NX2 and Elements Display Tiffs and Jpgs Differently--Why?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by vivid_earth_photographics, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. I have a calibrated Apple Cinemadisplay 30". I just noticed that if I open the same jpg in NX2 and in Elements, the NX2 version is more saturated. The same happens with tiffs. Nothing intimidates me more in the digital darkroom than color management and this is sort of freaking me out.
    • Which is the more accurate?
    • Why are the different?
    • Can the two programs be made to display the images more closely?
  2. I would expect Elements to work the same way as Photoshop in regard to colour management. Photoshop automatically picks up the current monitor profile set in the Display system prefs . This should be the profile created by your calibration device/-software.
    I'm not sure about how it works in NX though. Have you looked around its preferences for something like 'colour management settings'?
  3. In Elements (at least the older-ish versions) you need to enable colour management, and it is fairly crude implemented anyway. CaptureNX 2 by default does use a colour-managed flow, using the defaults of the system.
    My advice would be to dig into the Elements options to enable the colour management and make the settings resemble those of CaptureNX, that should even out the differences.
    (Caveat: I work on Windows, but I doubt it makes a lot of difference).
  4. So I dug around Elements 6 after reading the above and found: Edit>Color Settings>No Color Management. Apparently selection "no color management" causes the program to use the monitor's profile that is the product of the calibration I did using One-Eye. The explanation of the choices available in the Color Settings menu is not exactly illuminating. We'll see what comes out when I print from mpix now. I still welcome any other explanations, advice or insights on this. Thank you Martin and Wouter.
  5. Kyle,
    what options do you have besides "no color management" ? It could be, that this selection simply assumes the current monitor profile for all images.
  6. I really don't know where this leaves me. Should I be in the "no color management" zone or the "always optimize for printing" zone since I use photoshop for the images I print? Isn't there a way for this to be simply explained? It's very frustrating.
    The choices in Elements 6 (for Apple, but I don't think that matters) are:
    • No color management
    • Always optimize colors for computer screens: computer screens are capable of reproducing all the colors within the sRGB color range. This setting will keep all the colors you see on screen within that range, ensuring an accurate display for any device that supports the sRGB color space.
    • Always optimize for printing: This setting will display your photos based on the colors within the AdobeRGB color space, commonly used for printing images
    • Allow me to choose: This setting assumes sRGB, but will allow you the flexibility to pick Adobe RGB if a profile is not present; when you save the file, the profile will be saved with the image.
    The help function goes on to explain:
    No Color Management
    Leaves your image untagged. This option uses your monitor profile as the working space. It removes any embedded profiles when opening images, and does not tag when saving.
    Always Optimize Colors For Computer Screens
    Uses sRGB as the RGB working space; the Grayscale working space is Gray Gamma 2.2. This option preserves embedded profiles, and assigns sRGB when opening untagged files.
    Always Optimize For Printing
    Uses Adobe RGB as the RGB working space; the Grayscale working space is Dot Gain 20%. This option preserves embedded profiles and assigns Adobe RGB when opening untagged files.
    Allow Me To Choose
    Lets you choose sRGB (the default) or Adobe RGB when opening untagged files.
  7. The point is not so much the monitor profile; the point is more using the embedded colour profile of the image (as a starting point to match input values to the output colour profile values). If PSE is set to 'no colour management' it ignores the colour profile of the image. Set it to either 'Optimised for computer screens' for generic sRGB or 'optimise for print' which will assume AdobeRGB.
    The last option might be the most useful for testing now: 'always ask', which allows you to select the colour profile of the image. This should make it easier to compare to CaptureNX to match the behaviour of the 2 programs as closely as possible.
    CaptureNX, by default, uses the embedded colour profile of the image.
    Ignoring the image colour profile in PSE would sure explain differences with CaptureNX. Under normal circumstances, using sRGB will provide accurate results; most commercial printers are tuned to using sRGB images since 95% of the world is using that. It's also the default colour space in Nikon cameras. Downside of sRGB is that it's a small colour space. For editing, it's not always the wisest choice (though, personally, I never ran into issues with it, but I do not peep enough pixel maybe).
  8. Frankly, you are not alone with this problem and so far I have not seen a reasonable explanation or cure, despite having corresponded with some of the so-called "experts" on Capture NX2. See the following discussion: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00T2iH
  9. I am afraid I am not familiar enough with either NX2 or Elements to directly answer your questions, however if you can post four images then I could tell you which of the two is accurate and perhaps take a guess at how to get the other one to be accurate as well.
    1. An image that does not match between NX2 and Elements
    2. A screenshot of the image as seen in NX2
    3. A screenshot of the image as seen in Elements
    4. Any image with your monitor profile embedded. The image does not matter at all, rather I am looking for the monitor profile. Under MacOS it is possible that the screenshots will already contain the monitor profile.
    It should then be possible to determine which of the two programs correctly transforms from the image’s color space into the monitor’s color space.
  10. NX honors the settings your camera uses to convert to jpg images, Elements doesn't. Perhaps this is at the heart of the differences.
