Which color profile is best for Graphic Design Portfolios?

Explorer ,
May 02, 2018 May 02, 2018

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Hi Everyone!

I'm trying to create my first Graphic Design portfolio since I'll be applying for an Internship soon.

But I have a question, which color profile works best for printing artworks in high quality?

Because last time when I tried to print them, they came out really dark and wondered of what I did wrong. Some came out decently, and some didn't.

The types of projects I'm trying to print are mainly illustrations, and I'm using an A4 paper to print them out.

Here are some examples if you wanna see: Behance

Thanks!

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , May 03, 2018 May 03, 2018
pancham kumaris right, digital print needs a different ICC profile to offset print.However I still believe that display screen calibration comes first.Also you mentioned "printing on A4 paper" does that mean you are printing "in house", maybe on your own inkjet printer?Even if that’s the case,  you need to first pay attention to your display setup (calibration and profiling) . The screen appearance sets your expectations for the work you produce.Next, for an inkjet printer you need a profile for...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 02, 2018 May 02, 2018

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Hi

I hope i can help with this, there isn't a one sentence answer i am afraid.

When you work on screen and print comes out dark there are various possible reasons.

Colour management can definitely help you, so you're on the right forum.

Note - below I'll mention colour spaces and working spaces, both are defined by ICC profiles.

No 1 issue

This is the most common, your screen is not properly calibrated and profiled (this process is carried out by software working with a measurement instrument like a Datacolor Spyder or i1display pro - those are screen sensors which work with the software to set your screen up right.

Out of the box - many display screens are way too bright. This misleads a user into making dark images, they then look good on only your very bright screen - not in print.

No 2 issue

How are you working, how are you printing?

If you are making a file in Photoshop, it's likely you should do your work using one of the installed (device independent) working spaces, like Adobe RGB or sRGB. Same goes for Indesign and Illustrator, although do note that many working in those 2 applications work in a CMYK colourspace, that is a colourspace tailored for a specific printer.

A CMYK colour space is ALWAYS tailored for a specific printer.

See what I wrote there: A SPECIFIC PRINTER.

Whilst working spaces (e.g. sRGB) are device independent, CMYK colour spaces are device specific.

if you want to work to CMYK you HAVE TO ask the printer what CMYK profile to use.

There are freely available standards based CMYK print ICC profiles for magazines, reports etc. from GRACoL and eci.org. Some a=re included in Adobe applications but you have to choose the right one. And the printer is the guy to tell you that.

Maybe read up a bit here about what ICC profiles are, what they do and how they can help you:

color management / colormanagement : about icc colour profiles

and about screen calibration and profiling here

display screen colour management, calibration and profiling | colourmanagement.net

I hope this helps you

if so, please do mark my reply as "helpful" and if you're OK now, please mark it as "correct" below, so others who have similar issues can see the solution

thanks

neil barstow, colourmanagement

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 02, 2018 May 02, 2018

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What's the source of the image data? Scanned, from a camera? There's where your source color space takes place. As for printing, well having a source color space or working space that is smaller than the output color space can cause minor issues; clipping of colors you might be able to capture but not reproduce on a print. This video might help:

The benefits of wide gamut working spaces on printed output:

This three part, 32 minute video covers why a wide gamut RGB working space like ProPhoto RGB can produce superior quality output to print.

Part 1 discusses how the supplied Gamut Test File was created and shows two prints output to an Epson 3880 using ProPhoto RGB and sRGB, how the deficiencies of sRGB gamut affects final output quality. Part 1 discusses what to look for on your own prints in terms of better color output. It also covers Photoshop’s Assign Profile command and how wide gamut spaces mishandled produce dull or over saturated colors due to user error.

Part 2 goes into detail about how to print two versions of the properly converted Gamut Test File  file in Photoshop using Photoshop’s Print command to correctly setup the test files for output. It covers the Convert to Profile command for preparing test files for output to a lab.

Part 3 goes into color theory and illustrates why a wide gamut space produces not only move vibrant and saturated color but detail and color separation compared to a small gamut working space like sRGB.

