Photoshop colour workspaces

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  02 February 2013
Photoshop colour workspaces

Hello!

I documented myself extensively about colour profiles, ICC, colour management, devices, etc. I know their usefulness and I understand how they work [gamuts, white points, etc], the workflow between the different devices and the likes...

My problem is related only to my screen and how the colours are rendered on it, in Photoshop. I do not know what colour workspace to use. I will present the current situation and at the end ask what to do.

I have a 24 inch, Dell U2410. I am using Windows 7 x64. In Control Panel - Colour Management I loaded a profile recommended in the following review of the monitor:

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2410.htm

I use the monitor on Standard Preset for the colours, in combination with the ICC profile downloaded for this Preset. In the review, they say you can get the most of the monitor using it this way. I chose to use one of their ICC profiles, because in calibration tests I get to see the shades and the tones of the colours more evenly distributed on my screen. I used the following site to analyse the different settings of my monitor and to see if the loaded ICC improves things or not:

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test

Based on the information provided on the site, the way I have the monitor configured now, is very good. No overblown colours, no overblown whites, nor the screen is too dark. Everything seems quite well balanced and calibrated.

Now, my problem is how to set-up Photoshop. If I use Photoshop with colour management disabled, I can get exactly all the colours as in the web browser or any non-colour managed application. I can get pure saturated colours, like intense red (255,0,0), green (0,255,0) or blue (0,0,255). To make things clearer and to give an example... I can distinguish with ease between (0,5,0) and (0,0,0) or (0,255,0) and (0,253,0).

If I use sRGB or Adobe RGB in Photoshop as a colour working space, the colours are somehow duller. I cannot get the same pure colours of the spectrum, like before. The pure red, green or blue, do not look as before.

What I find mind boggling is that when I try ProPhoto RGB as my workspace... all the colours are overblown. I understand why this is happening: colours are out of the gamut of my display. I can hardly distinguish between the higher values of colours, for example rgb(0,190,0) vs. rgb(0,255,0) look the same - pure green. Even the gamma is a bit brighter, overblown. So, as one can already deduct, in this case, I can get pure, vivid and saturated colours.

If I create different documents in which I have the same gradients of colours, but with different workspaces, they all look different: Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB, sRGB, etc.

I would like to use ProPhoto RGB, because it has the widest gamut, yet it looks overblown. If I use Adobe RGB, I cannot get those intense vivid colours as I would like.

Any advices about this?


Another funny thing I have to mention. Is it normal that when I use the option in PS to convert an image colour profile to another one, and I select the same one as the original, the colours of the image change? To rephrase, if I select as the destination for colour profile conversion the same colour profile the image had, the colours change. To me, this is not correct. The colours should remain as is, if the colour profile I convert it to, is the same as the initial one. Any thoughts about this?

Thank you for reading and sorry for the lengthy post, but I want to have things clarified.
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Last edited by robodesign : 02 February 2013 at 09:52 AM.
 
  02 February 2013
Hello.

Here is a good article on color spaces: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/...ace_choice.html

.. although I still don't really understand all that stuff myself.
I am also having problems with color profiles! :(

I have Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 (Win 7 x64, PS CS6 x64) and I'm using all the default settings and so on..
The problem occurs when I work in Photoshop versus the final rendered .png file.
I sort of goes like this:
- I make a Black-to-White gradient image with sRGB profile
- Color settings: Europe General use 3 - sRGB
- The gradient looks just fine. I can see from the very darks up to the brightest spots.
- But when I render the image into a file and view it = it gets much darker!!
- Now... IF I am making a painting for example and I use Color Proofing -> "Monitor RGB" and save the image = it looks same! BUT.. I then loose like 10-15% of the darks!

Its pretty hard to describe.. I hope you understood :(
I would like to have the whole spectrum of shades + so that the picture would look exactly the same everywhere. But if I use the Monitor RGB color proofing = I lose quite a lot of darks to play with. also.. It's an active effect that is applied to the canvas - so it lags quite a bit.
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  02 February 2013
I have the same Dell monitor. I usually set it to Adobe RGB but for printing I change it to sRGB as the skin tones print more realistically. My Dad has a monitor calibrator tool and he recently set my monitor up properly for me. The bottom line is a proper calibration tool takes the heartbreak out of this, I wouldn't have believed it before mine was calibrated. Anything less is just guesswork and frustration, and a ton of near misses.
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  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by robodesign: Hello!

