Camera Raw 4.6 Color Conversion Issues

CP
Posted By
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
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3602
Replies
50
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Closed
I’m using CS3. In the Camera Raw 4.6 import window the color looks great. When I get the image into Photoshop the color looks horrible. I know it’s the color profile that Raw is assigning. My question… is there a way to disable the color profile conversion coming from Camera Raw?

I’ve always had great results without using profiles and now this alters my color. I’ve even tried to go in and force the image to use a different color profile but at this point the damage has been done by the camera raw plugin.
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pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
Let’s back up a bit here. You’ve never had great color without using profiles. You’ve always used profiles whether you were aware of it or not.

When you’re in ACR, what is your output profile set to? Camera Raw never assigns a profile to anything, but it does convert a copy of your raw file to either a tiff or jpeg and convert from the raw color space to one of the Photoshop working RGB color spaces. You have four choices of output space – sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhotoRGB and ColorMatch RGB. It’s going to be one of those four. You pick them at the bottom of the ACR window.

Now we need to see your PS CS3 Color Settings to make sure you are not ignoring any embedded profiles and having some sort of horrible profile mismatch. If you can post a screen shot of your Color Settings dialog box, that’d be helpful. If not, just list everything.

Have you changed or recalibrated your monitor? If so, how.

Can you post screen shots from the ACR window and from Ps so we can see just how horrible your color looks?
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
I’ve been doing professional color correction for about 15 years and know how to use the programs without the use of color profiles. When I say "great color", I mean to say Photoshop doesn’t adjust my color with profiles because I have profiles disabled. My monitor is corrected and I have no need to use profiles since I understand UCR & GCR conversion for printing. Also, when I have something printed somewhere I have them disable their profiles to provide true color. And I also force acrobat to use my color maps when building pdfs so my printer has no need for conversion of any kind.

My complaint was that the Camera Raw Plug-in forces me to convert to a profile with 4 possible choices. I was asking if there is a way to disable this?

I found if I convert using the Adobe 1998 profile the color comes out close, I simply have to increase the saturation to return to the original optical image values. I would however like to bypass this step.
MD
Michael_D_Sullivan
Jan 14, 2009
C_Patterson manually manages color. It’s unlikely that anyone else can provide useful information to him or her, since most Photoshop users wishing to have managed color use calibration and profiles for consistency from one device or program to another; as a result, manual, ad hoc color management is not something most people have expertise in.
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pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
"I’ve been doing professional color correction for about 15 years and know how to use the programs without the use of color profiles."

You’re always using profiles no matter what, both a source and and destination for everything from your monitor to working RGB, CMYK and Lab to output profiles for proofing and print.

You need good profiles to define the hardware devices and color spaces. Without them, it’s all only a guess.

"When I say "great color", I mean to say Photoshop doesn’t adjust my color with profiles because I have profiles disabled."

There’s not really a way to disable profiles in Photoshop. You can sort of turn them off, but the default profiles in your Color Settings dialog are still in effect no matter what. In fact, you can’t even display in image in RGB or CMYK without at least two profile, and more often three.

Just having profile in the loop doesn’t mean that Photoshop will "adjust" your colors. Photoshop will only do what you tell it to do.

"My monitor is corrected and I have no need to use profiles since I understand UCR & GCR conversion for printing."

You monitor is corrected? How? Have you calibrated it? After the calibration Photoshop needs, you guessed it, a monitor profile, in order to properly display your images. And how to you get from the RGB of your digital captures to the CMYK you need for offset? Yeah. Profiles. Even if you’re using the archaic and outdated Custom CMYK to set your total ink and black generation, you are still in effect, using profiles. You are using the parameters defined there in the same way custom measurement are used in ProfileMaker to generate a custom ICC profile. It’s just not as accurate.

"Also, when I have something printed somewhere I have them disable their profiles to provide true color. And I also force acrobat to use my color maps when building pdfs so my printer has no need for conversion of any kind."

