When I have a Photoshop file with a linked vector smart object (linked to an Adobe Illustrator file), and then I relink that image to another Illustrator file (using Layer > Smart Object > Relink to file ...), the new file comes in with faded colors. Sometimes the difference is so subtle I have barely noticed, other times it's quite obvious. I haven't checked carefully, but my guess is the new smart object is coming in as CMYK rather than RGB (both the PS file and the smart objects in these cases are RGB). This has never happened and I've used the exact same process countless times over a number of years now, so this is definitely a new issue. I've searched the forums and am surprised to not find this issue brought up yet. Any help would be appreciated. There are of course many work-arounds, but if this is indeed a bug and not somehow exclusive to my Mac / setup, it ought to be fixed.
I've been having this issue since the last update (maybe the last two). I always try to stay up-to-date on the versions, and am currently on 23.4.1 which is the latest as I write this. I'm on Big Sur 11.6.7 on an iMac.
I have not paid careful attention yet to see if this happens every time I relink a smart object, but it's come up enough that I believe it does.
Just a quick addition: the faded colors I get when relinking to a smart object, are NOT CMYK. Just faded back versions of the intended colors (still RGB).
It sounds like you're not embedding the color profile in all your files (sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto etc).
This is what will happen when you have untagged files with no color profile. It becomes unpredictable with no fixed reference.
Interesting. Well, as far as I can tell, the color profiles are embedded (that's the default, right? I never mess with any of that). I just did a test save with one of the files in question, and it says "Embed ICC Profiles", and it is indeed checked. Is that what you're referring to or something else? All I know is I've changed nothing in my workflow / process, and this problem has arisen within the last few months. So if it is indeed user-error, then it's because some defaults or something have changed in the software I think. As a side-note, once I've relinked and color goes awry — whenever I then make a change to the linked file in question, and it updates, the color returns to normal. Would this still add up to it being a color profile issue?
Actually, I just dragged one of these faded linked files from my PS file into a new blank PS file, and the color looked correct in the new PS file. Then I tried bringing it back into the original PS, and got this message:
"Are you sure you want to convert colors to a destination document with a color profile that does not match the current RGB working space?"
Source: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Working: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Either way, I have my settings to preserve embedded profiles. If this is user-error, I probably need help finding it!
That explains it. Never use your display profile in a document, that's not what it's for. That effectively disables color management, and the result is the same as no profile at all.
The document profile should always be a standard profile - sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto.
So ... can I ask ... where would I change that? I don't ever recall changing the color profiles at any point. Looking at the individual Illustrator documents in question (there are many, many of them) they aren't set to display profile, unless I just don't know where to look (?)
Ok I did some digging, and was able to find that my Ai files in fact WERE set to display, as you said. I have no idea how this happened, as I didn't even know how to find it in the first place. Can't imagine I changed it to that, but, I guess there can't be any other explanation. Now that I've changed it in that document, should all subsequent documents have the correct profile (sRGB ...) or do I need to check every document Ai file I make from here on out? And .... thanks for your help. Glad to have this solved. It's unfortunate the colors can't be anywhere near as vibrant; but it's good to know this was the issue. Thanks.
Hi @D Fosse I have finally figured out what is happening. I have done a great deal of research on RGB color modes (I never messed with them in 15 years of illustration and design work) and with a little careful observation, have finally figured out what is happening: My documents always default to sRGB or US Web Coated (SWOP) CMYK as they have for years past. But when you make a screenshot in Mac (latest Big Sur OS, 11.7) a small preview of the screenshot appears in the bottom right corner of your screen. If you grab that preview before it disappears, you can place it in an email, chat app, or any other software that will accept it, including Illustrator and Photoshop. When I grab that preview and place it in Illustrator, the document becomes either "Untagged CMYK" or "Display" (RGB) on its own. I just realized that today, after months of this problem. I will post this in the Illustrator forum, but I wanted you to be aware as well in case it comes up again for you. Thanks for your note above, it has started me doing a great deal of research into RGB colorspaces, which has been helpful.
I use Bridge for my settings - that way all of my apps are synced. At the bottom of the edit menu - in Bridge, PS and AI you will find Color settings. You can sync them all in Bridge.
Thank you! Not sure if that specifically addresses this issue (?), but that certainly would be good practice. This is just a bug, and I've addressed it in the Illustrator forum.