18 Replies Latest reply on May 24, 2016 7:38 AM by AnnieVE

    Color Space vs Monitor's capability

    AnnieVE

      Hi!

       

      As an acrylic artist I normally LOVE working with color, but right now it's making my head spin...

       

      According to Lr documentation Lightroom displays color using ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB color spaces.  And...  "Lightroom simplifies color management by displaying colors using device-independent color spaces".

       

      But if my MacBook Pro monitor (2015) only uses sRGB, how can it possibly display the colors that are in the larger gamut ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB?  My computer wouldn't even be able to display those colors at all, right?  If my monitor CAN display a wider range, why does it use sRGB? 

       

      Is that why, when I soft-proof in Lightroom for the web (using sRGB profile) it shows up a bunch of the area in blue gamut warning?  Maybe it never did it correctly to begin with?

       

      Also, just a head check:

      If I create a color profile for my monitor using Spyder5Pro calibrator does the subsequent calibrated profile tell  my MacBook Pro how to map the image's color using my monitor's color space, i.e. sRGB? 

       

       

      From there, I logically think that my editing software (i.e. Lightroom) should use the same color space mapping that my monitor does, so that I can be sure that my edits are actual and accurate.
      I'm probably being totally lame about this, but I have done so much reading on it, and it is hard to tie all this information together.

      Thank you for your help!

      Anne

        • 1. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
          dj_paige Level 9

          Your monitor will not display colors that are wider than the monitor's color space. The calculations done by Lightroom in ProPhoto RGB are retained in ProPhoto's wider color space, so that if at some time in the future you are using a display device that has a wider color space than RGB, it will show the full colors of your photo.

           

          If I create a color profile for my monitor using Spyder5Pro calibrator does the subsequent calibrated profile tell  my MacBook Pro how to map the image's color using my monitor's color space, i.e. sRGB?

          Monitor calibration is done so that input signals that are true red display as true red (or as close as the monitor can get). It does not map your image's colors in ProPhoto to sRGB, that's NOT the purpose of monitor calibration.

           

          From there, I logically think that my editing software (i.e. Lightroom) should use the same color space mapping that my monitor does, so that I can be sure that my edits are actual and accurate.

          NO!!!!!!

           

          The best way to perform internal calculations is in the widest color space possible, and then shrink the color space down to the display device's color space. Here is a long thread discussing this issue Lightroom color space: force to sRGB?: Retouching Forum: Digital Photography Review Pay particular attention to color space expert* Andrew Rodney responses (he goes by the name digidog there).

           

          * — actually he's an expert in a lot more things than just color space, although it's certainly true he is a color space expert.

           

          Lastly, Lightroom's designers have done the very hard thinking about color spaces and come up with a very good solution, so you, the user, don't have to worry about it at all. Reading between the lines, since you are worrying about it, is this primarily for learning and understanding, or are you having some actual problem with colors that hasn't been mentioned yet?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
            thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            AnnieVE wrote:

            But if my MacBook Pro monitor (2015) only uses sRGB, how can it possibly display the colors that are in the larger gamut ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB?

            It can't. Saturated colors that fall outside your display gamut exist but you can't see them. That's why some of us purchase a wide gamut display. Note, there will never be a display that can cover ProPhoto RGB.

            Is that why, when I soft-proof in Lightroom for the web (using sRGB profile) it shows up a bunch of the area in blue gamut warning? Maybe it never did it correctly to begin with?

            It's kind of pointless to soft proof to sRGB, more useful to soft proof to other color spaces, usually output color spaces (a printer for example): http://digitaldog.net/files/LR4_softproof2.mov

            If I create a color profile for my monitor using Spyder5Pro calibrator does the subsequent calibrated profile tell my MacBook Pro how to map the image's color using my monitor's color space, i.e. sRGB?

            In a color managed app, a display profile is used to produce a color managed preview. So assuming you were viewing sRGB data, it would be sRGB>Display Profile to the screen. Outside ICC aware app's, there is no understanding of a display profile or the profile, color space of a document. That's just not understood or recognized. The RGB values are sent, as is, to the display.

            From there, I logically think that my editing software (i.e. Lightroom) should use the same color space mapping that my monitor does, so that I can be sure that my edits are actual and accurate.

            Nope. No reason to clip colors you can capture and output to the weakest link here; the display.

            This video might help a bit:

             

            Everything you thought you wanted to know about color gamut

             

            A pretty exhaustive 37 minute video examining the color gamut of RGB working spaces, images and output color spaces. All plotted in 2D and 3D to illustrate color gamut.

             

            High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/ColorGamut.mov

            Low Res (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0bxSD-Xx-Q

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
              AnnieVE Level 1

              Thank you, DJ and Andrew (aka, DigitalDog - I went to your AWESOME website as recommended  ☺ Really great videos),

               

              I watched http://digitaldog.net/files/ColorGamut.mov

               

              I think I might almost get it now.  Is this correct:

               

              When I bring an image into Lightroom, it looks at how the image was taken.  If it was taken as a RAW image it will be able to process that image using the widest possible gamut, i.e. ProPhoto RGB.  If it taken as Adobe RGB it will process it using the smaller Adobe RGB gamut.