How you do know you’ve made the right conversion for that printer. Most printer just ignore embedded profiles anyway, but including proper output profiles can enable them to display the files correctly on their calibrated screens, and for the more advanced printers, that embedded profile can allow them to use Device Link Profiles to convert your files to custom press or proofing profiles.

"My complaint was that the Camera Raw Plug-in forces me to convert to a profile with 4 possible choices. I was asking if there is a way to disable this?"

It’s actually a choice of four different profiles not a profile with four choices. The choices are based on color gamut and gamma in order of increased gamut. There is no way to disable them. What would you put in their place? There are raw converters that will let you convert the raw data to any color space on output, including CMYK. Maybe that would be more appropriate for you. CaptureOne and Raw Developer are the two that come to mind, but they all use profiles.

Hell, even in the golden age of the drum scanner, scanners like the Hell 3010 without even being able to see an image on screen, used profiles, only they called them by a different name – lookup tables. Lookup tables for scanner input and characteristic lookup tables for the analog proofing system the house used.

"I found if I convert using the Adobe 1998 profile the color comes out close, I simply have to increase the saturation to return to the original optical image values. I would however like to bypass this step."

It sounds to me like you need to spend a few weeks getting up to date with the tools that are available now. Between hardware monitor calibration and custom CMYK output profiles that take into account different ink limits and black generation, you’re missing out on a boatload of fun.

A lot of things have changed in prepress in the last fifteen years not the least of which is that little number called Direct to Plate. Since everone has gone DTP, the one thing that has gone by the wayside are any kind of overall proofing standards. Where you used to be able to send the same file to ten different printers and get back proofs that were extremely close, now they’re all over the map. The only way to effectively deal with this is with custom profiles for the high end digital proofers that printers use today.

Sure, you still need to take into account the specifics of total ink, highlight and shadow values, but you simply can’t rely on the positively ancient ink definitions in Custom CMYK to work very well for any of today’s output. Unless, of course, you and your clients don’t mind going through rounds and rounds of proofs.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
I could have sworn that the import options worked differently in older versions. (it’s been a while since I pulled anything from my camera in RAW). I guess pfigen answered my question that I can only pick from one of the 4 profiles for a final destination conversion in 4.6 of the plug-in. I understand how the RAW format works, which is why I chose to use that format when I shot the photos.

Is there perhaps a way to add an additional profile to the list of 4? So I could at least have the file converted using a custom profile.

I myself have never seen consistency outside of professionally controlled environments for profiles, so I normally elect not to use them. In the past when I would use them I would end up having to print something somewhere that they did not use them, or in some cases an IT person would have their RIP configured to embed their own uncalibrated profiles or an uneducated prepress operator would embed the wrong profile. They might also strip the profiles or ignore them completely. In any case it would alter the intended color. All in all once it reaches a press it’s in the hands of the press operator who manages the ink density, or the copier technician who optically calibrates a laser copier from the glass. There will never be a true color match due to gamut.
P
pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
The ACR options have always been the same. If you need to use a different profile then just process your file to ProPhotoRGB and convert it to the profile of your choice in Photoshop. What profile are you thinking you need?

It seems to me like you need a better level of communication between yourself and your print vendors. All it takes is a quick phone call to determine what they’re expecting and what you expect of them.

I’m not sure how many pressrooms you’ve been in, but I’ve never seen IT people have anything to do with files for print. I’ve also never seen anyone embed their own profiles. Like I said before, there may be times where your file is converted via a Device Link Profile, but that can only happen if your file is tagged.

With computer controlled presses these days, the press operators really want to run them to a set of optimum densities, which provides consistency and more efficient makeready.

BTW, how do you know what you’re really looking at on your screen. You never said what your calibration procedure was.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
The first assumption you made was that I still need to do print or that everyone does print. In this day and age that’s not the case. Not everyone needs to calibrate their monitors to open a photograph in Photoshop and expect consistent color from an Adobe plug-in to an Adobe Application. If you’re designing for the web chances are your audience isn’t running a calibrated monitor either. If it was so important Adobe would have included their calibration utilities in CS3 and CS4 as well. Photoshop used to work straight after an install with very little setup. I realize it’s been a few versions since all of that, but none the less professionals used to be able to expect consistency.

