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Dumb newbie color question.

Apr 19, 2012 8:42 AM

Tags: #photoshop_cs4_windows #canon_pro9000_mkii #color_balance
  Latest reply: Lundberg02, Apr 23, 2012 2:56 PM
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  • Trevor Dennis
    5,898 posts
    May 24, 2010
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    Apr 21, 2012 9:01 PM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    You don't have to spend a fortune on monitor calibration hardware.  I use a relatively cheap Huey Pro ($90 from B&H) and it does both of my monitors with no effort from me.  While the corrected screen was not too different from the uncorected screen with my last monitor, the same monitors (30 Inch Dell Ultra Sharp & 19 inch 4:3 Philips) both had a strong green tint before calibration with my current GTX570. 

     

    It has always seemed to me that a good rule of thumb is that if most of the images you see on the Web look OK on your system, and your own images look the same, then you are probably not a million miles out.

     

    I also bypass Photoshop's colour management by using the Canon Easy Photo Print pro utility that came with my print (Pixma 9000 Pro).  It gets it right first time exery time, which is good enough for me.  BTW I generally only print for competitions - from camera club, through to national salons and Exhibitions.

     
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    Apr 21, 2012 11:25 PM   in reply to Trevor Dennis

    You could start by using the words monitor calibration in Google. Find something for Windows that doesn't cost much. I don't know if SuperCal is available for Win, but it works pretty well on Mac. Hardware calibrators are a little pricey. Eyeball calibrators are good enough for the web.

    Your use indicates art prints and you should really do hardware to take advantage of the gamut of your printer.  You need to read up on how to start making art prints in a color managed workflow.

    Calibrate, use a device independent working color space such as Adobe RGB1998, etc etc. There are all kinds of books  on the subject, and you should have read one before posting.

     
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    Apr 22, 2012 4:56 AM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    Richard_M_1999 wrote:

    ...

    Emil Emil!  I think you've nailed it.  When I do this, the image in Print Preview has the same color balance as the image in Photoshop.  When I then go ahead and print it, (which I did on a cheap piece of glossy photo paper even though the image's working color space is the Fine Art Museum Etching that I mentioned in previous posts) the color balance of the print is much closer to what I see on the monitor.  It is now at the point where I can easily accept that the differences between print and monitor probably represent the inadequately calibrated monitor.

     

    I wanted to bang this message off now, and let you know how much I appreciate your patience and efforts.  It's late, my wife has the flu, and I'm off to bed.  Tomorrow, I will complete the other tasks you requested and report on the results, for completeness sake.

     

    Richard ...

    Richard, I asked you to check how the image looks with Monitor RGB in order to find out how your print preview works, it was not intended as a solution or improving the matching of colors between monitor and printer. The fact that the colors on the screen changed to look closer to how your printer prints them is just a lucky coincidence. When you choose Monitor RGB or anything from the Proof Setup menu you don't change anything in your image but only how it is displayed on  your monitor. So, it would have printed exactly the same way regardless if you choose Monitor RGB or not.

     

    When you choose Monitor RGB the color values are sent to your monitor unchanged which in effect turns the color management off. This means that when you select "Photoshop manages colors" your print preview does not display how the colors will be printed.

     
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    Apr 22, 2012 6:03 AM   in reply to emil emil

    I’ll try to explain roughly the basics.

    The colors of your image are recorded in the image file with color values. For example an RGB value of a pixel with red color will be recorded  with values like this, Red= 200, Green = 50, Blue = 50.

    The color management takes that value, checks in the color profile of the image how this value is meant to appear, then checks in your monitor profile how your monitor displays this value, and makes the proper conversion by sending to your monitor another value which is not exactly R= 200, G = 50, B = 50 but a different value. This makes the color appearance on the monitor as closely as possible to the way it is intended to appear. Color management does the same thing when you want to simulate with soft proof the colors of your or any other printer, device, and color space that you have a color profile for.

     

    So, color managed programs can do this conversions and display your image on the monitor in different ways. But non-color managed programs can’t do that. So, it is to be expected that non - color managed programs cannot display your image in the same way as color managed programs and you should not be surprise when see your images displayed differently with different software. In Photoshop when you choose Monitor RGB from the View menu your images are displayed without any color management correction in the same way non-color managed programs do.

     

    In your case, having all this in mind, we established that your Print Preview does not do any color management of your image when “Photoshop manages colors” is selected and you should expect the image from your Print Preview to appear differently unless the color space of your image is your monitor color space which is what happened when you soft proofed by choosing Monitor RGB from the Proof Colors menu. The Print Preview will display the color values reliably  with color management correction when  you choose “Printer manages colors” and that’s why, as you said in one of your  previous posts, it matches the image in Photoshop.

    Does your printer software comes with a manual that explains how the Print Preview works?

     

    Again, as others already said, you should calibrate your monitor and create a proper monitor profile for it to see the colors correctly (as intended).

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,482 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    Apr 22, 2012 7:02 AM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    Richard, by this point you may be feeling a bit like you want to run away, and go off and punch buttons until you find something that just works by trial and error.

