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05-13-2017, 06:18 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Color Representation: Uncalibrated, sRGB vs Adobe RGB, washed out color etc.

Hi all,

Please excuse me for my imperfect english. Can someone help me about the following issue, please?

I took some photos with my friend's camera (if I remember well, it was Pentax K200D). I didn't set anything on the cam before taking the pics. I just left everything as it is, I'm not really an expert and just I used the automatic setting. My friend is not an expert either, he got the cam as a gift, it's old. The file format is JPEG.

Now, when clicking "Properties" on a file, I notice that under "Color Representation" it says: "Uncalibrated", not "sRGB", "Adobe RGB (1998)", "Pro Photo RGB" or anything. But if I open the file in Photoshop, the program identifies the profile as Adobe RGB, so now I'm confused.

Anyway, if I upload the file as it is to Facebook, without any editing or conversion, it shows wrong color (washed out, colder). I guess that Facebook converts from Adobe RGB to sRGB by it's own algorithm, but I'm not sure. Also, I have noticed that when the file is opened in Adobe Photoshop, the program asks whether to keep the embeded profile, to convert the colors to the Photoshop's working space, or to discard the file's profile. I played with the settings and I noticed that if I convert to sRGB or Adobe RGB and save it with embeded profile, the pic on the internet is displayed with it's correct colors (vivid, warmer). Also, if I open the file in Adobe Lightroom and export it as sRGB or Adobe RGB, it shows the right color after the upload.

So, it's not like I'm totally ignorant about these things, I do understand them to some extent, but still, I would really like to know, what's the RIGHT WAY to work with these files? I mean BY THE BOOK? I don't like to experiment / improvise.

I also don't understand, does all this mean that professional photographers, who use Adobe RGB or Pro Photo, must convert all their photos to sRGB before publishing them on the internet? In my case the format is JPEG and I convert to JPEG, so I guess that the conversion causes some additional quality loss, because JPEG is lossy? For this reason, I set maximum quality for the new JPEGs, but I'm not sure if I lose something this way. Maybe I should export to BMP, TIFF or something uncompressed?

Thank you very much.

05-13-2017, 07:22 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
Now, when clicking "Properties" on a file, I notice that under "Color Representation" it says: "Uncalibrated", not "sRGB", "Adobe RGB (1998)", "Pro Photo RGB" or anything. But if I open the file in Photoshop, the program identifies the profile as Adobe RGB, so now I'm confused.
Color representation is not the same as Color Space, right?
Also, just because PS says it is using a certain color space, does not mean the original file was saved in that color space.

I think you can change the Color space in-camera, at least on modern ones. You can choose sRGB or others.

Here is what I always say: Its best to use the same color space throughout your process. In camera, in software, and upon export. Basically, the problem is that some software will kind of ruin the colors if it changes the color space. This is especially a problem online, because most of the internet runs with sRGB. So you can take a nice photo in AdobeRGB, but then once you upload it, the website will automatically turn it to sRGB. This can ruin the image quality! So for online use, it is best to give the website exactly what it wants. That way, it won't recompress, won't change the color space, etc.
I think AdobeRGB and ProRGB might have a slight edge over sRGB for general editing. But sRGB has wider compatibility, at least when it comes to websites.

QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
I also don't understand, does all this mean that professional photographers, who use Adobe RGB or Pro Photo, must convert all their photos to sRGB before publishing them on the internet? In my case the format is JPEG and I convert to JPEG, so I guess that the conversion causes some additional quality loss, because JPEG is lossy? For this reason, I set maximum quality for the new JPEGs, but I'm not sure if I lose something this way. Maybe I should export to BMP, TIFF or something uncompressed?
Most "pro" photographers shoot raw. Raw editors, like Lightroom or RawTherapee, are pretty good at exporting a raw file (pef, dng) to Jpg. They can even change the color space with.. well, no real loss, by many accounts. So "pros" just shoot in ProRGB and then change the color space upon export, if they need to. They don't change the color space of the original raw file, only of the exported jpeg.
But! Doing that with jpeg is not a good idea. And exporting a jpeg into tiff will not really help much. The problem is that the jpeg is already highly compressed. It has much less information than a raw file. Tiff is basically only used when you export a dng and then take it to a high quality print shop, or send it to someone else for editing. Jpeg is only used for mailing it to people, posting it online.