I documented myself extensively about colour profiles, ICC, colour management, devices, etc. I know their usefulness and I understand how they work [gamuts, white points, etc], the workflow between the different devices and the likes...

Considering what you have written in your post, I can say you don't understand how all this thing works. That's the reason you are asking those good questions.
Originally Posted by robodesign: I use the monitor on Standard Preset for the colours, in combination with the ICC profile downloaded for this Preset. In the review, they say you can get the most of the monitor using it this way. I chose to use one of their ICC profiles, because in calibration tests I get to see the shades and the tones of the colours more evenly distributed on my screen. I used the following site to analyse the different settings of my monitor and to see if the loaded ICC improves things or not:

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test
You can't simply use a color profile just like that. Even if the color profile is fixing your monitor gamma, you have no idea if the color space described inside the profile is matching your monitor color space...especially because your monitor has multiple color space depending on the mode you are using.
The LCD test will never allow you to test your monitor color space. It is just not too bad if you need to test your monitor gamma.
Originally Posted by robodesign: Now, my problem is how to set-up Photoshop. If I use Photoshop with colour management disabled, I can get exactly all the colours as in the web browser or any non-colour managed application. I can get pure saturated colours, like intense red (255,0,0), green (0,255,0) or blue (0,0,255). To make things clearer and to give an example... I can distinguish with ease between (0,5,0) and (0,0,0) or (0,255,0) and (0,253,0).
The colors you are seeing outside color managed environment are your monitor native colors. RGB value are just relative colors. It is needed to associate a color space to RGB value to obtain absolute color.
Originally Posted by robodesign: If I use sRGB or Adobe RGB in Photoshop as a colour working space, the colours are somehow duller. I cannot get the same pure colours of the spectrum, like before. The pure red, green or blue, do not look as before.
The look of the red, green and blue will depend on the information about your monitor color space stored in your monitor profile.
Originally Posted by robodesign: What I find mind boggling is that when I try ProPhoto RGB as my workspace... all the colours are overblown. I understand why this is happening: colours are out of the gamut of my display. I can hardly distinguish between the higher values of colours, for example rgb(0,190,0) vs. rgb(0,255,0) look the same - pure green. Even the gamma is a bit brighter, overblown. So, as one can already deduct, in this case, I can get pure, vivid and saturated colours.
ProPhoto is a super wide gamut. The gamut is so wide that some colors don't even exist (theoretical colors).
Originally Posted by robodesign: I would like to use ProPhoto RGB, because it has the widest gamut, yet it looks overblown. If I use Adobe RGB, I cannot get those intense vivid colours as I would like.

Any advices about this?
It is not a good idea to use a color space that your monitor is unable to display especially if your monitor color space has not been measured (TFTCentral measured their monitor color space, not yours). And for such wide gamut, you need to use 16-bit color mode which will avoid banding.

You should read my post here. It is not well written as I was tired when I posted it (just like tonight) but as it is illustrated, maybe everything will make sense to you.
Originally Posted by robodesign: Another funny thing I have to mention. Is it normal that when I use the option in PS to convert an image colour profile to another one, and I select the same one as the original, the colours of the image change? To rephrase, if I select as the destination for colour profile conversion the same colour profile the image had, the colours change. To me, this is not correct. The colours should remain as is, if the colour profile I convert it to, is the same as the initial one. Any thoughts about this?
Converting to another color profile is not a lossless process so you will never be able to revert back to the original image after two conversions.
Basically, if you are converting to a narrower color space, it is impossible to get back to the previous color space:
ie. if you start from sRGB (narrow) to Adobe RGB (wide), the pure red R255 G0 B0 will become R219 G0 B0. And you can convert back to sRGB, the red R219 G0 B0 will become R255 G0 B0
Now, the problem is different if you convert Adobe RGB image to sRGB as colors out of destination gamut will be definitely lost. Adobe RGB pure red will be converted to sRGB pure red because it is the closest color of the original Adobe RGB color but pure sRGB red is only R219 in Adobe RGB color space...so that means R255 (aRGB) -> R255 sRGB (=R219 aRGB) -> R219 (aRGB)
Well, I am tired so if my demonstration doesn't make sense to you, I will explain in a better way tomorrow...

