamuts.

Hope this is helpful.

John Wheeler

Color-Space-Tradeoffs.jpg
 

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