8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2014 1:55 AM by D Fosse

    Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop

    Mick8888 Level 1

      I'm trying to develop a workflow for bringing renders from 3ds Max into Photoshop, and having them look the same in both programs. The issue is that Max isn't color managed, so things can shift.

       

       

      There's a good article on the subject here:

       

      http://www.artstorm.net/journal/2009/07/color-management-wide-gamut-dell-2408/

       

      So, to repeat what Johan is describing in the article, here's a test I've been doing:

       

      - Put my dell U2410 monitor in Standard mode (which is wide gamut)

       

      - Set the monitor profile to Dell U2410 D6500 (the monitor isn't calibrated yet; I've just been using this profile for the tests)

       

       

      - Create a scene in Max, and tweak the render so that the colors look correct to me in this non-managed setup

       

      - Save the image

       

      - Open the image in Photoshop (with working space of sRGBIEC1966-2.1), which of course gives the "missing profile" message

       

      - Now, if I'm understanding Johan correctly, if I assign that Dell profile, the image should look identical in Photoshop to what I saw in Max (because I'm assigning the profile that was in effect at the time of creation). And if I assign the Working RGB (sRGB...), I should expect to see the brighter colors become desaturated, due to the smaller gamut.

       

      So...what's the problem? Well, sometimes I get those exact results consistently...assign the Dell profile and it looks corrrect; assign the working sRGB and it's desaturated. But other times, for no apparent reason, I'll get different results: Assign the Dell profile and it's OVERsaturated; assign the working sRGB and it looks correct (i.e., exactly as it does in Max). Things have been in that weird state for the past few hours...I keep getting those same wierd results...earlier today I would consistantly get the results as predicted by the article. Yesterday it was the same thing...it shifted back and forth a few times between working and not working...nothing changed as far as I can tell.

       

      Any ideas what's going on?

        • 1. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I think this is overcomplicating it, and with a quite a few stumbling blocks on the way.

           

          To name one: using the monitor profile in the document accomplishes only one thing - turning display color management off in Photoshop, thus reducing it to the same non-color managed state as 3ds Max. Since the two profiles are the same, no change happens, and you just get what's known as a null transform. IOW you gain nothing and lose a lot.

           

          The two will be consistent - and both wrong. That's why this is never recommended.

           

          Now this is important, so pay attention: If you do this with the Dell in native wide gamut mode, you will be scr*wing up your files beyond recognition. Take that file into a properly color managed scenario, and it will be miles off.

           

          I think the only workable approach in this case, since you have to use software that isn't color managed, is to put the monitor in sRGB mode. There's just no way you can work with a wide gamut display in this scenario and keep your sanity. Or, as I suggested in an earlier post, sell it and get a standard display.

           

          For this to work, you need an sRGB-type monitor profile. That can be straight up sRGB for "close enough", or a calibrator-produced profile made with the unit in sRGB mode. That would be better for Photoshop, for 3ds Max it doesn't make any difference because it'll just ignore the profile anyway.

           

          ---

           

          EDIT: I should add, just in case it's still unclear, that the reason sRGB "works" in a non-color managed setting while other profiles and color spaces don't, is simply because that's the way an average monitor displays. The Dell U2410 is not an average monitor. If we all had U2410s, and I mean everybody, then Adobe RGB would have been the consensus standard. But we don't and it's not. So you have to play by the majority rule.

          • 2. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
            Mick8888 Level 1

            I think the only workable approach in this case, since you have to use software that isn't color managed, is to put the monitor in sRGB mode.

            Yes, that's the plan...work in sRGB for the foreseeable future. But I will probably want to go to wide gamut sometime in the future, and I want to incorporate that into my testing while I have the time.

             

             

            using the monitor profile in the document accomplishes only one thing - turning display color management off in Photoshop, thus reducing it to the same non-color managed state as 3ds Max. Since the two profiles are the same, no change happens, and you just get what's known as a null transform.

            But the idea at this point is just to get the document to look the same in Photoshop as it does in Max. Johan's article isn't suggesting that you continue working in that color space. Once the image is brought into Photoshop looking exactly identical to what you saw in Max, you then go to Edit > Convert to Profile, and convert to Photoshop's working RGB (in my case sRGBIEC1966-2.1). So now you have a doc that matches what you saw in Max, AND is color managed. Does that sound right? (Apologies to Johan if I'm misunderstanding this).

