Color Management Software for new P.C. Monitor – Need Advice

S
Posted By
Stardancer
Feb 6, 2004
Views
617
Replies
18
Status
Closed
Greetings Photoshop Forum,

I just bought a new PC, and a wonderful 19" monitor. I am using Photoshop 7, and I love it ! ! (upgraded from version 5). I created graphics on this new PC, and moved them to another computer, and they were much darker than on the new PC. Someone said I had to use ‘color management ‘ for my monitor. Ok… so….

I called a reputable photography studio, and they recommended using a Pantone product called ‘Spyder with PhotoCal’. I went out to the Pantone website and found the product on sale for $149.00 at this link:

< http://www.pantone.com/products/products.asp?idSubArea=0&amp ;idArea=2&idProduct=357&idArticleType_Products=0&amp ;ShowNav=31>

There’s also a product named ‘Sypder with OptiCal’ ($199.00) they advertise that has the ability to recalibrate your monitor if necessary.

< http://www.pantone.com/products/products.asp?idSubArea=0&amp ;idArea=2&idProduct=354&idArticleType_Products=0&amp ;ShowNav=32>

What I’m doing is taking my digital photo’s, manipulating them into digital art. I then want to take the finished digital art to a printer or photography shop and have them print a 10 x 10 print.

I need advise on color management.

Questions:

1) Are the above products worth the money?
2) Will Adobe Gamma (installed with Photoshop 7) give me the same results?
3) Recommendations on products better than above? Why are they better?

Any other comments / suggestions would be appreciated.

Powered by Creative Market

J
JasonSmith
Feb 6, 2004
Also there’s the GreTag line –

<http://www.ionecolor.com/>

EyeOne Display is what you want. Runs around $260us.
BB
brent_bertram
Feb 7, 2004
Here’s an evaluation of Monaco Optix at Ian Lyons’ site, <http://www.computer-darkroom.com/optix/optix_1.htm> . Ian also has hardware reviews of several others . You get to take your pick . There’s really no such thing as a perfect choice , except that one product that precisely meets your individual needs <G> .

I use Monaco .

🙂

Brent
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Feb 7, 2004
Stardancer,

What I read is that you’re seeing a different color presentation of your images on a different PC from which they were first created, correct? Well, the recommendation that you need to use color management is correct, but I don’t know that you need to go out and buy anything. I see the same thing if I take an image from my PC at home and go view it on my PC at work. Why? Different systems with different video cards and monitors, not to mention a different O/S.

For any computer you plan to work in Photoshop on, you need to establish proper color management. The intent, theoretically, is to create a device-independent image, tagged with a color space that permits Photoshop to transform the color data as closely as possible to the profile of the device the image is printed or viewed on.

The least expensive approach to color management begins with using Adobe Gamma to create a color profile of your monitor. If that monitor is moved from one system to another, a new profile needs to be create even if the two systems were identical in hardware components.

Now, if you didn’t have a color-managed workflow on your original system, nor saved the image with a suitable color profile (such as Adobe RGB 1998), I’m not sure what hoops you’ll have to jump through to get the colors in the image properly adjusted for the new system. I think it may basically be a matter of establishing a new color managed workspace, edit the image to what colors seem correct, and then save the results as a file with an embedded color profile.

Before spending money anywhere on color profiling equipment or software, I suggest you read up more on color management. One excellent source is Ian Lyon’s aforementioned Computer Darkroom website at <http://www.computer-darkroom.com>.

Regards,

Daryl
S
Stardancer
Feb 7, 2004
Brent -Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations on Monaco Optix at Ian Lyons’ site. Ian’s site is very impressive. Thanks for the lead. I’ll be spending lots of time there reading.

Daryl – I appreciate your informative response. This whole color management thing is new to me as I don’t remember that I had to do anything special using Phototshop 5, and my colors on photographs and graphics looks the same on all computers.

So let me get back to basics re: explanation of what I’m doing…

I’m shooting photo’s with my digital camera. 99% of the time, I’m not manipulating the colors of those photo’s in Photoshop.
I then take one of my photo’s and manipulate it using techniques from this website: <http://www.earthmandalas.com/>
When the Earth Mandla is finished, I save it. Usually as a .GIF or .JPG file.

Throughout this whole process, the color is not manipulated. The color on my monitor looks good.

So the question is – if I’m using photographs to create this art, and the color looks good on my monitor, why do I need to do any type of color management on the monitor?

Also, do I have to save these finished files in any kind of color profile in Photoshop 7, or can I just ‘save as is’ not using any color management profile.

