Photoshop: What am I doing wrong to get the colors I want?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Makosuke, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #1
    I already tried a thread about this in the Digital Photography section, but didn't get any replies, so I'm hoping maybe this is a better place to ask. I really hope this doesn't count as double posting; I'll try to rephrase more simply (and avoid ranting like a lunatic, which Adobe makes me want to do).


    My question: How the heck do I set up Photoshop (CS3) such that when I open JPEGs in it they look about the same as when I open them in other graphics apps (say, GraphicConverter), work on them, then use Export for Web and Devices, and have what comes out look about the same.

    I've read a number of tutorials I Googled up that explained how to do this, but they don't seem to work, and I can't figure out what I'm missing. I realize that I need to have my working space set as sRGB, which I do. I have Photoshop ask when it opens images; if they've got no color profile I have it apply sRGB, and if they're another color profile I convert it to the working space (sRGB). When I do this, I get images that look like I expect when I open them.

    However, when I go to export for web, even in Photoshop's preview, the reds are significantly desaturated. Making sure NOT to include the ICC profile in the images doesn't make any difference.

    I can get Photoshop to show me the same colors it'll export by turning on Proof Colors and checking "Monitor RGB" in the Proof sub-menu, but I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out how to convert an image such that it looks in Proof/export the same way it looks with proof off--no combination of applying color profiles to the image then converting to another seems to do it.

    (Also what I'm seeing in the working space seems to sometimes randomly change; at one point whenever I would apply a smart sharpen filter, it would change the apparently displayed colors to what no-profile web output produced. Huh?)


    What am I doing wrong here? Help? Please? Surely there's an easier way than using GraphicConverter to do all my web compression.
     
  2. jeffwright macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #2
    Which platform are you using? This sounds like a typical Windows issue, although you refer to graphic converter which I am unsure is available for Windows after all these years.

    Other than that you are on the right track for converting web images to sRGB. Since the only current web browser which supports color management, that I am aware of, is Safari all images need to be pre color managed before they are posted.

    Give us some stats on your system then we might be able to help you better. One tip if you are using a mac is to go to System Preferences>Displays, click on the color tab and click on calibrate. This might help Colorsync better match up your colors properly.

    Btw what display are you using? Do you have a good color profile for your display?
     
  3. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #3
    Sorry about not being specific enough, but thanks for the suggestions.

    MacBook Pro (orig. 17"), 10.5.2 (I haven't updated to 10.5.3 yet due to the network saving issue in Photoshop), CS3 with all updates installed. I don't own a calibrator, but I periodically calibrate my screen using the advanced Pref Pane (always do at anything I sit in front of), and I'm using 2.2 gamma to better simulate the way Windows users will see web graphics.

    I'm not a complete novice when it comes to color issues, but this admittedly isn't my area, which is perhaps why it's so darned frustrating.

    Edit: Ok, now I'm really confused. I just did a quick test on my G5 tower (20" ACD, also 10.5.2) to make sure it's the same--it is, except with a different color shift matching that monitor's profile. Which made me test, and it turns out if I set the working color space to my monitor's profile, and then convert the opened image to that profile (assuming it was already in sRGB), I then get an export of more or less what I'd expect, and what I see. Which makes zero sense to me based on all the tutorials I read.
     
  4. jeffwright macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #4
    What does the color tab have your color profile set too? It should be Color LCD I believe if you are using the original ICC profile which came with your Macbook Pro. If it isn't try reseting to that profile.

    Honestly it sounds like the issue is the fact the ICC profile in Colorsync is not set properly and Graphic Convertor is just ignoring the Colorsync settings. This is an often seen issue with Windows users since there is not really a true system level color management on that Platform. Vista has made steps towards it but it is still up to the Windows developers to actually implement it.

    As for your images the only images which should be in the sRGB profile should be those you originally create for Web only publishing and those which are being converted to be published on the Web. Ideally, and you are probably already aware of this, you would want to use Adobe RGB for originally created images so that it could work in a print and web workflow. Of course you would want to keep any non originally created images in what ever color profile they are set up for.

