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Which sRGB Profile to use (HP sRGB Profile, ICC BPC, ICCnoBPC, or no profile)?

May 24, 2011 4:19 PM

Hi everyone,


May I ask something of you guys? I have a question that no one can seem to answer.


I don't know which is the best profile to use--the HP sRGB Profile, the ICC sRGB BPC, the ICC sRGB with no BPC, or no profile (just colorspace tagged as sRGB).


They are all sRGB_IEC61966-2, but the HP sRGB one that is native to older versions of CS (and possibly newer ones?) does not state whether it is BPC or nonBPC.


I have noted several things (and I know little of color profiles, so please excuse my ignorance):


1) Firefox displays all the profiles the same way, except noBPC is shown with lighter blacks

2) Adobe seems to represent the sRGB BPC and the HP sRGB similarly?

3) Some people suggest using no profile, merely tagging the metadata to say sRGB

4) The ICC website says that most V2 color profiles on the www are black scaled; other sites seem to say its the opposite: that BPC is a new thing to most people who save sRGB V2.....

5) BPC = Black scaling.


Help ! I'm completely at a loss for what is the most future-proofed means to do this. Each road seems to have a disadvantage.


Any help would be great



  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 10:53 AM   in reply to todstanlervan

    todstanlervan wrote:


    Hi everyone,


    May I ask something of you guys? I have a question that no one can seem to answer.


    I don't know which is the best profile to use....

    You forgot to say for what? Each profile is created as the best solution for something

    Also regarding this,


    I don't know which is the best profile to use--the HP sRGB Profile, the ICC sRGB BPC, the ICC sRGB with no BPC, or no profile (just colorspace tagged as sRGB).


    They are all sRGB_IEC61966-2, but the HP sRGB one that is native to older versions of CS (and possibly newer ones?) does not state whether it is BPC or nonBPC...

    these profiles do not come with Photoshop, where did you get them from? From the place you've got them, there should be some information about their usage.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 2:52 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    Use this one in the drop down menu.

    It comes with Photoshop and is the official sRGB working space profile for Photoshop.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 5:13 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    None. Those are CMYK printing profiles are for an HP printer.


    When someone gets your file,they use their profiles for their printer and decide whether they want BPC or not.


    Under color preferences,the default for CMYK is North American offset presses. They can place their own CMYK profiles in that spot.



    If you intend for your images to go to a commerical press,use Adobe RGB 1998 (print) instead of sRGB (web) as the embedded (working space) RGB profile.


    or "North American Prepress 2" setting at the top of your color prefs. (shift + ctrl k)  sRGB is such a restricted color space,it does not allow for proper CMYK conversion as Adobe RGB 1998 would.


    That's as much as I know,other input is welcome..

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 8:05 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    todstanlervan wrote:


    Thanks for replying


    Okay, so for printing files--or images sent to people who would print them for magazines etc--I should not use sRGB? I


    If I recall correctly,sRGB clips the cyan region during conversion to CMYK. (I'm guessing offset presses,not inkjets)

    Use Adobe RGB 1998 for commercial print.  And you would use either psd or tiff file format as your archive format.


    But what about images meant for web use only? sRGB, right? If so, which sRGB should I use (sorry if I sound like a broken record, I just don't know what I should be doing)?


    I'll suggest sRGB-IEC61966-2.1. when you save for web, jpeg or png format.


    So one for print and one for web.


    @gener7: just to clarify, are you saying that the HP sRGB profile that comes preset with earlier CS versions is for printers only? I don't get it as I thought it was the default profile and color working space for many older PS models (not sure about newer versions). Someone correct me if I'm waaaayyy off the mark here, as I'm a newbie.

    I have owned pretty much every version of Photoshop from 5.02 (1998) to CS4 (2009) including CS. I have always used sRGB-IEC61966-2.1  There might have been something labeled HP sRGB in CS,but I never noticed or used it.


    Yes,HP and Microsoft both developed sRGB in 1996,but I don't know the difference offhand. I'm kind of a "standards" guy,I want to use what others use as much as possible. So it's been sRGB-IEC type all the way.


