17 Replies Latest reply on Jul 9, 2009 11:09 PM by Paul Cutler

    Forum seems dead

    Lou Dina Level 3

      This forum seems to have slowed down to a trickle and nearly died.  Interestingly, it coincided with the switch to the new format.  I have heard a lot of complaints from regular posters, who now shun this forum since it is slow and they just don't like it.  It's a shame really.

       

      Adobe....what can be done to this forum (and other Adobe forums) to "encourage" participation rather than discourage it?  I miss the interchange we used to have here and in other forums.

       

      Thanks, Lou

        • 1. Re: Forum seems dead
          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

          Lou,

           

          We have lost many of the valuable conrtributors in the Photoshop forums too.  The photography forum is dead.

           

          We have complained in the Forum Comments forum repeatedly.  Make your voice heard over there too, although the prospects for positive change are slim to none.

           

          http://forums.adobe.com/community/general/forum_comments?view=discussions&start=0

          • 2. Re: Forum seems dead
            Saro_cmos

            This forum seems to have slowed down when i use IE but no problem with Chrome

            • 3. Re: Forum seems dead
              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

              The problem is by no means only the speed.

               

              It's the complete loss of ease of navigation, not being able to go directly to the last post read, the clumsy reply editor, the butt-ugly design of the forum, the many bugs, having to log in constantly, getting logged out in the middle of replying to a post and losing all your already typed text, etc.

               

              It just doesn't seem worth coming here anymore.  That's why we have lost so many valuable contributors.

              • 4. Re: Forum seems dead
                Al Ferrari Level 1

                One telling sign of the deadness of the forum which I find very comical is the fact that my name should be listed among the top participants. I am a very modest practitioner and may have made two or three responses to posts by others in the past, but don't remember having initiated any. I am hardly in the same league with some of the other names on that list. So in my view, the appearance of my name on that list diminishes the credibility of the forum.

                 

                I too have been visiting much less frequently since the new forums began because there seem to be lees articles of interest to me. So am just confirming what others have said.

                 

                Al

                • 5. Re: Forum seems dead
                  p taz Level 3

                  I was pleased with a couple of changes with the emails, but specifically, I think colour management questions are really application specific.  The questions, that is, not the concept.

                   

                  We have recently explored specific cm issues very thoroughly on app forums.

                   

                  There is not much discussion on general colour management theory maybe because so few people really understand it

                   

                  Also, most people coming to the forums are using a particular app and dont see cm as a separate entity and often dont even realise that their problem is called 'colour management issue' until after reaching the app forum, they have often never heard of it!

                  • 6. Re: Forum seems dead
                    Printer_Rick Level 4

                    p taz wrote:

                     

                    I was pleased with a couple of changes with the emails, but specifically, I think colour management questions are really application specific.  The questions, that is, not the concept.

                     

                    We have recently explored specific cm issues very thoroughly on app forums.

                     

                    There is not much discussion on general colour management theory maybe because so few people really understand it

                     

                    Also, most people coming to the forums are using a particular app and dont see cm as a separate entity and often dont even realise that their problem is called 'colour management issue' until after reaching the app forum, they have often never heard of it!

                    You are very correct, color management issues are often application specific. It is difficult to separate CM from the app being used.

                     

                    Thanks for your input on the ID thread. That spilled over into one humdinger of a discussion in the Ps forum about Assign vs Convert. The consensus seemed to be: yeah, if you're a designer and your intent is to screw up the image color, you can re-assign a profile but it sure is a dumb thing to do.

                     

                    Discussions like that one would definitely liven up this forum. Still, this place isn't completely dead - just take a look at the forums on colormanagement.com, you'll see what I mean...

                    • 7. Re: Forum seems dead
                      p taz Level 3

                      I enjoy the discussions, I prefer the adobe forum because it is closest to the source and there is so much mis-information out there that I had to find my way to the people who actually know what they are talking about.   The noise to signal ratio here is better than elsewhere, there are some personality issues but you get that on any forum or in any workplace.

                       

                      I like the fact that I can dip in and out of a thread and I like to answer questions to keep my brain limber.

                       

                      I was actually flabbergasted to find such dissent and disparity between the experts, the principles on paper are so simple but in practice the variables reduce the theory to a model T Ford with a worn out steering rack and a wobbly wheel !

