13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 27, 2007 9:17 PM by colorchris

    What I See Isn't What I Get

    Scott Citron Adobe Community Professional
      Here's something that I realize I've been experiencing now since using kuler. That is, I create my wonderful group of swatches and export from kuler in the Adobe Swatch Exchange format (.ase). I then load the .ase in InDesign, for example, and apply the colors to various objects. Yet the colors I see in kuler's window do not match the colors I see in actual use in InDesign, regardless of color spaces or settings. Anybody know how to solve this essential problem? Thanks.

      Scott
        • 1. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
          Srta._Pinta Level 1
          I am curious about this...

          1. Is the color shift significant?
          IF it is not a huge difference, your issue may be due to number #2 below.

          2. Are you using the same black background in your design as it is on kuler?
          If you are not, remember colors look different according to their background.

          3. Are you using CS2 or 3?
          Not sure this will make a difference, I am just wondering because I am on CS2.




          • 2. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
            Scott Citron Adobe Community Professional
            quote:

            Originally posted by: Srta. Pinta
            I am curious about this...

            1. Is the color shift significant?
            IF it is not a huge difference, your issue may be due to number #2 below.

            The color shift is significant enough so that what I see in kuler is not what I get in InDesign.

            2. Are you using the same black background in your design as it is on kuler?
            If you are not, remember colors look different according to their background.

            The black bg is not the problem, although your point is well taken.

            3. Are you using CS2 or 3?
            Not sure this will make a difference, I am just wondering because I am on CS2.

            CS3, but that's not it either.

            Since posting this on the forum I've been able to lessen the problem by saving and exporting my .ase swatches as RGB instead of CMYK. This helps, although it doesn't completely solve the issue. Some shift still occurs and is apparently the result of the inability to accurately color manage Flash, which drives kuler (at least according to my friend Chris Murphy, a noted and published color management expert).

            Scott





            • 3. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
              colorchris Level 1
              Here's what's going on.
              a.) Displays are increasingly not described by sRGB like in the CRT days.
              b.) By default, Adobe applications assume sRGB, and use a display profile to compensate for the difference between sRGB and the display's actual color capability. This is a good thing.
              c.) The web browser and in particular Flash, do not at all compensate for the difference between sRGB and the display.

              The result is RGB numbers from Kuler go directly to the display, which means everyone is seeing web and Flash colors differently (from each other), and then also they see colors differently between web browser and Adobe application. The apparent mismatch becomes more pronounced the more the display being used deviates from sRGB.

              The necessary solution is that Flash needs to become color managed, which currently it is not. This is going to turn into a big issue very soon because Firefox 3 is slated to become fully color managed, which means all images and CSS content are going to be assumed to be sRGB and display compensation will occur for that content. If Flash continues to not color manage, there will instantly be a disconnect between Flash and other content in Firefox 3 on both platforms.
              • 4. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                Srta._Pinta Level 1
                Thanks for that info Chris!
                • 5. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                  Sami@Adobe Adobe Employee
                  Second that. Great summary of the challenges of color management. Appreciate you weighing in!
                  Sami
                  • 6. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                    awickstrom Level 1

                    Hello,
                    I was wondering if there's a way to save the .ase files as CMYK? I bring them into Illustrator CS2 and the colors get saturated so much that the once vibrant, bright greens and yellows as seen in Kuler, are now soft and pastel. How do I correct this? I'm at wits end!

                    a
                    • 7. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                      awickstrom Level 1
                      Also,
                      I forgot to mention, that when I save the download the swatches, they are RGB. Since I'm working on some print materials, I need the color in CMYK or Pantone. Is it possible to keep that vibrancy of RGB in CMYK?

                      a

                      Thanks so much to anyone who can help me here! I'm not sure how to do monitor calibration and such. I need to figure this stuff out!

                      • 8. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                        colorchris Level 1
                        Answer:
                        Down at the bottom, when editing a color, there are several color models available. Clicking on a model highlights it in white, and that is the color model that it will be exported as. You will not get the vibrance of RGB like you see on a display, to CMYK like you see on a typical printing press. The colorants used on press are simply not pure enough, so they don't have the saturation or chroma to match that of a display.

