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Color sampler getting wrong color

Contributor ,
Jul 03, 2023 Jul 03, 2023

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When I click the eyedropper and drag it onto a solid color in Safari, the color comes into the Photoshop foreground noticably lighter and more saturated. Restarting Photoshop didn’t help.

 

I’m trying to capture a color from a swatch on the Adobe Color website. The Mac color sampling tool, "Sip," says the color on the Adobe site is 90BDDE (agreeing with what the web page says), and it says the one in the Photoshop foreground is 94B8D8.

 

When I sample a color from an image in Photoshop, it also comes into the color picker much lighter and more saturated.

 

Here's a screenshot, where you can see the difference between two colors with the same hex code:

 

2023-07-03 at 10.45.39.jpg

 

Environment:

M1 MacBook Air, macOS Ventura 13.4.1

Current versions of Photoshop and Safari

EIZO CS 2740 display

Photoshop:

ProPhoto RBG color space (same problem with Adobe RBG)

Point sampling with the tool. Solid swatches on the Adobe Color site.

 

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Adobe
Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2023 Jul 03, 2023

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Adobe Color is not color managed. The numbers aren't tagged with a specific color space. Use with caution.

 

Hex is just base 16 notation for ordinary RGB numbers. Numbers are color space specific. The same numbers will yield different colors in different color spaces:

 

color-space_2.png

color-space_3.png

 

Major web browsers today will treat untagged material as sRGB. But Photoshop will treat untagged material as the working RGB.

 

Numbers without an associated color space are undefined. The only way to get consistent color is to keep track of color spaces and make sure there always is an embedded profile to define the colors.

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Contributor ,
Jul 03, 2023 Jul 03, 2023

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Thanks for the quick response, and your helpful examples.

 

Do I have this right? It looks like when the eyedropper leaves the PS color-managed workspace and strays out into the uncontrolled window of the Adobe Color web page, it notes the color on the page as displayed on my Eizo screen -- not what the hex label under that color says. The dropper puts in the color picker the hex code for the color it's actually seeing, and that’s why it’s a different number.

 

Here's what I’m trying to accomplish:

 

  1. Pick a color in a photograph, and see what other colors the Adobe Color site "recommends" to go with it.
  2. Select one of those matching colors and then color another object in the photo with that color, using a Solid Color adj. layer.  

 

Should I just go by the numbers?

  1. Use the eyedropper to get the color in the photograph for which I want to find a match.
  2. Look at the color picker for the color's hex code
  3. Enter that code in Adobe Color
  4. Note the code for one of the matching colors I want to use
  5. Put that code in the color picker when I create the solid color adjustment layer.

 

Thanks,
Russell

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LEGEND ,
Jul 03, 2023 Jul 03, 2023

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"It looks like when the eyedropper leaves the PS color-managed workspace and strays out into the uncontrolled window of the Adobe Color web page, it notes the color on the page as displayed on my Eizo screen -- not what the hex label under that color says" Absolutely. To make effective use of these colours you need to 

(a) work with the numbers

(b) set your document to sRGB (probably, though it does depend on your browser).

There is nothing absolute or fixed about a set of hex colours. They will be different for everyone. This is the problem with Adobe Color, and all other color swatch web sites, which is that they are made in a make-believe world where sRGB is the only game in town. I don't see the use of them myself, since they are so far removed from what is actually needed in a color-managed app like Photoshop.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2023 Jul 03, 2023

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On-screen color pickers, including the Digital Color Meter that comes with every Mac, tend to sample colors relative to the display color profile. Photoshop specifies colors relative to the document profile (or working space, if there is no document profile). This might account for the discrepancy.

 

So then we can look at those two things: What is the display profile the on-screen color sampler is using, and what is the document profile that Photoshop is using.

 

Display profile:

You’re using an EIZO CS 2740. I have not used it, but from what I can tell on the Eizo website, the EIZO CS 2740 is a wide color gamut display that supports hardware calibration and multiple saved calibration targets. That’s great, because it means it can do something most displays cannot: Easily switch at any time to a color gamut other than the panel’s native gamut. If the Eizo is currently set to a hardware calibration target for its own full wide gamut, that is absolutely not sRGB, and that might account for the difference in sampled color values. For any work where you must sample color from the screen, try switching the Eizo to use its sRGB calbration target. Information about doing this is on page 57 of the CS 2740 manual I found on the Eizo web site. If I’m right, setting the display gamut to sRGB will allow it to sample on-screen colors that assume sRGB.

 

Photoshop document profile:

For any work where sRGB-based hex color values are used, it’s probably best to use Photoshop documents with an sRGB document profile. You said you have the problem with ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB, and that’s probably to be expected. Because even if the color is sampled in sRGB, if the same color values are applied in ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB, they probably aren’t going to look the same.

 

In short, for the hexadecimal color values to mean the same thing in two different contexts, both contexts need to be assuming the same RGB color space. Because hex color values are generally assumed to be in sRGB (whether the designers are aware of that or not), the easiest way to get the color values to look the same in both places is to set both the display and the document to sRGB.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 04, 2023 Jul 04, 2023

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Yes, that's how the Eizos work. Set to sRGB emulation, the corresponding monitor profile will be loaded at system level. And everything on screen will then be in monitor color space - it has already been converted into the monitor profile.

 

And this is where errors can sneak in, and why I said "use with caution". You need to handle this carefully to get a precise match. I usually say that color management is simple, and it is. But in this particular scenario, reading numbers off screen, there's a wrench in the machine. The problem is that the numbers go through a profile conversion on the way to screen.

 

In the Adobe Color website, all color management will be handled by your web browser. And since everything in Adobe Color is untagged data (not color managed), your web browser will assign sRGB. That's what all web browsers do nowadays.

 

And then it will be converted into your monitor profile, and those are the numbers that will be read off screen, whether in the form of a screenshot or an on-screen color picker.

 

If your monitor profile is accurate, you can convert these numbers to sRGB, and if you put those numbers into an sRGB document in Photoshop, it should match.

 

Here's the thing: if done correctly, this will work regardless of your monitor's gamut. You can use a wide gamut monitor and still get a match. However, if you're using a color picker to read numbers directly, and put the numbers directly into Photoshop, that conversion isn't so easy. So then you can shortcut the process by having a monitor that emulates sRGB as closely as possible, and uses a monitor profile that is as close to sRGB as possible. The Eizo and Colornavigator can do that.

 

So this way you should get a reasonable match. Some numbers may be off by a value or two, but not so much that you can actually see it.

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Contributor ,
Jul 04, 2023 Jul 04, 2023

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Thanks to everyone for your generous help! I've learned a lot.

When I set the Eizo to sRBG, and converted the document to sRGB, 90BBDE looked about the same in Adobe Color and in the Photoshop color picker. 

 

I see that the best approach for me is to use Adobe Color as a guide to the color relationships, and not rely on the numbers.

 

I found I can make a solid color adjustment layer (Color blend mode), adjust the color picker's HSB to get reasonably close to what I see in Adobe Color, and then use hue/saturation and levels adjustments to get very close after I've made other adjustments to the image. I can use pinned screenshots of the swatches to get them side-by-side with the color picker and actual image areas, making comparison even easier.

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