  11. I will read the thread Curt refers to. Joe, I don't know how to do a screen shot. Homer, I don't think what you say sounds right. Nikon NX applies camera settings to RAW files which will not be recognized by Elements or other editors. But a jpg should be a jpg and appear the same regardless of where it is opened--there are no additional settings for a jpg insofar as it is not a RAW file that needs processing. I could be wrong here, but I don't follow what you are saying.
  12. If this is a Mac, pressing Command-Shift-3 may save a screenshot of the entire screen as a png file to the desktop. Command-Control-Shift-3 may capture a screenshot to the clipboard. Command-Shift-4 may let you capture only a portion of the screen by drawing a box. Pressing the spacebar after the Command-Shift-4 may let you pick a particular window instead of drawing a box.
    If despite the Apple Cinema Display it is a PC, the Print Screen button would put a screenshot on the clipboard.
  13. Sorry Kyle. I didn't read your initial post closely enough and thought you were referring to jpg's you created from raw files with both NX and Elements. My bad!
  14. But a jpg should be a jpg and appear the same regardless of where it is opened--there are no additional settings for a jpg​
    No, that's not entirely true, the point is JPEG contains a colour profile as well. With the current setting in PS Elements, it is disregarded, while CaptureNX2 does respect this colour profile. So, you'll need to change the setting in PS Elements to any of the other 3 to make elements respect the colour profile of the image.
    (Note: this colour profile is independent of the colour profiles you gave loaded for output devices, i.e. printer and screen)
  15. @ Wouter: "(Note: this colour profile is independent of the colour profiles you gave loaded for output devices, i.e. printer and screen)"
    Wouter, I know you are trying to help, but this kind of statement is what sends my head spinning. I am not more than an advanced novice at most at this in terms of color management. I don't know what it means when you write "the colour profiles you gave loaded for output..." When did I "give a colour profile"? Are you referencing the screen calibration profile that One-Eye generated? I'm confused again.
    FWIW, when I switched Elements to "Allow Me To Choose" it seems to display what looks like the same image colors as NX2 now.
  16. FWIW, when I switched Elements to "Allow Me To Choose" it seems to display what looks like the same image colors as NX2 now.​
    In that case, you are probably done, since Elements seems to have been the one that was set incorrectly.
  17. Kyle, no problem, I'll just try to explain better :) I'm no expert either, but with my Spyder 2 ran into some of the same stuff, and with a background in PCs more or less figured out what is what. The main point you overlooked: an image contains a colour profile as well, not only your screen and printer have one.
    Colour data is represented inside a JPEG image a values for red, green and blue (RGB), 255 values for each colour. The problem is how to display this data properly, and that's where colour management comes in. So, what it does: for a colour value (say 128 Red, 128 Green, 128 Blue), how should this be displayed on the screen, on the printer? But it starts a bit earlier: when the device (camera or scanner) captured value 128, 128, 128, which colour did it actually capture? For that, the input (camera image) also uses a colour profile.
    So, ideally ALL steps contain a profile explaining how each value of the RGB colour data should be interpreted.
    The obvious steps that require profiles are the output devices: your screen and your printer. The screen profile, you created when calibrating. Your printer, either also calibrated, or it came with a colour profile too. It is less obvious the input image also needs it, but it does ensure better consistency begin to start.
    So, when the program reads 128,128,128, it knows what the camera meant, and how the screen wants to display that - consistent representation throughtout.
    So, inside the image data, there is a reference to a colour profile as well; normally the standard sRGB profile (this is true for RAW too, by the way). So, from the moment of capture, the image also has a colour profile. Your camera gave it :)
    The colour profile of the image ensure the captured data is "mapped" properly against the other colour profiles. What happened in PS Elements is that the colour profile of the image was ignored, which makes PS Elements select a default colour profile instead, which causes inconsistency (as you noticed). By telling PS Elements to use the embedded colour profile of the image, it starts interpreting the data of the image already different, ensuring the data is interpreted (and displayed) as it was really intended. Capture NX2 did this all along, and hence they now seem the same.
    Yes, the joys of colour management... sometimes it's almost a better idea to just let it all go and suffer some off-the-mark colours in prints.... :)
  18. Again, thank you Wouter.
    I am about to order prints from mpix.com for a number of photos I have been working on. We'll see what comes out.
  19. When you shot the jpegs with your Nikon DSLR, what color space did you choose within the camera menu system?
    Most DSLR's give two color space options...AdobeRGB and sRGB that WRITE's the data during incamera processing to jpeg. This means the Raw RGB sensor data captured in the scene is encoded into jpeg format in either of these two color spaces. The color space profile representing these encoded RGB numbers should be embedded within the jpeg and recognized by all color managed apps to give color as intended.
    One of these two different previews is correct according to ICC standards and encoding for proper previewing. It could be the over saturated one or the normal one. Downsize one of these jpegs to 700 pixels wide and retain all EXIF data so one of us can drag and drop onto our system and read what the embedded profile is. Or see the Elements instructions on how to deal with color management on this page:
    Which color space did you choose incamera?

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