1 2 Previous Next 52 Replies Latest reply on Mar 19, 2014 12:23 PM by Noel Carboni

    Very weird color issue

    Mick8888 Level 1

      I just ran into something really weird. In Firefox or Chrome, go to this URL:

       

      http://www.mickposch.com/

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Now go here:
      http://www.mickposch.com/environments/environments_restaurant.htm\

       

      If you're seeing what I'm seeing, the colors of the restaurant image look different depending on which page you're on. On the home page it's washed out and not quite right; on the Environments page the colors look correct.

       

      If you look at both pages in Internet Explorer, there's no difference in the colors...they look correct on both pages.

       

       

      It gets weirder. If I open both images in Photoshop (I'm using CS4), they BOTH have the bad colors. In Fireworks and Dreamweaver CS4, they look normal. I get the same results whether I'm looking at the original layered TIF or the JPG that's in the site. I can't reproduce the problem with other images; the colors are consistently correct whether viewed in Photoshop, Firworks, or whatever.

       

      If it were only happening in Photoshop I would suspect a setting changed - but then why the difference in the browsers?

        • 1. Re: Very weird color issue
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          "Home profile" has an embedded sRGB profile, "environments" is untagged.

           

          All the differences you describe are consistent with that. Which one is correct, or which one you perceive as correct, depends on a whole lot of uncertainties introduced by the missing color management in one of them. You may have prepared them based on an incorrect representation, for instance. You seem to describe the non-color managed versions as right, and the color managed version as wrong.

           

          There is only one web browser that would treat all this in a consistently correct way, and that's Firefox with color management set to mode 1. In this mode, Firefox assigns sRGB to all untagged material, thus allowing the proper color management chain to operate. Try that. Type "about:config" without the quotes in the address bar and hit go. Then scroll down to "gfx.color_management.mode" and change it from 2 to 1. You'll see that the images are now identical - and correct, assuming you have a valid monitor profile. That's how they really look.

          • 2. Re: Very weird color issue
            Noel Carboni Level 8

            Twenty_one is right on with his analysis.

             

            Probably your best bet still today as a web author is to publish each web image with a color profile in the image, and to have that profile be sRGB.  As wide gamut monitors grow more prevalent, browsers better embrace color-management, and more users calibrate and profile their monitors, it might be wise to revisit the decision.

             

            -Noel

             

             

            P.S., it's worth noting that handheld devices such as phones or tablets don't embrace color-management.  That said, I've put my iPad up in front of my screen and seen that it renders color not too far off from sRGB.

             

            P.P.S., Microsoft appears to have stopped making progress in color-management, possibly because they've chosen to pursue toys / handheld devices.

            • 3. Re: Very weird color issue
              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              What I can't understand is why the other browsers don't adopt the Firefox mode 1 strategy (or even why it isn't the default in FF). It's not as if there's any risk involved - we're all comfortable with the "sRGB for web" paradigm, all images on the web are created in sRGB as it is (unless someone made a mistake).

               

              But imagine the number of problems solved in this simple way: Full color management - full color management on the web - in all scenarios; no more of this "close enough" nonsense. No more wide gamut problems - everyone would see the same thing whatever monitor used. And we wouldn't even have to embed the profile for all these miracles to happen.

               

              <...starting to sound like a TV commercial here...yes, Firefox will do all this and more...place your order now...>

               

              The beauty of it is that while people with properly set up systems would benefit enormously - for anyone else things would just continue as they are. It wouldn't change anything for them.

               

              The only possible risk is bad monitor profiles (which frequently are imposed on unsuspecting users through Windows Update, coming from monitor manufacturers who should simply stop doing that). Mac users are in slightly better shape here. But Microsoft would have their hands clean, their default is sRGB. And anyway those profiles cause problems elsewhere too (like PS).

               

              What with all the phones and tablets and so on, posting Adobe RGB is probably not an option in the foreseeable future, even if wide gamut should suddenly saturate the market and everyone and his aunt had one.

              • 4. Re: Very weird color issue
                Noel Carboni Level 8

                I have wondered the same thing, Dag.  The issue e.g., with Microsoft must be that the number of system problems that get attributed to Microsoft's software because of bad monitor profiles must be significant, increasing their support costs.

                 

                Of course, a reasonable engineering company would write a super duper profile validation tool that would ensure only profiles that can really work with the software will be accepted.  But good engineering has never been Microsoft's strong suit.