Shoot raw, edit the raw files, then export them as Tiff for print shops or sharing with editors, or export as Jpeg for online stuff. Keep the color space consistent, with as few changes of the color space as possible. You usually want jpegs to be sRGB.

Edit: Keep in mind that most of people have monitors that are uncalibrated and have a low bit rate. A regular monitor might not even be able to show you the full benefit of using 16bit ProPhoto raw/tiff files. And yes, unedited raw files don't look good. Jpeg is a developed photo. Raw has to be developed by you

Last edited by Na Horuk; 05-13-2017 at 07:31 AM.
05-13-2017, 09:26 AM   #3
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Na Horuk, thank you very much for your reply.

So, I understood that professionals take photos in RAW and they edit them in uncompressed formats until the end, when they export to JPEG as a final product.

I understand that I should have set all that on the camera in the beginning, before taking any photos. But what to do now when I have only JPEGs?

I'm not a pro, so JPEGs are good enough for me. Should I now just batch convert them to other JPEGs (with minimum compression and max quality) and sRGB profile? I tried this is Lightroom, the photos seem fine after uploading to the internet. I also tried exporting to Adobe RGB instead of sRGB, and again, they look fine online. Basically I see no difference. So is this the right solution for my problem?

QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Color representation is not the same as Color Space, right? Also, just because PS says it is using a certain color space, does not mean the original file was saved in that color space.
OK, sorry, maybe I'm confusing apples and oranges, but what I see is that in Properties, the files from the Pentax say "Uncalibrated" (which confuses me), while photos from my other cameras and smartphones clearly say "sRGB". Please check the screenshots that I'm sending now.

Name:  001 pentax uncalibrated.jpg
Views: 1814
Size:  103.8 KB

Name:  002 sony.jpg
Views: 1669
Size:  101.8 KB

Name:  003 iphone.jpg
Views: 1819
Size:  117.3 KB

When I open these "Uncalibrated" JPEGs from the Pentax in Photoshop, I get the following message:
Embedded profile mismatch
The document XY.jpg has an embedded color profile that does not match the current RGB working space.

Embedded: Adobe RGB (1998)
Working: Monitor RGB - sRGB IEC61966-2.1

What would you like to do?
  • Use the embedded profile (instead of the working space)
  • Convert document colors to the working space
  • Discard the embedded profile

Name:  004 photoshop message.jpg
Views: 1883
Size:  40.9 KB

I played with the given options a bit and I found ways to save the file either with sRGB or Adobe RGB, and in both cases, the colors look fine online. If I discard the embedded profile when opening the photo, it loses it's colors, so this option is obviously not for me. Basically, I found a way to share my pics online while keeping their color, but is this the proper way to do it? is there anything else I should know?

Thanks.
05-13-2017, 09:57 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
I'm not a pro, so JPEGs are good enough for me. Should I now just batch convert them to other JPEGs (with minimum compression and max quality) and sRGB profile?
Dunno, maybe it depends on the camera. What color space do you have set in the camera's Menu? Does that camera even allow different options? I dont have experience with it. In Lightroom you can choose color space and color profile. They are not exactly the same thing. And the profile usually allows Embedded and AdobeStandard and custom options.
I don't think batch processing is necessary. I would leave the photos alone now. If its a jpeg, its done. If you need to do any touchup, do all the touchup in the same edit. The important part is not to save or reopen the photo between each edit, because with jpeg each save has some compression, and compression over compression degrades quality. And I would still keep the original jpeg as a backup. If you don't overwrite it, you can still go back to the file with the most information. Doing some edits on a max MP, max quality jpeg is possible! It won't completely ruin your photo. Its just less than optimal
And if it looks fine on the website, then its okay! It really depends on the website. I think facebook was pretty infamous for ruining photos. Some photographers don't like that Flickr does some minor edits on their photos. It depends on the website, and also the photo - colour space shifts usually affect the green/orange spectrum, if I remember right


Last edited by Na Horuk; 05-13-2017 at 10:06 AM.
05-13-2017, 10:59 AM   #5
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Thank you for your reply. Obviously I confuse some terms here (color space, color profile, color representation etc...)