High Resolution Video: http://digitaldog.net/files/WideGamutPrintVideo.mov

Low Resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLlr7wpAZKs&feature=youtu.be

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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New Here ,
May 02, 2018 May 02, 2018

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If u are going to print using Digital printer connected to RIP software then make sure the application color setting especially RGB source profile matches with RIP software color setting.you can download the output profile of digital press and perform a proof setup for better predictability.

If u are going to print on conventional offset printer then ask the printer to provide the press profile.

Convert your RGB file to Printer profile and go for editing .This will give  better predictability of color . you can use either Adobe or SRGB.Adobe RGB is excellent it does not clip some of the colors(cyan and nearby boundary colors) that can  easily be reproduce by printer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2018 May 03, 2018

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pancham kumaris right, digital print needs a different ICC profile to offset print.

However I still believe that display screen calibration comes first.

Also you mentioned "printing on A4 paper" does that mean you are printing "in house", maybe on your own inkjet printer?

Even if that’s the case,  you need to first pay attention to your display setup (calibration and profiling) . The screen appearance sets your expectations for the work you produce.

Next, for an inkjet printer you need a profile for that printer and the paper (and inkset) you're using.

If you are using the printer manufacturers original ink - I suggest you start by making an easy test using a printer manufacturer's own paper - why? - because this allows you to set the Adobe application to "printer manages color" - now when you select the paper (media) type in the printer driver dialog boxes that setting will tell the system to use an ICC profile for that paper.

To do this test properly you need a testimage that’s not been adjusted on your screen (which may be misleading you, as I explained earlier). I suggest you download this one: http://www.colourmanagement.net/downloads/CMnet_Pixl_AdobeRGB_testimage05.zip which is an RGB image. The system will read the embedded ICC profile and make a conversion for you to the printer ICC profile during printing.

using the process I described above, you should get a decent print. As that testimage has skintones and other ?memory colours" its pretty easy to see if it's looking OK.

So that’s a step in the right direction.

Now compare that print to your screen, does your screen look way different? If so its very likely it needs calibration.

I hope this helps

if so, please do mark my reply as "helpful" and if you're OK now, please mark it as "correct" below, so others who have similar issues can see the solution

thanks

neil barstow, colourmanagement

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Explorer ,
May 03, 2018 May 03, 2018

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Thank you all for the info!

I think it starts to make sense for me right now. Also yes, I do print at home though.

But one thing to mention, is that I saved the majority of my artworks on sRGB and that could be one the reasons why some didn't came out that nicely. I think that's one of the biggest mistakes I've made.

But luckily I still have the PSD files of them, and I can always change their color profiles at any time.

When it comes with the screen calibration, I have calibrated some parts of it such as the contrast and brightness. But by looking at the results, I still think that there needs to be some changes in order to get it right. I'll follow the instructions that you guys provided me and I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for all your help, and I really appreciated.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 05, 2018 May 05, 2018

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There's nothing wrong with sRGB. If it doesn't come out right, that's not the reason. In a color managed environment, any profile will reproduce correctly. That's the whole point.

sRGB is just a little smaller and can't reproduce colors as saturated as Adobe RGB or ProPhoto can. These very saturated colors will be clipped to the nearest reproducible color.

You can always convert to Adobe RGB, but that won't change how the file looks now. It just gives you a little more room for future edits.

Unless you have a wide gamut monitor, your screen is restricted to sRGB anyway, and anything outside is again clipped. You won't see anything beyond sRGB.

---

As for screen calibration, you calibrate to visually match printed output. That means monitor white matches paper white, and monitor black matches maximum ink density. This ensures basic "what you see is what you get", in terms of brightness and contrast. You can't change paper color or maximum black, but you can adjust the monitor.

The color management chain picks up the rest, so that all individual colors are also reproduced correctly. Color management is handled through the monitor profile, which is a detailed description of the monitor in its calibrated state. Calibration and monitor profile are two different things, but often rolled into one operation for convenience.

Printer color management is handled in the same way, through the print profile. In both cases the procedure is the same: source (document) profile converted into destination (monitor/print) profile.

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Explorer ,
May 07, 2018 May 07, 2018

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Oh okay.

I understand it now.

So in the end it has nothing to do with the color profiles that I've selected.

