Color matching

Discussion in ' Site Help' started by natureslight, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Hi all - I very new to posting images on this site and am encountering some problems. Once I upload an image to this site and view it, the colors seem very washed out and dull. I have a personal image site and have loaded many of the same images there, but the colors are much truer to what I see on my own monitor. On that site the key is to increase saturation and vibrance beyond what may look good on your monitor and then the images appear close to what I would see prior to printing an image. I tried the same approach here, but the image colors still seem off. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, but I need help figuring out what it is. Thank you for any help.
  2. One thing to consider is the browser. Some are better than others for wysigyg. Firefox is better than IE for example.
  3. For what its worth, I just looked at your portfolio in 4 browsers on a PC.
    In Firefox and Chrome, the colors in your photos looked to be oversaturated. In IE and Safari, the colors looked much more realistic. This effect is very pronounced in the second image on your page, "Colors at Rest", which appear to be overturned canoes.
    The latest version of each browser is installed on this computer, and color management is turned on for Firefox. However, I'm not at my Photoshop computer, so I don't have utilities installed on this machine to check things like (a) the color space and (b) whether you embedded a color profile in each image, but when I see browser-to-browser differences like this, it's obvious that the problem is with the the two issues I just mentioned.
    There has been much written on this topic here on in the past couple of years ( a search...), but the bottom line is that to get the greatest consistency in the appearance of your images as viewed by strangers who might be running any OS, and using any browser and any sort of monitor, you should export all your images in sRGB space, don't leave them untagged (as you appear to have done), and always embed an sRGB profile with each image. These are all export options available to you in PS.
    Tom M
  4. Whoops. I was typing too fast. I should have said that in Firefox and Safari, the colors appeared to be oversaturated, whereas in IE and Chrome, they looked more realistic.
    Tom M
  5. Tom - thank you so much for taking the time to look at my portfolio and to provide such a detailed response. I mostly use IE but it makes perfect sense that the colors would appear different to other browsers. I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "tagging" images in PS, but will learn this and use it for future image uploads. For the past few years I've had a portfolio through another photo site and have learned the ins and outs of that system. PN is quite different (in a good way) and I am still learning how to do things correctly here. I'll make corrections and reload my images so they better match the image as seen on my calibrated monitor. Thanks again for your help.
  6. Hi Irene -
    Actually, in my opinion, it makes no sense at all that colors appear differently in different browsers. If they all adhered to industry-wide color management standards, there should hardly be any difference in how a file looks when viewing it on different browsers. Unfortunately, not all browsers support this standard.
    Probably the shortest answer to your question about "tagging" and "embed profile" is that the first tells future viewers of the image that the numbers in the file should be interpreted as sRGB colors, but doesn't give them a method to do so - it assumes that the program being used by the future viewer is smart enough to know how to do this. The second, "embed profile", gives future viewers a translation table which is the mathematically correct method to display your file on other computers.
    A couple of good introductory articles on the subject are here: - put out by ASMP - another nice overview
    In case you are interested in even more technical background on this topic, just Google {+"color management" +browsers }, and pay particular attention to any postings by Andrew Rodney - he is one of the most knowledgeable experts on on this topic.
    With respect to fixing your galleries, my suggestion would be to use the Save For Web" dialog box as it appears in the two latest versions of Photoshop, CS4 and CS5. Use the attached screen shot as a guide. Pay particular attention to the checkboxes for "Embed Color Profile" and "Convert to sRGB" They should both be checked. - they are two different options. Also, feel free to raise the "Quality" slider to about 90 (if possible) to minimize JPG compression artifacts.
    Tom M
  7. Tom - thank you very much for the extended explanation. I'll read the articles you suggested and also do some experimentation to see if I can fix the color issues using the suggestions you suggest. That's the thing about my work: I'm a writer who does photography in support of her writing. About a year ago, I was asked to submit work to a local gallery and since then I've been doing more photography that is not related to my other work. Every time I think I have a handle on the post-capture process I realize there are huge gaps in my knowledge. But, that's exactly why I came to this site - I know there are some very knowledgable people here and hope to learn as I go along. I hope to upload a new image to my gallery using the suggestions you made and see if this helps with the "true color" problem. Thanks again!
  8. You are quite welcome, Irene. Don't feel bad - there are many, many photographers with decades of experience for whom this is all new, mysterious and a quagmire of potential mistakes. However, the good side is that once you "get it right", your images will look the best they feasibly can to the largest number of people (ie, those with non-color managed, non-calibrated, off the shelf monitors).
    With respect to posting a new image, my suggestion is that you should simply re-post a newer version of one of your current images that clearly is problematic (say, the canoe shot), with the "convert to sRGB" and "embed color profile" boxes checked. I'll be happy to look at it again in the same four different browsers and let you know what I see. Be sure to leave the old version up for comparison.
