9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 15, 2009 2:45 PM by Printer_Rick

    I Don't Understand Color Management

    burtmann

      I'm a relative newbe, but have been digging into Photoshop CS4 pretty intensely the last several months. All in all I think I'm getting a pretty good handle on it and can pretty much do what I want to do ........ EXCEPT Color Management. No matter how much I read on the subject I still don't have even the basic concepts.

       

      First off, my tools include a Nikon D90 -> HP Touchsmart Notebook (uncalibrated lcd screen) ->Photoshop CS4 -> a just purchased Epson r2880.

       

      Let's ignore the Nikon for now and just concentrate on PS and the r2880.

       

      My color settings in PS are Adobe RGB98 and CYMK US Web coated (SWOP) v2

       

      Assuming this is OK must I assign a profile to each individual photo, or is that taken care of automatically? What is the purpose of the profile?

       

      Then when I get ready to print and Color Management is being taken care of by Adobe, do I turn off all color correction in the r2880 or do I use the ICM (which I have downloaded from the web)?

       

      I experiment with the different settings and one seems to work better sometimes than the other, but not consistently.

       

      Any help (to include recommended documentation or literature) would be greatly appreciated.

        • 1. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
          p taz Level 3

          Welcome to a very big club!

           

          But welcome to a very small one.... the people who recognise and admit that they don't get it.

           

          I was in both clubs, now I have a fair idea how it works.  Please have a read of my user friendly, basic intro's, I have used this postcard analogy for some years now and if you read it a couple of times, you will start to get the idea.  Then get along to gballard colour management page which is a lot more technical.

           

          http://goannaprint.com.au/colourmanprimer.html

           

          http://goannaprint.com.au/designprimer.html

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
            burtmann Level 1

            Thank you so much. Although you have given me a starting point you have also expanded my personal perception of ignorance. To understand some of the tutorials on color management I find referenced in the forums I guess I'm going to also get familiar with In Design (which I've never even opened) or even Illustrator?

            Anyway, some of it already makes more sense thanks to your postcard analogy. If you don't mind let me list a few examples of my current understanding, and would welcome any and all corrections.

            1 - A color profile is not automatically set for each photo, but must manually be made by edit->set in photoshop.

            2 - When printing I should let Adobe manage the printing. (Is that always a given?)

            3 - Even though Adobe is managing the printing I should also let my printer (epson) color manage using icm.

            Or is this an example of too many cooks spoil the soup?

            I thank you for your help and patience.

            Burt

             

             

             

            Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2009 18:19:51 -0600

            From: forums@adobe.com

            To: burtmann@live.com

            Subject: I Don't Understand Color Management

             

            Welcome to a very big club!

             

            But welcome to a very small one.... the people who recognise and admit that they don't get it.

             

            I was in both clubs, now I have a fair idea how it works.  Please have a read of my user friendly, basic intro's, I have used this postcard analogy for some years now and if you read it a couple of times, you will start to get the idea.  Then get along to gballard colour management page which is a lot more technical.

             

            http://goannaprint.com.au/colourmanprimer.html

             

            http://goannaprint.com.au/designprimer.html

            >

            • 3. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
              John Danek Level 4

              I get the feeling if you let Photoshop determine color, and do not use .icm in the printer, then something could get lost in the translation.  This is just my opinion, you'll definitely have to experiment to find the correct workflow for your situation.  You appear to be in a "Photographic" workflow and the "r" Epson printers are photographic printers.  In your case, I do not see why you wouldn't be able to setup your color in PS's color settings and attach an RGB profile to the image, even going so far as a 16-bit, "Perceptual" Rendering Intent, wide spectrum RGB like ProPhotoRGB.  Also, use "let PS determine...", but also use printer color management.  It's not too many hands in the pie.  It's more like a relay race where PS is handing the color over to the printer and the printer is running with that color to the finish line.

              • 4. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                Printer_Rick Level 4

                My basic understanding of CM is Source and Destination.

                 

                Take a picture, for example. The photographer captures the image in RAW and converts this to an RGB image.

                 

                The image is passed on to the designer. If the photographer did their job properly, the image is already tagged with a profile. You can tell this in Photoshop. Beside RGB, there will be *, #, or nothing.

                 

                # is very, very bad. This means the image is untagged. Nobody knows what it should look like.

                 

                * means the image is tagged with a profile different from your RGB working space. This is fine.

                 

                Nothing means the image is tagged with a profile that matches your RGB working space in Color Settings.

                 

                At any rate, the RGB image is usually referred to as a source image. It can be repurposed to a variety of destination color spaces.

                 

                The next task is proofing the destination. This can be done on the monitor, if it is properly calibrated and profiled. You can also print a proof (that can get a little more complicated, if you have questions please ask).

                 

                For example, you want to know what the image will look like when the commercial printer runs it on his press. Best case scenario is you obtain a CMYK profile from the printer. This is your Proof Color (i.e. Photoshop View: Proof Colors).