    Adobe also has a color management forum if you want more on this topic.


    Hope I've gotten you in the right direction.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 9:56 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    Here comes some information about these new profiles:




    I'm not going to comment anything.


    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 9:57 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    todstanlervan wrote:


    Thanks for replying


    Okay, so for printing files--or images sent to people who would print them for magazines etc--I should not use sRGB?

    It depends on the situation and other factors. Was the image created from scratch using your monitor as feedback for your color choices? Is the image a photograph that was saved to the camera's card with a color profile or was it undefined raw file?

    For example if it is a photo which already has sRGB profile and you are sending the image to users without knowing how exactly they will use it, you should leave it with its sRGB profile and let the end users take it from there. If you change or convert to another profile you are only making things worse. However If you know for sure the final destination, for example a particular printer or another monitor, if you have the color profiles of these devices, the color management, using your monitor, can simulate the color appearance the color values will make on the other devices. So you can optimize the image referring to its final appearance and you may also choose to convert the image to the profile of the destination which changes the actual color values of the file, not just the video card values.


    But what about images meant for web use only? sRGB, right? If so, which sRGB should I use (sorry if I sound like a broken record, I just don't know what I should be doing)?

    Use the sRGB profile gener7 suggested. But colors will match only if the end users also have properly set color managed systems. Also have in mind that some use wide gamut monitors and that trend is increasing. sRGB gamut is about 70% of NTSC which is a color space with a gamut representing the visible spectrum and in size similar to Adobe RGB. There are already people who post images on the web with wider gamut color spaces, however not all browsers and software can deal with them properly, so this also depends on the intended audience and priorities.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 10:43 PM   in reply to Gernot Hoffmann

    Gernot Hoffmann wrote:


    Here comes some information about these new profiles:




    I'm not going to comment anything.


    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

    ICC version 4 profiles, in order to work require all profiles in the chain to be version 4. Since most canned profiles that come with devices are still version 2, and more importantly there is still no Adobe RGB and Prophoto version 4 ICC profiles, practically currently v4 profiles are useless, may be some time in the near future.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 10:41 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    todstanlervan wrote:


    @emil emil:


    What happens to sRGB when viewed on a wide gamut monitor? Does it look shocking? Darker in gamma? Lighter in gammer? Faded out? Saturated or desaturateed?


    The images I've made were made using the hp sRGB profile as my default color workingspace. I have an LCD monitor which is also set to the same profile.

    On properly color managed system with a wide gamut monitor they look perfect. I have a wide gamut monitor and In fact, in my experience, sRGB is noticeably better than on a standard gamut monitor. That's because the wider gamut covers entirely the sRGB gamut while standard gamut monitors struggle with that. The trade off is that because 100% NTSC is noticeably different from 70%, non-color managed programs can't compensate for this and they display images noticeably over saturated. This can be simulated to a degree on a standard gamut monitor within its limitations, if you take  sRGB image and go to Edit > Assign Profile (not Convert) to Adobe RGB.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 26, 2011 6:15 AM   in reply to todstanlervan

    Yes, it is the same thing. It is an option in the Photoshop's color settings that is on by default. To see it make sure More Options button on the right side has been applied - when applied it turns into Fewer Options button.

    You can learn more about BPC using the Help, press F1 and in the search field type black point compensation. Also make a Google search for the same term and you will get very good explanations

    Said in a few words, think of BPC as an additional option to the rendering intents which are used when the destination color space has lower dynamic range. BPC deals with the differences of the dynamic range and is mostly used when converting RGB to CMYK profiles for print jobs.

    Basically it maps the black point of the source to the black point of a destination with lighter black point and compresses proportionally the higher dynamic range into lower. This is similar to the perceptual rendering intent but affecting mostly the differences in the dynamic range.

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  • Noel Carboni
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    Dec 23, 2006
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    May 26, 2011 7:28 AM   in reply to todstanlervan

    I'm dropping in kind of late, here, and I haven't read the thread thoroughly, but I thought I would add a few cents worth about why you might want to choose certain profiles.


