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Which color profile to use for digital media. (Adobe x sRGB)

New Here ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Hi, folks!

 

We're facing a color profile issue in the company I work at.
Currently we have around 20 designers which create graphics for many channels as social media, e-mail marketing and our mobile application. We almost never create anything for printing as 99.99% of our work is for digital media.

 

Naturally, we work on the RGB color space on a daily basis but when it comes to color profiles, the whole thing get a bit tricky. As you may have imagined, with lots of different team members, working with different devices and channels, we get lots of inconsistencies too. Sometimes our color palette looks a bit dull or even oversaturated in some users screens and most of it happens because we don't have a consistent color management pipeline.

About 2 years ago the team has elected Adobe RGB as our main color profile for creating graphics. We didn't do much of a researching job to get to this conclusion. People just filled two photoshop canvases with ou brand color (#ff7a00), one configured with sRGB color profile and the other with Adobe RGB and people felt that it "looked better" with the latter. It kinda works as our graphics looks consistent across our designers screens (we work mostly with apple retina displays) but when it comes to other kinds of screens we face some distortions. The main inconsistency shows up at our mobile app where our brand color is displayed in two ways: with static assets as banners but also with programmatically rendered images via SVGs, CSS and so on.

 

The main question is. Which is the definitive color profile for us to use? I've been looking to this issue for some weeks and I'm fairly convinced that we should switch to sRGB, (For example, by using Save for Web we don't face this issue at all) as it looks more consistent on non-retina displays and while interacting with programmatically rendered colors. Otherwise, our team fears that our brand color may show up a little bit dull.

 

Thank you in advance!

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

@arthurLintz wrote:

 

The main question is. Which is the definitive color profile for us to use?

Start here: 

https://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/phscs2ip_colspace.pdf

There are no perfect RGB working spaces
In a perfect world, there would be only one RGB working space that was ideal for all uses. An
ideal RGB working space would be one that could fully contain all the colors from your capture
device or the gamut of the scene, and the gamut of all your output devices. 

 

You cannot control how

...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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@arthurLintz wrote:

 

The main question is. Which is the definitive color profile for us to use?

Start here: 

https://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/phscs2ip_colspace.pdf

There are no perfect RGB working spaces
In a perfect world, there would be only one RGB working space that was ideal for all uses. An
ideal RGB working space would be one that could fully contain all the colors from your capture
device or the gamut of the scene, and the gamut of all your output devices. 

 

You cannot control how others see your images on the web (or elsewhere). Yes, saving as sRGB is a good start but you have no control over others who may or may not be using color managed applications (without, sRGB is meaningless), if or how they calibrate their displays, etc. The best you can do is control your images on your end using color management. 
See:

sRGB urban legend & myths Part 2
In this 17 minute video, I'll discuss some more sRGB misinformation and cover:
When to use sRGB and what to expect on the web and mobile devices
How sRGB doesn't insure a visual match without color management, how to check
The downsides of an all sRGB workflow sRGB's color gamut vs. "professional" output devices
The future of sRGB and wide gamut display technology
Photo print labs that demand sRGB for output
High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/sRGBMythsPart2.mp4
Low resolution on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyvVUL1gWV

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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I would go for sRGB. Many non-Adobe applications don't support Adobe RGB and expect sRGB.

 

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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@Ton Frederiks wrote:

I would go for sRGB. Many non-Adobe applications don't support Adobe RGB and expect sRGB.

 


What color managed application doesn't understand Adobe RGB (1998)?

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Of course, color managed applications support Adobe RGB.

But applications like Adobe Illustrator do not embed a profile when documents are exported to PNG.

Other apps have to guess and guess wrong.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Hi Ton,  png files are "portable network graphics " files and do not support embedded profiles in that file format.  The purpose of this format is specifically for internet graphics.  So sRGB is the assumed color space in the original use case.  Today designer's attempt to use png files for other purposes but, most are unaware that there is no provision for specific color management intent. 

ICC programmer and developer, Photographer, artist and color management expert, Print standards and process expert.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Bob, according to the International Color Consortium PNG supports ICC profiles. 

https://www.color.org/profile_embedding.xalter

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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@Ton Frederiks wrote:

Bob, according to the International Color Consortium PNG supports ICC profiles. 

https://www.color.org/profile_embedding.xalter


Indeed. And Photoshop (like forever)...

C28E0ED8-2EB4-46F8-B927-4962D0AE08F5.jpeg

OldSpec.jpg

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2022 Sep 02, 2022

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I stand corrected Ton,  my experience has shown that the png files we receive have not been embedded but it appears the root cause is not the file format.  Thanks. 

