What's the point of Lightroom & Aperture if Color Variance in Pictures is SO UNSTABLE

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VideoNewbie, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. VideoNewbie macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    - i color calibrated my macbook with spyder2pro.

    -slaved hours on lightroom adjusting the color on a photo that i took...after "perfecting" the image. i saved the image very satisfied with my work.

    -sent it on over to the photo lab and had the picture printed.

    well what do you know. not only does the color in the photo look nothing like the image on my LCD screen, ive noticed that the color of the photo looks different depending whether i am looking at it in photoshop, in preview, in firefox, in safari.

    its driving me mad.

    any tips & advice?

    here is my display info for my macbook pro

    ATI Radeon X1600:

    Chipset Model: ATY,RadeonX1600
    Type: Display
    Bus: PCIe
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 256 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x71c5
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-xxxxxx-158
    EFI Driver Version: 01.00.158
    Color LCD:
    Resolution: 1440 x 900
    Depth: 32-Bit Color
    Core Image: Hardware Accelerated
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Quartz Extreme: Supported
    Built-In: Yes
  2. cosmokanga2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    It can depend on a couple of things.

    - What was the images' colour profile? RGB, sRGB, CYMK?
    - Did you use proofing profiles in light room or PS?
    - Some programs have different colour decoder/render engines. Firefox displays differently from Safari for example.
    - What was the printer using for their profiles and inkjets?
    - Does your display display the full colour profile?

    There are many different things but I tend to keep everything RGB and using the same proofing and screen calibrations. Also, check a photo on different computers before sending it off.
  3. VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    - What was the images' colour profile? RGB, sRGB, CYMK?
    When i saved the image in photoshop i left the "embed color profile srgb" box checked. (although i dont see any difference when i leave it unchecked
    - Did you use proofing profiles in light room or PS?
    When you say proofing profiles do you mean going to view in photoshop >> and setting proof set up as "monitor RGB" ??
    - Some programs have different colour decoder/render engines. Firefox displays differently from Safari for example.
    So how do we know which one is more accurate?
    - What was the printer using for their profiles and inkjets?
    No idea this is their website but i couldnt find the info...http://www.argentum.com
    - Does your display display the full colour profile?
    hmm...how do i check if it does?
  4. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    I'm puzzled that Preview and Safari give different-looking results.

    I'm not sure whether Firefox reads embedded colour profiles yet, so that could be the issue with Firefox.

    Calibrating your monitor is just one step in getting colour matching to work.

    In Photoshop, you can edit in whatever colour space you like. Most people use Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB for the widest possible range of colours, but sRGB is okay if you're aiming for web output.

    You then have to consider the intended output device. This is where "soft proofing" comes in.

    If you're aiming for web output, soft-proof as sRGB (even though perhaps you're editing in AdobeRGB). Most uncalibrated monitors around the world are nearer to sRGB than any other colour space, so it's a reasonable middle ground.

    If you're aiming for printed output, you NEED the correct profile for the printer and paper. Pro labs should give you this as a .ICC file if you ask them. Non-pro labs will be close to sRGB (as that's a reasonable approximation for what the masses with digicams shoot in).

    Once you've done the editing, you need to CONVERT TO the output profile before saving.

    Convert to your printer's profile if you're printing. Convert to sRGB if you're putting the image on a website.

    Then save.

    Embedding the profile in the saved file is good for colour-space-aware web browsers (e.g. Safari) whose users have calibrated their monitors. It means the end user should see EXACTLY what you intended when you were soft-proofing your image.

    It won't help for printing.

    I don't know how much of all this you already know, but if you're doing all that and results are still bizarre for you, I think you need to get someone local to have a look at your setup and see what's happening.
  5. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    You've set yourself on a long road of discovery. Obtaining colour consistency is difficult and takes time to get right along with some trial and error.

    You have got some mixed advice in previous posts in this thread. I would seriously advise keeping your eye open for another webinar such as this one: http://blog.warehouseexpress.com/free-colour-management-webinar/
    I watched it last month and it was extremely informative.

    This site is full of info too: www.colourconfidence.co.uk
    I've just found their video archive: https://shop.colourconfidence.com/page.php?xPage=videos.html

    A good colour workflow allows you to get the best possible indication of how an image will be output, whether this is on screen or print. There are many variables along the way and not only that but as humans we all perceive colours differently too! We see colours differently in the morning than in the evening, the light in our environment, how tired we are, social upbringing (ie what you have been taught is red may be slightly different to how someone else was taught is red) etc. Even with a good colour workflow what you see on your screen will NEVER be exactly the same as what is printed. One simple reason for this is that computer screens are backlit and you view a print by light reflected from the image - the way light/colour works is different for both.

    Your camera will be able to record images with either AdobeRGB or sRGB profiles. AdobeRGB records more colours but most computer screens and most printers only print the sRGB gamut. So unless you are looking to get the best possible screen and only use pro labs, one area you can simplify your process is to stick with sRGB in your camera and in Photoshop.

    Calibrate your screen, which you have. The Spyder Pro is excellent. Make sure the screen has been on for 30mins before you calibrate, the colours DO change as the screen warms up.

