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Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?

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Kristoffer Jeberg
Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?
on Jun 9, 2017 at 8:02:06 pm

Hello everyone!

I am so frustrated because I am a multimedia designer and I still fail to understand working spaces/ICC profiles in Photoshop. I hope someone can help me out!

What I know (I hope I understood it right!):
You can assign an ICC-profile to an image to make it look different than the original. This is done to make it look right on a specific screen, on the web, on a printer etc. This profile can be changed anytime.

My cameras assign sRGB to the images by default. I normally edited and saved my family photos etc. with sRGB. I know Adobe RGB 1998 has a larger gamut, but I guess there is no meaning in using that when my camera applies sRGB?

My question is: Which profile should I activate when EDITING the photo? The monitor profile with the calibration from my screen? My screen is set to sRGB and calibrated with the casual Windows calibration utility.

Another thing, I noticed that if I open my images and change the color profile from sRGB to Adobe RGB 1998, the image looks very red in colors. On the other hand, if I use sRGB, the image looks almost exactly as if I didn't assign a color profile, and also looks well on other computer screens. Then why use Adobe RGB, it has a larger gamut but doesn't look right at all? Is that for printing presses? If I edit it with Adobe RGB 1998 activated, the image will look very dull on computer screens because I would make is way less red to compensate for that red color.

Thank you very much for reading this, any help is much appreciated!

Kind regards
Kristoffer


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Dominic Deacon
Re: Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?
on Jun 12, 2017 at 10:32:03 pm

Colour profiles do my head in. I don't really understand them so take with a grain of salt but I've just finished sorting out an issue where my images look fine on all screen except for Android phones. Insane and took about 3 days to sort and along the way this is what I picked up: Basically if your images are strictly for the web then just use sRGB. Actually, for your sanity's sake, just use sRGB for everything unless you have a client/printer who has a specific request for a profile.

[Kristoffer Jeberg] "My cameras assign sRGB to the images by default.

Usually your camera will have settings to shoot in Adobe RGB. It will be buried in the menus somewhere.

[Kristoffer Jeberg] I normally edited and saved my family photos etc. with sRGB. I know Adobe RGB 1998 has a larger gamut, but I guess there is no meaning in using that when my camera applies sRGB?"

I'm no expert but I'm not sure that's necessarily true. But as above usually just use sRGB anyway.


[Kristoffer Jeberg] "Another thing, I noticed that if I open my images and change the color profile from sRGB to Adobe RGB 1998, the image looks very red in colors. On the other hand, if I use sRGB, the image looks almost exactly as if I didn't assign a color profile, and also looks well on other computer screens. Then why use Adobe RGB, it has a larger gamut but doesn't look right at all? Is that for printing presses?"

There will be a shift in the colours as you shift profiles. If you shoot in sRGB then it will look the same on your screen as the back of your camera if you edit in sRGB. And vice versa with adobeRGB. Be aware that if you're editing in photoshop that Camera RAW has it's own profile settings that are independent of what you edit with in the main interface. This can be a big gotcha and is what screwed me over with the Android issue I mentioned above.


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Kristoffer Jeberg
Re: Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?
on Jun 13, 2017 at 6:04:35 pm

Thanks very much for your reply, I am happy to hear I am not the only one with this problem. I hope you got it all in control! Because color managing and screen calibration is driving me insane ☺ I will follow your advice. I understand you use sRGB s color profile when editing and sRGB when exporting, right?

What I really fear is that I may somehow miss some details when retouching images if I look at the images with a slightly too low gamut when editing them. What I fear is "gamut clipping" so that some edges of things I want to remove (artifacts, skin blemishes etc.) will be invisible for me in the lower gamut. Is that posssible? I mean, so I leave an "edge around the object because it blended in with the sorroundings following the low gamut? I hope someone can answer that too!

BTW I plugged in my old CRT next to my computer because I heard that it would be good for editing images (a slightly larger gamut than LCD). At the moment I am in the process of calibrating it by using online test patterns with my OSD and also a little graphic card adjustments. After that I will calibrate the LCD in my laptop. I don't feel like spending money on a colorimeter so I have to do it manually. I hope I can do it well enough for my needs!


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Dominic Deacon
Re: Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:12:02 am

[Kristoffer Jeberg] " I understand you use sRGB s color profile when editing and sRGB when exporting, right?"

Yes, as I understand it is best to use sRGB from start to finish unless there's a requirement to do otherwise.

[Kristoffer Jeberg] "What I fear is "gamut clipping" so that some edges of things I want to remove (artifacts, skin blemishes etc.) will be invisible for me in the lower gamut. Is that posssible?"

No I don't think so. Basically when someone is viewing your image on an AdobeRGB monitor then the colours will shift to being overly lurid and vivid. One of my monitors is set to AdobeRGB and it's quite a strikingly different effect. But no new information is revealed. It's just misrepresenting the colours (unless the source is AdobeRGB in which case it gives accurate colours). I've never found additional artifacts or anything because of this. Not many people use an adobeRGB monitor and those that do will be used to images looking wierd so it's not your problem.

[Kristoffer Jeberg] "BTW I plugged in my old CRT next to my computer because I heard that it would be good for editing images (a slightly larger gamut than LCD)."

There's a lot of reasonably priced LCD monitors out there that will give 100% sRGB coverage. For a bit more you can get ones that will cover 100% (or near enough) AdobeRGB. I'd definitely go that way rather than fiddling too much. I never had colour space issues till I started fiddling. Having dealt with those issues I'm very wary of going that way again. Ken Rockwell wrote an article about this where the quote that stuck with me was: "Adobe RGB should never be used unless you really know what you're doing and do all your printing yourself. If you really know what you're doing and working in publishing, go right ahead and use it. If you have to ask, don't even try it."

Plenty more useful tips in this article: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm The


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Kristoffer Jeberg
Re: Working spaces/ICC profiles. Which one when editing and which to use when exporting?
on Jun 14, 2017 at 7:00:45 pm

Nice, do you calibrate your monitor? I decided to buy a BenqQ GC2870H LCD monitor which reaches a gamut between sRGB and AdobeRGB. I only use sRGB so it will be very fine for me (like you said, I shouldn't use Adobe RGB). Someone told me that if I don't have a colorimeter to calibrate it, I should just use the supplied BenQ profile. What does that mean? That I should use the profile in Photoshop as working space when editing and then exporting in sRGB? Which screen setting then? Sorry for all the questions.

About my gamut clipping fear, nice to hear that they aren't true. But what if my photo was taken in full sRGB and then edited with a 90% sRGB gamut monitor (non-calibrated). Could the error happen then? I am so neurotic with this lol!! However, to test it I opened some old images I retouched many years ago with an old school non calibrated LCD, and they didn't have any artifacts/errors when viewed on my 100% sRGB gamut smartphone (zoomed in). So yeah, it's probably me being neurotic. I guess the gamut difference are to small for that to happen, anything can apparently be seen on even an old LCD.

Once again, thank you very much for your insights, always nice listening to an expert on the subject.


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