Spyder 3 Pro - Color space question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Mr. Murmeli, May 23, 2010.

  1. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I bought a Spyder 3 Pro for my monitor calibration and I ran into a problem. After the calibration is done a new color space profile is been created (which you have to name your self). This profile then shows in window's display options as the current color space. Because of this, some programs show colors now differently (as happens e.g when photoshop is running at adobe RGB and windows is set to sRGB).

    This problem can be fixed by setting the window's color space back to sRGB, but does it now lose my calibration since I'm not anymore at the color space created by Spyder?

    I'm pretty confused and i'd appreciate some help :confused:. I want all my software, including internet browser, to show pictures in the same way but i do want my calibration to stay put as well.
     
  2. dhilberg

    dhilberg TPF Noob!

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    I'm assuming you calibrated your monitor to sRGB. I have Photoshop CS4 so your settings may differ.

    • In Windows set your monitor's color profile to the one created with Spyder 3 Pro. Make sure it's set as the default profile.
    • In Photoshop under Color Settings make sure your working space is set to Monitor RGB. This forces PS to use the same profile your monitor does. Also make sure you have Monitor Color under Settings selected.
    • Make sure you're shooting in the same color space you've calibrated for, i.e. sRGB.
    • Also in Color Settings under Color Management Policies, make sure "ask when opening" next to Profile Mismatches is checked. When you open an image and get the Embedded Profile Mismatch popup, make sure you select "Use the embedded profile." Since you shoot in sRGB and you calibrated your monitor to sRGB, you want to view the photos as sRGB, not anything else.
    That's all there is to it.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No and no! This is a very VERY common problem I see mentioned around the internet. Firstly the working profile has nothing, nada, zero, zip, zilsch to do with the monitor profile. This is compounded by the statement that you should shoot in the space you've calibrated for. Well that doesn't make sense since what you shoot in is ultimately to become your working space and you should never calibrate your monitor to another colour space than it's native space. That defeats the purpose of generating a monitor profile to begin with.

    Anywho a quick primer:

    There are three profiles you need to concern yourself with in colour managed workflow. These are the input profile (embedded in the RAW processor to convert the RAW sensor data into meaningful colours), the working profile (what your file currently is set to) and your output profile (for the screen this is your monitor profile, for the printer the printer profile (duh) ).

    The input profile should be of no real concern. If you're shooting JPEG you're never exposed to it. If you're shooting RAW it's that Camera Profile tab that no one ever scrolls down to in Adobe CameraRAW. Leave this one be.

    The working profile should always be the profile you're most likely to ultimately publish. You have no reason not to set this to sRGB for the simple reason that this only applies for files that you create new. When you open a file Photoshop will automatically assume the profile of the picture as your current working profile. So if you set the working profile to sRGB then fine your new file you create will have it's values limited to the sRGB colour gamut (very handy out of the box), but if you then open an image from your camera shot in AdobeRGB, well you're automatically in AdobeRGB now, or at the very least photoshop will ask you if you want to work in AdobeRGB, it should never ignore the difference. Click Edit in Photoshop from Lightroom, and the working profile becomes whatever setting you have set in Lightroom to automatically export to Photoshop.

    The monitor profile on the other hand is reported by the windows operating system. Colour aware programs (such as photoshop) can poll the WCS (windows colour system) and ask it what profile the monitor has, and will automatically then adjust the output to make sure the colours are as the colour profile (and thus the Spyder3) says they should be. Based on this you should already see that Windows should have the profile generated by the Spyder 3 set for your display.

    Let me re-iterate that this has nothing to do with the working profile. Photoshop will open the image and say oooh the image has a pixel value of (255,0,0) and is in the sRGB space. This means I need to convert it to LAB space with the value of (blah blah blah). Ooooh the monitor has a profile that is MonitorRGB. That means I need to convert the value of (blah blah blah) to (230,4,0).