Btw an update: I noticed that beside EXIF, IPTC and such metadata, the pics also contain Pentax Maker Notes. There it says Colorspace: Adobe RGB. Here's a screenshot.

Name:  005 pentax maker notes.jpg
Views: 1668
Size:  66.2 KB

The photo date in the screenshot is wrong, which shows you that I haven't set anything in the camera's menu. I have returned the camera to my friend, so I'm unable to check it's options now, neither he understands them.

If I upload the pics as they are - the color is seems a bit washed and dull. It's not so bad, but still. If I put them in Lightroom or Photoshop and if I export them to new JPEGs with sRGB OR Adobe RGB profile - they look fine online. I guess that's the only solution?

I guess that I must convert them, because how else can I embed that colorspace / LCC color profile info to them? [or whatever it is called]. Without that info embeded into them, they will be displayed wrongly online. The current info embedded into them doesnt help. Is there another way to attach that info to them without conversion?

Thanks
05-13-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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Although no experience of the Pentax AFAIK all DSLR's offer a choice of two colour spaces either sRGB or Adobe RGB. The latter having the largest colour gamut with the former offering the smallest colour gamut probably most suited to many non colour savvy applications and browsers

Both of these only have relevance to shooting JPEG's as the colour space setting is totally ignored for raw capture. Raw capture in most modern cameras is capable of capturing colour we cannot see as well as not seeing some colour that we can see, the net result being that the camera is capable of capturing a gamut that exceeds Adobe RGB. This is one of the reasons why some professionals prefer working in ProPhoto which is sure to capture the full gamut that the camera is capable of recording. Some say that Adobe RGB is plenty wide enough, but do not seem to understand that if going to a half decent printer the gamut of modern papers and inks can exceed Adobe RGB by some distance in certain colours.

While sRGB has a much smaller gamut, it is a safe bet for publishing on the 'net'. Also worth mentioning that there is nothing particularly wrong with working with an sRGB workflow as long as colour gamut limitations are accepted.

The problem you are experiencing with colour is typical of a non colour savvy application that may expect to receive only sRGB tagged images (and if not tagged will treat as sRGB data), so when confronted by anything else such as Adobe RGB it does not know how to handle the rendering resulting in what you are seeing.

Ignore any application that tells you 'Uncalibrated' unless the app. is PS. PS will give you the opportunity to use the embeded profile which you should use. Then prior to sending to most web based services such as Facebook it is good practice to Convert to Profile and use sRGB.

Most image makers will convert their images to sRGB prior to publishing to the net at the same time as reducing the file size to something more manageable e.g. 1024 pixels wide?

As you have noted JPEG is a lossy format each new save reducing IQ somewhat. There are better choices for saving without loss such as TIFF or PNG

---------- Post added 05-13-17 at 12:15 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
...
Btw an update: I noticed that beside EXIF, IPTC and such metadata, the pics also contain Pentax Maker Notes. There it says Colorspace: Adobe RGB. Here's a screenshot.

...

The photo date in the screenshot is wrong, which shows you that I haven't set anything in the camera's menu. I have returned the camera to my friend, so I'm unable to check it's options now, neither he understands them.

If I upload the pics as they are - the color is seems a bit washed and dull. It's not so bad, but still. If I put them in Lightroom or Photoshop and if I export them to new JPEGs with sRGB OR Adobe RGB profile - they look fine online. I guess that's the only solution?

I guess that I must convert them, because how else can I embed that colorspace / LCC color profile info to them? [or whatever it is called]. Without that info embeded into them, they will be displayed wrongly online. The current info embedded into them doesnt help. Is there another way to attach that info to them without conversion?

Thanks
The Makers Notes confirm that the in camera setting Adobe RGB and this is absolutely fine but... You need to remember to convert to sRGB prior to sending them to the net including Facebook otherwise you will suffer the washed out look. It is important to use the Convert to Profile (sRGB) rather than Assign Profile

Last edited by TonyW; 05-13-2017 at 12:18 PM.
05-13-2017, 03:19 PM   #7
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TonyW, thank you very much for your reply.

Yes, I see the option Convert to profile in PS, but it has some settings that I don't really understand. I'm afraid that this is a little bit complicated for a newbie like me. Please note the printscreen.