    It's important to start with this: 


    Your choices of color profiles to use for the various functions in your system and for publishing images MUST be made individually, based on how you want to work, and what you anticipate the recipients of your images need. 


    Understand that there is no "one size fits all" answer, which is why you're given configuration choices.  It's important to actually understand color-management to make the proper choices, and many people fail to take the time to do so.


    Document Color Profiles


    For general web publishing, many folks think it's a good idea to publish images in the sRGB color space and with an embedded sRGB profile.  This is because many browsers didn't used to do color management, and Windows in general assumes sRGB.  Even today, not all browsers do proper color management, and sRGB is just assumed in some cases.  If you are serious about web publishing, you probably want to learn just what Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Chrome, and a number of others (and in all their various versions) actually DO regarding color-management, and knowing your intended audience make your own intelligent choices.


    I'll add that as the browser landscape changes (and it is always changing), any "rule of thumb" about which profile to use for web publishing probably needs to be re-evaluated again at intervals in the future.


    For sending images to family or friends electronically, pretty much the same thing applies as with web publishing.  Assuming a user is looking at the image you just sent him/her in Outlook or another mail client, the app may or may not be doing color management, and sRGB image data is probably most likely to be interpreted without problems.  However, you may know something about your recipient's color capabilities and make a different choice.


    For sending images to print houses, quite often they want "standard" sRGB images as well.  However, if they DO offer wide gamut printing, limiting your images to sRGB will mean you won't get all the advantages of their full color depth and your prints may look a bit dull compared to what they could look like.  Don't assume; find out from them what their recommendations are for document color profile.  Again, details matter, and the more you know the better choices you can make.


    Working Color Profiles


    What color spaces you choose to work in in Photoshop have something to do with the results you want to make, and also something to do with the workflow you're willing to adopt.  It may be that you prefer to work on color images in sRGB so that he RGB values you manipulate all through your processing will be the very same ones you provide in your published output images.  Or you may prefer to work with images of the widest possible gamut because you have need to print or otherwise publish your images with a wider gamut than sRGB.  You could even start work with a wide gamut profile (e.g., ProPhoto RGB) for the advantages in maintaining all your images' fidelity, then ultimately publish sRGB - you just have to be sure and make the proper conversion at some point in the workflow.


    It's important to note that Photoshop's Color Settings define your preferences - i.e., how you want Photoshop to handle things (or set defaults or just let you know) when there are choices.  Personally, I like to check all the boxes so that I will be asked if an image isn't in my preferred color space.


    Also note that the Camera Raw plug-in offers a choice of output color space that's separate from the main Photoshop settings.


    Device Color Profiles


    Your display system can be calibrated and profiled.  Calibration generally describes the process of manipulating the output signals so that they are generally the right brightnesses - the response of your display is its Gamma, which should be close to 2.2 on a PC.  Once calibration is achieved, profiling a monitor is generally a matter of sending a bunch of different RGB values to it, seeing what it displays, measuring the difference between that and the ideal color, and setting up to make the proper corrections for future image displays.


    You associate a monitor profile with your monitor using the operating system, even though the operating system only helps with color-management when applications request it.  You may wish to create a monitor profile that matches your monitor's display characteristics - there are devices that come with software and procedures to help you do this, and there are even ways you can do a rough job visually without a device.  This allows Photoshop and other color-managed applications to perform conversions to accurately represent colors from a document with its own profile on your monitor.


    However, you have to understand that not every application on your system is color-managed, and you might actually be looking at RGB values expressed in a document color space and displayed on your monitor without transformation.  Also some transformations are done with shallow data and can introduce noise.  Perhaps you want to minimize the difference because there are tools you like that don't do color-management, or because you know that Internet Explorer 9 assumes your monitor displays sRGB.  It's normal that color-managed and non-color-managed applications can show the very same images differently on a calibrated and profiled system.  This confuses many folks


    Note that the Windows default monitor profile is sRGB IEC61966-2.1.  Depending on your monitor, there can be advantages to making your display respond similarly to sRGB and just using sRGB for your monitor profile.


