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Author Topic: Color Management Woes  (Read 4271 times)

roadrunner

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Color Management Woes
« on: August 15, 2013, 05:13:56 AM »
One thing that has always driven me bonkers: Color management. I always seem to have the dumbest problems. I just recently built a new PC, and after recalibrating, everything looks fine... I thought. But now I'm not so sure. Could someone help me verify my system/software settings?

System:
Windows 8
Dell u2711 Monitor
GeForce 780GTX Video Card
Calibrated with X-Rite i1 Display Pro
Monitor profile set at system level, and is set as default

The current issue I am having is with consistency in viewing my photos on the web. I haven't ordered any prints yet since calibrating to know how they look.

After exporting from Lightroom 5 as sRGB JPEG, the result in Windows Photo Viewer matches lightroom.
Importing into Photoshop CS6, the photo matches Lightroom when proof colors is off. When set to proof monitor color, the photo is much more red than Lightroom.
Exporting from Photoshop in sRGB produces a file that matches that of Lightroom.
Opening the files in Chrome/Firefox results in images that match Lightroom/Photoshop with proof off. Opening in IE10 displays the photo that would match the Photoshop "Monitor Color" color proof setting.

Now for the weird part. When I upload the photo to my website, and I view it in Chrome/Firefox, the photo is red again, even though the exact same file is not red when opened in Chrome/Firefox locally. See attached screenshot to see what I am talking about. Why would the exact same file look different in the same browser?

Should photoshop be set to proof monitor color? If so, photoshop is more red/saturated than Lightroom. If not, then I get varying results when viewing the same photo, even in the same browser. I'm quite confused. Thanks to anyone who can help. I'm sure I just have something stupid setup wrong.

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Color Management Woes
« on: August 15, 2013, 05:13:56 AM »

roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 05:22:17 AM »
Just wanted to add a few more screenshots to clarify my post. Here is a comparison of Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 viewing the same image, with and without proof colors enabled. I just hope I didn't give my last client jacked up files =/

xROELOFx

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 07:50:06 AM »
Hi, I have experienced the same troubles and it drove me nuts for a long time.
I also have calibrated my monitor with X-Rite.

My problem was more web related though. Somehow the sky in some of my photo's turned purple instead of blue and the colors had a greyish/underexposed feel to them. What I nowadays do is assign the monitor profile X-Rite created in Photoshop via the Edit menu -> Assign profile and the select the right profile under Profile:. Then save the photo with the Save for web function. I always embed the color profile, convert to sRGB and preview in Use Document Profile when I save the file.

In Windows explorer the preview may not always look good, but on the web the image looks like I intended to.

I'm not really sure if this is a good way, but so far it worked okay for me. I'm curious how other people deal with these color problems. Hope this helps in a way. If anyone has a better workflow, please share :)
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« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 07:53:10 AM by xROELOFx »
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roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 08:54:05 AM »
Thanks for the reply xROELOFx. Looking into it a bit more, it would seem that the problem may be the fact that I am using a wide-gamut display and viewing sRGB. It seems to be a semi-common problem (At least, I found a couple other cases of it.)

It would seem if my photos look good in Lightroom and Photoshop, they would appear to be normal for most other people, just not on my wide-gamut display. Not sure why it screws it up so bad though. I logged onto my wife's uncalibrated laptop, and the photos I uploaded did not appear to have the over saturated colors and red cast, so hopefully that means they appear normal to everyone else/my clients.

What is super weird to me though, is if sRGB being oversaturated is a known issue on calibrated wide-gamut displays, why in the world do the photos match LR/PS when I open them in Chrome/Firefox from my local disk, but they appear oversaturated when I view them after posting them online... they even look normal in my Wordpress photo upload section, just not when I go to view the actual webpage.

Also, I do always convert my photos to sRGB for webuse, and I embed the color profiles. So it would appear that my exported sRGB photos actually do match my LR/PS, but it would be nice if I could somehow get my browser to match them consistently too.

noisejammer

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 08:56:56 AM »
I use a U3011 - if you put the display into Adobe RGB or SRGB modes and then try to apply correction, it seems to go a little strange. I find leaving mine uncalibrated in Adobe RGB is more than accurate enough.

On the odd occasion where accurate colour is critical, I find that ColorChecker with a session specific camera calibration is the only way to make the output reflect the input.

You might also consider whether the environment you're working in is changing your perception of colour balance on the screen. I think[\i] this happens but it's very difficult to test on your own.

Based on your comment to xROELOFx ... try switching the screen to SRGB for viewing the web images.

roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 09:45:31 AM »
I use a U3011 - if you put the display into Adobe RGB or SRGB modes and then try to apply correction, it seems to go a little strange. I find leaving mine uncalibrated in Adobe RGB is more than accurate enough.