                       

                      After several years I now have a good working understanding but still cannot claim any kind of expertise which is really frustrating as it seems so logical in theory.

                       

                      gballard once commented that there was a 'smoke and mirrors' approach by professional colour management writers and I have seen the same from people around here running courses....  I have had a large number of designers, both full and part time, coming to me after the courses and expressing their confusion.  I commiserate with them and point them to my website, specifically the 'postcard analogy' which usually gets them started and I tell them that in a couple of years they will get a working knowledge if they work at it, there is no quick fix but plenty of strong steps such as learning to respect a profile and embed it at least!

                       

                      I hate it when I ask a basic question of a designer regarding their CM settings and their expression changes to 'white noise' look like a tv with no aerial!

                      • 8. Re: Forum seems dead
                        Printer_Rick Level 4

                        One thing that's really depressing to me about color management is the cost factor.

                         

                        Consider a designer setting up a valid color management workflow. Equipment: high end monitor, monitor calibration hardware, decent quality ink jet proofer, spectrophotometers, profile creation and editing software, the proofing stock, a light box. Then there's the considerable time invested in using all this stuff properly.

                         

                        I don't know what % of designers are willing to spend the money. Of course the first things omitted are the ink jet materials, and the focus is on the soft proof. That can work, but they can't really send a soft proof to the client...

                         

                        Then there's the complexities with multiple CMYK destinations. If a designer is preparing files that will go to 5 different locations, he's got some choices to make:

                         

                        1. Do the right thing, gather up 5 different CMYK profiles, and convert 5 times. That is a lot of time, and time is money

                         

                        2. Leave it all RGB and hope the prepress folks don't screw up the conversion

                         

                        3. "Screw it. I'm going to one standard CMYK (i.e. U.S. Web Coated SWOP v2)"

                         

                        It's my understanding that 3 is a popular choice. The designer avoids option 1 because it's too much time. He avoids option 2 so he doesn't get charged by the printer for an RGB - CMYK conversion.

                         

                        I talked to a designer the other day about this. He said, "Yeah, my monitor's not calibrated. But the people who hold the purse strings won't get me something better." All his images are CMYK - US Web Coated SWOP v2. I don't even have a web press. His reaction to the proof he gets from us? "Yeah, usually the color is a little different from my monitor. But it's almost always better!"

                         

                        I tried to discuss some of this in the PS thread, but I don't know if I made any sense. I fully believe that most designers expect the appearance of the contract proofs to be a little different than what they see on a monitor. They just deal with that, instead of investing a bunch of time and money trying to avoid a color shift.

                         

                        The workflows can become extremely complex systems. With all the print variables (paper, ink, press, screening etc), and all the people handling the color (photographers, designers, prepress, press), preserving true color throughout the whole process is a tall order indeed. It can be done, but it's not easy. Will it ever be easy?

                        • 9. Re: Forum seems dead
                          p taz Level 3

                          I agree it is potentially costly etc, but there is some hope....  I have two systems that I use for design and prepress duties at separate locations, both are on very slim budget but perform very well with a couple of caveats.

                           

                          Firstly, I needed a working profile that suited as many conditions as possible.  So I use the one that was created when fingerprinting our primary four-colour press. (Coincidentally that US SWOP profile has 300% TIL, and quite similar to our press profile, which is why I suggest it to people who cannot or will not use our press profile.)

                           

                          In the perfect world you allude to, I would have several colour profiles to choose from, but in reality if you have one good general purpose profile, you can achieve a high level of control (commercially viable although technically imperfect).

                           

                          I have Apple LCD monitors calibrated using software (SuperCal, highly recommended) and visually tweaked using press sheets from jobs I did on the same system.

                           

                          I use monitor only for layout, not proofing.  Proofing at main site is on high-end inkjet, using the same press profile to linearised proofer, so the proofer is simulating the press on a generic set of conditions (standard A2 coated stock, normal ink density etc).  Once again, not technically perfect, but no system under a million dollars is.  Proofing at the minor site is a calibrated laser.  As for the screen, the laser is calibrated, then tweaked against actual press results to keep a 'real world' match.

                           

                          The monitors give me a good guide and because my output is created in a very consistent manner (meaning colour management and TIL), I have a good idea of how something will look before I proof it, but will definitely not rely on monitor alone.