                 

                But also, it's more likely that the images will match the un-managed components of web pages in Internet Explorer if IE doesn't use the monitor format.  Scenario:  User crafts an sRGB image whose edge colors match the background perfectly. Transform the colors in that image per the monitor profile, without a transform of the non-image web page components and voila - a mismatch.

                 

                I think Firefox's reluctance to configure mode 1 (which adds color-management of non-image web page components) by default may be that it would be blamed for not displaying web sites properly if suddenly it was seen to differ from the other browsers in rendering web layout color differently.  A secondary concern may be that color-management may be compute-intensive enough that it would slow down their performance and set them back in the "browser wars".

                 

                It's like we're stuck in this ridiculous limbo, where all the difficult engineering work is done but the marketing people won't let the engineers reach the finish line.

                 

                -Noel

                • 5. Re: Very weird color issue
                  Mick8888 Level 1

                  Thanks for the info, guys. I'm going to dig into this later this morning and I'm sure I'll have a million more questions, but here's one for now: I've been using the profile that shipped with the monitor ( a Dell U2410). I only noticed the color difference between those two images the other day (both in the browsers and in Photoshop). Do you think the latest Windows update might have gotten in there and messed around with my profile?

                   

                   

                  The other weird thing I just noticed - which may or may not be related - is that if I hit the print screen key then paste the screenshot into a new document in Photoshop, it's slightly desaturated. Other than the Windows update, nothing has changed on my system recently; that's why I'm wondering if it screwed with something.

                  • 6. Re: Very weird color issue
                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    That's a wide gamut monitor. A wide gamut display absolutely and unconditionally requires a fully color managed environment to work as intended.

                     

                    That means you must use color managed applications exclusively, and you must calibrate and profile the unit so that those applications have a valid display profile to work with.

                     

                    If you must use non-color managed software, just disregard what it shows you. It'll be way off.

                     

                    As for web, you simply have to use Firefox as described above. No ifs ands or buts. No other browser is usable with that monitor.

                     

                    A print screen screenshot is already in monitor color space. The numbers have been transformed/converted to the monitor profile, but the file you're pasting those numbers into may have a different profile. In short, always assign the monitor profile to a screenshot. Then convert to whatever you need.

                     

                    Don't trust the Dell profile, it's cr*p to put it very politely. I know they market them as "individually calibrated", but that's just a marketing gimmick, and...well, don't get me started on all that. Get a calibrator. You really need it with that monitor.

                    • 7. Re: Very weird color issue
                      D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I was in a bit of a hurry when I wrote that, so I just had to hammer the important points down in no uncertain terms. I might rephrase it, but...what the heck. It's all basically just the way it is. If you sense a certain...resigned eye-rolling in that post, that's correct, but it's not directed at you - it's directed at someone who should have told you about the implications before you bought the monitor. But they never do, do they.

                       

                      Here's the background: All monitors (back in the CRT days) used to behave the same way. So they put together a description of that behavior, mapped it in CIE XYZ color space, and called it sRGB. It was a brilliant move, because it meant that any file that was prepared in sRGB would display correctly on such a monitor. You could just feed the raw RGB numbers directly into the monitor, and it would come out roughly right. In essence, you created the file in monitor color space.

                       

                      That's why sRGB is still the standard on the web. It displays roughly right, even without any form of color management.

                       

                      Then came wide gamut displays, and suddenly sRGB is no longer an adequate description of the display color space. The primaries are shifted way outwards, increasing the gamut. Feed sRGB numbers to such a display, and it comes out way oversaturated. To display correctly, an sRGB file needs to be remapped into the monitor color space. This is what color management does. It takes the document RGB values, in the document color space, and remap them into the monitor color space, using the monitor profile. It's a straight up profile conversion, but done by the application on the fly.

                       

                      A bit about monitor profiles. It's just a description of the monitor's behavior in its current calibrated state. But change that state and the profile is no longer valid. Change any of the monitor's settings, and you need a new profile. That's partly why manufacturer profiles are not and can not be accurate. Calibration is a different subject - but the point is that the profile has to describe the monitor's actual response.

                      • 8. Re: Very weird color issue
                        Mick8888 Level 1

                        Jeez, they don't make it easy, do they?

                         

                         

                        Okay. So I checked my monitor profile and it was set to Dell U2410, D6500. So I changed it to sRGB IEC61966-2.1.