On the odd occasion where accurate colour is critical, I find that ColorChecker with a session specific camera calibration is the only way to make the output reflect the input.

You might also consider whether the environment you're working in is changing your perception of colour balance on the screen. I think[\i] this happens but it's very difficult to test on your own.

Based on your comment to xROELOFx ... try switching the screen to SRGB for viewing the web images.

According to the Xrite software, after calibrating the monitor is very accurate, so I don't think anything freaked out during the calibration. Colors appear good in LR and PS as well. I'd really rather not ditch the calibration altogether. After all, I should get more consistent results after calibrating, not less consistent.

Another oddity I just noticed... on my home page, the first image looks normal. The same image in the blog post that I exported/uploaded on this new PC is oversaturated. What would cause that? I know I embedded the sRGB profile each time (Lightroom is setup the same way now as it was then) so I don't know why the two would be appearing different in a web browser, but the oversaturated one looks normal locally. I hate you Windows color management =/

EDIT: One more sample photo. Here is the same image exported from LR and uploaded to my website. In my website's console (Left picture) the photo looks normal. When I view the blog post, rather than the file on my website's console, it is over saturated. When I took a screenshot and loaded it into photoshop, the right picture, which was normally oversaturdated nor looks normal, and the picture that looked normal online, now looks very muted. Slightly confused as to what is going on and why.

Also, I double checked, and on my wife's laptop, the photos in the blog post actually are slightly more saturated than the home page. It's just harder to tell since it is uncalibrated.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 09:55:02 AM by roadrunner »

Jim Saunders

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 10:39:27 AM »
One of the options when using your i1 is to use ICC version 2 or 4; 4 does New things but 2 is more broadly compatible.

Jim
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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 10:39:27 AM »

papa-razzi

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 11:18:42 AM »
I totally feel your pain.  I have spent many hours dealing with color management for my Pixma Pro 9000 II, and have never been able to get it 100% right.  I don't think a comprehensive, straight forward explaination of color management (at least in windows) exists.

One thing I discovered quite by accident with windows color management is that the system defaults for a device, and the settings for the device itself are separate - even though the screens themselves look identical.  One setting is accessed from the devices tab, and the other is accessed by going into the Advanced tab.  It may be worth checking into this.  It isn't logical, but perhaps some software is grabbing the local device profile, and others somehow the system profile.

If someone really knows this stuff cold, and can explain it to non-color scientists, you would have a big audience.  I'm certain the people that wrote the windows color management help and doc files have no clue.
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kadosh

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 02:13:30 PM »
I have a pretty good system (i7 920, gtx 580, 24 GB RAM, SSDs as Boot drive and scratch disk) and a Dell 3011 along with a 9500 MarkII, both calibrated with colormunki; and I've never gotten them working 100% accurate. I've been close though. I found out, that printing from Lightroom makes my colors better compared to Photoshop. Also, my system is a dual monitor: a 3011 and a 19" both from Dell. Being said that, I've ever come to a solution/profile or whatever that can make both monitors look the same. Color management, it's obviously, my worst nightmare.   

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 03:20:29 PM »
One thing that has always driven me bonkers: Color management. I always seem to have the dumbest problems. I just recently built a new PC, and after recalibrating, everything looks fine... I thought. But now I'm not so sure. Could someone help me verify my system/software settings?

System:
Windows 8
Dell u2711 Monitor
GeForce 780GTX Video Card
Calibrated with X-Rite i1 Display Pro
Monitor profile set at system level, and is set as default

The current issue I am having is with consistency in viewing my photos on the web. I haven't ordered any prints yet since calibrating to know how they look.

I did not see that anyone asked what web browser is giving you a issue.
 
 
You might want to read this article, its a very common issue.
 
 
firefox, for example is not color managed by default, and will look horrible.  Turn it on as noted here:
 
 
 
http://dptnt.com/2009/02/color-management-basics-color-profile-support-in-web-browsers/
 
 
Here is a test to see if your web browser is color managed.
 
http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 10:46:25 PM »
Thanks everyone for your replies! I'll try to address your ideas/solutions, and respond with what I have already tried. Hopefully between the group of us, we can figure something out!

One of the options when using your i1 is to use ICC version 2 or 4; 4 does New things but 2 is more broadly compatible.

Jim, This is a great tip for some people having issues. I first used ICC v4 when I calibrated, and Windows Photo Viewer was very dark. Recalibrating and using ICC v2 eliminated that problem, so my photos match in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Windows Photo Viewer now. Very handy. Unfortunately, switching to ICC v2 didn't eliminate my problems when viewing in a web browser.

I have a pretty good system (i7 920, gtx 580, 24 GB RAM, SSDs as Boot drive and scratch disk) and a Dell 3011 along with a 9500 MarkII, both calibrated with colormunki; and I've never gotten them working 100% accurate. I've been close though. I found out, that printing from Lightroom makes my colors better compared to Photoshop. Also, my system is a dual monitor: a 3011 and a 19" both from Dell. Being said that, I've ever come to a solution/profile or whatever that can make both monitors look the same. Color management, it's obviously, my worst nightmare.