                           

                          All images are worked in cmyk after being correctly converted to my press profile and laid out in InDesign with the same press profile as working space and output colour space.  I always check TIL and set to desired level (usually about 300-340).  I output to PDF using same colour space.

                           

                          I always hard proof on the inkjet or if going to another site, the printer's hard proof.

                           

                          This scenario is very simple once in place and you have to be very consistent in converting and proofing and especially checking TIL.  I do a lot of colour cast removal and adjustment, but you can't avoid that if you want good colour.

                           

                          99.999% of the colour issues that I see in designers' jobs is caused by their ignorance of basic colour management principles and TIL compounded by use of uncalibrated output devices or reliance on monitor for colour.

                           

                          Any designer with a reasonable computer and a good printer that can be calibrated can output good files that can be printed correctly by a good pressman, if they adhere to the basic principles and the printshop has correct colour management in their workflow.  (Do not assume this happens!)

                          • 10. Re: Forum seems dead
                            Printer_Rick Level 4

                            You have made many good points, and thanks because I'm always trying to learn.

                             

                            I am interested on your viewpoint on CMYK - CMYK conversions. Here are some of my thoughts on preserving CMYK numbers, vs converting to a different CMYK (tell me what you think):

                             

                            I have asked other prepress personnel about this, and the overwhelming consensus seems to be that if clients supply CMYK, the numbers almost always must be preserved. Is this not standard practice? TIL is a consideration, and sometimes you have to convert to reduce the total ink limit for certain stocks, but converting CMYK - CMYK is a very, very dangerous undertaking.

                             

                            The big problem for me with converting CMYK - CMYK is all the color builds. Converting can change swatch book values. Colors with matching numbers in different applications before conversion very often won't match after conversion (I can think of a multitude of ways this can happen). Another example is black screen tints. What starts out as black only can become all 4 colors.

                             

                            Consider a 50K screen and 44C 36M 34Y 1K, in a US Web Coated document. Display is the same color. But on press, these two colors simply will not match. Even with perfect gray balance and density, three inks overprinting (CMY) will not have the same appearance as a single ink (K), the reflectivity isn't the same.

                             

                            I believe this is the crux of the big color management "conflict" between the world of design and the world of print. Design focuses on appearance, and print focuses on numbers. But in the end, the numbers can't be torn apart from the appearance. After all, the Pantone build libraries are based on CMYK numbers. We can't change that.

                             

                            To me, the Pantone builds and custom CMYK swatch colors is the most perplexing problem in color management. It causes more color mismatch hiccups than any other single issue. I haven't even mentioned Pantone Color Bridge vs Solid to Process - what an absolute mess that is.

                             

                            Yesterday I discovered something, ashamed to say I wasn't aware of it before. With a CMYK document, I can proof preview another CMYK space and preserve numbers. I've been searching for that option for some time now, even asked about it in the Ps forum, and it was right there in front of me. This enables a user to see how the same numbers will appear under different print circumstances. I wonder how many people use this? It's a great feature.

                             

                            I just previewed a US Web Coated file to my press profile, with preserve numbers. Some extra gain and color appearance shift is apparent on-screen. I could choose to convert - but if I do this to 50 images in a job, full of logos and text and vector elements, what a huge risk! I think I must proof the CMYK I have, even if there is an appearance shift when going to my press gamut. That way the common color builds throughout all the files remain consistent with each other, and will match on press.

                             

                            I firmly believe my clients expect me to leave their CMYK alone. If I choose to start treating their color separations like source colors, I see big trouble down the road. But let me know if you disagree, I don't mind debating this topic...

                            • 11. Re: Forum seems dead
                              Printer_Rick Level 4

                              p taz wrote:

                               

                               

                               

                              I use monitor only for layout, not proofing.  Proofing at main site is on high-end inkjet, using the same press profile to linearised proofer, so the proofer is simulating the press on a generic set of conditions (standard A2 coated stock, normal ink density etc).  Once again, not technically perfect, but no system under a million dollars is.  Proofing at the minor site is a calibrated laser.  As for the screen, the laser is calibrated, then tweaked against actual press results to keep a 'real world' match.

                               

                              I missed your reference to a laser printer when I first read this. Just out of curiosity, what hardware / software do you recommend for calibrating a laser printer?

