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Photoshop diplays all images with desaturated colors (Images look fine when opened in other apps)

Sep 21, 2011 12:15 AM

Tags: #photoshop #problem #color #display #incorrect #desaturation

All of a sudden, when I open any image in Photoshop, the colors appear to be desaturated...In Photoshop only. When I open that same image in Window Picture Viewer, or Quicktimer, or even if I drag the image into a brower window, the colors appear fine. But in Photoshop, something is clearly wrong. Now, I can make color adjustments to the image, but when I save and reopen reopen it in another application, I can see that color changes have been made, but they still don't match what Photoshop is displaying.

 

The images are RGB image...I've checked the color space setings in Photoshop, and they are the default (Edit > Color Settings: North American General Purpose 2 / RGB: sRGB IEC61966-2.1 / CMYK: US Web Coated (SWOP) V2, etc, etc). I also made sure View > Proof Setup was set to: Working CMYK. I even reset Photoshop to it's default settings (by holding down CTRL-ALT-SHIFT on launching Photoshop)...But the images still appear desaturated when I open them in Photoshop...So, I don't understand how this is still a Photoshop problem...But then again, they look fine when I use any other application on my computer to open them, so it's clearly not an issue with my monitor.

 

The frustrating thing is, I haven't made any changes to Photoshop OR my monitor (that I know about)...Photoshop has worked perfectly for me for years, and now there's this SNAFU that I just can not figure out.

 

Any suggestions?

 

I've included a screenshot below to show the disparity between an image opened in Photoshop (on left) and Windows Picture Viewer (on right):

PhotoshopColorProblem.jpg

Photoshop image on left, with desaturated colors...Same image in Windows Picture Viewer on right, where colors appear normal.

 

Any and all help is much appreciated : )

Best,

-Austin

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 12:41 AM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    Your display profile does not match your display (or settings on the display). Fix the display profiile in the system color settings -- pick one that matches the display, or let the OS read the calibration from the display itself.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 8:04 AM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    AustinHand wrote:

    ... I also made sure View > Proof Setup was set to: Working CMYK. ...

    May be that's your problem, have you been working like that all the time before? The rgb color space of your monitor is much wider than a CMYK space, so you should expect to see a difference when displaying the same image in the two color spaces if the colors are outside the CMYK color space.

    If you want to make Photoshop display the image like non-color managed programs on your monitor you have to choose View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB. However that doesn't affect the image (file) itself but only how it is displayed and may not be the true colors that will be reproduced at a final destination other than your monitor.

     

    the system color settings are in the Color Management Control panel assessable from Windows Start menu > Control panel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,483 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 9:51 AM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    It's difficult to provide help without knowing your level of color-management expertise, but I think you've helped us some with that in post number 2.

     

    Color management is basically this:  Images and devices have certain color characteristics, and these are described by color profiles, sometimes also called color spaces.

     

    1.  You should not need to use the Proof Setup at all to view your images on your monitor.  When things are set up properly Photoshop shows you accurate color without your choosing View - Proof Colors.

     

    2.  A color-managed application like Photoshop will try to show you accurate color on your display by interpreting both the image profile and your monitor profile and transforming the colors accordingly.  BY DEFINITION this will look different than other applications which don't do color-management as these just pump the image RGB values directly out to the display. 

     

    Thus:

     

    • If your monitor profile indicates your monitor has a wide gamut, images with embedded profiles may appear less saturated inside Photoshop than from non-color-managed apps.

     

    • If you view images that have an embedded wide gamut profile (such as Adobe RGB 1998 or ProPhoto RGB), Photoshop and other color-managed applications will interpret that profile and the colors will likely appear more saturated in Photoshop than in a non-color-managed application.

     

    It sounds as though the first case applies in your case here.

     

    You can check to see what monitor profile is associated with your monitor through OS settings.  I'm thinking, based on the caption buttons in your screen grab, that you've got Windows XP, but rather than go further with that assumption, I'll ask you to verify it first.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,483 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 1:53 PM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    It's possible some code/data was released through Microsoft's Windows Update facility that caused your computer to now "know" your monitor better, and load a profile from the manufacturer.

     

    You can actually make things match more often between color-managed and non-color-managed applications by setting your monitor to use the sRGB color profile, which is the Windows default.  This way, if you're looking at a document with the sRGB profile embedded, and the monitor is using the same profile, then there is no transform, and voila:  Photoshop matches your non-color-managed apps.  I suspect this is how you've had it set in the past.

     

    In Windows XP, right-click on your desktop, choose Properties, then look for the Settings tab (this is from memory...).  I believe in the dialog that opens when you click the [Advanced] you should find a Color tab or something like that.  In there, if you have a profile OTHER than sRGB IEC61966-2.1 (aka sRGB Color Profile.icm) associated with your monitor, make note of it and change it to the sRGB color profile.  This will likely return your system to operating the way you remember it (more things matching more often), though it may not be colorimetrically accurate.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 2:52 PM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    >  Do you think I need to uninstall/reinstall Photoshop?

     

    How would that do anything to affect your display profile (a system setting)?

    No, you don't need to reinstall, you just need to fix the display profile.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 21, 2011 6:01 PM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    Try the AdobeRGB profile and see if that helps (it should be similar to your display gamut).

     

    You may also want to check the display and see if you set to to "sRGB emulation" or anything else that would change it away from it's default state.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,483 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 22, 2011 4:14 PM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    I suspect that if you'd set it to sRGB instead of Adobe RGB it would have matched perfectly.  But Adobe RGB may well be giving you more accurate color with your monitor, so if you like it keep that setting.

     

    I think Chris was thinking you might find an "emulate sRGB gamut" setting on the monitor, using the on-monitor controls themselves.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 8:12 PM   in reply to TheAustinNY

    Out of nowhere, never saw this before- years working in PS v.4.0 to CS5, I am having this exact problem as clearly stated by Austin in the original post.

     

    No changes to my system or Photoshop CS5.

     

    Images that I edited before this happened still look great on my compuer outside of Photoshop, but now, when opened in Photoshop they have very flat, open shadows.

     

    Also images that I now edit to look correct in PS, look dark and contrasty when viewed in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer or other viewer - so this is a Photoshop issue.

     

    Please, there must be someone that can offer a solution other than "try altering system setting to mask the issue".

     

    Happy New Year!

    Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 8:43 PM   in reply to about_had_it

    All the existing answers also apply to your case.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 9:08 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Hello Noel,

    I early posted that I had the exact issue as in the original post and lamenting that no answer was provided; In fact rereading your relpy I see that you very clearly explained the issue and provided the solution.

     

    I am new to this forum and not sure how to give you credit - please advise - you really saved my butt here!!

     

    Thanks,

         Mike

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,483 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 9:26 PM   in reply to about_had_it

    No worries, Mike, you just did.    Happy to help.

     

    -Noel

     
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