                 

                Usually it is best to leave source RGB as source RGB. You can place the RGB image in InDesign, and let InDesign convert to CMYK on output. In other words, there is no reason to convert to CMYK in Photoshop (you should however utilize View: Proof Colors)

                 

                When you convert in Photoshop you damage the image and there is no going back. This means saving a copy. But by avoiding conversions to CMYK in Photoshop, no need to save copies.

                 

                Also by leaving images source RGB, they can be converted to whatever destination you like when you output from InDesign. You could output for a Sheetfed press printing on cover weight coated stock, you could output for a Web press printing on newsprint, or you could even output sRGB for web design. Having source color saves a lot of time, and you're not chasing a bunch of different Photoshop conversions.

                 

                Also note: if you make color adjustments in Photoshop, try to use adjustment layers as these are non-destructive.

                 

                A few questions:

                 

                1. Are you doing photography?

                 

                2. When you print to the Epson - are you trying to proof for a commercial print job, or are you just printing for yourself?

                 

                3. Are you supplying files to a commercial printer?

                 

                4. Have you calibrated and profiled your monitor?

                • 5. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                  burtmann Level 1

                  Thanks very much. Some of this is starting to make sense in a (It Depends on ....) sorta way.

                   

                  Going to your analogy, isn't it true when the photographer takes a picture in RAW

                  there is no profile, but this is done when opening the image in PS?

                   

                  I do use adjustment layers pretty effectively.

                   

                  It's when I'm ready to print that it gets confusing. Is the most likely scenario

                  to let Adobe of the Printer (with it's premium ICC) handle color management,

                  or let Adobe handle color management?

                   

                  And if I let Adobe handle color management, is the most likely scenario to have the printer set

                  to "No color management" or "ICC color management"?

                   

                  I suspect the answer is "Experiment and see", but thus far that has produced

                  a mixed bag of tricks.

                   

                  A few questions:

                   

                  1. Are you doing photography?

                  Yes, that's all I'm doing at the Present.

                   

                  2. When you print to the Epson - are you trying to proof for a commercial print job, or are you just printing for yourself?

                  No, this is strictly a hobby.

                   

                  3. Are you supplying files to a commercial printer?

                  Again, no.

                   

                  4. Have you calibrated and profiled your monitor?

                  No, but that's probably going to be one of next projects. My monitor (and tablet) is actually a small 10" lcd on a HP Touchsmart notebook

                  Any suggestions as to a low cost solution?

                   

                   

                  Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 16:17:25 -0600

                  From: forums@adobe.com

                  To: burtmann@live.com

                  Subject: I Don't Understand Color Management

                   

                  My basic understanding of CM is Source and Destination.

                   

                  Take a picture, for example. The photographer captures the image in RAW and converts this to an RGB image.

                   

                  The image is passed on to the designer. If the photographer did their job properly, the image is already tagged with a profile. You can tell this in Photoshop. Beside RGB, there will be *, #, or nothing.

                   

                  1. is very, very bad. This means the image is untagged. Nobody knows what it should look like.

                   

                  • means the image is tagged with a profile different from your RGB working space. This is fine.

                   

                  Nothing means the image is tagged with a profile that matches your RGB working space in Color Settings.

                   

                  At any rate, the RGB image is usually referred to as a source image. It can be repurposed to a variety of destination color spaces.

                   

                  The next task is proofing the destination. This can be done on the monitor, if it is properly calibrated and profiled. You can also print a proof (that can get a little more complicated, if you have questions please ask).

                   

                  For example, you want to know what the image will look like when the commercial printer runs it on his press. Best case scenario is you obtain a CMYK profile from the printer. This is your Proof Color (i.e. Photoshop View: Proof Colors).

                   

                  Usually it is best to leave source RGB as source RGB. You can place the RGB image in InDesign, and let InDesign convert to CMYK on output. In other words, there is no reason to convert to CMYK in Photoshop (you should however utilize View: Proof Colors)

                   

                  When you convert in Photoshop you damage the image and there is no going back. This means saving a copy. But by avoiding conversions to CMYK in Photoshop, no need to save copies.

                   

                  Also by leaving images source RGB, they can be converted to whatever destination you like when you output from InDesign. You could output for a Sheetfed press printing on cover weight coated stock, you could output for a Web press printing on newsprint, or you could even output sRGB for web design. Having source color saves a lot of time, and you're not chasing a bunch of different Photoshop conversions.

                   

                  Also note: if you make color adjustments in Photoshop, try to use adjustment layers as these are non-destructive.

                   

                  A few questions:

                   

                  1. Are you doing photography?

                   

                  2. When you print to the Epson - are you trying to proof for a commercial print job, or are you just printing for yourself?

