Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Hi there.

I'm trying to find out if I'm doing something wrong.

And as far as I know, many PS users struggle with understanding profiles and assigning them so maybe this thread will be helpful for others.

My monitor profiling and overall color management workflow is this:

1. unassign any profile from my displays, then calibrate each monitor - create profiles.

2. assign proper profiles for each monitor in Windows Color Management setting.

3. In Photoshop go to Edit->Color Settings and for RGB change profile to "Monitor RGB - XXXXXXXX"

4. I disable Color Management Policies for RGB images.

To test if everyting is fine and that I see all color properly, I create an image with 3 color spots: 100% Red, 100% Green, 100% Blue.

I take a 'print screen' of this image and paste it into Photoshop. When I measure these three colors and they are 100% then all's fine - I see what I'm supposed to see..

The problem comes with Bridge. Thumbnails show something completelly different. And I understand it's because it converts everything to sRGB (I found this info on this forum). I don't care, Bridge is only an explorer.

But THE BIGGEST PROBLEM appears in Camera Raw. If I open this 100%RGB JPG image I mentioned above into Camera Raw, the color don't match at all. You can see it with your bare eye that it's not OK. But, if I open this image from Camera Raw into Photoshop, colors are fine.

So the question is - how the heck Camera Raw manages color? How do I set it up properly to see images in the right way?

Thanks for you r help in advance!

-Adrian

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Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Hi there.

I'm trying to find out if I'm doing something wrong.

And as far as I know, many PS users struggle with understanding profiles and assigning them so maybe this thread will be helpful for others.

My monitor profiling and overall color management workflow is this:

1. unassign any profile from my displays, then calibrate each monitor - create profiles.

2. assign proper profiles for each monitor in Windows Color Management setting.

3. In Photoshop go to Edit->Color Settings and for RGB change profile to "Monitor RGB - XXXXXXXX"

4. I disable Color Management Policies for RGB images.

To test if everyting is fine and that I see all color properly, I create an image with 3 color spots: 100% Red, 100% Green, 100% Blue.

I take a 'print screen' of this image and paste it into Photoshop. When I measure these three colors and they are 100% then all's fine - I see what I'm supposed to see..

The problem comes with Bridge. Thumbnails show something completelly different. And I understand it's because it converts everything to sRGB (I found this info on this forum). I don't care, Bridge is only an explorer.

But THE BIGGEST PROBLEM appears in Camera Raw. If I open this 100%RGB JPG image I mentioned above into Camera Raw, the color don't match at all. You can see it with your bare eye that it's not OK. But, if I open this image from Camera Raw into Photoshop, colors are fine.

So the question is - how the heck Camera Raw manages color? How do I set it up properly to see images in the right way?

Thanks for you r help in advance!

-Adrian

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Correct Answer by D_Fosse
Adobe Community Professional, Dec 3, 2017
Correct Answer by D_Fosse
Adobe Community Professional, Dec 3, 2017

Just install the profile and let the calibrator handle it. The profile is then set up as system default for that display - meaning that this is the profile the OS will provide to applications that request it. Applications that aren't color managed won't ask for it.

Once the profile is installed, you don't need to do anything. When Photoshop starts, it asks the OS for a display profile, gets it and loads it, and then continually converts all data going to the display, to that profile. It's a standard document profile > monitor profile conversion.

ACR works the same way, converting from source data into the monitor profile. The difference is that the source profile in ACR isn't a standard working space profile, but a special variant with ProPhoto primaries, but linear tone response curve (gamma). This special profile is usually just called linear ProPhoto. But in principle, Photoshop and ACR both handle this in the exact same way.

Note that there is an intermittent and occasional bug in ACR that sometimes causes it to use the wrong profile in a dual monitor setup. It may convert to the profile for the primary display, even if ACR sits on the secondary display. Then things go wrong. This has been reported here several times, but so far I haven't seen any official response from Adobe. The only workaround I know of is to set display assignments in the OS accordingly, so that ACR is on the main and not the secondary display.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Adobe Community Professional, Dec 01, 2017

I'm trying to find out if I'm doing something wrong.

The problems you're having are caused by setting the RGB working space to Monitor RGB.

Don't ever do this - the monitor profile should never be used for anything in Photoshop's color settings.

Everything the monitor profile does happens behind the scenes, without any action of your part.

Using Monitor RGB disables color management, which is the opposite of what you want to do.