    I will tell you this is very odd for the Mac to have this type of issue, so I would very much look at your color profile, which is set up in Colorsync, as most likely being the cause.

    Hope that helps? Feel free to post if still having problems.


    Btw your issue intrigued me enough to actually go ahead and register so I could respond :)
     
  5. Mac Kiwi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #5
  6. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    Thanks for all the suggestions and links. I actually use a SuperCal profile on my work machine (old Apple Studio Display monitor), but I thought that the OS calibration routines looked way better on my home machines, for whatever reason, so I use that instead.

    I'd already read both of the tutorials linked, which is part of the reason I'm so confused. I just tested out an entirely different CS3 license on two different Macs at work; a new iMac running 10.5.2 and a G4 tower with Studio Display running 10.4.11, and now I'm more confused than ever. What appears to be happening is that the procedure outlined in the first link (use sRGB working space, monitor preview) DOES work on both machines at work, but the OTHER one (use your monitor's RGB, convert to that) works on BOTH machines at home.


    Basically here's what I get, starting with a JPEG with no profile set but that was created assuming sRGB would be used:

    On BOTH of my home machines, using a JPEG of color swatches opened in Preview (or any other app I can find) as the reference point for "correct":

    With working space set to sRGB:
    Open image (apply sRGB profile) = Looks right
    Set to Monitor Preview = Looks wrong
    Export for web = Looks same as Monitor Preview, and wrong

    With working space set to Calibrated Monitor RGB:
    Open image (convert to Monitor Profile) = Looks right
    Set to monitor preview = looks same
    Export for web = looks right


    But on BOTH of my work machines, here's what I get:

    With working space set to sRGB:
    Open image (apply sRGB profile) = Looks wrong
    Set to Monitor Preview = Looks right
    Export for web = Looks same as Monitor Preview, and right

    With working space set to Calibrated Monitor RGB:
    Open image (convert to Monitor Profile) = Looks right
    Set to monitor preview = looks same
    Export for web = looks WRONG


    So basically my home Macs and my work Macs are each doing something different with, so far as I can tell, the exact same settings. Based on those links, it sounds like the Viget guy's Photoshop is behaving like my home Macs; the longer pro one (and the knowledgeable guy in the comments on the Viget one) seems to be getting the results of my work Macs.


    Basically my home Macs, and the Viget guy's too, are applying the monitor's profile to the image before saving for web, regardless of what the working RGB is set to.

    Any guesses as to why? Is there a checkbox somewhere else I'm missing? Something in another CS3 app that's set differently?
     
  7. jeffwright macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #8
    Ok first thing the working space just has to do with newly created images, and depending on if you adjust your color management settings recently opened images. You can set your color management settings to convert every image you open to sRGB but that would be a very bad idea.

    When you use the Monitor preview feature then it is basically assigning a color profile to your image. What this does is not adjust the color values of your image permanently, a very good idea, but is used for what is known as a soft proof feature. This is used to give you an idea of what the image is going to look like when sent to the proofed device and it uses color management.

    On looking at your post it looks like one of your ICC profiles might be damaged, but perhaps not the one set in colorsync. On the computer which is working right go to the following location: Library/Application Support/Adobe/Color/Profiles and copy them all to a cd/usb drive/over network whatever.

    Next go to the machine which isn't working, go to the same location as listed above and delete everything in the folder. Even the folder titled recommended. Btw make sure your Adobe software is closed while doing this. Then copy over the profiles from your working machine to the non-working machine to the same location. Should I believe correct the problem.

    If that still doesn't look right trash the calibrated monitor RGB profile, wherever you have stored it, and re-calibrate your monitor. If you are still having problems then there may be issues with your colorimeter. In that case go back to the default ICC profile in Colorsync which I mentioned earlier in the thread.

    Let me know how it turns out, love color management issues to solve they kind of fun. Like word finds or crosswords or something :)
     

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