It would seem that if I didn’t manipulate the color from the original photograph, they would print the same color as they were photographed. Do you agree?

If that’s true, then I don’t undersand why I need color management.

I’m going to take a finished sample to the photo shop today and have it printed as large as I can, and compare the finished print to my monitor.

And to answer an earlier question – ( seeing a different color presentation of your images on a different PC from which they were first created) I believe when I saved the finished mandala, I was prompted to save it with a color profile. I believe if I would have chosen ‘no profile’, the color from the original photo would have remained the same.

I’ll be doing some testing today, but I’ll look forward to your comments / thoughts from this post.

Thanks & Regards,

Stardancer
RL
Robert_Levine
Feb 7, 2004
EyeOne Display is what you want. Runs around $260us.

Jason,

Have you used it? I’ve heard good things about it but only second hand.

Bob
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Feb 7, 2004
Stardancer,

I wish I could give you a complete answer, but I’m not an expert on this subject. If Ian Lyons sees your post here, I hope he’ll provide some answers to your questions. I’ve shared what I understand to be true but would run the risk of steering you wrong if I tried to get too deeply into a topic that I still don’t have a full grasp on. Color management is a complex topic and takes a while to really get a good handle on.

In brief though, I think it is always best to save an image with an embedded profile if only to help ensure consistency when that image is viewed in color-managed applications across multiple systems. I’m guessing that your success may have come from the fact that many digicams will tag an image with the sRGB profile which is directed toward web-based presentation and generally seems to work well with monitors. However, it is a narrower color space than Adobe RGB 1998 and could result in less accurate printed images. I’ve often had good success with my digital camera images also, but I’ve always used color management so I can’t explain why you’d seed good results without color management unless all devices involved in the workflow just coincidentally had very similar color profiles.

On the whole, if you are printing an image that looks good onscreen but has no embedded color profile, and the print looks as you’d expect, then I’m guessing the viewing application didn’t employ color management and that was all left up to the printer and using print media designed for it (e.g., Epson paper with an Epson printer), as well perhaps as using a PC with an operating system that supports internal color management (ICM). I believe it is Windows XP where I’ve read that ICM is best implemented but it was introduced with Windows 98 if I remember correctly. So, in some form or fashion, maybe ICM has contributed to the sucess you’ve had.

I’d best not say too much more on this, but my overall point to make is that I don’t believe you really need to be buying any color profiling hardware/software just yet. Before you commit your money to anything, seek out more answers to your questions from those with more experience in color management, and then make a decision based upn what you’ve learned.

Off-topic from your specific questions but possibly worth a mention: Are you aware that saving a file in GIF format means a significant loss of color depth if the image has more than 256 colors in it? Certainly there are times when a GIF is needed, but I just wanted to mention that. Also, saving a file as a JPEG is fine if that format is to be used for the web or other such purposes, but you generally should save the original edited file in a lossless format such as PSD or TIF and use that to save a copy as a JPEG. Any time you edit a JPEG, you run a risk of introducing more and more compression artifacts into the image if you resave it to JPEG again. This problem is magnified each time the JPEG is opened and resaved. Some edits don’t affect the JPEG compression much, but overall you should make it a practice to save your edits in a lossless format if it is important to you to maintain the image quality for any possible future editing. Maybe you realize all this already, since you mention the saving to JPEG or GIF is done after you’ve made all your edits; hopefully what you failed to mention was that you’d already saved the images as PSD or TIF.

Regards,

Daryl

P.S. – Here is a related link where Len Hewitt points out that while Photoshop is a color-managed application, many applications are not: "Photoshop and web images" </cgi-bin/webx?13/2>
L
LenHewitt
Feb 7, 2004
Stardancer,

The numbers in an image file do not represent specific colours. For example, 100R, 0G, 0B just means "make the brightest, most saturated red you can". It doesn’t mean a specific SHADE of red, and the red that will result will depend upon the capabilities of the device the data is being sent to (usually either a monitor or printer of some sort).

Only when coupled with an ICC profile that describes the ‘colour space’ do those numbers represent a specific shade.

If it helps you in any way here is my short "idiot’s guide to CM" <g>

There is data in a file. That data doesn’t represent specific colours UNTIL the colour space is stated (embedded profile or assign profile).

The working profile sets up the colour space you are working in, and the embedded profile allows the CM engine to convert the file data values to your working space values so those values still represent the same colour as originally indicated by the file data and embedded profile.

The monitor profile alters that data from your working space on the fly to allow the monitor to display the colours represented by the data within the working space profile.

When you print, the output profile alters the data to allow the printer to reproduce the colours represented by the data and the image profile.