    If your printer sends you their printer profile, you do not convert the image to this profile - you use it when viewing the image as a soft proof in Photoshop (found in the view menu). Keep the image as sRGB (assuming that is what you work with). A soft proof is intended to give you an idea of how the image will print out on a given printer, with a specific set of ink, on a specific paper (these are all variables too!)

    When you send the image to be viewed on another computer, unfortunately unless that screen/computer combination is calibrated too, what the user sees is mostly pot luck.

    Not all software is colour profile aware. I don't believe Preview is ie it ignores the info in the colour profile. Photoshop, Aperture etc are. In some versions of Bridge you can disable whether it reads the colour profile.

    For Firefox you can get this plugin that makes it colour profile aware.

    Find a good printer. If the printers machines are poorly maintained and/or they don't have a good colour workflow then you won't get consistent results from them. Even something as simple as dirty wash water in the rinse tanks of a Fuji Frontier can affect the colour as well as the standard of the processing chemicals.

    If you are printing the image yourself, then it is worth profiling your home printer/ink/paper combination. You must let the ink dry for 20 mins before doing it as the colours change as they dry. Also, once you've calibrated it is critical to disable the printer colour management and let Photoshop handle all the colour info.

    Hope some of that makes sense and helps. Like I said, it is complex, takes some time to get working, but it is really worth pursuing. Again, I wholeheartedly recommend watching a webinar on the subject and find a good printer. Unfortunatley this subject is more complex than just profiling your monitor, but that is a very good place to start.
  6. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    Okay, maybe I'm wrong, and I'm willing to be corrected on this, but I thought that you do need to convert your whatever-RGB image to your printer's colour space.

    That's what www.proamimaging.com tell me to do when I send them files to print:

    "Photoshop 7 or CS
    Launch Photoshop
    Open an image
    Go to IMAGE
    Go to MODE
    Go to 'convert to profile'
    Select the Fuji profile
    Click OK"
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    As I understand it, the color management in the printer driver, or the printer itself should do the converting to its own internal profile. You'd use a printer-supplied profile to soft proof and get an idea of the color output, or to check for out-of-gamut error, but you typically do not convert your image from sRGB/AdobeRGB/whatever into a printer specific profile, that's the printer (or printer driver's) job, just like it is the job of the OS and your monitor calibration file to convert color data to your specific monitor.

    There may be something specific to their model of printer or whatnot that may be different I can't say for sure but as I understood it you were not supposed to convert any picture's colorspace into a device-specific profile. Only for soft-proofing.
  8. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007

    Hi, sorry - this is where it's all a little more confusing and I missed out something in my earlier post regarding this. From what I understand Fuji and Noritsu machines don't actually read the image colour profile. They simply print the colours as is in the file without referring to the embedded profile and converting to it's own specific printer profile.

    Your printer/lab has custom profiled their Fuji Frontier. The profile they have supplied you allows you to see how the file will look when printed through their machine. However, it is good practice to save a copy with the default sRGB/AdobeRGB embedded because you could be modifying the colour and contrast significantly once the Fuji profile is applied. In our office we actually simply apply a batch process that adjusts the curves and saturation (and tweaks the sharpening - a printed image will always be softer that the same image/file on screen, this is just due to the nature of the print process) to all our images before we send them through the Fuji and save these in a separate folder. Doing this batch is our way of applying a custom profile for our printer.

    If you are seeing a shift in how the printed images look compared to your files it is worth asking your lab to check if all automatic adjustments are turned OFF. Our machine is set to not apply auto adjustments if the image has been edited (eg in Photoshop). If the jpg is straight out of the camera then auto adjustments are ON/applied.

    Photoshop is profile aware. When printing from Photoshop to an inkjet then there is no need to convert to the printer profile because by allowing Photoshop to handle the colours, it converts the image to the printer's colour space as it sends the file to print. This is where you need to set the correct settings in the print dialogue. Photoshop to handle colours, select the printer/paper/ink profile as the destination and disable any colour handling by the printer itself. When printing to an inkjet is when you can use softproofing to get an idea of how the finished result will look without the need to convert the actual file permanently to the destination space - this is useful because all the different papers you have will have a different profile, so it saves you the hassle of keeping copies of the same image for each type of paper you wish to print on. You just keep a master sRGB/AdobeRGB file and Photoshop applies the destination profile at the print stage on the fly.

    Like I said earlier, getting a good colour workflow takes some knowledge, and some trial and error. Once you are there though it is very rewarding getting your images back as you imagined/wished.

    I believe I'm correct in what I've written (please let me know otherwise as I always want to learn more - esp. regarding colour profiles and Frontiers), and the system we have works well for us. I hope what I've written is of use and makes colour profiling a little more clear for some of you.

    FYI, Fuji Frontiers can print the sRGB colour space. I don't believe they have the range for printing AdobeRGB.

    These links may be of help too:


  9. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    For those of you who may be interested Colour Confidence are holding another profiling (screen and printing) webinar in a few days time - click on the link below to go to the registration webpage:

  10. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Wow, pretty intimidating!

    It would seem like a good idea for Apple to come up with automatic color control of some sort. This would be a big competitive advantage.
  11. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Apple has had it for years; it's called ColorSync. Color matching/calibration will never be totally automatic as there are far too many variables.

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