            • 3. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              As long as you keep the monitor in sRGB mode, and have an sRGB-type monitor profile - yes, that should work (can't see any problems offhand - if I think of any I'll speak up).

              • 4. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
                D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                On the other hand (as I said in another thread) - you can make Photoshop simulate a non-color managed application simply by proofing to your monitor profile. Then it's just pressing ctrl + Y to go back and forth.

                • 5. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
                  Mick8888 Level 1

                  I'm still having the problem I described in the first thread and it's driving me up the freaking wall:

                   

                  I render the image in Max, then save it (with no embedded profile of course.) I open it in Photoshop, and at the prompt I assign the Dell profile (the same profile under which the image was created a minute earlier). Forget about converting to working sRGB for now - that's the next step, but I'm not there yet. At this point, the image SHOULD look exactly as it did in Max. But it doesn't - it's oversaturated. This is exactly what was happening last night...the system was basically in a wierd state that would consistently produce these wierd results.

                   

                  I left the machine on overnight, then repeated the test this morning, and it worked exactly as it should: Assign the Dell profile on load and it looks correct (or if I choose the wrong option and assign working sRGB it desaturates the image - as expected). I rebooted the machine - and now it's back to that other state where I get the wierd results. It's shifted back and forth between these two states several times over the last few days.

                   

                  Another wierd thing: When things are in the normal functioning state, if I paste a screen capture to a new document, it will be desaturated - which I assume is normal (as someone pointed out in my earlier color management thread). When I'm in the state where thes weird results are happening, there's NO desaturation when I paste a screenshot. Might that be a clue as to what's going on?

                   

                  Could there be something screwy going on with the graphics card? It just seems to shift back and forth for no apparent reason (although things always seem to be in this weird state after a reboot). This is making me crazy and I can't possibly nail down a color management workflow if there's something that arbitrarilly changes from one state to another - I have to find out what's going on and be able to fix it.

                  • 6. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Huh. That sounds almost like the bug discussed a couple of days ago. Put Photoshop in "basic" drawing mode in Preferences > Graphics Processor > Advanced, and see if this still happens. (EDIT: http://forums.adobe.com/message/6222400?tstart=0#6222400 )

                     

                    Other than that, if the two profiles (document and monitor) really are the same, this shouldn't happen. That's by definition a non-color managed display pipeline.

                     

                    An alternative strategy is to use sRGB as document profile, but proof to monitor.

                     

                    (Also note that whenever you change monitor profile, you need to relaunch Photoshop. The profile is loaded at startup).

                    • 7. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
                      Mick8888 Level 1

                      twenty_one wrote:

                       

                      (Also note that whenever you change monitor profile, you need to relaunch Photoshop. The profile is loaded at startup).


                      Holy crap, twenty_one...THAT'S IT!

                       


                      I had given up on relaunching Photoshop after a profile switch at one point, I thought it wasn't necessary. So I was getting weird results...sometimes Photoshop was using the current monitor profile and sometimes it wasn't - depending on whether or not I had relaunched after a profile change. Complicating the matter, I was under a misconception that was causing me to assign the wrong profile on loading: I thought you always assign the profile you were under in Max when you saved. But that's not necessarily the case - that profile isn't relevant because it's not saved with the image; you have to assign the current monitor profile (and then convert to PS's working RGB).

                       

                      So due to this misconception on my part, when PS was in the wrong profile I thought it was behaving correctly, and when it was in the correct profile I thought it was behaving incorrectly.  If it seemed to be working (but was actually in the wrong profile) and I would then relaunch PS or reboot the system, PS would then be in the correct profile (the one currently set in the OS) - and display what I thought was the weird behavior (but which was actually to be expected). It was driving me crazy - I was sure there was some hardware bug where things would jump from one state to another.

                      • 8. Re: Color management - going from 3ds Max to Photoshop
                        D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        OK, that's a relief.

                         

                        Now, I don't know exactly what your workflow is, but it might simplify things if you keep the file in sRGB in Photoshop, and proof to monitor RGB instead of all this assigning and converting.

                         

                        It will show you exactly the same thing - how it looks if the display is not color managed. You get the raw RGB numbers directly on the display in either case. All you need to do is press ctrl+Y to go back and forth, and you have a notification in the title bar to keep track of where you are. You'd need to use the "preserve numbers" option, which is the proof equivalent of "assign".