    In this example our monitor has a wider gamut than the working space, but while it wrote it in a stupid way it shows that all conversions happen between one colour space and another via a theoretically colour space agnostic intermediary.


    So... To set up your computer, and verify the setup.

    1. Set up windows so the colour profile for your display device is the colour profile from your Spyder 3.
    2. Open up Photoshop. Click edit -> Colour Settings. Under RGB "Working profile" click the down arrow. Now LOOK BUT DO NOT SELECT the Monitor RGB profile. This will show you what photoshop has already loaded. It should say "Monitor RGB - yourcolourprofile.icc" If it says "Monitor RGB - sRGB IEC6....... .icc" then Photoshop has not correctly loaded the colour profile from Windows. This is usually always the fault of Windows. Don't ask me why but it happens. Go back to step one and start debugging.
    3. While you're in Colour Settings, set your working space to sRGB. If you work for a professional printing house then maybe you have a reason to set it to something else, but otherwise sRGB will save you headaches. Also check to make sure the options for profile missmatches further down on the window are either set to Use the Embedded profile, or Ask, NEVER ignore.


    Now we are probably back to square one and Photoshop will be showing colours differently. This is normal. The vast majority of windows applications are simply not colour aware. They will read your sRGB(255,0,0) and display an oversaturated (255,0,0) on your monitor whereas infact you really want a value of (230,4,0). This is very common with wide gamut monitors. To illustrate the effect have a look at this picture below:

    On the left: ACDSee Pro2 correctly displaying the Photo identically to Photoshop on my wide gamut monitor. On the right, the preview in my Directory viewer, a non colour profile aware program which has no idea what monitor I have and just assumes everything in its little world is sRGB.
    [​IMG]


    The key here is that ultimately if your Spyder 3 Pro did it's job correctly then Photoshop is the only right application on your computer. Everything else may look different but Photoshop is the one that you should trust. This is also why I browse with Mozilla Firefox. If you type about:config in your browser bar and set gfx.color_management.display_profile to the full path of your icc profile then Mozilla too can be trusted, but it does not read the profile from windows.


    Welcome to colour management :spank:
     
  4. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for the answers, especially Garbz with your huge one ;).

    But i'm still just a bit lost. I did everything as you said but i don't understand one thing: If i set my windows default to the profile created by Spyder, why don't windows apps show colors right? Isn't the whole point of this new profile to make regular programs understand colors as well?? You said that applications other than Photoshop usually don't understand color profiles but it just seems crap that i can't get the same, true colors to each program. Especially since with my very color rich monitor (Lenovo L220x) the colors look A LOT more flat and less vibrant now in photoshop compared to other "color space ignorant" programs. So Photoshop versus other apps, the difference is now huge!

    Second issue: I fixed firefox's ICC path to look like this: C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color\Kalibroitu.icm ("kalibroitu.icm" is my spyder created profile), but it shows colors exactly like most of my other applications, i.e. very differently than photoshop.

    One observation: on my student exchange period in USA i had one photography course, in which the teacher told us to use wider gamut color space on CameraRAW, and afterwards convert the pictures to sRGB (apparently this compresses the large gamut to sRGB space, whereas using sRGB from the beginning something is lost(?) ). So in other words he meant that you should, for instance, use ProPhoto RGB in cameraRAW, then press done in these pictures after you've done with your adjustments, and in the end convert the pictures to sRGB, say, whilst doing jpeg conversion in Image Processor.

    And last questions: you were talking about camera's color space. So should it be set to sRGB or something more fancy? :confused:
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very good question, please direct it to the Microsoft complaints department. Unfortunately the operating system flat out doesn't care. The framework provides profiles to applications which are colour aware, but it ultimately still relies on the applications to implement the colour conversions themselves, or call a system API to do it. I was kind of hoping that Windows 7's radical new interface would address this. ... Nope. Essentially all the operating system does is give the application a dictionary. The application still needs to have a basic concept of how to use this dictionary to translate the colours.

