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Thread: color differences in image - Windows Explorer vs. Photo Viewer

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    color differences in image - Windows Explorer vs. Photo Viewer

    Hi while viewing jpeg images taken with my canon point and shoot, in Windows 7 when I preview the image using the file explorer, in the preview pane the colors look nice and vibrant. When I double click and load the image using the default Windows Photo Viewer, the image saturation decreases and looks different. I also notice that this happens when I load it in Photoshop Elements. Why does this happen? Do I have something set incorrectly on my computer?
    Thanks



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    anyone? any ideas?

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    Windows explorer is not a color managed application. The photo viewer and elements are. Make sure they are opening in the same colorspace that your image is shot in. Elements and photoviewer should be what will actually print. Explorer is a crap shoot.
    Canon FanGirl Extraordinaire

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    There's a few colour management issues here. Basically it boils down to one of two things, ... or both things working together to really screw you up.

    a) You have a non-standard monitor. One application knows this, and the other one doesn't. This typically manifests itself as the ignorant applications showing a picture MORE saturated than it really should be.
    b) You have an image with a non-standard colour space. One application knows this and the other ignores it. This typically manifests itself as the ignorant application showing a picture LESS saturated than it really should be.

    Out of all the applications here Photoshop is likely the cleverest so let me ask you something, what monitor do you have? If you have a wide gamut monitor, join the club, half the things you look at won't be right and can't be fixed by anything other than using colour managed applications. If you don't have a wide gamut monitor there's likely a windows flaw.


    Quote Originally Posted by MLeeK View Post
    Windows explorer is not a color managed application.
    Yes it is. Windows explorer obeys the embedded profiles of images in Windows 7. You're over simplifying the issue. There's nothing to say Elements isn't the one that's wrong if the windows settings are incorrect.
    "I am always satisfied with the best." -Oscar Wilde
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    Thanks for the replies.
    Regarding my monitor it is a Dell 2407WFP-HC (wide gamut). I color calibrated it as well using a Spyder 2 Express .

    The images I am viewing are jpegs from a digital camera using sRGB color space.
    How do I know then if what I am looking at is the true representation of what the original image looks like?
    Can I assume the Photoshop Elements is displaying the correct colors?

    Also is it possible to get Windows Explorer to behave like photoshop when displaying images?

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    Windows explorer won't behave like photoshop. There's nothing you can do. It's not color managed and there is no way to fix it. Gotta love microsoft!
    Make sure your photoshop is set to sRGB also and trust photoshop. If you must view in your computer view on firefox. Firefox is color managed.
    Canon FanGirl Extraordinaire

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    Quote Originally Posted by erotavlas View Post
    Thanks for the replies.
    Regarding my monitor it is a Dell 2407WFP-HC (wide gamut). I color calibrated it as well using a Spyder 2 Express .

    The images I am viewing are jpegs from a digital camera using sRGB color space.
    How do I know then if what I am looking at is the true representation of what the original image looks like?
    Can I assume the Photoshop Elements is displaying the correct colors?

    Also is it possible to get Windows Explorer to behave like photoshop when displaying images?
    I don't know how to verify the loaded monitor profile in Photoshop Elements, but it sounds like it's fitting scenario b) quite well. If Windows Explorer is producing an image that appears more saturated than Photoshop Elements, and you have a wide gamut monitor than it would fit that Photoshop has correctly loaded the (wider gamut) monitor profile, and done the appropriate maths to make the image look correct (duller to compensate for the wider gamut).

    There is little you can do about this. It's the curse of the wide gamut monitors and why I don't recommend them to anyone without first giving them a big speil about how they work and what to expect. Your calibrator, the Spyder 2, only calibrates the relative difference in colours and the white point to keep them consistent. It then measures the primaries to generate a colour space and palms the rest off to the system. Without an application that will seek out and load the colour profile of your from the Windows Colour System (WCS), like Photoshop does, the only thing you can be sure about is that your greyscale values are correct. You can't trust your colour unless you can trust your program to handle the monitor profile correctly.

    - Photoshop elements is good at this.
    - For surfing the internet I use Mozilla Firefox, and then follow How to configure Firefox color management this process here to enable it to play along with your monitor profile
    - For generic image viewing I use ACDSee Pro, but IrfanView is a good free alternative. Note for monitor profile based colour management you need to install the iv_misc plugin set, and enable it under "Properties and Settings -> Viewing"

    After you do this you'll at least have 3 applications you can trust

    Quote Originally Posted by MLeeK View Post
    Windows explorer won't behave like photoshop. There's nothing you can do. It's not color managed and there is no way to fix it. Gotta love microsoft!
    Make sure your photoshop is set to sRGB also and trust photoshop. If you must view in your computer view on firefox. Firefox is color managed.
    This is still approaching the problem from the wrong angle. Viewing in Firefox won't change anything without going into about:config and manually enabling output colour conversion and giving the full path to your monitor profile. The thing here is that the term "colour managed" is not all encompassing. Many applications (windows explorer included) will obey colour profiles and handle the conversion quite gracefully. These are technically "colour managed" but very few actually do a re-conversion to suit the monitor profile like Photoshop does, and most of those few actually make it a manual process rather than getting the data from the WCS.

    A default install of Firefox behaves no different than Windows Explorer. If you have a standard sRGB monitor and don't use a calibrator then effectively there's no difference to the colour management of Photoshop and Windows Explorer.
    erotavlas likes this.
    "I am always satisfied with the best." -Oscar Wilde
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