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Help Needed – AdobeRGB and all that

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BillN, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    I need help and guidance

    I have Lightroom, Photoshop, use two Computer Screens and then there is my Camera

    My problem is that the same image in LR looks slightly different from the one in Photoshop and when I export the image from Lightroom to my Desktop it looks different again, and the same image looks slightly different between my two monitors, one is digital and the other analogue.
    When I print, it’s just pot luck.

    I would really appreciate a simple list of instructions as to what I need to do to start sorting this.

    Obviously I need to start with monitor calibration, but should I be using AdobeRGB or sRGB or what ever, and then once I get onto printing do I let the printer handle it or I have read about printer profiles, (what are they).

    Please assume that I know very little about the above

  2. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    Hi Bill,

    My workflow is to set my camera and Photoshop to Adobe 98 RGB and convert to sRGB only for images that are posted to the web. Adobe RGB looks better when printed and sRGB looks better on the web. I use a monitor calibrator too, which I highly recommend.

    There's a pretty good summary of color space here:

    • Like Like x 4
  3. ajramirez

    ajramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 16, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico

    I do exactly the same as Steve: shoot and process in Adobe RGB and convert to sRGB only if I will upload the images to the web. You may also need to convert to sRGB if you use a commercial printing service (at least in the US) or if you are sharing photos with non-camera savvy friends.

    Couple of additional comments:

    1. If you shoot RAW, it does not matter which color space you choose in camera. You can choose the color space in the RAW converter when converting the file. For example, if you shoot RAW + JPEG, you can set your camera to sRGB. That way you get an sRGB JPEG you can upload to the web without converting, and a RAW file you can choose to convert as Adobe RGB.

    2. I convert my RAW files using Adobe Camera Raw and post-process using Photoshop CS4. I have ACR set up to Adobe RGB and 16 bits. Photoshop is set up for Adobe 1998 as the default color space. I save my final photos as 16 bit TIFF's and convert those that will be uploaded to the web to sRGB JPEGs.

    3. For printing, in the print dialog box, I select Photoshop manages colors. This requires that you also select from the Printer Profile drop down menu the appropriate profile for the printer and paper combination you are using. This assumes that you have installed the appropriate printer and paper profiles. Otherwise, they will not show up in the menu. If you choose this option, you have to make sure you turn off the printer's color management. Otherwise, you will have double profiling and your photo will look like crap.

    4. If you choose Photoshop manages colors, the print menu will also let you choose a Rendering Intent. The Rendering Intent is basically the way that the printer will deal with out of gamut colors. The two basic choices are Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual. I will not get into the explanation of the differences. I use Relative Colorimetric 99.9% of the time and select Black Point Compensation.

    5. None of this will work appropriately if your monitor is not correctly calibrated. I use a Spider 2 Pro calibrator (not the latest or greatest, but works for me). Whichever one you get, make sure the software allows you to set the screen brightness between 90 and 110cd/m2. Otherwise, your screen will be too bright, and in adjusting your photos to look right on your screen, you will end up with dark prints.

    On a final note, I print using an Epson 3800 which I love to death. It has been recently superseded by the Epson 3880 which is supposed to be even better.

    If you have any questions on any of the above, please do not hesitate to ask.


    • Like Like x 6
  4. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Thanks Steve and Antonio

    I'd like to take this in stages

    G1 set to COLOR SPACE AdobeRGB, (it was set to sRGB)

    CS2 set to Adobe RGB (1998) for Working Spaces, which also have the following settings:
    CMYK = US Web Coated (SWOP) v2
    Grey = Dot Gain 20%
    Spot = Dot Gain 20%

    are these OK?

    Color Management Policies = Preserve Embedded Profiles

    I get a message at the top saying "Unsynchronized: Your creative Suite Applications are not synchronized for consistent colour"

    so guess that this relates to other Apps that I have

    Lightroom changed to Adobe RGB (1998) and 16 bit TIFF

    Adobe Bridge changed to Adobe RGB (1998)

    All above were on sRGB

    I'll "mess" around a little and see if things are changing

    Then maybe I could split this "workflow" thing into three parts:


    Computer apps


    Thanks again
  5. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    Sounds good. I expect that you need to change the color space of all of your Creative Suite applications if you use them. I don't use mine.

