Here is an answer from Adobe on this issue:
"Yes, this is one of the possible known issues
with more than one monitor and OpenGL. We are working to integrate
multiple monitors with OpenGL to avoid these kinds of issues, but you
will likely not see any improvements until the next version of
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If you primary monitor is calibrated then you should not have an issue. If you move an image to your secondary monitor then the colors will be off. So just don't edit the images in any other monitor then the primary and always calibrate the primary.
Since many have two monitors with nearly equal characteristics then they probably are unaware of this problem - the color profiles are perceptually almost the same. However, if you are like me with a laptop and large LCD secondary the colors are way off. I have a workaround by making all my final color corrections in Lightroom which works just fine in both monitors.
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I believe the whole CS4 series is color managed. If not then it should be. Anyways, CS3 works fine and CS4 does not. That also probably tells us the ACR is not the culprit since I believe you replace CS3's ACR with CS4's when you upgrade.
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I may have a different problem then the rest of you. Adobe accepted my report and opened a case so we'll see what that brings.
I have been able to isolate this down to a program error in CS4. The reason why I believe this to be true is because of observed behavior that I was able to reproduce in Bridge.
Let's say I have a folder with four images in it. If I open Bridge (filmstrip mode) in my primary monitor - the images all look good. However, if select one image from the content panel, observe the image in the preview and move the entire window to my secondary monitor - the preview of the selected image does not change - however, the filmstrip appears to modify itself to compensate for the secondary color monitor that I dragged the window into. If I now select another image in the same filmstrip the color appears to snap to the secondary monitors profile and all works as expected. As long as Bridge opens and closes on the same monitor all is well. As soon as I start to move the window to the other monitor I get the same initial bad color in the preview panel until I click another image in the filmstrip panel. It appears that the preview image does not compensate for the monitor change.
The preview panel image behavior is exactly the problem I see in Photoshop. However, I can not just tell Photoshop to always open images in my secondary monitor - it seems to always default to the primary. Since I'm unable to refresh the image, like I did in Bridge, the colors are consistently wrong.
CS3 did not work this way - if I closed an image in my secondary monitor the next image would open in the same space I closed the previous one and moving the window with the image from one monitor to the next always compensated for the color profile in the target monitor.
I believe that if I had a system with two identical monitors that the problem would be less noticeable. I believe I am able to see this better since I always use my secondary color calibrated monitor for editing since my primary is a laptop with an LCD which is unreliable for color reproduction even if I calibrate it all the time, which I do not.
So we will we what Adobe comes up with.
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Ramón, I have an experiment for you that will either tell Ray and I that we have a setup problem or that CS4 has a bug. If you choose to help us, try the following:
1. Setup your primary monitor with a totally different color profile. Something that makes your images look noticeably different between your two monitors.
2. Launch Bridge CS4 in your primary and use Filmstrip mode, make the Preview panel image about the same size as the Content panel image(s).
3. Drag the Bridge window from your primary to the secondary monitor. Note that when you release the mouse button the Content images snap to the color profile on the secondary monitor. However, the Preview image does not change (in this case means it does not snap to the different profile) and is noticeably different! They should be the same!
If you see no changes, comparatively speaking, between your Content and Preview then Ray and I have something different in our setup. However, if you confirm that they are different then I believe this points to a software bug in CS4. The color difference in the Preview panel is the same that I see in Photoshop and I believe is the same that Ray is seeing as well.
Thanks in advance for helping!
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I've used dual monitors for many years. I see absolutely no change when moving any image from one monitor to another in Photoshop 7.0.1 through 11 (CS4). Photoshop is smart enough to read the profile for each monitor on the fly.
HI> Although I'm new to the Mac platform, that has been my experience also.
Even when I place half of the image in one monitor and the other half in the other one, Photoshop uses the correct monitor for each respective half of the image.
HI> I agree, for CS3 and Lightroom that is how it works for me too.