                         

                        This seems to make the problem go away...at least locally. I can now load both those images into Photoshop and they both look identical...and correct. Same in Chrome and FF (in default mode; haven't looked at it in Mode 1 yet) - the image looks correct on both the Home page and the Environments page.

                         

                        But now if someone else - using the same monitor profile I had before changing to SRGB - were to look at the site, he would presumably be seeing the same problem I had; namely, the Home page image (which has an embedded sRGB profile) would look desaturated, and the Environment page image (which has no profile) would look correct. Which begs the question: What do I need to do to the image so that it will look the same on other monitors as it does on mine? If it has an sRGB profile, shouldn't that keep it looking consistant? It seems like the profile is causing the problem instead of fixing it.

                        • 9. Re: Very weird color issue
                          Mick8888 Level 1

                          Some more questions:

                           

                           

                          - Since I don't do print work, should View > Proof colors be turned off?

                           

                          - What should I set View > Proof Setup to? Some people are saying to never set it to Monitor RGB because that disables color management - so then what do I want it set to? By default it has been set to Working CMYK, but that doesn't seem to serve a purpose since I'm never soft-proofing print work.

                           

                           

                          - Going forward, I presume I should always embed the working profile (sRGB) - correct?

                          • 10. Re: Very weird color issue
                            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Mick8888 wrote:

                             

                            Okay. So I checked my monitor profile and it was set to Dell U2410, D6500. So I changed it to sRGB IEC61966-2.1.

                            No, you're missing my point here completely: the monitor profile has to be an accurate description of the monitor's actual behavior. SRGB is not an accurate description. It will not display correctly, it will be grossly oversaturated. Don't use sRGB.

                             

                            If you want to use a generic standard profile, use Adobe RGB. That won't be entirely correct either, but it will be a whole lot closer. That will get you in the ballpark. The Dell profile should also be in the ballpark. Just don't believe their nonsense about individually calibrated. For a ballpark profile, Adobe RGB is better.

                             

                            We really need to get on to firm ground here. You're all over the map. So first of all set Adobe RGB as default monitor profile in Control Panel > Color Management > Devices. With that set, open Photoshop and look at your image. That's (more or less) what it looks like. For now that's the reference. It gets better with a custom profile, but for now that's the target level of color saturation.

                             

                            Color management is not a "thing", it's a relationship, a chain. Embedding the sRGB profile into the image is one part. That's one hand clapping. Then remapping that into the monitor profile is the other part. That's the other hand clapping. You need both, one source profile and one destination profile, one gets converted into the other.

                             

                            Since the monitor profile describes the actual specific monitor the file is displayed on, the net result is that the file is represented truthfully. And across several systems, if all monitor profiles are thus valid, the file displays identically on all of them.

                             

                            ---

                             

                            Leave proof out of it for now, don't concern yourself with it. That only confuses things at this point. Leave it off. Get on to dry land first, before you go out on another swim.

                             

                            Set Adobe RGB as display profile first, open Photoshop, and look at the image. That's the landscape you'll be in from now on. If it looks wrong, that's because you've made it wrong, based on an incorrect representation. We need to establish the correct representation.

                            • 11. Re: Very weird color issue
                              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Actually I can make this a whole lot simpler:

                               

                              Always embed the document profile. Get a calibrator to make a custom monitor profile. Always view in a color managed application.

                               

                              That pretty much wraps it up. The long version is up above.

                              • 12. Re: Very weird color issue
                                Noel Carboni Level 8

                                I really, really hate to toss in a possible monkey wrench, but...

                                 

                                Does that Dell U2410 come with a factory preset that sets it to display the sRGB color space?

                                 

                                If so, using that mode is a possibility that will make setting the monitor color profile to sRGB more or less right.  You will also experience a greater level of consistency across applications.

                                 

                                Keep in mind you won't experience all the vibrance of the colors the monitor is capable of in that mode, but it's not like it's going to look bad either.

                                 

                                Many, many apologies if this confuses things, as twenty_one has been trying to show you how to use a calibrator to be able to use the full color gamut of your monitor.  I only mention it because it may be that you would prefer sRGB color and greater consistency.

                                 

                                -Noel

                                • 13. Re: Very weird color issue
                                  Mick8888 Level 1

                                  Does that Dell U2410 come with a factory preset that sets it to display the sRGB color space?