               

              Regardless of the gamut that the image was taken in, Lightroom can map it out in any color space it wants because the colors are actually just numbers in a table. Each gamut (ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB, and sRGB being examples) has it's own unique set of numbers for each RGB color.  If each pixel is made up of 3 different colors (the red, the green, and the blue - or 4 colors:  the red, two greens, and a blue), then each gamut can create any of 16+ million colors.  (An aside question:  Do any of the gamuts actually use all 16+ million?)

               

              So internally, Lightroom maps it out in several color spaces depending on what functions you are doing, for example:  previews are mapped out in Adobe RGB, and the Loupe view in Develop module is done in ProPhoto RGB.

               

              But if my monitor can only display sRGB, Lightroom is smart enough to recognize that my monitor only has that capability, and it additionally maps the ProPhoto RGB Loupe view, for example, down to an sRGB Loupe view that my monitor can handle, and that I subsequently can actually look at.

               

              So there are two parts to what Lightroom is doing:  internally it processes everything in ProPhoto RGB, but when it comes time to show me my edits, etc on my monitor, it converts them to sRGB.  This way, if ever I get enough money to buy an awesome monitor that does a wider gamut, my photo will have the gamut that can display on that wider gamut monitor.

               

              So Lightroom must have a bunch of tables that it uses to convert color spaces from one gamut to another on the fly.  Whatever gamut a monitor or printer asks for, it just converts it to that.  For printers, it requires a printer+paper combination in the icc profile in order to print properly, since the paper can actually affect the final color of the ink that is laid down on it. So even printers map out what the color looks like on paper for every point of color it prints on the paper.

               

              The other advantage to using a wide-as-possible color gamut while editing is that edits, especially repeated edits, can cause a loss of information about color, and can cause things like banding.  So it is best to use as wide an array of color numbers as possible so that does not occur as much...  or better said, as noticeably.

               

                Of course, Lightroom can only convert from the gamut level that was initially imported into Lightroom for that image.  So if I import with just an Adobe RGB, that's all the color choices Lightroom can edit with, even when it creates a ProPhoto RGB gamut version of it.  It simply cannot edit colors that weren't initially imported.  If I import with ProPhoto RGB, then it can convert to all kinds of other, smaller gamuts.

               

              If this is correct, then I think I finally get it.

               

              Now, here is the problem I am still having tho.

              (thank you for asking, PJ).

               

                I have a painting which is quite colorful and has a lot of saturated color.  I exported it using these settings:

               

              Image Format:  JPEG

              Color Space:  Adobe RGB (1998)

               

              My photo print shop says that their printing press uses toner and has an Adobe RGB color space.  They say they don't have an icc profile for any of the paper that they use on it, so I don't have that, but at least I know it is an Adobe RGB color space.

               

              When I print my picture though, my purples disappear and the blues are so dark it is hard to tell one mountain from the next.   My monitor says the distant mountains are purple and you can clearly distinguish the mountain ranges and the highlights within them.

               

              I could spend A LOT more money trying to  print to their Epson, but it is 7 times more expensive.  I was just really hoping I could find a way to print on their press.

              • 4. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                AnnieVE Level 1

                Thank you, PJ.  I answered your question in the reply to Digital Dog...  Thank you so much for asking! 

                • 5. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                  AnnieVE Level 1

                  ANNE BHWY exported as Adobe RGB 2.jpg

                  Here is the image I am trying to print.  On my monitor, the distant mountains are purple, the mid-range mountains are a Cobalt blue, and the near mountains are a greeney-blue (windsor blue).  I can clearly see the trees in silhouette against the mountains.

                   

                  When I print, the distant mountains are blue, the mid and near mountains are just one big mass of dark blue with almost no highlights, and the trees almost blend in with the blue of the mountains.

                   

                  Most of my paintings have these really vibrant colors, and so figuring out how to print them would be helpful.  Printing them inexpensively is vital for my being able to sell them because galleries, etc take 40% right off the top, not to mention framing costs, etc...  In order to keep the final selling price in reach for most folks, I have to keep those printing costs reasonable.

                   

                  Here is some examples of the other stuff...  as you can see super vibrant, often saturated color: 

                  https://avibrantearth.com/

                   

                  When we tried just doing a straight photocopy at the print shop, it just color-banded stuff.  

                  • 6. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                    thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    AnnieVE wrote:

                     

                    When I print, the distant mountains are blue, the mid and near mountains are just one big mass of dark blue with almost no highlights, and the trees almost blend in with the blue of the mountains.

                    Printed how, using an ICC profile and if so, are you using it to soft proof? When soft proofing, do you see this mass of dark blue?

                    My photo print shop says that their printing press uses toner and has an Adobe RGB color space.

                    The bit about Adobe RGB above is nonsense. Might be time to find another lab?

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                      AnnieVE Level 1

                      I exported the file as Adobe RGB and sent that exported file to the print shop.  They then printed it on their "press" printer.

                       

                      Because they did not have an icc profile to share with me, I just soft-proofed it using Lightroom's Adobe RGB profile that is available when I go into soft-proofing mode. 