The monitor profile effectively drops out of the equation when you print.

Provided the ‘translation’ from working space to monitor is correct AND the translation from working space to output device is correct, the print will match the monitor.

However, only if the translation from embedded profile to working space is also correct will the monitor and print also match the original file intentions.

For a fuller explanation, spend some 15 minutes or so over at http://www.computer-darkroom.com
J
JasonSmith
Feb 8, 2004
Bob, we havent used the EyeOne display, I have used the EyeOne spectrophotometer, which has been reccomended by others in the CM forum as being as accurate as it gets.

I’m not sure of the competing products, but seem to remember that the EyeOne Display is a site license, so it can be used on as many machines as needed in the workplace, Win or Mac.
S
Stardancer
Feb 8, 2004
Well, I decided to try a simple test today. I took two of my mandalas in .PSD format, saved them to a ‘maximum’ .JPG, and took them down to my local photo lab and had them printed 8 x 10. I figured I’d have something on print to see what the color looked like compared to my monitor.

What a difference in color. One mandala has a cobolt blue sky on the monitor. When printed, the sky was much darker. Also, on the photograph, the image seemed to be distorted a bit – like it was blurred around some areas of the photos – some areas more than others. And the text around the image seemed to have that blur next to it. Could this be caused by saving it to .JPG? Could it be because I didn’t flatten or merge the image before I saved it to .JPG?

And I guess I’m wondering if I *do* need to do some kind of color management on my monitor as the visual on the photo’s vs.my monitor is pretty dramaticly different. I want the brightness that is on my monitor to appear in my photos. I also want to figure out where in the *heck* this fuzziness is coming from in these enlarged photos ! ! (GGRRRRR!!!! This is getting somewhat frustrating.)

Thanks for everyone’s previous feedback. Looking forward to continued comments / thoughts.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Feb 8, 2004
Stardancer,

I don’t know about the fuzziness, but your other observations seem to be what I’d expect if you’ve not edited your images in a color-managed workspace with the color profile then saved in the image. In other words, things may have looked good onscreen to you, yet the file when saved may not have carried the information with it to tell the printer at that photo lab how the colors were interpreted. Saving it as a JPEG would only make a difference if you omitted the option to include the color profile..

Of course, keep in mind that 100% accuracy between a display image and a printed one is very difficult to achieve yet still a reasonable similarity should be possible. For one thing, the monitor is transmitting light to your eyes while a print is reflecting light. That alone can affect perception of the colors.

When you save a file as a JPEG, it should flatten the image on the fly since JPEGs don’t support layered image content. The fuzziness might be due to JPEG compression artifacts if the compression was very high. Apart from that I can’t suggest a cause.

Regards,

Daryl
S
Stardancer
Feb 8, 2004
Daryl / Len,

Thanks for the feedback. I’m going to do some reading on color management over at Ian Lyons’s website, and hopefully I’ll get a better understanding about color management. It seems to be a very complex subject (somewhat like trying to find the Holy Grail ! ! <g> ). Len, your ‘idiots guid to color management’ really helped to narrow it down to the basics. Thanks so much for that. It’s not clear to me yet as to how one would know what type of color profile to save images (i.e. Adobe RGB 1998, vs others), nor which option to choose in the ‘color settings’ of Photoshop 7 (U.S. Prepress Defaults, or Photoshop 5 Default Spaces, or Web Graphics Defaults.) I guess more reading is the key for now, and I’ll be back with more questions if required later on this topic.

Good info on .JPG flattening when saved. I would I know if the compression was high? On the Photoshop options I selected ’12 – Maximum’ when asked what size file I wanted to save. Would that have anything to do with compression? I thought that was about what size (KB) the photo would be saved / created. I guess that’s somewhat about compression.

I’ve been using Photoshop for years creating graphics for webpages with much success. This is my first venture (adventure, I should say) in manipulating digital photo’s into larger formats to print. It’s pretty confusing so far. In the past, I’ve uploaded my digital photo’s from vacation on to my laptop, selected the ones I wanted to print, and loaded them back on a chip and had them printed and they looked good in 4 x 6 prints. No fuzziness, no distortion of color. I guess when I finally get my ‘finished product’ in this new venture successfully printed, I will have accomplished another learning curve with Photoshop.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Feb 8, 2004
Stardancer,

That last description of how you’ve gone about selecting and printing your digital images from vacation suggests to me that perhaps those images did carry along the sRGB profile. If not, and if you took the chip to a photo lab for printing, perhaps they suspected the images to have been from a digital camera and they processed them as if in the sRGB color space. It’s hard to know without looking at the final files to see if they still have their EXIF data intact, with the color space identified.