But more with the calibration and monitor settings.

It makes sense now, since I always thought sRGB was a wrong choice for printing.

Thanks for the info by the way, I appreciate it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2018 May 07, 2018

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Basically yes.

sRGB is not optimal, because you lose some saturated colors that sRGB can't reproduce, but most printers can. So you get unnecessary clipping. Adobe RGB is a better match because it can contain almost all printable colors, and ProPhoto is even bigger (but a bit risky if you don't know what you're doing).

But such as it is, an sRGB file should reproduce just as correctly as any other file in any other color space. The whole idea of color management is that any color space can be remapped into any other color space - preserving all colors that are within gamut. Out of gamut colors are clipped. But no general color or tonal shifts should happen.

Converting your sRGB files to Adobe RGB now won't do anything. But then you do have a bigger space to work in for future edits.

As for matching what you see on screen to what you get out in print, then emphatically yes. That's entirely a question of correct calibration and profiling of your display. Assuming, of course, that the print color management chain is also correct.

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Advisor ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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MY SPIN:

First, sRGB would be the safest recommended destination profile for electronic delivery of your images.

For printing, sRGB remains the safest bet to deliver to printers (let them do the RGB conversion to their print profile/space)...

I LIKE TO EXPLAIN BASIC COLORMANAGEMENT THEORY LIKE THIS:

1) The Color Management System CMS reads the embedded Source Profile and CONVERTS (or transforms or remaps) the document colors to MonitorRGB (the custom 'calibrated' monitor profile) and PROOFs (or paints in light) the color accurately on the display monitor.

The Source Profile> Monitor Profile conversion takes place automatically behind the scenes in most modern color-managed applications, including Photoshop and fully color-managed Web browsers like Safari and Firefox.

2) The Color Management System CMS reads the embedded Source Profile and CONVERTS (or transforms or remaps) the document colors to the Target Profile (the custom 'calibrated' printer profile) — a SPECIFIC Printer/Paper/Ink ICC Profile or PressCMYK — and PROOFs (or paints in ink) the color accurately on the printed paper.

The Source Profile> Print Profile conversion is generally manually set up in the printer utility when we print from an application.

In professional off-set CMYK printing, the conversion to CMYK (Target Print Space) is usually performed manually in Photoshop and saved for the printer.

While my simple PROOFING ANALOGY doesn't address the pitfalls of relying on a bad monitor to evaluate and adjust digital color, it does make two important facts about Photoshop and professional color-managed printing workflows:

1) The printer can PROOF (print) the source file faithfully regardless of how right or wrong the monitor is set up, and

2) The monitor can PROOF (display) the source file faithfully regardless of how right or wrong the printer is set up.

Remember, this is true simply because the Source Profile is independent of the Monitor Profile and the Print Profile.

Getting a known good file (like the Adobe RGB PDI Photodisc-GettyImages RGB reference image) into Photoshop allows me to evaluate the monitor alongside the print to help me see where the problem is occurring...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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sRGB is suboptimal for any printer! The print will not be poor if the rest of the Color Managed path is sound but the print will be, depending on the image, suboptimal than sending a wider gamut to said printer. I’ve never plotted a printer gamut that isn’t larger than sRGB and often by a lot! IF you desire the best possible output of your images to print, you don’t want sRGB. sRGB is what I cosnider an output color space for web posting, nothing more.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Advisor ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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Hi, Mr. thedigitaldog.

I think sRGB still remains the SAFEST source space to hand off is my point, but I agree with what you wrote.

in that case, by all means

Capture your images in RAW

open in wide-gamut, 16-bit colorspace

edit in adjustment layers and

convert to the destination space as a last step

and never move them into sRGB except for the web (and non-colormanaged applications)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2018 May 09, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/gator+soup  wrote

Hi, Mr. thedigitaldog.

I think sRGB still remains the SAFEST source space to hand off is my point, but I agree with what you wrote.

It may be safest for people who don't understand how to use color management or have no color managed process. However, without any color management, sRGB is totally meaningless. Using sRGB alone, without color management doesn't ensure anything useful. It's a meaningless concept (non color management app's don't know what sRGB is).