To display images correctly, Photoshop converts the colors in the image from the embedded profile to the monitor profile.

With the working space set to Monitor RGB, no conversion takes place (because the input and output profile is the same), and Photoshop will behave like any other application without color management, like Windows Explorer or the Windows 10 Photos app.

The working space should be set to a standard profile, like sRGB, or possibly Adobe RGB if you have a wide gamut monitor.

And set Color management policies back to Preserve embedded profiles - this is a safe and sensible setting.

Photoshop will display images correctly even if the embedded profile and the working space don't match.

1. unassign any profile from my displays, then calibrate each monitor - create profiles.

2. assign proper profiles for each monitor in Windows Color Management setting

Uanassigning and assigning profiles are not necessary - the calibration software will take care of this.

But you can of course go into the Color management dialog to check that the correct profiles are set as default.

When you change the settings like I've suggested above, Camera Raw and Bridge should also display correctly.

Below is a screenshot of my Color settings.

PS-color-settings.png

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Hi Per,

thanks for your answear.

Please have a look at this image

colors comparison.jpg

You can see settings as well as the same image opened in Photoshop and in Windows photos app.

You can inspect colors - they are not the same. They all should be 255Red, 255 Green, 255 Blue only.

On this machine (laptop) it's not so obvious, but on the other one I see big differences with my bare eyes.

So tell me - which app shows proper colors? Photoshop? Or Windows Photos App?

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Adobe Community Professional, Dec 01, 2017

The Windows Photos app is not color managed (it doesn't use the monitor profile), and will always be wrong.

Photoshop is color managed, and will always be right.

On this machine (laptop) it's not so obvious, but on the other one I see big differences with my bare eyes.

I suspect that the other one is a wide gamut monitor, where there will be a big difference (increased saturation) between color managed applications and non-color managed applications. With a wide gamut monitor, you have to use only color managed applications to view your work.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

What you just wrote means, that each Windows user calibrates and profiles their machines to get not correct colors representation on screen?

After calibration and profile, every app (Photos,Movies, Browsers, my other graphic apps) displays images the same. Only photoshop not.

The sense is this: I calibrate and create profile, so if I have 255R value on a screen - so I SEE 255R value with my eyes.

You can see without a doubt that Photos APP displays 255R as fully saturated RED, and Photoshop displays it a little bit dull. Meaning it's not right. This is why I'm using this simple image. It gives a great representation.

All of this doesn't make sense.

I made a comparison. Photoshop, BM Fusion, BM DaVinci Resolve. Fusion and Resolve display (and you can measure it) 100% color values. Photoshop not.

Blackmagic is wrong? All the professionals in the world are working with wrong color representation on their screen? Because there is no "color settings" in Fusion.

colors comparison-2.jpg

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Adobe Community Professional, Dec 02, 2017

After calibration and profile, every app (Photos,Movies, Browsers, my other graphic apps) displays images the same. Only photoshop not.

Most applications are not color managed - they don't convert the document profile into the monitor profile, but display the image uncorrected. Photos (and probably Movies), Internet Explorer and Edge are definitely not color managed, and will not display the same as Photoshop.

As for your other graphics apps (BM Fusion, BM DaVinci Resolve) I have no idea whether they are color managed - I have no experience with them.

But you need to understand that calibration and profiling only affect color managed applications - like Photoshop and Lightroom.

Most applications are completely unaware of the monitor profile.

You can see without a doubt that Photos APP displays 255R as fully saturated RED, and Photoshop displays it a little bit dull. Meaning it's not right. This is why I'm using this simple image. It gives a great representation.

Like I said, Photos is not color managed, and will not display correct colors.

RGB values will vary depending on the document profile. Colors that have the same value will look different with different profiles, and colors that display identically will have different values with different profiles.

The # after the file name in your screenshot indicates that the file is untagged - it does not have an embedded profile,

If you want to compare RGB values or colors between applications, you have to start out with a color managed file created in a color managed application.

Create the file in Photoshop, and make sure to choose a color profile in the New file dialog - like sRGB or Adobe RGB.

Then open the file in your other applications, and if they don't display the same as Photoshop, they are not color managed.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

https://forums.adobe.com/people/Per+Berntsen  wrote

But you need to understand that calibration and profiling only affect color managed applications - like Photoshop and Lightroom.

Most applications are completely unaware of the monitor profile.

No Per, I don't think so.