                                  Yes...I didn't know it had that...I checked and, yes, you can change that with buttons on the side. So I tried setting that to sRGB. I've also set the monitor profile in the ctrl panel to sRGB. What happens now is that the two images look identical, both in Photoshop and in any browser. They look "correct", meaning pretty much the way they did when I created them, except not quite as vibrant - apparently due to the reduced gamut of sRGB.

                                   

                                  SRGB is not an accurate description. It will not display correctly, it will be grossly oversaturated. Don't use sRGB

                                  Twenty-one, I know you're banging your head against the wall right about now saying "Why the @!#!#^$! does he want to use sRGB?"   One of my problems is that 3ds Max - like most 3D apps - doesn't use color management. So after I spend hours tweaking lighting and colors with test renders in Max, then finally get it the way I want it - it then has to look pretty much exactly the same when I take it into Photoshop or After Effects for retouching/post processing. I tried setting the monitor profile to Adobe RGB, then test-rendered an image in Max and brought it into Photoshop - it looked radically different in Photoshop. With sRGB I don't get that problem.

                                   

                                  I'm also a bit leary of making an elaborate change to my system to make it correctly calibrated, only to find out that things are now "correct" but look totally different on the average Joe's monitor. If I was doing print work and passing photos between a close circle of people with high end monitors who know how to calibrate them, I'd no doubt want to go with a different approach - but I'm doing work that's always viewed on a monitor and can't be sure my clients have a sophisticated setup. I had a potential client on the phone today and had him look at the restaurant image, but I have no idea whether he was seeing it correctly or with the god-awful desaturated look I had yesterday with that previous monitor profile.

                                   

                                  So I'm thinking of sticking with this setup now (and probably getting a calibrator in the near future). But I still don't get how I can know whether Joe Blow (who may or may not have a good setup) is seeing more or less the same thing I'm seeing. Everything I've changed so far is local on my system - if someone with the same monitor setup and profile as I had yesterday were to view my home page, he'd still be seeing the same ugly-a** image I was looking at yesterday.

                                  • 14. Re: Very weird color issue
                                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                                    If you're using the sRGB profile for your monitor and using the sRGB setting on the monitor and you like what you're seeing in Photoshop when viewing sRGB imagery, then you're seeing what the "average joe" is seeing - quite possibly better.  The sRGB modes of decent quality monitors are usually not terribly far off.

                                     

                                    By the way, owing to the things I do besides Photoshop work I set my newer monitors to sRGB mode.  It's not a bad way to work if you don't need or crave the extra gamut a modern monitor can deliver.  Use it that way for a little while and you won't miss the extra color, but what you will get is a more consistent user experience with regard to color.

                                     

                                    I know twenty_one may be cringing when he's reading this, because we've had discussions about this mode of working in the past, some of them heated.  But it's a fact of life that some folks do prefer or need the consistency over the additional color gamut.

                                     

                                    -Noel

                                    • 15. Re: Very weird color issue
                                      Mick8888 Level 1

                                      I know twenty_one may be cringing when he's reading this, because we've had discussions about this mode of working in the past, some of them heated.  But it's a fact of life that some folks do prefer or need the consistency over the additional color gamut.

                                      Yes...I guess that sums it up...using the monitor's wide gamut gave the image a little extra something and I hate to give it up, but I think I have to make that tradeoff to get the consistency I need.

                                       

                                      But the issue remains: If those two images looked vastly different to me yesterday, then surley that's happening on other people's monitors out there as well...I haven't yet changed anything in the images, only the monitor. So what do I need to be doing to fix that? I assume I need to embed the sRGB profile when saving...but then again, the home page image that looked desaturated with yesterday's setup already HAD an embedded sRGB profile, while the one on the Environment page didn't.

                                      • 16. Re: Very weird color issue
                                        D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Mick8888 wrote:

                                         

                                        One of my problems is that 3ds Max - like most 3D apps - doesn't use color management.

                                        Well, in that case your only option is the sRGB preset, effectively crippling the monitor and turning it into a standard gamut unit. You simply cannot use a wide gamut monitor with applications without color management.

                                         

                                        What I wish is that the people who make and sell these thing would tell the customer in advance, so that we wouldn't get these situations. A sticker on the screen would do it - god knows there are a lot of them already:

                                         

                                        Warning: This unit must be used with color managed software only. It must be calibrated and profiled to perform as intended.

                                         

                                        That's all. That would do it.