Attachment 355673

Instead, I was thinking that I will just import everything into Adobe Lightroom and export as JPEG with sRGB or Adobe RGB. I tested this, it works fine (well, I'm not an expert, it's just looks fine to me when I view the pics in the default Windows Photo Viewer).

However, now we have a brand new problem. By mistake I clicked the default Windows slideshow and suddenly these pics started to appear on the screen with the wrong colors. I must admit that I'm becoming tired of this confusion between different standards. I wish I have set the cam on sRGB from the beginning to simplify everything. Now the pics are done with such settings, what can I do as a last solution?
05-13-2017, 06:31 PM   #8
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OK, finally I just placed all the pics in Adobe Lightroom and exported them as JPEG (max quality, min compression) and sRGB colorspace. The colors seem fine in the default win photo viewer and also, after upload online. How they would appear in other places, I don't know, but that's it. Thanks everyone for your help.

05-14-2017, 07:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
TonyW, thank you very much for your reply.

Yes, I see the option Convert to profile in PS, but it has some settings that I don't really understand. I'm afraid that this is a little bit complicated for a newbie like me. Please note the printscreen.

Attachment 355673

Instead, I was thinking that I will just import everything into Adobe Lightroom and export as JPEG with sRGB or Adobe RGB. I tested this, it works fine (well, I'm not an expert, it's just looks fine to me when I view the pics in the default Windows Photo Viewer).

However, now we have a brand new problem. By mistake I clicked the default Windows slideshow and suddenly these pics started to appear on the screen with the wrong colors. I must admit that I'm becoming tired of this confusion between different standards. I wish I have set the cam on sRGB from the beginning to simplify everything. Now the pics are done with such settings, what can I do as a last solution?
Your image attachment not showing as I think you need more posts before this can happen. I think the attachment below is what you were intending to show - I have added some basic notes of explanation that may help

The reason images look ok in certain applications such as Windows Photo VIewer and not so good in others such as Slide show is that unfortunately Windows is not a fully colour managed OS in as much as some of their own applications are not colour managed - one such example is the Slide show application. So for those that are not colour managed sending anything other than an sRGB image will lead you to see skewed colour.

So conversion to sRGB first is a recommended step for web and the safe option to take when the image could end up in a non colour managed app.

The reason to work in a wider gamut than sRGB is when images are going to be viewed on a device capable of covering the Adobe RGB gamut (some monitors get very close to full coverage) or being sent to a printer that is capable of exceeding the sRGB gamut. Many modern printers paper and ink sets can exceed Adobe RGB in certain areas (blues and greens for instance) and if you have clipped your capture to sRGB either by in camera JPEG's or conversion to sRGB you have eliminated the possibility of displaying the true colour.

QuoteQuote:
.... How they would appear in other places, I don't know, but that's it. Thanks everyone for your help.
How they appear in other places is a question impossible to answer precisely because it will depend on:

1. You having a properly calibrated/profiled monitor and the profile from this actually being used by your OS and editing via a colour managed application such as LR or PS. Once these conditions are met you are still only half way there as it now depends on the end user/viewers environment..

2. IF an end user also has a correctly calibrated/profiled system and is viewing via a colour managed application or even in a non colour managed application viewing an sRGB image from you chances are good that they will be seeing what you see on your system.

3. You are not able to account for users displays so really all bets are off as to how they will be seeing your images on their systems. Many just take a monitor out of the box and use default settings that may be too bright (very common IMO), too vivid/saturated (pretty common IMO) resulting in them seeing your image displayed in a way that you did not intend.
Short of adding instructions and step wedges to enable a monitor to be fine tuned there is nothing you can do other than accept this as inevitable

Last edited by TonyW; 10-31-2017 at 04:08 AM.
05-18-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
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TonyW,

Thank you for your explanation.

I did what you suggested and the result is good. The result is the same as the result of the conversion that I previously did in Adobe Lightroom. In both cases, the colors are displayed correctly online.

So, converting to sRGB, either in Adobe Photoshop, either in Adobe Lightroom, gives me what I need. It's the same (at least to my eyes). Meanwhile, I also tried this conversion in the program ACDSee and the result is the same, it's good.

