13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 2, 2010 9:56 AM by Nicolas GEE

    Print to file JPEG looks washed out




      I recently exported a JPEG from the print module for the first time so I could get it printed at a photo lab. I was surprised to see that the file looked rather washed out/less saturated than the original did in Lightroom. I have a lot of experience exporting to the web and I'm aware about color spaces and how sRGB is often better for the web and photo lab printing. As far as I can tell my print to file settings are accurate.


      My best guess is that the rendering intent option changes the color of the jpeg somewhat? I left the option set to Perceptual. Can the rendering intent option cause colors to look less saturated in a print to file JPEG? If that is the case, then I assume that the photo lab should compensate for this when I go to get it printed?

        • 1. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
          jw80 Level 1

          To clarify, I meant that the Print to file JPEG's look much less color accurate than the exports from the Library module. I'm also on Vista 64 bit, and this post suggests that it might be a Windows bug:




          Anyone know if it is indeed a bug and if Adobe knows about it? The post also suggests that assigning a color profile in Photoshop might fix it, I'll give that a go. Still, if it is a bug, it's an annoying one that seems like it would of been fixed by now.

          • 2. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
            jw80 Level 1

            The best I seem to be able to do is printing the JPEG to file with the Adobe 1998 color space. It gives a much better result, but it still appears less accurate than exporting as sRGB in the library module. If I try to assign the Adobe 1998 exported file a sRGB profile in Photoshop it just ends up looking the same as if I exported with sRGB from Lightroom's print module, so that does not help.


            Either the rendering intent changes the appearnace of print to file JPEG's, or it's a Window's bug and Lightroom is not exporting print to file JEPG's with accurate color.


            Looks like I will have to export from the library module and create a printable document in Photoshop.

            • 3. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
              jw80 Level 1

              No ideas? I was really hoping it was the rendering intent option causing the colors to look different and it was nothing to worry about. Well, hopefully Lightroom 3 won't have this problem.

              • 4. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                There is no perceptual intent in sRGB, so whatever you select the output will be the same.


                If your export looks different from the original in Lightroom, either or both of the following is a problem: 1. You are not correctly calibrating your screen. The screen needs to be calibrated using calibration hardware. And/or 2:You are looking at the exported image in a non-color managed apps. Only color managed applications can show you the correct color.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                  jw80 Level 1

                  Thanks for the feedback Jao. My system is hardware calibrated, so I should not have a problem there. I ran a test yesterday with three Lightroom exported photos and opened them in Photoshop (without converting color spaces) to view them and see the difference. Here is what I did:


                  1. Exported the photo as sRGB in the Library module (call it Photo 1)

                  2. Exported that same photo as a sRGB jpeg from the Print module (Photo 2)

                  3. Exported same photo as AdobeRGB from print module (Photo 3)


                  Photo 1 and 3 closely matched each other with some slight saturation differences. Photo 2 however, which is what I needed, was quite a bit undersaturated and bland looking compared to the other two. The Print module is outputting colors differently than the Library module for some reason. Another interesting thing to note is that even though I used the same sharpening settings in both modules, the Print module exported a shaper file.


                  So I thought I would try to keep the color space consistent from Lightroom to Photoshop (as ProPhoto), and exported a ProPhoto image from the Library module and the Print module. Again, the Print module gave me inaccurate colors (this time way too saturated). Below is a composite made in Photoshop showing the comparison. It shows just how different the colors are when exporting from the two modules.

                  • 6. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                    Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Ah. This appears to be another manifestation of the rather weird print module export bug. Quite a few people have now seen this on the forum and you should submit a bug report. It is only present on windows versions of Lightroom AFAICT. What appears to happen is that Lightroom renders the image in the display profile and then assigns the sRGB (or other) profile on export. Your observation that it is more or less correct when you use adobeRGB makes me think you probably have a wide-gamut display. You can check whether you have the bug by assigning the display profile in Photoshop to an export. There should be no involvement of the display profile whatsoever in the export from the print module, but somehow it happens. Clearly a bad bug. Luckily I never encountered it but it would bum me out majorly as it is a showstopper. The only workaround I have heard of is to temporarily assign sRGB to the display, do your export and then set it back to your calibrated monitor profile.


                    Are you using LR 2.6?

                    • 7. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                      jw80 Level 1

                      I think you nailed it. Yes, I just upgraded to LR 2.6. I tried assigning my calibrated monitor profile to the under saturated sRGB printed JPEG from LR and it fixed the color correctly. Yeah, it is kind of a bummer, as I was looking forward to using LR's print module. I will have to create printed documents in PS until this gets fixed. I will try submitting a bug report to Adobe.


                      Thanks again for the help Jao

                      • 8. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                        Nicolas GEE

                        OK, so that precisely tells it's the same bug as reported here :



                        I made another test with LR3b, and the bug is still there.

                        Not that difficult to bypass... if you got an application allowing the management of profiles (CS4 here, assign the display profile, then convert in sRGB so that changes are visible in any application), and that doesn't smoothen the workflow either. We're both good for a bug report jw80 and I.

                        • 9. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                          jw80 Level 1

                          Ah, that's a bummer it's also in LR3 beta. I submitted a bug report yesterday. Hopefully Adobe does something about it.

                          • 10. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                            jw80 Level 1

                            Nicolas, after you assign the display profile in CS4, how would you convert to sRGB if your working space is ProPhoto? And wouldn't converting it to sRGB just make it look under saturated again? Just trying to figure out the best way to do this for future use.

                            • 11. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                              Nicolas GEE Level 1

                              The ProPhoto space is just the default working space (and only if you choose so of course), converting an image just sets it in another color space, trying to keep the color as close as possible to the same. File/Convert to.

                              If you use the file ONLY in color management-sensible apps, the "convert to" step is not needed.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                                jw80 Level 1

                                Ah OK, I was a little confused as to the differences between convert and assign profile. Read up on it some and understand it more now. Still have a couple of questions though:


                                1. What would be the best color space to output the printed jpeg to from LR? AdobeRGB maybe, since it looks the best to start with? So the process would be:

                                • Output printed jpeg to AdobeRGB
                                • Assign display profile in PS
                                • Convert to sRGB in PS


                                2. Does all this assigning and converting color spaces cause color degradation compared to a correctly printed jpeg from LR?


                                Guess I just want to minimize the image degradation that might occur from this process, if there is any. Thanks for the help.

                                • 13. Re: Print to file JPEG looks washed out
                                  Nicolas GEE Level 1

                                  1. the profile choosen in LR's print module seems irrelevant, it's simply not used as far as I can see.


                                  2. assigning is a lossless operation, but converting is not strictly lossless in a 8bit space ; however, the loss going from your wide-gamut-display profile to AdobeRGB should be really minimal, and I'd say very probably undetectable.

                                  The loss due to converting to sRGB (apart from the hues lost going in a smaller space, but this loss is unavoidable if your printer takes only sRGB files) shouldn't be objectionable either.


                                  Bottom line : I wouldn't say that the bug really degrades quality, however it surely degrades workflow.