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Author Topic: Question about editing for online consumption  (Read 1178 times)

bchernicoff

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Question about editing for online consumption
« on: June 17, 2013, 04:07:27 PM »
I edit on a 27" iMac which has a pretty nice IPS LCD display. I make sure that my Lightroom exported JPEGs look good on screen before publishing them or sending to other people to make sure the color space change and compression haven't ruined the look. When I come to work and look at them on my office/commodity grade Dell 24" monitor, I am often pretty disappointed. The colors can appear clipped in some cases, muted in others. Contrast is much lower.

So, my question is...how can I (or should I) take in to consideration the wide range of screens the image might be viewed on?
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Question about editing for online consumption
« on: June 17, 2013, 04:07:27 PM »

docholliday

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 04:13:05 PM »
Are you exporting for sRGB? And, do you have your screen calibrated with a hardware calibrator?

Exporting for aRGB will make for some whacked colors (usually muted or clipped) and an improperly (or not at all) calibrated screen means that you are adjusting the colors to taste on that monitor, but not to a standard. The export then changes the output to match that.

bchernicoff

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 04:28:25 PM »
Are you exporting for sRGB? And, do you have your screen calibrated with a hardware calibrator?

Exporting for aRGB will make for some whacked colors (usually muted or clipped) and an improperly (or not at all) calibrated screen means that you are adjusting the colors to taste on that monitor, but not to a standard. The export then changes the output to match that.

Yes, I export to sRGB and have calibrated the monitor with a DataColor Spyder3.

I am reasonably sure this is an issue with lower-end monitors. On my uncalibrated tablet and phone these images look as intended. The tablet has IPS display and the phone is an AMOLED. My concern is really all the budget laptops that are out there.

The first image was shot by my brother and edited by me. It looks very contrasty in JPEG on my iMac and tablet as mentioned. At work it's pretty flat. If I max out the monitor's contrast it looks okay. However, no one would set this monitor that way as it makes most pages and OS screens barely readable. I feel like there are a LOT of people in this boat.

The second image shows some clipping on the top of singer's head at home. At work, his whole face looks posterized and featureless. I know stage lighting is very harsh and I over-exposed it. That's not the point. I felt it looked acceptable at home but not on this monitor.

All I can think to do is buy a cheap LCD to preview on while editing. Or just saying, "Screw it. I'm not going to worry about the viewing experience of people with crap displays. If they cared how images looked, they would have spent more money."
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unfocused

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 05:29:46 PM »
Welcome to the Internet.

Short of traveling the world and personally calibrating everyone's monitor, there isn't much you can do.

In the world of print, there are standards and you can process you images to meet those standards so as to have a reasonable assurance that a properly prepared CMYK image will print consistently. Nothing like that exists for web displays. Although, starting with a properly calibrated monitor is important since you will at least know what the image should look like.

I wouldn't just give up. Here is what I do: I test out my site on every machine I can get my hands on. Not only for how images look, but also for how the website itself functions. Every once and awhile, I'll stop in at my local Best Buy and call my site up on every machine I can find, just to see how things display. When I'm  traveling and they have an Apple Store, I'll go in and navigate to my website on their iPads, to see what things look like.

Most stores are pretty understanding. If they ask I always explain what I'm doing. Since the salespeople are usually Geeks, they get it and some even help. I figure I'm probably not the craziest customer they've dealt with (although maybe close).

If 90% of your images look decent on 8 out of 10 monitors, that's pretty good. If it's only about half the monitors or half the images, then maybe you need to reconsider your post-processing. As with most things in life, the more you play at the extremes, the greater the risk.

If you want the world to see your images and be impressed by them (and who doesn't) you want to choose images that will display well. People on this site obsess over the margins, but most of that is for the benefit of personal pixel peeping.

The people you want to impress don't give a hoot about shadow or highlight detail. They don't care about subtle variations in color. They only care if the image works. If you find that a particular image doesn't work on a high percentage of monitors, then you have to be ruthless and take it out of your portfolio.
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docholliday

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2013, 06:41:39 PM »
Are you exporting for sRGB? And, do you have your screen calibrated with a hardware calibrator?

Exporting for aRGB will make for some whacked colors (usually muted or clipped) and an improperly (or not at all) calibrated screen means that you are adjusting the colors to taste on that monitor, but not to a standard. The export then changes the output to match that.

Yes, I export to sRGB and have calibrated the monitor with a DataColor Spyder3.

I am reasonably sure this is an issue with lower-end monitors. On my uncalibrated tablet and phone these images look as intended. The tablet has IPS display and the phone is an AMOLED. My concern is really all the budget laptops that are out there.

The first image was shot by my brother and edited by me. It looks very contrasty in JPEG on my iMac and tablet as mentioned. At work it's pretty flat. If I max out the monitor's contrast it looks okay. However, no one would set this monitor that way as it makes most pages and OS screens barely readable. I feel like there are a LOT of people in this boat.

The second image shows some clipping on the top of singer's head at home. At work, his whole face looks posterized and featureless. I know stage lighting is very harsh and I over-exposed it. That's not the point. I felt it looked acceptable at home but not on this monitor.

All I can think to do is buy a cheap LCD to preview on while editing. Or just saying, "Screw it. I'm not going to worry about the viewing experience of people with crap displays. If they cared how images looked, they would have spent more money."

I routinely export images for both aRGB and sRGB - the former for print and the latter web. All of my outputs are matched and the print imaging looks just like what the client sees on the web. Never had a problem. The 4-color press outputted flyers/posters/brochures look identical to what the world sees on the client's website. That means via calibrated or cheap monitor.

That second image you've uploaded looks horrid on my calibrated 10-bit aRGB screen. But, it looks the exact same as on the cheap uncalibrated test monitor I use for verifying output in IE6 on Win2K. Since you already output sRGB and have a calibrated monitor, that leaves only one thing: your workflow. It looks like you're over-editing the files, causing clipping via lost data between steps. And the saturation looks like it's too high.

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 09:18:23 AM »
Just thinking over this (again, the never ending battle) today with a new monitor.
Calibrate, and edit to taste, if it doesn't look good on so-and-so's display than too bad, if they're not into calibrating then they don't know color fidelity, and in most cases don't understand what good color and contrast looks like anyways. Of course there are times when the photo on a non calibrated screen looks absolutely rubbish and could make you look bad too.... at least, a lot of people see images via smartphones though and most images look good on those. Especially since the iPhone is so prevalent and I do post quite a bit on FB, which gets plenty of mobile access, I don't sweat over what other people see.

docholliday

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 01:15:03 AM »
Just thinking over this (again, the never ending battle) today with a new monitor.
Calibrate, and edit to taste, if it doesn't look good on so-and-so's display than too bad, if they're not into calibrating then they don't know color fidelity, and in most cases don't understand what good color and contrast looks like anyways. Of course there are times when the photo on a non calibrated screen looks absolutely rubbish and could make you look bad too.... at least, a lot of people see images via smartphones though and most images look good on those. Especially since the iPhone is so prevalent and I do post quite a bit on FB, which gets plenty of mobile access, I don't sweat over what other people see.

The trick 99% of the time when editing on a calibrated display for non-cal is to not over-push your saturation, contrast and vibrancy. As long as you remain in the gamut for sRGB, it should look decent. It's when a large percentage of your image data is outside the sRGB ("normal") gamut that cheap monitors block up and look gawdy.

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 01:15:03 AM »

bycostello

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 06:42:22 AM »
you can't unless everyone starts calibrating their monitors

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Re: Question about editing for online consumption
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 06:42:22 AM »