    Second solution (hopefully): set gfx.color_management.mode to 1. There may be problems with the profile. Are you given any options in your software? ICM files are a windows format and I'm not sure if Firefox understands them. What I do know is that Firefox does not understand ICCv4 profiles, only version 2, and this is because a recent change in the colour management engine which dramatically improved it's speed does not yet understand the v4 profiles. You should be able to select what output you want in the Spyder software, if not there should be plenty of applications around the net that can convert between the various different formats for colour profiles.


    The photography course seems to have a somewhat basic grasp of this. Gamuts are not like bitdepth. They simply define how big the colour space is. This should ultimately be determined by the final destination of the image. If you are taking a photo and processing it knowing you're only ever going to be posting it on the internet, then there's no point in working in a large colour space if you know you will convert to sRGB at the end. There should be no difference between working in sRGB vs converting at the end since ultimately the bounds of the gamut are the same. There's a big difference between working with 8bit images and 16bit images as suddenly there is more information to describe the various shades of colours inside the bounds of the gamut, but changing the bounds of the gamuts before or after makes no difference.

    To gain a benefit from a larger colour space like AdobeRGB you firstly need an image worthy of it, for instance crystal clear water in a reef shot with a polariser will produce a shade of cyan outside of sRGB, shooting into a sunset should produce an orange colour that's out of sRGB as well. However the vast majority of photographs fit nicely within the sRGB gamut. Also you need a proper output. Working in a wide gamut is pointless unless you're going to take your print and have some professional printing company do a wonderful chemical print for you, or you use one of those 8 colour printers. Your average mom and pop stores will not produce a wide gamut print.


    Camera colour spaces where? Are you talking about the settings in your camera? This determines the "working profile" of the image that the camera is going to save. In the camera ALWAYS set this to sRGB. The reason is JPEGs are 8bit and 8bits only just cover the possible values in the sRGB range. There is not enough info in an 8bit file to cover every possible colour in AdobeRGB for instance.

    If you're going to use something more fancy then likely you're shooting in RAW anyway, in which case what you set in the camera doesn't matter at all. The RAW program again will give you the option what working profile to export in. As I mentioned above there are a few situations when setting a larger colour gamut makes sense, but for the vast majority of situations sRGB will be your final destination anyway.
     
  6. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for the answers, again!

    My Firefox fixed itself overnight, i guess reboot helped somehow. So now those colors look just as, well dull, as in Photoshop.

    I guess the enormous difference between "color dump software" and PS now is only due to my specific monitor and how it's set up in the factory (?). Of course there should be a difference but the lack of saturation in calibrated world was disappointing.

    For instance, i have one picture (RAW) which looks SO nice and well saturated on normal programs but now that i take it to CameraRAW i have to increase the saturation by almost +40 to get a similar looking result. This feels like a lot. Although, i guess the very well saturated picture isn't reality either. It simply looks nice but i doubt human eye would see those colors that vibrant in real life (I simply don't remember how the scenery looked when i took the picture).



    I assume that you have a really well calibrated monitor and so on. Could you take a quick look at some of the photos on the first page of this link:

    Flickr: Erkki H's Photostream


    Do the photos look somewhat too yellow to your eyes also? These pics are mine and now that i'm back to using my own desktop screen (instead of crappy laptop) and my monitor should be calibrated the colors look a lot worse than they did when i was finished with photoshopping with my laptop. I just want to make sure my calibration makes now sense :D.

     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They do have a warm tinge to them.

    What monitor are you using as a matter of interest? The specifications should quite easily tell you if there is a big difference in saturation to be expected.
     
  8. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    My monitor is Lenovo L220x. It's got S-PVA panel so not the best but as far as i know, better than TN at least. Other specs i'm not too familiar with :oops:
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The above is from the specs of the L220x. These are typically quoted as percentage of the NTSC gamut which is very similar in size of the AdobeRGB gamut. My NEC SpectraView has 93.8% coverage of the NTSC gamut so our monitors would perform similarly in that regard. Standard monitors conforming to sRGB I think have a 72%-75% NTSC gamut coverage.