                                        • 17. Re: Very weird color issue
                                          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Noel Carboni wrote:

                                           

                                          I know twenty_one may be cringing when he's reading this

                                          The inconsistencies happen not because there is color management, but because there still isn't in some applications. That's the monkey wrench. That's the point I've been trying to make all along. CM isn't difficult, lack of it makes it difficult, unless you know what to expect.

                                          • 18. Re: Very weird color issue
                                            Noel Carboni Level 8

                                            On that we agree, Dag.

                                             

                                            There are a few applications that do full color-management.  Having implemented some myself, I know the difficulties involved.  It's not an easy thing to get right.  But it's well worth doing, especially if the intent is to create professional software.

                                             

                                            There are some apps that do a half-baked job of it.  Unfortunately, one of them is incredibly prevalent - Internet Explorer.  To the point where people consider "viewing an image on the web" as a reference point.  People think, "surely Microsoft must have it figured out by now".  How wrong is that?

                                             

                                            And there are some apps that even to this day ignore color-management entirely, as though it will just go away if left alone long enough.

                                             

                                            -Noel

                                            • 19. Re: Very weird color issue
                                              Noel Carboni Level 8

                                              Mick8888 wrote:

                                               


                                              But the issue remains: If those two images looked vastly different to me yesterday, then surley that's happening on other people's monitors out there as well...

                                               

                                              You're not the first person to notice this or think about it.

                                               

                                              And there's nothing you can do about the inconsistencies out in the world.  You can and should, of course, make all the images on your own web site consistent amongst themselves.

                                               

                                              Keep in mind that the "more vibrant" color you were seeing before was actually inaccurate.  What you're seeing now, with your monitor set to sRGB, is more accurate.  You could, within the limits of the sRGB gamut, reprocess your images so they look more vibrant in sRGB.

                                               

                                              As mentioned above, the majority of folks "in the know" advise something like this:

                                               

                                              • Publish web images in the sRGB color space and tagged with the sRGB profile.
                                              • Match your non-image web page element colors to the sRGB color space.
                                              • Set up your own system to best suit your needs, to make it easiest for you to get things right.

                                               

                                              -Noel

                                              • 20. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                You're not responsible for what happens on people's all-over-the-place systems out there in the collective internet. Your responsibility is to create images that stick to a certain accepted standard - what people choose to do with it is their problem. You just need to deliver on your end.

                                                • 21. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                  Mick8888 Level 1
                                                  Publish web images in the sRGB color space and tagged with the sRGB profile.

                                                  I did a ton of tests and every time I save that home page image with an embedded sRGB profile, it looks wrong when I'm in that Dell monitor profile that I was in the other day (when I first saw the problem). It doesn't seem to matter what monitor profile I'm in when I save/embed it - it will always look wrong when viewed in the Dell profile. If I save it without a profile, it looks fine when viewed with the monitor in the Dell profile. (When viewed with monitor in the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile, it always looks correct, embedded profile or not, save for the slightly reduced gamut).

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  So at this point I'm giving up on trying to embed a profile - it's just causing the very problem I'm trying to avoid. In Photoshop's Save For Web dialogue, I'm leaving "Embed Color Profile" turned off, and "Convert to sRGB" turned on. (I'm not sure why that's different than embedding the sRGB profile, but with just "Convert to sRGB" turned on it doesn't embed a profile).

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  For now that's going to have to be my workflow...I need a drink now.

                                                  • 22. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                    Mick8888 Level 1

                                                    Oh, another question: If I continue using the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile (with monitor in the hardware sRGB preset), does that make it less critical to calibrate the monitor with a calibrator, or do I still need to shell out the bucks for that?

                                                    • 23. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                      D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      When you finish that drink, put the U2410 up on eBay. It's clearly no use to you and confusing you no end. I'm serious. This is the best advice I can give you right now.

                                                       

                                                      You're making a complete, utter and unsalvageable mess out of this.

                                                      • 24. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                        The Dell monitor won't be far off from a proper rendition of the sRGB color space when you use the monitor's sRGB preset.  You could stop right there and have a decent setup.

                                                         

                                                        You'll have to trust the gamut the factory sets (which really can't be far wrong), but there are some gamma charts you can use to manually check calibration.  You can adjust your gamma to be fairly close to 2.2 through setting curves in your display driver's control software, for example.  There's a decent gamma test pattern on this site: 

                                                         

                                                        http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/gamma_calibration.php

                                                         

                                                        -Noel

                                                        • 25. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                          Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                          Dag, why does it bother you so much to have someone use a monitor in a way that you would not?  Not everyone's needs are the same.