    Many local printers can be profiled as well.  There are devices to allow you to do this.  However, some printers are "factory calibrated" and expect you to deliver the data in a particular profile - e.g., sRGB. 


    Moreover, there are configuration options to allow you to choose where to do color management during printing.  Photoshop, for example, provides a Color Management section in their Print dialog, and if you drill down to the printer driver's dialogs you may find that there are settings there as well.  You'll need to discover the best combination of these settings for your particular print needs.  Some combinations may work equally well, while you may find some have subtle advantages.  Not long ago I did a whole series of prints in which I manipulated the settings to go through all the different combinations with my HP printer, then critically compared the results.  I found that instructing Photoshop to do a conversion to the print driver's standard sRGB input profile, and disabling color management in the print drivers entirely gave me the best results.




    At the end of the day we're doing all this because: You'd like to be able to work on a document, print it and have the colors look as you expect, publish it online and have most people see it as you intended, and send it to others and have them see it as you did.





    No conclusions or direct advice here; I'm just giving you some things to think about when making your color-management choices.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 26, 2011 11:38 PM   in reply to todstanlervan

    todstanlervan wrote:


    Hi gener7


    I see. May I ask, though, if this is your profile that you use in your various editions?

    This is an EXIFTool readout of the HP sRGB profile.


    Really curious if we're actually using the same file.


    Part of me wonders if the reason my photoshop setup has the HP sRGB is because maybe I installed it by accident ages ago; or maybe it really is the same thing.



    This is the text file export from the Exiftool GUI on my sRGB file. Hope that helps


    ---- File ----
    FileName                        : sRGB Color Space Profile.icm
    Directory                       : .
    FileSize                        : 3.1 kB
    FileModifyDate                  : 2009:06:10 14:28:33-07:00
    FilePermissions                 : rw-rw-rw-
    FileType                        : ICC
    MIMEType                        : application/vnd.iccprofile
    ---- ICC_Profile ----
    ProfileCMMType                  : Lino
    ProfileVersion                  : 2.1.0
    ProfileClass                    : Display Device Profile
    ColorSpaceData                  : RGB
    ProfileConnectionSpace          : XYZ
    ProfileDateTime                 : 1998:02:09 06:49:00
    ProfileFileSignature            : acsp
    PrimaryPlatform                 : Microsoft Corporation
    CMMFlags                        : Not Embedded, Independent
    DeviceManufacturer              : IEC
    DeviceModel                     : sRGB
    DeviceAttributes                : Reflective, Glossy, Positive, Color
    RenderingIntent                 : Perceptual
    ConnectionSpaceIlluminant       : 0.9642 1 0.82491
    ProfileCreator                  : HP
    ProfileID                       : 0
    ProfileCopyright                : Copyright (c) 1998 Hewlett-Packard Company
    ProfileDescription              : sRGB IEC61966-2.1
    MediaWhitePoint                 : 0.95045 1 1.08905
    MediaBlackPoint                 : 0 0 0
    RedMatrixColumn                 : 0.43607 0.22249 0.01392
    GreenMatrixColumn               : 0.38515 0.71687 0.09708
    BlueMatrixColumn                : 0.14307 0.06061 0.7141
    DeviceMfgDesc                   : IEC
    DeviceModelDesc                 : IEC 61966-2.1 Default RGB colour space - sRGB
    ViewingCondDesc                 : Reference Viewing Condition in IEC61966-2.1
    ViewingCondIlluminant           : 19.6445 20.3718 16.8089
    ViewingCondSurround             : 3.92889 4.07439 3.36179
    ViewingCondIlluminantType       : D50
    Luminance                       : 76.03647 80 87.12462
    MeasurementObserver             : CIE 1931
    MeasurementBacking              : 0 0 0
    MeasurementGeometry             : Unknown (0)
    MeasurementFlare                : 0.999%
    MeasurementIlluminant           : D65
    Technology                      : Cathode Ray Tube Display
    RedTRC                          : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)
    GreenTRC                        : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)
    BlueTRC                         : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)

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