My response to Ray's question ("Where does photoshop assign a primary monitor?") has absolutely nothing to do with monitor profiles, only with which monitor will be the primary monitor, i.e. the one that hosts the menu bar with the Apple menu.
That is what you can change in the Display Preferences > Arrangement (Mac System Preferences).
HI> Correct and I agree. But I believe Ray had that setup correctly to begin with, unless I did not understand him.
The one thing that did change in CS4 is that image files now will always open on the primary monitor. In previous versions of Photoshop, you could just move an image to the secondary monitor, close it, and it or the next image would open on your secondary monitor too. That is not possible in CS4, at least in the current version.
HI> My observation as well.
However, the monitor profile used on each monitor respectively remains the correct one as set in Display Preferences > Color.
Photoshop knows how to apply each monitor profile to each monitor, unless the user has messed that up in Display Preferences > Color.
HI> As stated, CS3 and Lightroom do apply colors correctly. CS4 does not.
In Edit > Color Settings, you should be set to the Adobe Color Engine (ACE), not to Color Sync.
HI> All my observations with CS4 have used ACE. I was getting frustrated and the ColorSync thing was an experiment to see if anything changed.
In my experience, the Apple CMM, Color Sync, has been unreliable for a long time. I just avoid it. (There are other legitimate uses for the ColorSync Utility, such as repairing profiles [Profile First Aid], visualizing and comparing their gamuts, etc.)
If both monitors are accurately calibrated and profiled, and if the appropriate monitor profiles are selected for each monitor separately in Display Preferences > Color, Photoshop will use them correctly on each monitor, in my experience.
HI> CS4 does not seem to work the same way. In fact, if you bring up the images in Bridge CS4 on my setup, the filmstrip version of the image will have the proper color profile (when I move it back and forth from one monitor to the other) and the selected preview image will not! I believe this is a bug in CS4! CS4 should apply the same color profile to each image in Bridge regardless of which monitor I move the window to.
Something is going wrong in Ray's setup, but there are not enough details to tell what. Screen shots of all the settings would be helpful.
HI> I'm not sure how your monitors are setup. Perhaps you have two monitors that are nearly the same and therefore your color profiles are close enough to not see the difference that Ray and I see. My monitors are setup correctly and I believe that Ray's are too.
Even the cheapest calibrator puck will produce a more accurate profile than can be achieved through Apple's built-in or any other eyeball calibrator like SuperCal.
HI> I use Graytag McBeth. However, even if I did not use any calibration, I should see the same results in the same window for Bridge CS4, regardless of how far the profiles were off! Comparing that with CS3 and Lightroom makes me believe that this is a software bug in CS4 not a setup issue.
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Well I tried the ColorSnyc Utility, which allows you to select the default profile, but that did not solve the problem. Then I always go back and ask myself why CS3 and LR do it right and CS4 does not? I've been searching the web but can not find anything that helps!
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I have the same problem with CS4. I'm using Lightroom 2.2 as the basic tool and Photoshop for more detailed work.
If I compare LR to CS3 on the same monitor the images look identical. However, if I run the same test on CS4 I get an image similar to what Ray Knight describes!
I have a duel monitor system. I believe the problem for me is how CS4 handles monitor profiles when I move the image from one monitor to the other. I use a laptop LCD and an external high-res 21". Both are calibrated but have significantly different profiles.
CS4 always defaults to opening the image on my laptop - my primary monitor, so the first thing I do is move it to my external monitor. However, I notice that CS4 does not recognize the monitor change and therefore uses the same profile for the laptop monitor - which results in a poor looking image. If I save it back to LR the image looks great! If I do the same thing in CS3 the image always looks great. If I drag the same image in LR and CS4 to my laptop it looks great! So I believe CS4 is not interpreting the monitor profiles correctly. CS3 and LR2.2 always seem to handle this with no problems.
Not sure this solves your issues but I now have something to call Adobe or Apple about.
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