                              • 12. Re: Forum seems dead
                                Rick McCleary Level 3

                                Printer_Rick -

                                 

                                I want to respond to your earlier post about the cost of color management, but I've not had a minute to spare. I'll post a response next week. But I do want to give a quick response to your concerns about CMYK - CMYK and Pantone builds.

                                The big problem for me with converting CMYK - CMYK is all the color builds. Converting can change swatch book values. Colors with matching numbers in different applications before conversion very often won't match after conversion (I can think of a multitude of ways this can happen).

                                You have highlighted the problem with most of the current Pantone process books: They use CMYK builds. And, as we all know, a given CMYK build will yield six different colors on six different presses. The difference is due to all the factors you've pointed out - paper, inkset, RIP settings, etc. In a world where designers are making creative color decisions on their (hopefully) calibrated monitors, relying on a set of device-dependent CMYK colors to carry those decisions forward in the workflow is a complete non-starter.

                                To me, the Pantone builds and custom CMYK swatch colors is the most perplexing problem in color management. It causes more color mismatch hiccups than any other single issue. I haven't even mentioned Pantone Color Bridge vs Solid to Process - what an absolute mess that is.

                                There you have it. A big cluster-f***.

                                 

                                The only way to communicate those Pantone colors is via Lab - the device-independent color space that is the hub of color management. Of course, Adobe98 could be used as well, but it cuts out a good chunk of the blue/cyan spectrum that CMYK can render.

                                Yesterday I discovered something, ashamed to say I wasn't aware of it before. With a CMYK document, I can proof preview another CMYK space and preserve numbers. I've been searching for that option for some time now, even asked about it in the Ps forum, and it was right there in front of me. This enables a user to see how the same numbers will appear under different print circumstances. I wonder how many people use this? It's a great feature.

                                Essentially, you are soft-proofing one CMYK space through another CMYK space. Same as Assign Profile. It shows you what those numbers will look like in another space - a sobering demonstration.

                                I believe this is the crux of the big color management "conflict" between the world of design and the world of print. Design focuses on appearance, and print focuses on numbers. But in the end, the numbers can't be torn apart from the appearance. After all, the Pantone build libraries are based on CMYK numbers. We can't change that.

                                Yes we can. In fact, Pantone is doing it with the GOE libraries - Lab and aRGB numbers, no CMYK numbers.

                                 

                                Look, let's be clear on what the point of the exercise is: appearance. It's ALL about appearance. That's what color is. Scientists have quantified color into sets of numbers, but in the end, it's about appearance. When a customer looks at a printed sheet, they see COLOR, not NUMBERS. The numbers are only the means to the end. That should be the focus of all of our efforts throughout the entire workflow. Blindly following numbers very often steers the workflow into the ditch.

                                 

                                That said, I'm very sympathetic to the plight of printers who have to deal with, among other things:

                                1) customers who want you to match their whacked-out monitor

                                2) customers who "helpfully" provide "print-ready" files when they really have no idea what they're doing

                                3) the crazy-making (and inconsistent) mish-mash of Pantone process books in the various Adobe and Quark apps

                                4) the liability they expose themselves to by providing contract proofs

                                5) etc, etc, etc

                                 

                                I'm offering no single solution here. The reality is that we are living in the middle of active evolution, knee-deep, and sometimes neck-deep, in the primordial ooze. Phasing into Lab-based Pantone is one step forward. The lingering existence of all of the CMYK-based Pantone books is one step back.

                                 

                                Just a thought...

                                 

                                [EDIT - By the way, the only way to get close to the designer's original intent when dealing with a CMYK Pantone build is to do a CMYK-CMYK conversion. It's blasphemy, however, to say that out loud in some circles. Go figure.]

                                • 13. Re: Forum seems dead
                                  Rick McCleary Level 3

                                  One more thought:

                                   

                                  A popular business school discussion is about how railroad companies went out of business because they didn't adjust their mission to the shape of the changing world. They saw themselves as being in the railroad business instead of the transportation business. By focusing narrowly on rail, they eliminated the possibility of air.

                                   

                                  Not a very good corollary, but I think there's a similar question to ask in the printing business. As a printer, are you in the numbers business, or the appearance business?

                                  • 14. Re: Forum seems dead
                                    Printer_Rick Level 4

                                    I agree with you on all your points Rick, but a few things I'd like to mention:

                                     

                                    Rick McCleary wrote:

                                     

                                     

                                    Essentially, you are soft-proofing one CMYK space through another CMYK space. Same as Assign Profile. It shows you what those numbers will look like in another space - a sobering demonstration.