If this was true, you would see no difference in seeing images after deleting the profile.

So I delete a profile and see that image get's totally twisted. In any app you use.

What you write is: don't calibrate and profile your laptop if you're not a person working with Photoshop or similar software, because you wan't see any difference. It's not true. You'll see a giantic difference in every app you use.

Can someone else, Adobe employee would be best,  to jump into discussion?

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Adobe Community Professional, Dec 02, 2017

Per is entirely right, but I think you misunderstand what he's saying. So let's strip this to the basics.

Calibration is a simple, linear adjustment of the display itself. You set a white point, and neutralize R=G=B relative to that white point. Naturally, this affects everything you see on screen equally (and, simply by correcting a color cast, the difference to the uncalibrated state can be huge).

The profile is a much more complex animal. It is a full and detailed three-dimensional map of the monitor's native color space. It accounts for the position of the three primary colors, as well as all irregularities in the tone response curve.

Here's the thing: The profile is a description of the monitor in its calibrated state. It doesn't adjust anything. It's a standard icc-specified profile, and it's used by color managed applications only, in a perfectly standard profile conversion. This conversion is performed on the fly, as you work, by the application.

----

So you can see that calibration and profiling are two very different things, serving entirely different purposes. They are easy to mix up, though, because calibration tables are usually stored inside the profile. But this is just for convenience. Since the profile describes the monitor in its currently calibrated state, one relies on the other. In addition, both are based on measuring the display, so they are performed by the calibrator in one go, one after the other.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Alright, let's assume we have a computer set.

Let's say 2 monitors.

We have a calibrator and calibration software, for example: Color Munki for sensor and DisplayCal with Argyll CMS for software.

So we are doing the software calibration, not hardware calibration (we're  not changing monitor internal settings with calibrator).

We run the calibration, in the end we're asked if we want to install the profile?

Should we instal it?

How in general should we set everything up? The system, the apps, and so on,  so we see color as they should be seen?

Thanks so far for you voice in this discussion Per and D.

Cheers!

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Correct Answer by D_Fosse
Adobe Community Professional, Dec 03, 2017

Just install the profile and let the calibrator handle it. The profile is then set up as system default for that display - meaning that this is the profile the OS will provide to applications that request it. Applications that aren't color managed won't ask for it.

Once the profile is installed, you don't need to do anything. When Photoshop starts, it asks the OS for a display profile, gets it and loads it, and then continually converts all data going to the display, to that profile. It's a standard document profile > monitor profile conversion.

ACR works the same way, converting from source data into the monitor profile. The difference is that the source profile in ACR isn't a standard working space profile, but a special variant with ProPhoto primaries, but linear tone response curve (gamma). This special profile is usually just called linear ProPhoto. But in principle, Photoshop and ACR both handle this in the exact same way.

Note that there is an intermittent and occasional bug in ACR that sometimes causes it to use the wrong profile in a dual monitor setup. It may convert to the profile for the primary display, even if ACR sits on the secondary display. Then things go wrong. This has been reported here several times, but so far I haven't seen any official response from Adobe. The only workaround I know of is to set display assignments in the OS accordingly, so that ACR is on the main and not the secondary display.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Guys, thanks for your answears.

I think I understand it all very well now.

The reason my NEC display shows different colors in Windows Photos App and Phosotop is it's wide gamut, and shows more than standard sRGB image can. If Photoshop has sRGB profile instaled, it cut's out color that go out of gamut, to show me only sRGB.

Windows App shows the image in the whole gamut, my monitor ca produce.

Thanks for this lesson.

It was eye-openinig.

Cheers!

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Adobe Community Professional, Dec 04, 2017

Yes, that's correct. To be perfectly accurate, the color is remapped into the target color space. This changes the RGB numbers. If the numbers were unchanged, going from a small color space (sRGB) to a larger (wide gamut monitor), saturation increases. It's like inflating a balloon. So the numbers need to be recalculated, and that's what the conversion does.

When you say "profile conversion" most people think of a user actively converting between profiles in Photoshop. But it's exactly the same thing happening. There's a source profile (document), and a destination profile (monitor). The only difference is that the application performs it automatically as you work. Every change of a slider, and a new conversion is performed, and the resulting data sent to the display.

And if an application is not color managed, like Windows "Photos", none of this happens. The document RGB values are just sent straight through.

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Re: Color Management workflow for PS and Camera RAW

Thanks one again to both of you!

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