15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2009 5:27 PM by Rene-)

    Images look bad outside of Photoshop

    huntajc

      I'm getting some terrible results between the final image in Photoshop and when viewed in a non-colour profile application. Final intended destination is web, so I'm assuming non-colour aware browser. HOWEVER, I believe I understand the workflow process and I thought I was doing everything right. I guess not...

       

      I'm working with one particular image, featuring pale skin tones. I believe that this is a universal problem though, just more noticeable on this one image. When I go to move the image out of Photoshop the skin tones become overly pink. Here's my workflow:

      - Import RAW images from camera (set to Adobe RGB) to Lightroom
      - Make edits in Lightroom (which I believe uses ProPhoto without the option to change)
      - Edit in Photoshop, working space ProPhoto RGB (no warning on opening the file, even though mismatched profile alert is enabled)
      - Make edits in Photoshop
      - Convert to sRGB (colours still look good) - NB, convert, not assign

      - Save for web - at this point the colours of the ORIGINAL in the SFW dialog look bad, as well as of the optimised target. They look identical to my eye.

       

      After converting to sRGB, View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB also gives the same bad colours.

       

      I think the clue to this is that when converted to sRGB the picture still looks fine in Photoshop, it's when viewing in non-aware environments (save for web dialog, preview Monitor RGB or in Windows Explorer) that the shift occurs. If I convert to sRBG, save and view in Firefox 3 (with colour management enabled) I see the image as I'd expect. If I view in Explorer 6 (not colour managed) it exhibits the colour shift. Could this just be an image which is in an unusual part of the gamut which produces a strong shift, and I should edit in Monitor RGB preview to taste?

       

      Looking at the file on another machine, it does look better. I'm therefore also wondering whether to suspect my monitor profile, even though I've reprofiled it twice to try and eliminate that as a possibility. Does this fit with the scenario? I wouldn't have thought you'd see a shift between sRGB and Monitor RGB, since the monitor should be able to display sRGB fine. Could there be double application of the profile going on somewhere?

       

      Thanks in advance for any help - this is driving me to the edge!

        • 1. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
          John Danek Level 4

          There's not much you can do about browser display and, perhaps, a viewer's non-calibrated monitor.  I would do all of my edits in sRGB, including color.  But, take a look at your final image and see if it is still 16-bit or is 8-bit.  sRGB works well in the internet's limited color space, but you may have some fringe color data that is getting misinterpreted somehow.  Not much you can do about that.  I wouldn't get too stressed about it, just try to minimize the problem the best you can.  It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on managing color.

          • 2. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
            Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

            Start here:

             

            http://www.gballard.net/psd/cmstheory.html

             

             

            I cannot go into more details because you're injecting Lightroom into your workflow—but your monitor profile is hosed.

             

            Calibrate and profile your monitor regularly and often.

             

            Do not inject your monitor profile at all anywhere in your Photoshop workflow, ever.

             

            Just set the calibrated profile in Systems Preferences, and Photoshop will use that to send the correct colors to your monitor.

             

            Do not use it for soft-proofing, that is like burying your head in the sand like an ostrich.  You're only fooling yourself and no ne will see what you see if you do that.  For soft-proofing for the web, use Macintosh RGB and Windows RGB.  For printing, soft-proof with the target profile specific to your combination of paper/ink/printer.

            • 3. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
              huntajc Level 1

              John, thanks for the response.

               

              My image (straight out of Lightroom and all the way through to the final

              sRGB jpg) is 8 bit... can you point me in the right direction to understand

              the significance of this please?

               

              I can live with the fact that sRBG isn't perfect. What I don't understand is

              that the sRGB image looks so different between Photoshop and a non-colour

              managed application on my own, calibrated monitor.

               

              If there's some subtle plot going on between Adobe and Apple to persuade

              everyone to give up on Windows and move over to Mac it's starting to work!

              • 4. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                huntajc wrote:

                 

                What I don't understand is that the sRGB image looks so different between Photoshop and a non-colour

                managed application on my own, calibrated monitor.

                 

                The difference will be greater the farther away your moitor profile is from the sRGB color space, especially if you have a high-end wide-gamut monitor.

                 

                Try to understand that here:

                 

                http://www.gballard.net/psd/cmstheory.html

                 

                and

                 

                http://www.gballard.net/photoshop/srgb_wide_gamut.html

                • 5. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                  huntajc Level 1

                  Thanks Ramon. However, I thought the monitor calibration profile was applied

                  at system level though, meaning that ANY application should be displaying

                  sRGB files consistently?

                  • 6. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                    huntajc wrote:

                     

                    Thanks Ramon. However, I thought the monitor calibration profile was applied

                    at system level though, meaning that ANY application should be displaying

                    sRGB files consistently?