                                                           

                                                          It's not some kind of holy thing to be able to render colors slightly more saturated.  The factory puts the sRGB preset in the device for a reason.  And it can be calibrated and even profiled, though frankly going overboard is a bit silly since most of them are not really very consistent from center to edge to other edge.

                                                           

                                                          -Noel

                                                          • 26. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            Noel Carboni wrote:

                                                             

                                                            Dag, why does it bother you so much to have someone use a monitor in a way that you would not?

                                                            Because I'm not convinced that's what he's doing. If he finds that not embedding the sRGB profile looks better than embedding it - then he's not doing that, and ruining his original files in the process.

                                                             

                                                            Wide gamut or not isn't that important. I use a wide gamut Eizo at work and a standard gamut NEC at home. Properly set up, you can go from one to the other, working on the same files, without missing a step.

                                                            • 27. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              Noel Carboni wrote:

                                                               

                                                              Dag, why does it bother you so much to have someone use a monitor in a way that you would not?  Not everyone's needs are the same.

                                                              Noel, that's not the issue and it never was. You've always misinterpreted me about this, and that's why we've had all these discussions. I've never been interested in my way or your way. My god, that would be a boring world if everybody did things the same way I did! We're in full agreement there.

                                                               

                                                              What I'm interested in is doing it simple, or doing it complicated. I feel I'm not always getting that point across, and then I get frustrated, because this really doesn't have to be difficult. People generally tend to complicate this a lot more than they have to.

                                                               

                                                              I know you know all this, so I'm just summarizing this for the benefit of the OP and others reading this:

                                                               

                                                              A simple color managed pipeline, consisting of an embedded document profile and a custom monitor profile that is an accurate description of the monitor, solves all these problems in one go. Wide gamut or standard gamut is a non-issue. It doesn't get any simpler than that, and it requires practically no user intervention. It just works. All you have to do is not mess it up.

                                                               

                                                              There's just one catch: it doesn't work in non-color managed software. So one approach is to simply not use that software, as alternatives usually exist. Or you can use it when you have to, and just accept that what you see on screen is wrong, it's not what you get in output, and it's not what others see on their systems. That's fine; that's what I do.

                                                               

                                                              Now, I know you have a setup that is intended to accomodate all scenarios, cm'ed or non cm'ed. I'm not knocking that. I don't doubt it's ultimately possible if you put a lot of effort into it. But straddling those two boats gets extremely complicated extremely fast, and compromises will have to be made (just like everywhere else). What I'm saying is, there is a simpler way - if you're prepared to accept that non color managed applications will not display correctly. Let the other boat go.

                                                               

                                                              There are many other things I could get into here, but just to sum up: the simple pipeline I described above would make all Mick8888's problems go away. But he won't see that. For some reason many people tend to see the non-color managed representation as the "reference". That's what's happening here. I don't know why that is, probably just "familiar is safe".

                                                               

                                                              Yes, he could use the sRGB preset, and he could use sRGB as monitor profile. But there's a simpler way.

                                                              • 28. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                I suspect people generally naturally consider the "prettiest" rendition they've seen with their own eyes to be the "reference".  That's how they want it to look.  Note that somewhere up above I mentioned that Mick's "more vibrant" rendition was actually wrong, but he implied he preferred it.

                                                                 

                                                                Dag, something that I think figures into this:  You and I both take getting our minds around "how things work" in stride.  We REALLY LIKE to know how things work, and we feel applying that knowledge gives us an advantage.  Who wouldn't want an advantage?

                                                                 

                                                                Thing is, others sometimes prefer if things "just work".  When something doesn't match, it's unexpected and they really don't want to know why. Generally speaking they consider it a "bug", not a "feature".

                                                                 

                                                                To some the concept that you should learn to expect the color mismatches, know why they're happening, and know how best to work with them is not acceptable; it's too much trouble; too much opportunity for error.  As you've pointed out, the monitors that inevitably lead to these mismatches are marketed with "wide gamut" being a "feature" without any explanation of the downsides.

                                                                 

                                                                In light of the above, I suggest that embracing sRGB in every corner can be a very simple and acceptable approach, involving the least upstream paddling.