    Tom M
  9. Hi Tom - I've posted two images into a folder entitled "color test". These are two versions of the same image, one done according to your suggestions and the other posted as before. I chose these particular images because of their high color, thinking that this might make it easier to see where I've gone wrong. I'm still not 100% sure I did this correctly, so when you have time, please go take a look and let me know what your think.
    Thanks again for all your help. I am getting to love this site because everyone is so willing to help.
  10. Where would the Save for Web settings be in Lightroom?
  11. Irene - I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I forgot to click the "notify me of new posts" button, never saw your last post, and thought the thread had died until, by accident I happened to see Lynn's recent question.
    1) Let me answer Lynn's question first because it is much easier: LR doesn't have a command named "Save for Web" or "Save for Web and Devices" like Photoshop does. The equivalent is found in the export command on the file menu. Here's a nice description / tutorial:
    Many other related links can be found by simply Googling {"save for web" lightroom}.
    2) Irene - It looks like you did a lot more than switch color spaces when your generated "Colors at Rest - Redo" from the original, "Colors At Rest". Specifically, it looks like you either decreased the contrast / clarity / sharpening, or something similar. Because of making these changes, if there is also a change in color space between the two versions, no one will be able to figure out whether the visual effects that we see are caused by the former or the latter.
    Because of this, I'm going to just ignore this image and concentrate on your first pair of images, "Canoes #4" and "Canoes #4 - sRGB". I can read all the important information from the first of these two versions of that image, but unfortunately, somewhere along the way, when you produced the second version, it looks like you turned off the export of some of the EXIF and IPTC information. This made it a bit more difficult, but using the program "EXIF Tool" I could still figure out what was going on.
    In the file, "Canoes #4", the output color space is Adobe RGB 1998, whereas in "Canoes #4-sRGB" it appears that you were successful in converting your document to sRGB. This is good, and is exactly what you should do.
    In Firefox 9.01 (with color management turned on), Safari-5.1.2, and in IE9, the two versions of this image look almost exactly the same. This is to be expected because these three browsers know how to interpret different color spaces and display them so that they all look essentially the same to the users of these browsers. As I recall, when I was at the computer used for my earlier responses, IE did not behave so well, but I believe that the version of IE installed on machines at that location are at least a generation or two old and was not color managed in those days.
    In Chrome 17.0, the sRGB version looks almost, but not quite identical to how it looks in Firefox, Safari and IE9. This is to be expected and is good. However, when viewed in Chrome 17.0, the colors in the original, Adobe RGB version, look less saturated. Presumably, this is because Chrome doesn't know how to interpret an Adobe RGB file, so it interprets it as if it were an sRGB file. This is not good, but this is Chrome's shortcoming, not yours, so we should use any of the other three browsers to evaluate images, no matter what color space they are in.
    Notice that in the above description, I only said if the two versions looked the same or not in each browser, but I intentionally avoided saying if the different combinations of file and browser looked too saturated, not saturated enough, etc.
    In fact, in any of the good browsers, both the original and sRGB versions of image looked much too saturated. I suspect this is because you intentionally cranked up the saturation to compensate for what appeared to you to be a lack of saturation when you viewed your image on various browsers and various websites.
    To further complicate matters, different websites may handle non sRGB files differently. Some may do nothing with them, leaving it up to the user's browser to render it properly. Other websites know that it's not a good idea to post non sRGB files on the web, so they may automatically do a color space conversion to sRGB.
    The bottom line is that while you can't control the equipment and software used by people viewing your images, by far, you stand the best chance of them seeing what you intend and having decent colors by always converting to sRGB before posting. In fact, some people advocate that for many photographers, not just color space novices, one should do all their processing in sRGB. Then you don't have to worry about a final color space conversion step.
    I hope this was reasonably clear.
    Tom M
  12. Tom - no apology needed-I'm very grateful for your help. I have to admit feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed by all of this. Color matching for printing was a learning curve, but once I learned to properly calibrate my monitor and learned to set the correct profile for the printer, that came together realatively easily. This, on the other hand, is a much steeper learning curve and one I have yet to master.
    If I understand you correctly, the best thing is to process images in sRGB and then post them as processed without uping the contrast/saturation beyond what looks natural on my monitor. Part of my confusion is due to being taught that you should always increase contrast and saturation and also sharpen the image to the point where it appears somewhat too heavy on your monitor prior to posting online. I think that is one of the problems a novice faces: sorting the good advice from the less than good. Certainly viewing my images on either my laptop or another computer, I can see that the colors are really awful. They are either completely off in terms of shade and intensity or not even close to accurate. I'm going to reprocess my gallery images and then repost them in sRGB without doing any extra contrast/saturation adjustments. . Once I get some images reposted, would you mind taking another look and letting me know if I'm on the right track? It will probably be toward the middle of the week before I get time to rework the images, but, obviously, I don't expect you to immediately take time to view the improvements (hopefully). Once more, thank you for the help!

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