Kadosh, it is my understanding, that because of how Windows 7/8 selects a single default system profile, you can only have one profile active at a time. Meaning that if you calibrate both monitors, you can still only assign one of the profiles to Windows as the system default. This results in your monitors not matching perfectly. I too use a dual monitor setup, but I basically have just resigned to the fact that my u2711 will be my main "accurate" monitor (With it's ICC profile assigned as default in Windows) while my Dell u2410 is reserved for non-color critical tasks, like my photoshop palettes, windows, system controls, browsing, etc... I don't think there is any way around that issue, unfortunately.


I did not see that anyone asked what web browser is giving you a issue.
 
 
You might want to read this article, its a very common issue.
 
 
firefox, for example is not color managed by default, and will look horrible.  Turn it on as noted here:
 
 
 
http://dptnt.com/2009/02/color-management-basics-color-profile-support-in-web-browsers/
 
 
Here is a test to see if your web browser is color managed.
 
http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

I have tried multiple browsers, including Chrome, Firefox (Not color managed, at the moment) and IE9/10. I somewhat understand that browsers that are not color managed will look different. But because I am exporting from Photoshop/Lightroom as sRGB, shouldn't it be close, even in a non-managed browser? Why would they get oversaturated? Again, this oversaturated look is the same look I get when I enable the proof monitor color setting in photoshop, but that does not at all match what I see in Lightroom.

Furthermore, after I export from Lightroom or Photoshop, if I open the photo in Chrome or Firefox, the photos look fine. After uploading them to my website and viewing it online, poof, the photo looks oversaturated now. What voodoo could possibly going on that makes the same photo look different in the same browser? I posted some screenshots earlier of this behavior.

To make it even more weird, when I upload the photos via my wordpress control panel, the photos look normal too. It's not until I go view the actual page that they become oversaturated in Chrome/Firefox. IE always has the more saturated look. And just to reiterate, the more saturated look is NOT how my photos look in LR or PS (When I have proof colors disabled). I just want to get things consistent so I can make sure I give my clients properly edited photos.

roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2013, 03:06:02 AM »
I found one more helpful tidbit: adding the line --enable-monitor-profile to the end of your chrome shortcut causes it to use your monitor's ICC profile.

It would appear that many of my discrepancies are due to ICC v4. I just recently recalibrated using v2, which is what fixed my super dark colors in window photo previewer, so maybe Chrome/Firefox just get crazy using v4? I don't know. At any rate, Chrome now matches Lightroom and Photoshop, so I'm feeling better about what I give my clients. I just got a custom printed DVD case from WHCC today, and while it isn't perfect, it doesn't seem to be oversaturated like my IE9/10 and PS when proof monitor colors do.

So now that I'm getting a little closer... why would Internet Explorer still show all colors reddish? I thought IE9/10 were supposed to be color managed now?

Additionally, why is the PS CS6 proof monitor color setting making my images look red? Exactly like IE9/10. Maybe I don't fully understand what PS is doing when I check that box.

EDIT: I lied. Turns out the photos are still over saturated in Chrome. When I compared some more, I realized they problem was still there. So I'm no closer to understanding this problem.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 03:10:12 AM by roadrunner »

AmbientLight

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 05:28:56 AM »
I fear the root cause of the color management problem is beyond our control: There is no way to tell programmers to leave images alone. If ever you find that colors change inexplicably then you can expect the application has made some changes.

To correct these you need to anticipate the change, such as desaturating an image only to have it appear more saturated later. This may not be pretty, but as soon as you cannot control the entire environment you need to work around the problems caused by application-specific image enhancements, which may have been designed to make an application or browser more attractive by adding color saturation to images.

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 05:28:56 AM »

roadrunner

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2013, 05:59:50 AM »
AmbientLight, Thanks for the reply. I've heard IE bumps up the saturation a bit, so that would be understandable.

I just went through the steps of configuring Firefox for color management. When I open a photo locally, it looks the same in LR, PS, Windows Photo Viewer, and Firefox... when I go to my blog post though, the pictures still look too red, even in firefox.

Could someone do me a simple favor... does the photo attached to this post match the first photo on my blog?
http://www.covaltsphotography.com/2013/08/274/
Or is the blog post more red? Just trying to narrow down where the colors are screwing up.

AmbientLight

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 06:04:55 AM »
I've viewed both on a cheap uncalibrated monitor and my not-so-cheap, but still uncalibrated laptop monitor and both appear to be the same. There may be a difference visible using a wide gamut, color-calibrated monitor, but I don't have access to my image processing gear right now.

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Re: Color Management Woes
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 06:04:55 AM »