I shared the pics with my friends online as I planned, everything seems fine. But before I say "Case closed", there're 4 things that I don't understand:

1. I exported the original Adobe RGB files to sRGB and it solved the problem. But I noticed that some pics need editing. I opened the originals, I edited them, and in the end, I exported them both to sRGB and Adobe RGB in 2 different folders. Note that Lightroom doesn't affect the original files. You can export to sRGB first, and then to Adobe RGB, in both cases, the source will be the original. My rationale was: the sRGB versions of the edited files will be used online, while the Adobe RGB versions of the edited files will be used for printing (if that becomes necesary). Did I do a right thing?

2. As I said, I exported both sRGB and Adobe RGB versions of the edited files. I uploaded the sRGB versions online - it shows correct colors. Out of curiousity, I uploaded the Adobe RGB version - it shows the right colors! How is this possible?

3. In the EXIF of the original files, under Component Config it says: YCbCr. I'm not looking for a detailed explanation of this, but I'd just like to know is this setting correct or it should be changed to something else (if several options are available) next time we use this camera?

4. I noticed that the default Windows 7 Slideshow is inconsistent. Sometimes it does show the true colors for some pics, and sometimes it doesn't (for the same pics). I'm not an expert but I'm afraid that this is not about lack of color management. It's just inconsistency or something.

Thank you
05-18-2017, 11:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
OK, finally I just placed all the pics in Adobe Lightroom and exported them as JPEG (max quality, min compression) and sRGB colorspace.
A Raw file in Lightroom (or other imported file) is edited in the ProPhoto RGB color space (gamma of 1). And when you export to a "Web" image you get it converted to sRGB (gamma 2.2) because that is the default color space of the web.

If an image file has its color info preserved in the file's metadata, most color managed HTTP clients will display it in other than sRGB like, say, Adobe's RGB.
05-19-2017, 12:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by vabsh Quote
TonyW,

... But before I say "Case closed", there're 4 things that I don't understand:

1. I exported the original Adobe RGB files to sRGB and it solved the problem. But I noticed that some pics need editing. I opened the originals, I edited them, and in the end, I exported them both to sRGB and Adobe RGB in 2 different folders. Note that Lightroom doesn't affect the original files. You can export to sRGB first, and then to Adobe RGB, in both cases, the source will be the original. My rationale was: the sRGB versions of the edited files will be used online, while the Adobe RGB versions of the edited files will be used for printing (if that becomes necesary). Did I do a right thing?
I would not bother with making two copies of the same file sRGB and Adobe RGB for a couple of reasons
1. While you may need to produce an sRGB for web you may as well keep your Adobe RGB version as the original creating just 2 copies rather than the 3 your comment seems to suggest
2. If you are going to print you will be using an ICC paper profile for a specific printer paper combination not your editing/working space of Adobe RGB, sRGB or ProPhoto

QuoteQuote:
2. As I said, I exported both sRGB and Adobe RGB versions of the edited files. I uploaded the sRGB versions online - it shows correct colors. Out of curiousity, I uploaded the Adobe RGB version - it shows the right colors! How is this possible?
If your viewing application is colour savvy then it will accept and convert your colour space Adobe RGB ProPhoto RGB to one that will give an accurate colour reproduction on screen

QuoteQuote:
3. In the EXIF of the original files, under Component Config it says: YCbCr. I'm not looking for a detailed explanation of this, but I'd just like to know is this setting correct or it should be changed to something else (if several options are available) next time we use this camera?
YcbCR is not relevant regarding in camera choices so can really be ignored. It stands for either Luminance; Chroma: Blue; Chroma: Red, or Green (Y), Blue (Cb), Red (Cr) (digial video color space)

QuoteQuote:
4. I noticed that the default Windows 7 Slideshow is inconsistent. Sometimes it does show the true colors for some pics, and sometimes it doesn't (for the same pics). I'm not an expert but I'm afraid that this is not about lack of color management. It's just inconsistency or something.
I rarely use slideshow but find it difficult to accept that it can be inconsistent in its colour handling. Rather look for the embedded profile in images that do not display reasonable colour. I am betting you will find the inconsistency here as the application cannot handle other than sRGB
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