    So the good news is that yes the desaturation you experience in photoshop is actually correct. The bad news is colour management is something you need to deal with. ACDSee Pro2 is a good image viewer that supports colour management if you're using windows XP. I know in Windows 7 the picture and fax viewer will correctly render images. Not sure about Vista.


    Also I mentioned earlier that it makes sense keeping all workflows in sRGB unless you specifically intend to print them in a very good printing process. However I retract that since your monitor clearly has the capability of using some of the extended gamuts. It may make sense to work in AdobeRGB and then convert to sRGB as the final step before saving, and also take note that with any large gamuts like AdobeRGB you should NEVER in any stage of the process convert to 8bit before converting the gamut to sRGB or you'd end up with banding and posterisation.
     
  10. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for answers, again! :thumbsup:

    It's good to hear that everything should be fine now. I am running on XP but i've been thinking about upgrading (maybe try 64bit Windows 7).
     
  11. Stangs55

    Stangs55 TPF Noob!

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    I googled my way over here and ended up registering for two reasons...first to say Thanks! to Garbz. Your posts were extremely helpful. I've got a Dell 3007wfp wide gamut display and have been using a Spyder3 for a while. I had previously set my PS to 'Monitor Color', but have since changed after reading your post.

    Second, to ask a couple questions. I saw that you mentioned that there are applications on the net that can convert between icc v4 and v2 for use in firefox...I've searched and searched, but I've been unable to find a way to do this. Would you mind providing a link to a program that can do this?

    Also, I've moved to Lightroom for the majority of my basic workflow and frequently use the 'Edit in Photoshop' export command. In the lightroom settings, the default color profile for exporting to photoshop is Prophoto RGB...it even has as tooltip that says it's the best choice for preserving color. But if my picture is originally in sRGB and I play to output in sRGB...wouldn't it make sense that I should export in sRGB and avoid an unneeded conversion? The only reason I can imagine that this would be the wrong choice would be if Lightroom is making changes to the image that result in colors outside the sRGB space...

    Anyways, thanks for the help!!!
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry I was certain the ICC profile inspector on the ICC website was able to do this, but it looks like it can only read and display lots of useless information and not save. I had another search and you're right, it doesn't look like there's an immediately obvious way to convert a v4 profile to a v2. Are you sure your calibration app doesn't give you the option of which format to save in?


    What picture was originally in sRGB? If you are shooting in RAW then what your camera is set to doesn't matter. Lightroom has a working space known as MelissaRGB which is basically ProPhotoRGB except with gamma curve of 1 (linear) which makes a lot of sense when working with linear sensor data. So Lightroom from a RAW file will always have a huge colour space and a high bitdepth so there's no such thing as avoiding a conversion. It will get converted from MelissaRGB to something one way or the other.

    Even when editing JPEGs in Lightroom the edit in photoshop function will convert it to a 16bit tiff with a wide colour gamut. The only reason is that sliders to alter the gamut of an image. If you have a colourful sRGB image and you crank up the saturation little to nothing may happen, however if you aren't arbitrarily limited then it'll simply increase the saturation out of the gamut. So it's quite possible to open and manipulate an sRGB image such that it takes up a larger gamut when it's done. The result doesn't look pretty but it can happen.

    Realistically though there is an unneeded conversion if the ultimate goal is to create an sRGB file. I however have set export to be AdobeRGB simply because I have my work flow down pat in a way that I can't ever forget to convert to sRGB, and because I like you have a wide gamut screen I can actually see some of the prettier colours that may creep into the occasional image.

    Just remember if you're editing in photoshop in a wide colour space either use the "save for web and devices" tool to save since it has a nice checkbox saying convert to sRGB, or simply save, close, and export the file from Lightroom. That way you can avoid forgetting to convert to sRGB before saving a file.

    /edit: sorry about the gramma I've been drinking.
     

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