                                                                 

                                                                1. Get a monitor that (inherently or through settings) displays a good facsimile of the sRGB color space.
                                                                2. Set the monitor profile to the sRGB color space by associating sRGB IEC61966-2.1 with it at the OS level.
                                                                3. Develop web imagery and web page elements in the sRGB color space.
                                                                4. Publish web imagery tagged with the sRGB color space.

                                                                  An optional fifth element when accuracy is a concern is:
                                                                    
                                                                5. Calibrate the setup so that it even more accurately displays the sRGB color space.

                                                                 

                                                                The only downside is that the monitor won't be displaying *quite* as much color as it can.  But consider that a person who doesn't really want to embrace all the quirks and tribulations of color-management might not find that a problem.

                                                                 

                                                                As Mick picked up on above, item 4 is kind of debatable, since the default mechanism for all the browsers is NOT to color-manage the non-image web elements, and since wide gamut monitors will display the web imagery with more vibrance.  But folks who think about it for a while might come to prefer "accurate" over "maybe inaccurate in the pleasant direction".

                                                                 

                                                                -Noel

                                                                • 29. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                  By the way, I practice what I preach.

                                                                   

                                                                  I just added a third monitor to my stable, a Dell U3014.  This is a wide gamut model.

                                                                   

                                                                  My intent, however, is to run my two older Dell U2001FP monitors turned up sideways as "ears" on the sides of the big new display, to take advantage of the gargantuan (4960 x 1600) desktop space that provides.  I'm still trying to work out how best to use it all.

                                                                   

                                                                  Because I don't have a need for the maximum possible color gamut, but DO prefer that color is consistent across a multitude of different applications, I set the U3014 to the sRGB preset and turned the brightness down, and lo and behold it very nearly matched my two existing (already calibrated) sRGB monitors.  A bit of calibration of the new display via the display driver and the new monitor now displays color indistinguishable from that of the older monitors, even though the technology is greatly different between the two designs.

                                                                   

                                                                  The approach does work.  I wouldn't push it if I wasn't using it myself.

                                                                   

                                                                  A screen grab I captured when this thread was young:

                                                                   

                                                                  AllTheBrowsers.jpg

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  -Noel

                                                                  • 30. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                    Noel Carboni wrote:

                                                                     

                                                                    When something doesn't match, it's unexpected and they really don't want to know why. Generally speaking they consider it a "bug", not a "feature".

                                                                    Yeah. Point taken. But that's why they come here, isn't it? 

                                                                     

                                                                    But I'm really serious about the sticker on the screen. Except it would probably drown between "True High Definition" and "Windows 8 compatible".

                                                                    • 31. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                      Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                      Yes, educating folks who ask about color-management is a good thing, and you do a great job of it.

                                                                       

                                                                      I'm with you all the way on increasing truth in advertising and excellence in marketing.  But I really wish the engineering would ultimately get done.  Educating people as to just how poor and inconsistent the color-management landscape is gets old after a while.

                                                                       

                                                                      -Noel

                                                                      • 32. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                        Mick8888 Level 1

                                                                        Yes, educating folks who ask about color-management is a good thing, and you do a great job of it.

                                                                        True dat...that goes for both of you. And I haven't thrown up my hands and given up on this, even though my last post may have implied this.

                                                                         

                                                                        The problem that still remains is that when I'm in the crappy setup that I was in when I first noticed the issue - that is, monitor hardware controls set to Standard (wide gamut), the Dell profile (which I suspect slipped in the back door the other day with a Windows update), and an uncalibrated monitor - the image looks undersaturated when the sRGB profile is embedded. What I didn't understand yesterday - and hopefully do today (correct me if I'm wrong) - is that the embedded profile can't help in this situation because the monitor profile is wrong.

                                                                         

                                                                        So in a perfect world, the fix would be to calibrate the monitor, always use color managed software, embed the profile, and everyone else - who also has a properly calibrated monitor and color managed software - will be seeing what I'm seeing. But there are monkey wrenches thrown into the system that get in the way of that:

                                                                         

                                                                        - I do a lot of work in 3D Max - which isn't color manged; I then need to take that into Photoshop or After Effects for post - and it needs to match what I see in Max.

                                                                         

                                                                        - I'm a graphics professional and yet I don't yet fully have a handle on color management - and to my knowledge, neither does anyone I've ever worked with or for. I certainly have never worked in a shop where the monitors had been calibrated, and it's a pretty sure bet my clients don't have a clue. So I need a workflow that recognizes that it's the Wild West out there, and, to whatever degree possible, I want to take this into account. (It's very hard to tell a client that it's his fault my work looks like crap on his monitor!)