                   

                  3. Are you supplying files to a commercial printer?

                   

                  4. Have you calibrated and profiled your monitor?

                  >

                  • 6. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                    burtmann Level 1

                    Just an addendum

                     

                    I found this video http://tv.adobe.com/watch/dr-browns-photoshop-laboratory/printing-experiments/  and although not perfect, it was very helpful

                    • 7. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                      Printer_Rick Level 4

                      burtmann wrote:

                       

                      Going to your analogy, isn't it true when the photographer takes a picture in RAW

                      there is no profile, but this is done when opening the image in PS?

                       

                      I'm not a photographer. Hopefully there are some photographers who can contribute to this conversation.

                       

                      My understanding is the RAW capture can indeed have an RGB device profile associated with the camera. Usually after conversion from RAW, the image has a "device independent" RGB space, which becomes the working RGB for the image. The profile associated with this space is embedded in the image. Being in the print industry I am partial to Adobe RGB as a working space. But it is a large space, and contains colors well beyond many print color gamuts.

                       

                      Adobe RGB, sRGB, and ProPhoto are all RGB display profiles. Like any other RGB color spaces, they are device dependent. However, it's not like you have aRGB, sRGB, or pRGB devices tucked away in secret laboratories. They are universal profiles (unlike monitor profiles) so sometimes they are referred to as "device independent RGB" spaces

                       

                      I also believe that a RAW capture can have a gray channel, making it a 4 channel capture. This depends on whether or not a gray card is used by the photographer.

                       

                      Photoshop can be used to convert RAW images, but other applications can be used as well.

                       

                      Again I am not a photographer, RAW conversions are already done by the time I get the image. I hope I have my facts straight. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong.

                       

                      burtmann wrote:

                       

                       

                      It's when I'm ready to print that it gets confusing. Is the most likely scenario

                      to let Adobe of the Printer (with it's premium ICC) handle color management,

                      or let Adobe handle color management?

                       

                      After you install your printer driver, it probably has color management enabled by default. My suggestion is to leave it that way for your first test print.

                       

                      In such case when you print from InDesign, under Color Management, select "Document". By the printer profile, select "Document RGB". The idea is the printer driver will receive your Document RGB, then convert to its RGB.

                       

                      When printing from Photoshop, select "Document", and "Printer manages colors".

                       

                      Your printer is not really RGB, no printer is. But these ink jets are not CMYK either. Usually they are CcMmYKk. RGB is the best space to describe this type of gamut. At this point in time, digital images don't exist in 6 or 7 ink color models (at least they don't exist in Photoshop)

                       

                      If using printer color management does not produce a good print, then you can try abandoning the printer color management and give the Adobe color management a try. Let us know how your test prints go.

                       

                      burtmann wrote:

                       

                      4. Have you calibrated and profiled your monitor?

                      No, but that's probably going to be one of next projects. My monitor (and tablet) is actually a small 10" lcd on a HP Touchsmart notebook

                      Any suggestions as to a low cost solution?

                       

                       

                      This display will probably not give you accurate color, being a small laptop. For monitor calibration X-Rite Eye One is quite popular, but if you need a very accurate soft proof, you probably need a more robust monitor. Others may feel differently.

                       

                      Thanks for the link in your latest post, will check it out.

                      • 8. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                        burtmann Level 1

                        Thanks Rick, I really appreciate that information. Let me share some of what I have found and/or experienced.

                        First, watching two different training videos this am, one instructor said to use Photoshop for color management and the other said to use the Printer for color management (no wonder we're confused).

                        Second, I basically ran 3 experiments on the same exact photo: (via updated CS4 PS => Epson r2880 printer with latest ICC and drivers)

                        1. Photoshop handled color management, Printer handled none.

                        2. Printer handled color management, Photoshop handled none.

                        3. Photoshop handled color management, Printer also handled CM via ICC.

                        For this particular photo: #1 produced the best overall results (an olive skin tone).#2 produced a slight reddish skin tone.#3 appeared to be the increase reddish skin tone of #2.

                        What does all this prove ....... damned if I know except until I learn different I'll probably stick with #1 above.

                         

                         

                        Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 09:53:08 -0600

                        From: forums@adobe.com

                        To: burtmann@live.com

                        Subject: I Don't Understand Color Management

                         

                        • 9. Re: I Don't Understand Color Management
                          Printer_Rick Level 4

                          burtmann wrote:

                           

                          1. Photoshop handled color management, Printer handled none.

                          2. Printer handled color management, Photoshop handled none.

                           

                          The way I understand it, if everything is working properly these two methods should give you the same result. The idea being the final conversion to the printer's color space, using either workflow.

                           

                          The fact that you get different results – well, not everything is working properly. In your case #2 is broken. #1 is working so that is your solution.

                           

                          There are lots and lots of threads throughout these forums addressing CM issues with print devices. Apparently there a big issues with Epson printers which I don't fully understand. Hopefully you will continue to have success using Adobe CM with the print driver CM disabled.