                       

                      When soft-proofing, the mountains are not a mass of dark blue.

                       

                      Oh!  I just saw your note about the Adobe RGB space on their printer being nonsense.  So, a printer can't print Adobe RGB?  They won't tell me the name of their "press" printer.  They do have an Epson, but that is the really expensive one to use, and even so, they don't want to share the icc profile because they say that the paper that they use with it is proprietary.

                       

                      They are one of the few print shops in town (the next big town being 2 hours away) so it would be great if I can figure out something with their printer.

                       

                      Is my understanding of how color is managed by Lr correct?  I really liked that video on gamut.  btw, Gamut is very cute.....  Whippets are neat dogs!

                      • 8. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                        AnnieVE Level 1

                        We did do some variations on the print of this painting, and a couple of times got some purple in the distant mountains, etc...  but that was when their graphic artist played around with it.  She made the purple come out but other areas of the painting were sacrificed to make that purple work.  That is why I decided I needed to learn Lightroom for myself and do my own editing.

                         

                        So I know purple can be printed on there!  It's possible, it's just figuring out how to make it print.  What setting do I have to use - i.e.  what soft-proofing will make that purple appear.   The same for the mountains, etc...

                         

                        Thank you so much for even looking at this!!

                        • 9. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                          thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          AnnieVE wrote:

                          Because they did not have an icc profile to share with me, I just soft-proofed it using Lightroom's Adobe RGB profile that is available when I go into soft-proofing mode.

                          That's pointless. You need the ICC profile for the output for soft proofing and controlling the rendering intent.

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                            AnnieVE Level 1

                            ok.  So it's just not going to work unless I have that printer+paper icc profile. 

                             

                            Shoot.

                             

                            Why does Lightroom provide a generic Adobe RGB profile when soft-proofing in the Develop Module?  What is it's purpose? 

                            • 11. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                              AnnieVE Level 1

                              Is my understanding of how the gamuts work correct...  or a little correct?

                               

                              Thank you so, so much for your help!!

                              • 12. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                                AnnieVE wrote:

                                Why does Lightroom provide a generic Adobe RGB profile when soft-proofing in the Develop Module?  What is it's purpose?

                                A lot of the profiles found on your computer will be available for soft proofing.

                                But as others have told you, soft proofing to Adobe RGB is pointless.

                                If you want to get good prints of your work, find a printer that will provide you with a printer profile for the particular combination of printer and paper.

                                You would then install that profile on your computer, and it will be available for soft proofing in Lightroom under "Other".

                                Installing a profile is simply a matter of putting it in the right folder. Since I'm not a Mac user, I can't tell you where to put it, but it should be easy to find out.

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                                • 13. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                  AnnieVE Level 1

                                  Ah, ok, so the Adobe RGB profile that is there is just there as one of the  profiles that is available on my computer (along with other display profiles) but it was not meant to be used for soft-proofing for print by Lightroom.  I just assumed that because it was there as a selectable option when I opened Lightroom Softproofing, that they meant it as a generic profile to be used in absence of having an actual icc profile for a printer+paper combo.  Got it.   Thank you!

                                   

                                  Now I have to find a print shop that actually does have an icc profile they can share with me.  They may be hard in my neck of the woods...  I've been to three different print shops so far.  The search continues. 

                                   

                                  Thank you so much for your reply!  

                                  • 14. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                    thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                    AnnieVE wrote:

                                     

                                    ok. So it's just not going to work unless I have that printer+paper icc profile.

                                     

                                    Shoot.

                                     

                                    Why does Lightroom provide a generic Adobe RGB profile when soft-proofing in the Develop Module? What is it's purpose?

                                    For one, to provide the Histogram and RGB values OF Adobe RGB (1998) and not MelissaRGB*.

                                    * http://digitaldog.net/files/18Color%20Management%20in%20Lightroom.pdf

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                      AnnieVE Level 1

                                      Do you know if my understanding of the gamuts (earlier in this thread) is legitimate and appropriate or do I still have it wrong? 

                                      • 16. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                        AnnieVE Level 1

                                        Ah... ok...  So I just have to know that that is why it is there. As a novice Lr user I get easily waylaid. I guess with my print shop telling me that they print in Adobe RGB, that whole business threw me off. 

                                         

                                        I am looking for a print shop that actually has an icc profile for their printer+paper that I can soft-proof to. 

                                         

                                        I sure hope I can find someone in a price range that makes sense.  Or maybe buy a printer.??..   The search for a good printout continues.

                                        • 17. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                          thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                          There is no such thing as an sRGB or Adobe RGB (or any RGB working space) printer! They may demand documents in that color space but they have to convert to some other output color space. All RGB working spaces are based on theoretical emissive displays. Some define 'colors' that we can't see (and thus, are not colors).

                                          IF a lab tells you specifically their printer, prints in an RGB working space, find another printer! Or another person at the lab or print shop who's got a clue about color management.

                                          • 18. Re: Color Space vs Monitor's capability
                                            AnnieVE Level 1

                                            Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions.   You are really awesome to help a newbie. 

                                             

                                            Thank you!  Thank you!

                                             

                                            Anne