IF people care about their output to print, they should learn to use something other than sRGB.

FWIW, there are no printers can produce all of sRGB, that's also worth mentioning.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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thedigitaldog  wrote

I’ve never plotted a printer gamut that isn’t larger than sRGB and often by a lot! IF you desire the best possible output of your images to print, you don’t want sRGB. sRGB is what I cosnider an output color space for web posting, nothing more.

OSX's ColorSync Utility hold for compare shows how bad it can be. This is Coated GRACol 2006 compared to sRGB—can't get to a huge chunk of blue green.

Screen Shot 24.png

Screen Shot 25.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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The main purpose of sRGB has always been to describe an average monitor. That's what the original specification was. In the days of CRT monitors it was a pretty good match, less so with LCDs where both the primaries and the whole tone response curve are a bit different.

Later we got full color management procedures to replace that crude approach. But sRGB still has its use when working for screen, and color management is presumed missing.  Still, there's no particular relevance for print.

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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>> ... (sRGB) there's no particular relevance for print.

the relevance of sRGB for print, for me, is sRGB is the only profile I will hand off to a printer with one exception:

  1. i am 100% confident their workflow will use my embedded profile in their conversion to their print space

i've been burned on too many times otherwise (even after having the conversation)

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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>> The main purpose of sRGB has always been to describe an average monitor. That's what the original specification was. In the days of CRT monitors

that's worth repeating

then the Web, Adobe, Windows ... defaulted their flavors of 'color management' to sRGB

and that leaves anyone in the business of navigating their digital color workflows through the real world would be wise to understand the beast

and accommodate it

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/gator+soup  wrote

then the Web, Adobe, Windows ... defaulted their flavors of 'color management' to sRGB

Not necessarily. A non color managed web browser may do so 'under the hood' but without knowledge of the display profile, the previews are not color managed. The RGB values are simply sent to the display without Display Using Monitor Compensation! That's key for previews in color managed app's. Again, an application either understands the scale of the RGB numbers and understands the display conditions via a display profile (color managed) or it doesn't. If it does, then ANY embedded profile will work. My wide gamut display, with a color managed browser and embedded profile will work just like Photoshop, Lightroom etc. If I switch to a non color managed browser, sRGB looks AWFUL. Adobe RGB (1998) looks better but it's not correct nor will match Photoshop because again, the display conditions are not known.

Using sRGB alone doesn't ensure a correct match or preview. That's super critical to understand and accept. With color management it will, that's the job of color management. And if so, ANY embedded RGB working space or profile will preview correctly as it does in Photoshop etc.

Without color management, sRGB doesn't provide much that is useful. Because without color management, sRGB is a meaningless term and the display conditions are not understood so, no Display Using Monitor Compensation takes place.

sRGB has been over sold and it will eventually go the way of the dodo bird as it should.

What modern LCD display produces the conditions sRGB describes? Using a P22 phosphor set, and 80cd/m2? Not many IF any.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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well said again, Andrew

very few people have your intricate technical knowledge of Color Management in both theory and the real world

and only a few of them take the time to bring those up around them with seemingly endless free information that becomes a time vacuum

my goal as someone who's still learning with an open mind is to find the writer i can follow -- then read up, test and observe the theory in action to build the cornerstones of my approach

proof.jpg

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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PS  (to resting my case):

for the majority of working professionals with a good 'calibrated' monitor to faithfully PROOF their color on a computer screen, color management boils down to understanding their workflow enough to

  1. Honor or Use the embedded ICC profile in their document
  2. (or ASSIGNING the correct ICC profile to their document when it is missing or wrongly tagged)
  3. then setting up a proper CONVERSION to a proper DESTINATION profile

and that's not so complicated

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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Incorrectly tagged doc's is a real rarity. Untagged not so much and hence someone or something has to make an assumption of the number scale. Today, that's sRGB but this will change in time when sRGB goes away.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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>> Incorrectly tagged doc's is a real rarity. Untagged not so much

ok, i would argue that point

i work on websites a lot more than print side these days, but i see the problems on both sides, for example: 