ICC programmer and developer, Photographer, artist and color management expert, Print standards and process expert.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Thanks for that clarification. I think what the OP should be reading is:

“All non-color managed applications don't understand Adobe RGB or sRGB. Many color managed applications assume sRGB for untagged data”

 

As to untagged data which is always bad; Adobe RGB (1998) looks fine on the millions of wide gamut displays and sRGB looks awful. An assumed color space has to be made indeed. And sRGB was fine to some degree in the past. No longer. Untagged data is bad.

But outside of color managed applications, sRGB as well as all other defined color spaces are an unknown attribute. RGB numbers are sent directly to the display.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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It depends on where your images are used, Arthur.  If they are only for presentations and web graphics, then sRGB is a good choice.  But if you include high-end print work like Sheetfed Offset printing, I recommend Adobe 98 RGB as the working space because sRGB is too small.   A good workflow if Sheetfed Offset is in your workflow is to set the standard color settings like the image below. When going to web files convert and export them with sRGB to keep the color accurate on the web.   Keep the files in Adobe RGB if going to an Offset print process, unless the printing company can not do it on the fly.  If the job goes on a digital press, the RGB portions will be converted to that press-specific color space.   Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 8.42.29 AM.pngMake sure that all image files include embedded profiles and color settings are consistent across all personnel in your organization.    We have multiple color management systems and presses where I work and they all support any embedded profile without issue.  

ICC programmer and developer, Photographer, artist and color management expert, Print standards and process expert.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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@arthurLintz wrote:

Hi, folks!

About 2 years ago the team has elected Adobe RGB as our main color profile for creating graphics. We didn't do much of a researching job to get to this conclusion. People just filled two photoshop canvases with ou brand color (#ff7a00), one configured with sRGB color profile and the other with Adobe RGB and people felt that it "looked better" with the latter.

 


Fun fact: I created a document in Photoshop using that color (ff7a00) and plotted its gamut 3D next to sRGB. This doesn't bode well for sRGB:

 

ff7a00vs_sRGB.jpg

And of course, your Apple Retina displays are wide gamut (P-3), closer to Adobe RGB (1998) color gamut than sRGB.

What others outside your shop see, without such wide gamut displays, are again, nothing you can control. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2022 Sep 02, 2022

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Back in the day when the internet was in its infancy, IEC standards group got together with the ICC and worked to find the "Least common denominator" of color gamuts for users' displays.  At the time CRT was the standard for display technology and LCD and others were not available.  So an adjusted version was created that is supposed to be used in a "dim environment" because the gamut was small and the colors of this small gamut would appear more saturated in lights that weren't so bright.  It's certainly time for an update, but the reality of any change to the internet color standard would require color-managed browsers to make it all work.   

ICC programmer and developer, Photographer, artist and color management expert, Print standards and process expert.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 02, 2022 Sep 02, 2022

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There are plenty of color managed web browsers and in fact, it's the norm (rule not exception).

Not that old “back in the day” web browsers or CRTs has anything to do with the original question. Or the poor color gamut of sRGB and the OPs brand color that falls outside the color gamut some keep recommending for millions of wide gamut devices that can display it.

The paragraph from the old Adobe white paper provided sums this up in the first reply here.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2022 Sep 02, 2022

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Browsers without color management was a problem on Windows in the past.

Internet Explorer of course, and the Edge browser for a long time.

Edge has now been color managed for a year, and all other major browsers on Windows are color managed, like Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi. As for the more obscure browsers, don't know, haven't tried them.

 

So we can safely post images in Adobe RGB, but users with standard gamut monitors will of course not be able to see the increased color gamut. Although wide gamut monitors are becoming more common, I'm guessing that the majority of monitors in the world are standard gamut. 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 14, 2022 Sep 14, 2022

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LATEST

There isn't a definitive color profile - as I hope you have learned from the replies of others here. 

 

you mention

"graphics for many channels as social media, e-mail marketing and our mobile application" 

This doesn’t seem to include press work (printed) so, I'd say sRGB would be a better default for you.

Adobe RGB files do risk being displayed incorrectly.

 

As DigitalDog wrote:

“All non-color managed applications don't understand Adobe RGB or sRGB. Many color managed applications assume sRGB for untagged data”

 - - - untagged data which is always bad

 

SO sRGB is safer. Bob has given you some pointers on working when preparing files for press, indeed some colours are missing from the sRGB gamut which could have been printed. How often you'd see that happen I don't know, depends on your work 

 

I hope this helps neil barstow, colourmanagement net :: adobe forum volunteer

google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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