                    No, absolutely not.  Only color-managed applications use your monitor profile to convert the source profile of the image in order to send the correct colors to the monitor.  That's the basic feature of a color-managed application, and that's the basic distinction between a color managed application and a non-color-managed one.

                    • 7. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                      Just to elaborate a bit on my previous post, I've edited it to add the emphasized text here:

                       

                      Only color-managed applications use your monitor profile to convert the source profile of the image in order to send the correct colors to the monitor.
                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                        huntajc Level 1

                        Thanks everyone for all the posts on this.

                         

                        Ramon, if the below is true why is it that I see my Windows wallpaper 

                        colours shift on start-up as the profile is loaded to the video card?

                        • 9. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                          "Colors shifting" does not equal accurate color reproduction through color management.

                           

                          Did you ever get around to reading this entire site as per post #2 in this thread:

                           

                          http://www.gballard.net/psd/cmstheory.html  ?

                           

                          huntajc wrote:

                           

                          Ramon, if the below is true why is it that I see my Windows wallpaper 

                          colours shift on start-up as the profile is loaded to the video card?

                           

                          There was no "below" in your post.  ??

                           

                          You are confusing the monitor profile being applied to your monitor with the color-managed application's conversion of an image file to send the correct colors to your calibrated and profiled monitor after it received the calibrated-profile information from the OS.  What your calibration (contained in the resulting profile) does is to bring your monitor to a known state.  It is then the color-managed applications' task to convert the colors with the information about the "known state" it sends to your profiled monitor.

                           

                          As a Mac user for well over twenty-five years, I have no knowledge of whether the Windows OS at the Window-Explorer level is color managed (I would hope it is).  For more than fifteen years I was forced to use Windows machines at my day job with Uncle Sam, but never for graphics or any kind of color critical work.  I do have a Windoze laptop for the exclusive purpose of burning DVDs out in the field.  Mac OS X is definitely color managed at the Finder level.

                           

                          Message was edited by: Ramón G Castañeda

                          • 10. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                            Rene-)

                            Ramón G Castañeda wrote:

                             


                            For soft-proofing for the web, use Macintosh RGB and Windows RGB.  For printing, soft-proof with the target profile specific to your combination of paper/ink/printer.

                             

                            To expand on that:

                             

                            Monitor Color“: As a non color managed application would show it on your screen.
                            Macintosh (No color management)” As a non color managed application would show it on a monitor with gamma 1.8 (ancient): The image appears lighter.
                            Windows (No color management)“: As a non color managed application would show it on an sRGB monitor. An sRGB image will look the same here as in the last option. An AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB image will appear less saturated.
                            Use document profile“: As a color managed application would display it.

                             

                             

                            On a side note: You can choose a variety of "previews" in the save for web dialog. Use "document profile" to see what it'll look like in a color managed application. Use "monitor color" to see what it'll look like in a non color managed appication on your screen. Others as described above.

                             

                            I wrote more on that, with images, on my blog: here.

                            • 11. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                              René,

                               

                              Your web site appears very interesting, but the tiny white text on the black background is utterly impossible for me to read. 

                               

                              Just my two cents. 

                              • 12. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                                p taz Level 3

                                Depends on your own settings to some extent.... "cmd +"   to enlarge. (mac, safari or firefox)

                                • 13. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                                  Rene-) Level 1

                                  Ramón, thanks for the feedback.

                                   

                                  Bit curious though, since IIRC it's 12px Helvetica. Not much smaller then these forums...

                                  Mind mailing me a screenshot?

                                   

                                  Okay, back on topic

                                  • 14. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4

                                    It's mostly the gray text (it's definitely NOT pure white) on black background that makes it illegible, not so much the size.  Typography 101.  Only red over black is more difficult to read.   Zooming doesn't help, neither does reversing the colors (Command+Option+Control+8 on the Mac) as then you end up with gray over white, not black over white.

                                     

                                    That's why I hate web sites designed like DPReview and The Luminous Landscape.  The content of the latter is interesting, but I do have to reverse it to be able to read it for more than five seconds.

                                     

                                    Sorry, René, that's just poor web site design. 

                                     

                                    AAAAAA_screenshot.jpg

                                     

                                    Also, Helvetica stinks on screen.  Try Verdana and see the HUGE difference.

                                     

                                    Message was edited by: Ramón G Castañeda

                                    • 15. Re: Images look bad outside of Photoshop
                                      Rene-) Level 1

                                      Ramón G Castañeda wrote:

                                       

                                      Sorry, René, that's just poor web site design. 

                                      Also, Helvetica stinks on screen.  Try Verdana and see the HUGE difference.

                                       

                                      Hahahaha. Glad to see you're subtle as always

                                      Might be because I'm a photographer / assistant / image editor, not a web designer

                                       

                                       

                                      I'll look into it. Thanks.