  1. i find myself routinely having to Assign aRGB (Adobe RGB) to other people's images (and PDFs) and then Convert to sRGB to pop the reds (skin tones) in place
  2. the Internet full of Untagged & mis-Tagged images/graphics/PDF
  3. too many print shops seem to deal in untagged CMYK and ignore embedded profiles (which is fine if they're delivered in the printer's default/working CMYK and RGB, but a problem waiting to happen if they're not)
  4. cleaning up someone else's wrongful Assumption and bad Conversion (after it left the original designer)
  5. Untagged PDF, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator documents (and mis-matched objects within them) are not at all uncommon in my experience...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/gator+soup  wrote

>> Incorrectly tagged doc's is a real rarity. Untagged not so much

ok, i would argue that point

i work on websites a lot more than print side these days, but i see the problems on both sides, for example: 

  1. i find myself routinely having to Assign aRGB (Adobe RGB) to other people's images (and PDFs) and then Convert to sRGB to pop the reds (skin tones) in place

How do you know the source image data is in fact in Adobe RGB (1998) rather than sRGB?

How do you know if the source content was made with or without color management?

How do you know if the source content was made on a wide gamut display or not?

Assigning sRGB may indeed produce a better color appearance on your end than the assumed sRGB profile. But it's rather difficult if not impossible to know the appearance of the image, without a profile from the source provider.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Advisor ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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>> How do you know the source image data is in fact in Adobe RGB (1998) rather than sRGB?

i'm kind of getting lost in this conversation, but for discussion:

if i open a .jpg in Photoshop, use the embedded profile (or ignore any missing profile mismatch and thereby ASSUME/ASSIGN my default working profile) and then ASSIGN aRGB (Adobe RGB 1998) -- and the color then appears correct on my hardware profiled monitor -- i have the confidence in my system and knowledge to presume aRGB was a good move if it improves the color better than any other profile i have available.

>> How do you know if the source content was made with or without color management?

>> How do you know if the source content was made on a wide gamut display or not?

i don't care, it does not matter, i have ASSIGNED a profile that appears correct in Photoshop on my hardware-profiled monitor (wide gamut monitor gamut arguments aside), and i can move forward in my task

>> Assigning sRGB may indeed produce a better color appearance on your end than the assumed sRGB profile.

that's a bit confusing unless it's a typo, there shouldn't be and difference in ASSIGNING or ASSUMING the same ICC profile in Photoshop, unless i miss your point?

>> But it's rather difficult if not impossible to know the appearance of the image, without a profile from the source provider.

unless the source provider based his image on a device-dependent custom ICC profile, i can most likely fish around for a device-independent profile to ASSIGN to quickly move forward in my process

that's not presuming the original designer had some artistic off-color appearance in mind that i most likely would not miss or second guess if their document was tagged...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/gator+soup  wrote

>> How do you know the source image data is in fact in Adobe RGB (1998) rather than sRGB?

i'm kind of getting lost in this conversation, but for discussion:

if i open a .jpg in Photoshop, use the embedded profile (or ignore any missing profile mismatch and thereby ASSUME/ASSIGN my default working profile) and then ASSIGN aRGB (Adobe RGB 1998) -- and the color then appears correct on my hardware profiled monitor -- i have the confidence in my system and knowledge to presume aRGB was a good move if it improves the color better than any other profile i have available.

Hold on, if there's an embedded profile, you should honor it.

If it's untagged, then you have to guess what profile should be used, hence my questions.

Yes, your hardware may be 'better' or calibrated (to what for what purpose?) but if someone hands you an image with an embedded profile, honor it and edit it IF it doesn't look as you desire. You only presume sRGB with an untagged document that you believe is in sRGB.

>>>> Assigning sRGB may indeed produce a better color appearance on your end than the assumed sRGB profile.

>> that's a bit confusing unless it's a typo, there shouldn't be and difference in ASSIGNING or ASSUMING the same ICC profile in Photoshop, unless i miss your point?

You always assume when assigning a profile.

>>that's not presuming the original designer had some artistic off-color appearance in mind that i most likely would not miss or second guess if their document was tagged...

Unless you've stood over the designer on his end, with his display and software, you're assuming what the image should look like without color management or an untagged document.

Friends don't let friends send untagged data to others.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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