As to the color settings preferences, the Settings menu is pretty much a convenient way to change several parameters at once and I’d say you don’t need to worry which one you select, if the resulting changes are acceptable. I usually just set mine to Custom, then I set the Working Space to Adobe RGB. I never work in CMYK, so I ignore that and just leave it as is. The Gray Gamma 2.2 is the default for Windows and I leave it alone also. The Spot setting means nothing to me and I believe it may be related to printing presses. I have my Color Mangagement Policies set to preserve the embedded profiles but to ask when opening if there is a mismatch with my defined working space. Similarly, the other two options are also checked. I don’t concern myself with the settings under Advanced Mode.

The choice of working space is likely best set according to the bulk of what your work is targeted at. If the web, select sRGB; if for printed output, Adobe RGB is probably better. You may notice that if you choose Web Graphics Defaults in the Settings menu, it establishes sRGB as the working space.

When you save a JPEG via the conventional Save As command, you notice that if you select a lower Quality value, the slider below that will indicate a smaller file. The smaller a file is, the higher the compression being applied. I never use anything over 10 for quality because I am generally only using the JPEG format because I need a smaller file size for the web, for e-mail, or other such purposes. Even then, I’d rarely save with a Quality of 10 unless the original image is already resonably small; otherwise, such as if working from a TIFF, saving at a 10 setting would likely produce a larger file size than desired. However, if I am interested in saving a file for print use and yet also want to keep the file size smaller than what might be required by a TIFF, then I might consider saving it as a high quality JPEG at a 10 or higher setting. My general philosophy though is to always save as TIFF or PSD for anything I might print. If space concerns me, I just burn the images to a CD. No more concerns. 🙂

Yes, no sooner than you feel you’ve learned one thing in Photoshop, you can easily find another area to study. But, it is time well spent, particularly when associated with understanding how to create and maintain high-quality images.

By the way, if you are doing a lot of work oriented toward web graphics, you may find using Save for Web to be a bit more convenient since it allows you to preview the results of various levels of compression. However, as if to confuse you further, a different Quality scale is used from that of the normal Save/Save As dialog. I actually find the SFW Quality scale more meaningful since it goes from 0 to 100.

Regards,

Daryl
JB
John_Blaustein
Feb 8, 2004
Has anyone found a monitor calibration package that supports dual monitors under Windows XP?

I have OptiCAL and the Spyder, but it won’t work when I enable dual monitor support on my Matrox G450 card. Colorvision tells me they are supposed to come out with an upgrade this spring that will allow OptiCAL to work when dual monitors are enabled, but for now, it won’t do it.

For my needs, it is not necessary to calibrate and profile the second monitor — only my primary monitor on which I edit PS files.

I should add that OptiCAL works very well when just one monitor is used.

John
IL
Ian_Lyons
Feb 8, 2004
EyeOne Display, BasICColor with Squid and Monaco OPTIX II or XR are all very good. I’ve been too busy (lazy?) to write anything about any off them. At present I wouldn’t bother money on OptiCAL since trying to figure out how to use the added features will drive you nuts – best stick with PhotoCAL if ColorVision is in your sights!

So far as colour managing a dual monitor setup on the PC I think that you’ll find it works with some configs and not with others. XP has the capability but the graphic card drivers don’t appear up to the job. If you want a guarantee of a colour managed dual monitor setup you should buy a Mac otherwise youneed lots of Aspirin.
JB
John_Blaustein
Feb 8, 2004
Ian,

Actually, with XP and dual monitors, you need something stronger than mere Aspirin. Valium is more like it.

John
AP
Andrew_Pietrzyk
Feb 8, 2004
Ian,

If you want a guarantee of a colour managed dual monitor setup you should buy a Mac otherwise youneed lots of Aspirin.

Two video cards and Eye-One Match is a nice and Aspirin-free Windows solution. 🙂
IL
Ian_Lyons
Feb 8, 2004
Andrew,

Only when using compatible graphics cards and appropriate drivers.

John,

I’ll stick with Aspirin – Valium (diazepam) is addictive, plus ….. 😉

Do not use if: You had negative reactions to other benzodiazepines …………….. if you are seriously depressed or if you have other brain disorders.
JB
John_Blaustein
Feb 8, 2004
Ian,

All of those symptoms can arise if one spends too much time trying to get OptiCAL to work with dual monitors and only one video card on XP. I’ve tried it and was fit to be tied!

John

Powered by Creative Market

Related Discussion Topics

Nice and short text about related topics in discussion sections