How are you viewing the JPG, in LR or outside of LR? That could be the difference, not that raws are different than JPGs, but that one viewer is ok and the other isn’t. View both the raw and the JPG in LR, by importing the exported JPG back into LR and using the X|Y mode in Library to display them side-by-side.
I’d suspect that your display profile for the new computer is bad. What is your display profile? Have you calibrated yoru monitor using a hardware calibrator like the i1Display?
Great questions, thank you.
LR displays the photo consistently, RAW and JPG side-by-side show very little difference. And then for fun I checked viewing in a program other than LR or Picasa. The Windows photo viewer and Photo Gallery show the photo pretty much the same way as LR; it's just Picasa that has more saturated colors! Strange.
The display profile shown (ICC) in the color management panel from the control panel is: DELL U2413 Color Profile, D6500 (Default), for Display U2413 (Digital)-NVIDIA GeForce GT 630.
I didn't calibrate the monitor - it supposedly came calibrated from the factory.
Would it then appear that I'm diagnosing problems in the wrong program (LR instead of Picasa)? The exported space was sRGB by the way. This is the first time I'm running LR on Windows 8.1 (was 7 before on the older machine).
When you view the raw and the jpg in LR and they are almost the same, are they both washed out or both ok?
When you were viewing the raw and jpg and the raw was washed out and the jpg wasn't, what were you viewing the raw in and what were you viewing the JPG in?
The questions about calibration and monitor profile are because many manufacturer monitor profiles aren't compatible with LR, so if both the raw and jpg look washed out in LR then that could indicate a non-compatible monitor profile, or it could be that LR or the OS is confused which video card is being used and may be not doing the right thing.
Your monitor is a wide-gamut (99% of AdobeRGB) monitor and things being washed out can be a symptom of sRGB color numbers being displayed on the AdobeRGB monitor which would mean something is confused that your monitor is an sRGB (non-wide-gamut) monitor, instead.
As two parts of an experiment to determine if the monitor profile isn't being understood by LR:
a) try setting your default monitor profile to sRGB instead of the Dell one, you may need to enable the viewing of printer/output/non-monitor profiles to see sRGB in the list, and then rebooting and comparing the raw and jpg in LR.
b) try setting your default monitor profile to AdobeRGB instead of the Dell one and then rebooting and trying viewing the raw and jpg and see if they are consistent in LR.
Thank you very, very much!
In summary, adding an sRGB profile and making it default made it possible to have Picasa (and other photo viewers in Windows) show the photo the same way as LR (both RAW and exported JPG). At this point I do not know if I am getting the most out of this nice monitor, but editing RAW files is finally the pleasure it's supposed to be.
By the way, setting AdobeRGB (1998) as the default monitor profile resulted in washed out colors. I could not tell if it was as bad as the original problem, which was (described again for posterity):
Picasa would show a JPG photo very nicely saturated, while LR (both RAW and exported JPG) as well as other Windows photo viewers would show washed out colors.
I disabled the Intel GPU before starting these experiments, but I do not think that it made any difference.
It sounds like you have a LR-incompatible manufacturer-supplied display profile, and you are right, you're not getting the most out of your monitor, because it is a wide-gamut monitor. I wonder if you're running your monitor in sRGB mode. Are you familiar enough with its controls to check that?
Indeed, it was running in sRGB mode.
Adobe RGB is buried under Custom settings. Once I selected it on the monitor and Windows Color Managament I'm again seeing the original problems: more saturated colors appear only in Picasa, while LR (RAW+JPG) and other viewers display photos with a washed out look. That said, tones do appear less artificial. I guess that is down to Adobe RGB doing something. As a matter of fact, the JPG files in Picasa look quite nice - almost like film! Not overly saturated, and with a good total range.
At this point I like what Adobe RGB is doing, and I am even more determined to get LR to match what Picasa is showing On a linux box I could easily find out the files that get opened during LR's startup phase and see exactly which color profile gets loaded. I will look for a Windows equivalent.
I think the bottom line is that Picasa is somehow using sRGB even if it is not the default color space. All other viewers that I have tried seem to follow the manually selected default under Control management. And of course if I set this default to sRGB, LR follows it and matches Picasa!
If you set your monitor to AdobeRGB mode, then try setting the default monitor profile to AdobeRGB and see if things match, except maybe Picasa and other non-color-managed applications, which would look oversaturated, or just set your monitor back to sRGB mode for now and set your Windows default monitor profile to sRGB. I don't think you should leave your monitor set to Adobe RGB mode and have Windows default profile set to sRGB. The monitor mode and monitor profile should match.
As some point you should probably get a hardware calibrator and profile and calibrate your monitor with a profile that exactly matches your monitor and that LR can understand properly.
sorry, i haven't read all the above but has someone mentioned the raw files are totally unedited while the jpg files would have been 'edited' in the camera and therefore they will look different. The same can be said when we look at images on the camera screen. The camera has edited them also but the raw file is unedited.
A good trick when using raw is to make a standard import preset that adjusts raw file to look like jpg files off the card. Just makes me feel better when I import a heap new files they all don't look so flat and dead as raw photos can do.
You probably want to read the above. The JPGs under discussion are exported from LR based on the raw and don’t look the same as the raw when they should. The issue is due to an incompatible monitor profile not a fault with LR or workflow.
Indeed, after I realized that all my devices use sRGB I reverted to an sRGB-based setup.
Just for fun, I tried exporting a photo to JPG in LR using the Adobe RGB color space and then viewed it in a (supposedly in my case) Adobe RGB profile+monitor setting. The photo didn't look as good as web-based explanations of Adobe RGB would make me believe, even though I avoided Picasa as it seems to be stuck with sRGB. This only reinforces your diagnosis of a faulty profile or an uncalibrated monitor. I must say that all my iOS devices do show remarkably similar colors to the monitor when set to sRGB. So it could be the profile.