                                                                         

                                                                        That's why I'm leaning toward Noel's all-sRGB approach - I'm hoping it's going to mitigate these inconsistancies as much as possible. As much as I like wide-gamut, it seems to introduce too many problems in my situation.

                                                                        • 33. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                          Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                          You're to be commended for sticking with it, Mick.  Understanding will come.

                                                                           

                                                                          Regarding a discussion on whether imagery using sRGB fails to provide pleasing color experience...  I have a question for you:  Do the following images, prepared and published in the sRGB color space, seem undersaturated to you?

                                                                           

                                                                          3DRender.jpg

                                                                           

                                                                          RedFlowers.jpg

                                                                           

                                                                          BlueCar.jpg

                                                                           

                                                                          -Noel

                                                                          • 34. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                            gator soup Level 4

                                                                            I'm leaning toward Noel's all-sRGB approach - I'm hoping it's going to mitigate these inconsistancies as much as possible

                                                                             

                                                                            you mean using the sRGB hardware preset on the monitor -- not setting sRGB as your monitor profile, right?

                                                                             

                                                                            if you depend on a Photoshop monitor to perform as a trustworthy reference monitor to proof colors accurately -- you need a custom 'calibrated' monitor profile set as the OS default

                                                                             

                                                                            in my opinion, setting an sRGB profile as Photoshop's Working RGB and the OS default monitor profile is like working in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) on an uncalibrated monitor -- Photoshop and a 'calibrated' monitor can give you much more color accuracy than IE so you know exactly what you are sending downstream...

                                                                            • 35. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                              Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                              Gary, monitors out of the factory with presets are generally quite well calibrated nowadays.  Possibly better calibrated out of the box than is warranted by the difference from one part of the panel to another (uniformity).

                                                                               

                                                                              -Noel

                                                                              • 36. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                                D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                You're talking about Dell there I take it...?

                                                                                 

                                                                                <grinding axe>

                                                                                • 37. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                                  D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                  Incidentally, here's an indication of the difference you might expect between using a custom monitor profile, and a generic one.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Here I had to use my wide gamut Eizo profile vs. Adobe RGB, but it should be similar for sRGB-type profiles. This difference is due to shifted primaries.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  sky_blue2.jpg

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                                    Yep.  My new Dell came with a calibration report.  Delta E less than 2.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Given the visible non-uniformity across the entire panel, not to mention variables outside the scope of the monitor (e.g., video card), I'm not sure it means that much.  It meets my needs because I need the pixel count more than the accuracy.  It might disappoint someone who needs to be able to look at an image and see accurate color from corner to center to corner.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    -Noel

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Very weird color issue
                                                                                      D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                      Out of curiosity, I decided to  take a look at what a profiling would give you with the U3014 in sRGB mode - as opposed to using sRGB as monitor profile.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      So I went to TFT central and downloaded the profile they made, with the unit in sRGB mode. I then assigned that to a copy of a test image and converted it to sRGB. Then I had two comparable versions. The difference isn't dramatic, but it's there.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      This is how they look, using custom monitor profile top, and using sRGB as monitor profile bottom:

                                                                                       

                                                                                      test U_3014.png

                                                                                       

                                                                                      The most immediately noticeable difference is that the sky blue shifts a little towards cyan. This is a common shift due to primaries being a little offset. If you can read the word in the upper left corner in each, that's the difference.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      But there is also a noticeable loss in shadow separation. The histogram shows how much. This is because LCD's don't have a nice smooth tone response curve that can be translated into a perfect gamma curve, but have a significant bump in the shadows. This bump will be compensated in the monitor profile.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      (Note that the histogram isn't "real", I could just extract it because of the indirect method I used).

                                                                                       

                                                                                      All in all, it depends on what you want and need. For my work this wouldn't be good enough, for others it doesn't matter.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      ---

                                                                                       

                                                                                      But note also that nothing of this addresses the issue of overall color balance. A color cast is a completely different matter that has to be corrected separately, in calibration or otherwise. It also doesn't address the white point setting, which has a huge impact on screen to output matching.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      ---

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Here's the two versions overlaid in difference blend mode, with a curves layer on top. It doesn't show the amount of difference, but where they happen. As you can see, it's mostly in the shadows and the most saturated colors:

                                                                                       

                                                                                      difference_curves.png

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