     

    Don't quit.

     

     

    Richard_M_1999 wrote:
    I need somebody to answer this in words of one syllable....

     

    Unfortunately, that's not always possible.  It's also not possible to find a "one setting fits all, don't have to worry about it" configuration value.  You really do have to understand it to make the right choices, and there are good reasons for the existence of all the choices.

     

    Color-management can seem a bit complicated, but once you get your head around it it all starts to make sense, and you will understand what the proper settings and workflows should be for YOU.

     

    Unfortunately, color-management defies being oversimplified.

     

    Try to learn the technical terms used, and if someone uses such a term and you're not really sure what it means, ask for a definition before trying to move on.

     

    Some examples:

     

    • A "color profile" describes what any particular color value (e.g., as described by R, G, and B numbers) really should look like.

     

    • A "document" is an image open in Photoshop.

     

    • A "device" is a thing that can display or capture color.  Your monitor, printer, and camera are all devices.

     

    • The colors in a document and the color response of a device can be described by a color profile.

     

    • Saying a document is in a particular "color space" is the same as saying it contains values described by a particular color profile.

     

    • Extra credit:  The process of rendering color from a document to device using both of their color profiles, such as what is being done when a color-managed document is displayed by Photoshop on your monitor or printed, is called "transforming" the color values.  A "color transform" is the vehicle inside the computer for making such transformations, created for example by analyzing document and device color profiles.  Photoshop uses the word "convert" for this activity in certain specific cases, such as when transforming the color values in a document from one color space to another.

     

    I encourage you to stick with it, listen to people like emil, and ignore those who might criticize.  And keep in mind not everyone always uses the exact right terms.

     

    You are to be commended for wanting to tackle the color-management beast, and once you wrestle it to the ground and hog tie it your work will be better for it.

     

    -Noel

     

     

     

    P.S., As if it weren't complex enough, keep in mind color-management doesn't always work right.  Not only does it defy oversimplification, but it cannot be generalized either. 

     
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    Apr 22, 2012 9:42 PM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    I've heard of a lot of Win problems, but never that one. Something else was wrong. Windows built in profile builder should have no effect on speed before during or after.

     
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    Apr 23, 2012 10:13 AM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    To be clear, I'll say it again, the hole point of all my questions and instructions is to find out how the Print Preview of that Canon software works. This alone is not going to solve your problem with achieving reliable simulation of the printed result on your monitor. For this you have to calibrate the monitor and make a color profile for it.

     

    There are some inconsistencies from your test results which makes it hard to make a conclusion. It could be that the image is not the most appropriate for testing and that the visual evaluation is not very precise.

    Try to make these tests again with a color chart that makes it easy to sample and compare color values. Search Google for "color calibration charts" and download a nice color chart then make the tests again. Using color charts for the tests will make it easy to check for differences of the colors displayed on the monitor by making a screen capture and measuring the values with the eyedropper in Photoshop.

    When making the tests, in the Assign Profile dialog box, disregard the first two choices, and make different tests by choosing color spaces (profiles) from the pup up menu of the third choice. For example from the color spaces section of that popup menu, along with AdobeRGB, try ProPhoto and sRGB. Also from the devices section of the same menu along with your printer profile try some others. Just scroll all, you can use the down and up arrow on your keyboard to select different profiles and when the  preview box is checked in the Assign Profile window you will see how the image will change colors. Make tests with profiles that make the most dramatic changes to make it easier to see the differences. This popup menu in the third choice of the Assign Profile have the same choices as what you called "a plethora of options" in  your print dialog window but there it will convert the color values. With assign profile the color values stay unchanged and only the way the colors are displayed is different by sending different values to the video card which you can check by making a screen capture. Let me know if you don't know how to make a screen capture and measure its colors in Photoshop.

     

    Again, remember that we are using the assign new profile to make tests and find out how your printer software works, usually you don't have to assign a color profiles but only when you know the origin of an image with a missing profile.

     
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    Apr 23, 2012 12:14 PM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    Yes, calibrating the monitor is the best idea. If there is a bug in the print software or somewhere in the pipeline it will be much easier to troubleshoot putting aside the calibration. There are few possible ways the Print Preview could work but your experiences are inconsistent with any of them, so it could be a bug too but to isolate it, you have to make sure all other things are working properly.

     
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    Apr 23, 2012 1:23 PM   in reply to emil emil

    Stop screwing around. Calibrate. Ask Canon.

     
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    Apr 23, 2012 2:56 PM   in reply to Richard_M_1999

    You guess wrong. This thread would have been way shorter if you had known that you must have a calibrated monitor before making any judgments about color, and if you had contacted Canon tech support about their software but not received a satisfactory answer.  Then the experts here, who are not Adobe but users, could have made some sense of this.

    PLAN to do that? If you don't do it you are wasting your own time.  Without calibration, you can certainly give your images the coke machine treatment so that they look right to you, but maybe not to anyone else.

     
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