    The only suggestion I have on top of what you've done is, as AJ said, shoot RAW, and convert to jpeg at the end of your workflow. I use Photoshop Image Processor to convert to jpeg, which is located under the File menu, then "Scripts." This allow for batch processing, conversion to sRGB, resizing and addition of actions ( I use a "Sharpen for Web" action).

    Please post your results.

  6. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France

    Steve, when I have sorted out my "work flow" - (nice word), and become more proficient at this computer image manipulation lark, I will upgrade LR and use it properly, (I am going thru the tutorials on the Adobe site.....and need to buy a good book on the subject), maybe then I can move onto RAW.

    What I find now is I have so many images that I just do not want to keep and if I shoot in RAW..........it is slow to convert etc.,......and it just doubles my deleting task.

    What i also want to do is to print at least one good A4 image per week and I have read that the printer end of the process can be quite frustrating.

    Also now that I am now trying to take photography more seriously, and improve, I would like to take a "film" a month on some of my old film cameras - but's that's another subject....which may not materialise

    Best wishes
  7. Alex Haigh

    Alex Haigh Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2011
    Dorking, UK
    I know this thread has been dormant for a while and the people involved with it have probably all wandered off somewhere, but there didn't seem to be much point stating a new thread when there was one that had already answered half my question...

    The responses here suggest working in aRGB and then converting to sRGB at the end of your workflow, only for posting to the internet. Is this because you generally end up printing your images as opposed to publishing them online or is there some other reason to use aRGB over sRGB?

    I have found that if I create an sRGB jpeg and upload the image to the internet that image is noticeably different to the one I see in photoshop or in windows picture viewer if I create an aRBG jpeg so do those who work in aRGB do additional post processing when they convert to sRGB to compensate for this difference?

    Or in other words, would someone who anticipates sharing images online more than via prints (as I do) be better off working in sRGB and only converting to aRGB for printing?


  8. hanzo

    hanzo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 22, 2010
    Hi Bill,

    Sometimes different program use different method for displaying images. Theoretically LR and PS should render the image without any difference. There are programs which read embedded ICC profiles in the image and others which don't.
    Color management is quite tricky :) 
  9. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    The problem is that the two cover a different range of colors (aRGB is wider) with the same number of discrete colors. When you convert from aRGB to sRGB the software needs to translate from one color to another. This can be done by either compressing everything into the smaller space (relative) or by finding the closest looking shades to the original (peceptual). There are a couple of other options in your color preferences settings, but they all are a compromise of some sort.

    Since sRGB is the only one than can be displayed by web browsers, you're almost always going to end up there. At that point you lose the assumed advantages of the wider aRGB gamut and actually end up somewhat worse off than if you had been in sRGB all along.

    If you're printing then aRGB is closer to the CMYK gamut so it's the best choice. Start there and don't translate. If you're just going to web then your better off using sRGB through the whole process rather than suffering the conversion errors.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. RetroBoy

    RetroBoy Mu-43 Regular

    Short answer: stick with sRGB.

    aRGB has larger gamut but you won't need it, the print shops won't like it and the web browswers won't use it. Neither will some other viewers, so if you process and tweak in PS in aRGB then save it and open in another viewer it will suddenly appear dull.

    Also you'll need to decide whether to CONVERT to sRGB or ASSIGN sRGB as the working profile.

    If you convert aRGB to sRGB they will appear the same, but the RGB numbers will change.

    If you assign sRGB to an existing aRGB file, the numbers will stay the same but the colours will appear different.

    I have a large format printer and use aRGB in my rip (printer software), but still don't bother using aRGB for my photographs. If I ever thought I'd need the slight advantage in gamut I could shoot raw and select aRGB output just for those files.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Alex Haigh

    Alex Haigh Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2011
    Dorking, UK
    Thanks for your help guys.

    Now all I have to do is go and take some pictures that are worth uploading...
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