                        Problem:
                        Kuler is converting colors to CMYK in an apparently very simple inverse 1/d way. That is, it thinks 100%G in RGB, is 100C, 100Y, which gets you way too much cyan for typical printing press conditions. Likewise 100%B it thinks is 100C 100M which is way too much of both cyan and magenta for a typical press condition. So the CMYK values reported are fundamentally broken and totally useless in my view. I would not recommend using them. There is absolutely no correlation between the provided CMYK values and colors you'll get from them for any typical CMYK printing process.

                        The best you can do at this point is RGB, and try to avoid creating super saturated reds, greens and blues. In particular avoid saturated blues because those are the most difficult colors to reproduce with conventional press cyan and magenta inks. (This is why blue touch plates are so common.) And let Illustrator/InDesign/Photoshop convert to CMYK for you.

                        For better conversions to CMYK, check out the downloadable profiles at the SWOP web site.

                        Kuler feature request:

                        Basically kuler needs the ability to "soft proof" CMYK on-screen with numbers that have some correlation to reality. For that, we need the ability to choose the CMYK output process we're most likely going to be printing these colors to. I'd suggest the following options:

                        FOGRA 39 / GRACoL 7 (high quality #1 or #2 sheet for brochures and annual reports)
                        SWOP (medium quality for #3 or #5 sheet for magazine printing)
                        Newsprint

                        So I'd envision a pop-up menu to select one of those printing conditions, which would affect the RGB to CMYK conversion, so users can get usable CMYK values from kuler. And then also a "soft proof" check box that would allow people to work in RGB, but see the colors as though they are in one of the above selectable spaces. That would be very cool.
                        • 9. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                          awickstrom Level 1
                          Hey Colorchris,
                          I was wondering if it makes sense to mock up (i'm making a vibrantly colored calendar) the piece in RGB, export it as a pdf for proofing it with co-workers, and then finding corresponding Pantone colors? I found some pretty nice pantone swatches that would match what I'm thinking.

                          I feel like that's my best option for quick color choices. What do you think?

                          a

                          PS> Thanks so much for the fast response! I really appreciate this. This stuff gets incredibly complex as we are dealing with so many different factors between my on-screen design to the finished product...I'm just trying to get some consistnecy between what I envision using in my work, and what actually rolls off the press. The easiest way to get myself and the printer on the same page is basically what I'm looking to do.
                          • 10. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                            colorchris Level 1
                            If you plan to print the job with actual Pantone spot colors then yes that makes sense. If you have no intention of printing the job with 4+ spot colors then you'll have the exact same problem you're starting out with, except that you'll have set people's expectations on Pantone spot colors.
                            • 11. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                              Srta._Pinta Level 1
                              Thanks so much Chris, this is great info.

                              Are you the same Chris Murphy from Miles To Go?
                              • 12. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                                jacobrus Level 1
                                Incidentally, if there's someone at Adobe we can lobby to make a color-managed Flash, I'd be *very* happy to hear it, as the lack of color management in flash is according to Safari's developers the only thing holding them back from color managing CSS/HTML/SVG colors, the lack of which is quite frustrating to me.
                                • 13. Re: What I See Isn't What I Get
                                  colorchris Level 1
                                  Safari's developers should just do the right thing, and they should talk to the FireFox 3 dev team about coordinating a release that activates full color management of all content (images, CSS, text).

                                  Delaying doing the right thing thus far has not motivated Flash development to do the right thing, perhaps when everything else looks right and it's obvious Flash is wrong, that will finally act as motivator. The first level solution is simple, sRGB = source space and display profile is whatever the OS says it is. A second level discussion is whether and how to allow designers to have access to colors that can increasingly be displayed on wide-gamut displays, but with disclosure that most of the market will not be able to see or render those colors.

                                  sRGB is lowest common denominator but the key point is that it's common.