                                    There is one key difference between proof preview and assign, you still keep the proper profile that belongs with the image. But you are right, the appearance is like assign.

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    The only way to communicate those Pantone colors is via Lab - the device-independent color space that is the hub of color management. Of course, Adobe98 could be used as well, but it cuts out a good chunk of the blue/cyan spectrum that CMYK can render.

                                     

                                    This thread relates:

                                     

                                    http://forums.adobe.com/message/2094412#2094412

                                     

                                    I agree with you about the Lab idea, since the solid colors have the Lab definitions it makes perfect sense

                                     

                                     

                                    Look, let's be clear on what the point of the exercise is: appearance. It's ALL about appearance. That's what color is. Scientists have quantified color into sets of numbers, but in the end, it's about appearance. When a customer looks at a printed sheet, they see COLOR, not NUMBERS. The numbers are only the means to the end. That should be the focus of all of our efforts throughout the entire workflow. Blindly following numbers very often steers the workflow into the ditch.

                                     

                                    That said, I'm very sympathetic to the plight of printers who have to deal with, among other things:

                                    1) customers who want you to match their whacked-out monitor

                                    2) customers who "helpfully" provide "print-ready" files when they really have no idea what they're doing

                                    3) the crazy-making (and inconsistent) mish-mash of Pantone process books in the various Adobe and Quark apps

                                    4) the liability they expose themselves to by providing contract proofs

                                    5) etc, etc, etc

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    I agree, but fixing this will require a whole lot of gear shifting on everyone's part. The first step is getting all the colors in the software Lab based... but that will surely cause a big ruckus. And it won't change al the old files people pick up, or the older apps people will continue to use. It won't change the custom CMYK colors created based on PMS builds (Betty's Blue, which is really a build of 293), or the color builds in CMYK PDFs (the swatch reference is gone)

                                     

                                    There will still be people looking at CMYK swatch books, reading the numbers and using them. These CMYK numbers could be replaced with Lab in new books to give the colors a proper definition, but nobody's done that yet. And you'd still have to burn all the old books.

                                     

                                    On any given job, there will be colors used throughout the job that are supposed to match, but don't, because the CMYK numbers aren't the same. They can start at Lab, but they all have to start at Lab, and they've all got to go to the same CMYK.

                                     

                                    I think this - color builds - is the biggest challenge to the color management community, at least on the print side of things. Whoever solves this has untied the Gordian knot.

                                    • 15. Re: Forum seems dead
                                      Printer_Rick Level 4

                                      Rick McCleary wrote:

                                       

                                      One more thought:

                                       

                                      A popular business school discussion is about how railroad companies went out of business because they didn't adjust their mission to the shape of the changing world. They saw themselves as being in the railroad business instead of the transportation business. By focusing narrowly on rail, they eliminated the possibility of air.

                                       

                                      Not a very good corollary, but I think there's a similar question to ask in the printing business. As a printer, are you in the numbers business, or the appearance business?

                                      I'm very much in the appearance business, but there are many designers who don't look closely at color appearance at the design stage. Like the guy in the other thread, they pick a number in PS, then pick one in ID , thinking it's the same color. They should see the difference on-screen, but their monitor's not calibrated, so they don't spend time evaluating the appearance. They realize their laser printer isn't calibrated, so they don't look at that for color either.

                                       

                                      Bertril noticed the difference in the Warm Gray appearance. But how many people don't? How many people see it when it's too late? And they think - "well, I used the same color throughout..."

                                       

                                      I guess the printer has to fall back on the contract proof, I don't know what else there is to do in situations like that...

                                      • 16. Re: Forum seems dead
                                        Rick McCleary Level 3

                                        Rick,

                                         

                                        Based on the clarity of your posts, I have no doubt that you're in the appearance business. My question was more rhetorical, and not aimed at you. If fact, the question should be restated to include all of us - photographers, designers, and printers.

                                         

                                        I agree with you that it's hard to know where to start the change. There's no doubt that we're neither here nor there at this point in the history of digital imaging; we're in between.

                                        • 17. Re: Forum seems dead
                                          Paul Cutler Level 1

                                          OP -

                                           

                                          Agreed.

                                           

                                          Best Regards

                                           

                                          pbc