@Dekus, you should read the link I posted also, that will explain what you are seeing.

If you have more question or if you don't understand or if you think that will not explain everything, don't hesitate to ask.
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Last edited by Hecartha : 02 February 2013 at 01:49 AM.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Hecartha: Considering what you have written in your post, I can say you don't understand how all this thing works. That's the reason you are asking those good questions.

Yes, Indeed. I did not go into the depths of colour sciences .

Originally Posted by Hecartha: You can't simply use a color profile just like that. Even if the color profile is fixing your monitor gamma, you have no idea if the color space described inside the profile is matching your monitor color space...especially because your monitor has multiple color space depending on the mode you are using.

Yes, I am aware of what you are saying. Yet, in the TFTCentral review of the monitor and on the list of ICC profiles, they indicate what mode is appropriate for the loaded ICC profile and other settings, to which I am faithful. I tested all other variations they provide for Dell U2410 and the one picked seemed to fit very well.

Originally Posted by Hecartha: The LCD test will never allow you to test your monitor color space. It is just not too bad if you need to test your monitor gamma.


Yes, I am aware of this.

Originally Posted by Hecartha: The colors you are seeing outside color managed environment are your monitor native colors. RGB value are just relative colors. It is needed to associate a color space to RGB value to obtain absolute color.


Originally Posted by Hecartha: The look of the red, green and blue will depend on the information about your monitor color space stored in your monitor profile.

True.
Originally Posted by Hecartha: ProPhoto is a super wide gamut. The gamut is so wide that some colors don't even exist (theoretical colors).

Yes, I know this as well.
Originally Posted by Hecartha: It is not a good idea to use a color space that your monitor is unable to display especially if your monitor color space has not been measured (TFTCentral measured their monitor color space, not yours). And for such wide gamut, you need to use 16-bit color mode which will avoid banding.

You are saying to two identical monitors have different color spaces? Like two Dells U2410, 24 inch.

I am aware of the 16 bits mode and it's usefullness for avoiding banding and posterization of images.

Originally Posted by Hecartha: You should read my post here. It is not well written as I was tired when I posted it (just like tonight) but as it is illustrated, maybe everything will make sense to you.

Very comprehensive details and tests you have done. Thanks for the link, it was interesting. I admit that understanding the images is quite a challenge . I've read the rest of your posts. Including the ones from conceptart:
http://conceptart.org/forums/showth...336#post3078336

Very nice reading and very good illustrations of the phenomena I learned about recently: the differences in colours displayied on-screen when using different colour profiles in Photoshop.

Originally Posted by Hecartha: Converting to another color profile is not a lossless process so you will never be able to revert back to the original image after two conversions.
Basically, if you are converting to a narrower color space, it is impossible to get back to the previous color space:

Yes, I know.

Originally Posted by Hecartha: ie. if you start from sRGB (narrow) to Adobe RGB (wide), the pure red R255 G0 B0 will become R219 G0 B0. And you can convert back to sRGB, the red R219 G0 B0 will become R255 G0 B0
Now, the problem is different if you convert Adobe RGB image to sRGB as colors out of destination gamut will be definitely lost. Adobe RGB pure red will be converted to sRGB pure red because it is the closest color of the original Adobe RGB color but pure sRGB red is only R219 in Adobe RGB color space...so that means R255 (aRGB) -> R255 sRGB (=R219 aRGB) -> R219 (aRGB)
Well, I am tired so if my demonstration doesn't make sense to you, I will explain in a better way tomorrow...
If you have more question or if you don't understand or if you think that will not explain everything, don't hesitate to ask.


I am aware of this phenomena as well. Thanks for taking your time and for giving me an answer to my post.
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http://www.robodesign.ro/marius/
 
  02 February 2013
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