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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Colour Management...The question of colour spaces came up in a recent thread by Dabhand16 + part of my reply was : ...
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Old 05-04-2007, 10:52   #1 (permalink)
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Colour Management

The question of colour spaces came up in a recent thread by Dabhand16 + part of my reply was :

"I leave my camera set to sRGB + same with all my software + monitor settings (I see no point using Adobe RGB as you can't print the full colour spectrum (most home printers don't support all the colours in Adobe + printer would just interpolate, which is best avoided) + the web can't show all those colours either. In fact, it's only practical to use Adobe RGB if you're having your photo's professionally printed, + I don't mean at Boots "

Do you agree with this, or do you prefer working in Adobe RGB 1998?

IMO images do come out in Adobe RGB with considerably flat colours, simply because our devices (printers/monitors) are incapable of reproducing all the colours in that spectrum, so that they "guess" the colours which they don't have in their own spectrum, resulting in inaccurate colours in your final images.

Crew, perhaps a poll, along the following lines, would be interesting to find out what members do about colour management:
I use colour management in a closed circuit environment (camera > monitor > home printer)
I use colour management + a professional printing service (e.g. for flyers, brochures, glossy magazines etc.)
I'd like to use colour management but don't know much about it
I don't bother with colour management
What's colour management?

And a separate poll re: colour spaces:
I use Adobe RGB 1998 throughout my workflow
I use sRGB throughtout my workflow
I alternate between Adobe RGB and sRGB according to intended output
I don't know which I use, I never check

Yet another poll to find out how we all use our images:
I only view my images on screen/web/email
I usually print my images at home
I use a professional printing service (e.g. for flyers, brochures, glossy magazines etc.)

I know it's a lot of polls in one thread (unless you want to put each in its own thread) but they are separate issues which are connected, if you know what I mean. Basically they show whether members:
(a) are familiar with colour management, and
(b) use it, or don't bother about it, and
(c) how they use it, i.e. for home use only, or for professional printing.

I think it would be useful for members to exchange thoughts + experience on the subject of colour management, as it is an important part of photography and is pertinent re: what we end up doing with our photographs. As usual, expanded comments in the thread will be very helpful to find out what members are doing in this regard.

Sorry this is so long, + I hope that all makes sense
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Old 05-04-2007, 14:55   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

Hi Charlotte,

This is a very good point and comprehensively put too.

I went through a similar dilemma about 18 months ago when I started to quite seriously contribute to a stock photography website (which unfortunately closed down due to lack of funding). My conclusion was exactly the same as Dabhand16's and I have stuck to sRGB since.

I'd be interested to hear what other people do though.
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Old 05-04-2007, 17:02   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

Just a few points for my 2p

1. Anything you see on the web or on your monitor is limited to sRGB gamut, because the web uses sRGB and your monitor probably cannot display anything more than sRGB. The additional colours provided by Adobe RGB are ones you cannot see on a normal monitor. This is not necessarily an argument against Adobe RGB, but the additional colours it can provide are ones that can only be printed on certain high-end photo printers.

2. Adobe RGB has a wider gamut than sRGB but uses the same number of bits. That means that the gap between each increment of tone and colour is greater with Adobe RGB - same number of bits, but more area to cover. This leads to a greater risk of banding or posterisation if you stretch the tones - by boosting shadow detail, for example - especially if working in 8 bits per channel. It is therefore recommended to use 16-bit depth with Adobe RGB.

3. Fairly obviously, there is no advantage in Adobe RGB if your photo does not contain any of the extra colours - the ones that cannot be displayed.

4. If you use RAW, there is no colorspace in a RAW file, so you don't shoot as sRGB or aRGB. You can process the file and save it in whatever colorspace your RAW converter supports. If you only want to display it on a monitor, there is nothing to be gained by using aRGB. You can always go back to that RAW file and convert it again as aRGB if you wish.

5. Neither sRGB nor aRGB hold a candle to ProPhoto in terms of gamut, so if you really want the widest possible colorspace, that's the one to go for. In practice, however, there's not really much point because the additional colours are fairytale colours that can be neither displayed nor printed, and you run into even more posterisation problems.

6. If you do convert to Adobe RGB for printing, you must also have an sRGB version for the web and to display in any application that isn't colorspace aware. People get into so many knots that way, by trying to display aRGB on the web or in image browsers.

So.... That's a very long-winded way of saying that I stick to sRGB and I'm happy to avoid the complication of other colorspaces.
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Old 05-04-2007, 20:05   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

The simple answer is that if you do or have need for professional prints from your images you should use RGB, otherwise for ease of use across many different display formats and wider compatibility sRGB is usually better for most users.

As Silky has already stated though, if you shoot RAW then you can go back to the original file and it will then enable you to work in any and all colour spaces both now and (for the foreseeable) future. This gives you the best of both worlds.


