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Another color range question

Enthusiast ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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Recently, I’ve been editing in sRGB for several reasons: (1) If I want to distribute my images electronically, people will view those images mostly in sRGB or in whatever color space is set in their monitor.  In most cases, that is likely to be something closer to sRGB than to any other color space.  (2) I never have felt that there were colors I wanted but couldn’t get working in sRGB.  And modifying colors using simple hue and saturation adjustments and the like is not problematic.  Given that I work often with nature scenes that include very gradual transitions (mists and the like), I do sometimes encounter banding.  Using 16 bits with a narrower color range (sRGB) tends to minimize that problem.  Does that make sense?

 

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Community Expert , Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

Yes, I understand what you're saying. I just phrase my replies in general terms for the benefit of anyone else who might be reading.

 

ProPhoto has more drawbacks than advantages. I avoid it as much as I can. There is no free lunch, and the huge gamut has a price: areas of low saturation are very compressed in RGB numbers - particularly obvious in shadow values where it can be very difficult to identify and correct shadow color casts, or indeed make precise adjustments to the black level in gene

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Community Expert ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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Doc, are you sure it's not your monitor that you are seeing the banding with rather than the image?  

What screen do you use?  Our @D Fosse  can help you way better than I can with that, as well as what profile to use for that screen.

 

How about sharing a full res image, or even part of an image that you are seeing banding so we can compare.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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Working in 16bit can indeed mitigate banding when working with Adjustment Layers (or complex Layer, Mask, Blend Mode combinations). 

Could you please post screenshots taken at View > 100% with the pertinent Panels (Toolbar, Layers, Options Bar, …) visible? 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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One can also use the info panel to see if visual bands (your display) equate to numerical bands (actual bands in the file).

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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If you're working with 16 bit data, any banding you see is in your display system.

 

The monitor is the 8 bit bottleneck here, and there are several links in the display chain that can introduce banding: Calibration adjustments in the video card, the monitor profile, the panel itself. Banding is cumulative, so with all these laid on top of each other it can become more pronounced.

 

Remember that 8 bit color depth inherently has visible banding. The eye can separate 256 discrete levels.

 

sRGB is often big enough for most practical purposes. Good color is not about maxing out the saturation, it's about color relationships. If you can't get it to work in sRGB, it may be that you should blame yourself rather than the color space 😉

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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I think I might have done a poor job describing my issue.  Let me reframe this.  I read quite a few online articles that suggest I should always edit in ProPhoto, where I have the greatest range of colors, then convert to sRGB when I want to distribute images that would be viewed on the web or  with non-color-managed applications.  Regarding: " If you can't get it to work in sRGB..."  My point is that I CAN get it to work in sRGB.  I have never felt constrained by the relatively smaller color range of sRGB.  So, I have been editing in sRGB on this premise:  If I edit in ProPhoto, then convert to sRGB for distribution, some external process decides how colors from ProPhoto outside the sRGB range are brought into the sRGB space.  If I edit in sRGB, there are no surprises.  I see all the colors that will appear in the final image.  Is that valid logic?  Thanks for the responses.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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Yes, I understand what you're saying. I just phrase my replies in general terms for the benefit of anyone else who might be reading.

 

ProPhoto has more drawbacks than advantages. I avoid it as much as I can. There is no free lunch, and the huge gamut has a price: areas of low saturation are very compressed in RGB numbers - particularly obvious in shadow values where it can be very difficult to identify and correct shadow color casts, or indeed make precise adjustments to the black level in general.

 

There is a widespread notion that the more saturation the merrier, and that ProPhoto is therefore "better". The problem is that if you edit in ProPhoto, your file will very quickly end up with lots of colors that can never be reproduced anywhere. But sooner or later you have to output your file, and then you get into real trouble! You'll have ugly clipping all around. Remapping a ProPhoto file that has been edited without any checks along the way can be a nightmare. Better to control it early on so it doesn't get completely out of hand.

 

In short, ProPhoto has a big potential for destruction. Handle with care.

 

My preferred working color space is Adobe RGB. It's large enough for anything ever practically needed, and fairly easy to remap as needed.

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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Response much appreciated.  Thanks.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 09, 2024 Jul 09, 2024

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@D Fosse "In short, ProPhoto has a big potential for destruction. Handle with care."

yep, absoutely

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net - adobe forum volunteer - co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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Community Expert ,
Jul 09, 2024 Jul 09, 2024

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@Doc_Pit " My point is that I CAN get it to work in sRGB.  I have never felt constrained by the relatively smaller color range of sRGB.  So, I have been editing in sRGB on this premise:  If I edit in ProPhoto, then convert to sRGB for distribution, some external process decides how colors from ProPhoto outside the sRGB range are brought into the sRGB space.  If I edit in sRGB, there are no surprises.  I see all the colors that will appear in the final image.  Is that valid logic?"
yes, I'd say so

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net - adobe forum volunteer - co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management
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