Just for the record I shoot in Raw and work completely in RGB, converting only a few of my final images to sRGB for web viewing and display.
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:35   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

I agree with Steve. I use RAW and my converted copy is 16 bit Tiff Adobe RGB. My main output is printing. So far I have not bothered to convert to sRGB for web and cannot see any significant difference given that they are usually low resolution JPEG files anyway. It is not true that monitors are limited to sRGB though many may be set as such. So why do I use Adobe RGB for printing? It is bcause theoretically it should produce a wider gamut and thus a more accurate representation. I have also noted that good professional photographers (e.g. Martin Evening) also insist you need the wider gamut for printing.

However, I have not seen a clear practical demonstration of the difference. I will try to find time to print a test chart via Adobe RGB and again via sRGB and see if I can tell the difference. I suspect that the difference may be subtle and only show up on a few specific pictures which may not be that critical for amateurs. Until I am convinced I will stick to Adobe RGB as I do not want to give any competition rivals an edge; to the best of my knowledge most my keen local competition rivals are using Adobe RGB.
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Old 08-04-2007, 13:46   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

I did some research before deciding on what to use, as I guess most of us without the in-depth knowledge would. The basis of my choice I paraphrase below.

Paraphrased, and my brackets.

Scott Kelby – The Photoshop CS2 Book

The colour space choice is easy: Choose Adobe RGB 1998……..the range of colours it supports is greater than sRGB (giving you more colour), and it’s big enough to get the most out of your inkjet prints…….As for the depth pop-up menu, generally choose 8 bits….you don’t get the full range of Photoshop’s tools and features (with 16 bit), plus the files are double the size, making PS run slower and taking up more space.

Configuring your camera –

….in this chapter we are going to focus on one thing – getting what comes out of your inkjet printer to match what you see on screen…..if you only shoot in RAW, you don’t need to set the colour space in the camera, because you can assign it in PS camera RAW dialogue….in PS change the colour space to something that’s more appropriate for photography (rather than web use)…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mark Galer and Philip Andrews – Photoshop CS2 Essential Skills

….it is important to select a working space for Photoshop that is sympathetic to the range of colours that can be achieved by your inkjet printer….the most suitable working space currently available is Adobe RGB 1998……

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Harald Johnson – Mastering Digital Printing

…In general, work and save tour files in one of the larger RGB spaces. You can always repurpose a file to a different colour space as needed….…for a specific, all-purpose working space, choose either Adobe RGB or Colour Match RGB……If you are working for web output or sending files around, thensRGB might make the best sense. However, if you are going to print. Or if you are not sure which type of printing you will be doing, pick one of the larger RGB working spaces……

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The message appears to be if you don’t capture as much as you can when you release the shutter, you can’t recover it later.
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Old 10-04-2007, 17:25   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

I have taken a standard test chart and colour scales and produced one mage in Adobe RGB(1998) and one in sRGB. The originals were all supplied in Adobe RGB(1998) so it was easy to convert to the smaller colour space of sRGB.

I have printed each on my Epson 1270 Ink Jet printer using a bespoke colour profile produced by a Gretag Macbeth profiler. I already know my system calibration is good.

Comparing the two prints, I can see very little difference between the two test pictures and it is hard to specifiy what, if any, the differences are. However, on the colour scales the differences are apparent. The higer saturated greens are weaker on the sRGB. This is also true but to a lesser extent on the Cyan. In fact the hue of the green is slightly different for the sRGB. There is no difference in Blue, yellow or magenta. The red on the most saturated square does look slightly more intense on the sRGB. The theory suggests that the Green and cyan would be weaker for sRGB.

My conclusion is that there is a difference but it would not be noticed unless colour match is critical in the Green/cyan region. I would expect pictures with large areas of foliage to particularly benefit from Adobe RGB. I can certainly understand why a professional fashion photographer would have to use the wider gamut but it is probably borderline for most amateurs. Given that I only edit in 16 bit and my main output is print, I will still continue using Adobe RGB especially as I take a few landscapes.

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Old 21-04-2007, 04:36   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

When I convert a file to TIFF to save it the bottom of the screen has a check for saving to aRGB. (I've been told only to use aRGB if I'm getting a print from a pro lab). If I don't check it, what does it save it too? I have PSE. (can you tell I'm new at this?)
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Old 21-04-2007, 16:42   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

think it depends on personal preferences and how our individual eyesight sees the colours . We use adobe RGB and will continue to do so , as we want the larger range that adobe offers .As we have had photos printed in superA3 we prefer the outcome .

Again depends on what end result your after , i suggest try different ones ask lots of people and obviously professional people ,then, try them and come to your own preference. Otherwise it can be so confusing as so many people are so set in there own set up ,to admit other software and methods may give a person what they want.



Cant see the sense in having a poll for this that and the other , i think its just pure nonsense,and is of no realistic benefit .I would rather think having people do a brief review and the pros and cons on the colour managemet etc that they use ,would be more useful to members ,As that way you are discovering whats available and members thoughts on the pros and cons that they have with that particular software etc
As everything each to their own .
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Old 21-04-2007, 16:56   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Colour Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by chickadee View Post
.... and how our individual eyesight sees the colours .
I think this has nailed it. We do see colours differently, especially me, bieng a bit colour blind as the majority of men are (apparently), so I believe the thing to aim for is consistancy in the colours of the printed images, and to try to set the monitor up to get it as close as you can to the printed images.
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