I personally color correct based on ink weights for CMYK previewing my output with the custom curves applied, so I really do not pay attention to the color on screen for that… it’s all numbers. I use apply image, curves, and variations for that. If you go to Window > Info there is a palette which shows ink density and color. You have to practice at it over time, but you get an idea of what everything looks like in CMYK based on the numbers. However it varies from press to press so you’ll have to update your color curves and intended profiles to make it correct from file to file if you’re working on items for more than one type of press. You want to make sure you don’t have the wrong total ink limit. That can cause undesirable results. That is why you want to color correct the file before you convert your color mode for the final destination. Color correction has been around long before computers were practical. The first computer I color corrected on had a monochrome monitor.

No need on reading the riot act in assuming someone isn’t up to date on their print knowledge or assuming you have an idea of what their intended output is. I misspoke when I said I do not use profiles. I meant to say I do not use profile EMBEDDING. Once my settings are set I have no need to change them.

In larger environments for printing such as let’s say a newspaper, the IT staff have to setup the automated processes, robots, etc… which alleviate the need for prepress technicians in computer to plate scenarios. Not all presses are direct to press. Especially when they can cost as much as $25 million or more to replace. Not every print shop is direct to plate either. Sometimes you can save money by using the old school print shops who expect their clients to know what they’re doing. Their motto is if it isn’t broke, why upgrade.

Back to the original issue… a digital camera file. When the file is opened in the Camera RAW it is optically correct(on screen), using my monitor profile for viewing. When it is converted to tagged format or jpeg the color shifts due to the profile which was applied in the plug-in. I was simply asking if there was a way to make this behavior stop… meaning to make the file show no color shift. I’ll try the PhotoProRGB option again, but my tests earlier weren’t pleasing. The actual color in the file with no profiles applied has been altered by the plug-in. In the past when I opened RAW files there was no color shift. Probably due to a version upgrade or "feature."
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pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
Sorry, but I think you’re not really understanding the functions of profiles and how they work. You simply can’t get rid of them.

"When it is converted to tagged format or jpeg the color shifts due to the profile which was applied in the plug-in. I was simply asking if there was a way to make this behavior stop…"

Can you post side by side examples. There should be no difference between what you see in ACR and what you see in Photoshop regardless of whether your screen have been calibrated or not. If you are seeing a shift, then it sounds like you are Assigning a different profile in Ps rather than Converting to a different profile. Could you possibly be making that mistake?

"The first assumption you made was that I still need to do print or that everyone does print. In this day and age that’s not the case. Not everyone needs to calibrate their monitors to open a photograph in Photoshop and expect consistent color from an Adobe plug-in to an Adobe Application. If you’re designing for the web chances are your audience isn’t running a calibrated monitor either."

From my point of view, calibration – hardware calibration is even more important when dealing with digital captures. The monitor is your only reference especially when going to web or RGB outputs like most inkjets. Even if your images are viewed on uncalibrated web browsers, you still want them to start out being correct. Without hardware calibration you have no idea where you are.

"If it was so important Adobe would have included their calibration utilities in CS3 and CS4 as well."

The reason that Adobe Gamma has not been included in the latest two releases is that it just doesn’t work very well with LCD screens, and as that’s all that has been available for the last two years, they saw it as counterproductive to include it. They figure that if you are doing high end work, you will be motivated to spend a couple hundred dollars for great quality hardware colorimeters, something that Adobe does not sell.

"Photoshop used to work straight after an install with very little setup. I realize it’s been a few versions since all of that, but none the less professionals used to be able to expect consistency."

How much setup does it take to go through the preferences, color settings and calibrate your screen? You’ve always had to do that. I started in ’94. I guess that makes it, yes, fifteen years ago. I started with hardware calibration about two years later with Radius PressViews, then moving to Barco and on to Sony Artisans. It’s just part of what you do.

I don’t know what sort of images you are sending to press, but my clients demand both superb printing and for the first proof to be right on. Of course I know all about Info Palette and Curves, channel blending etc., but more than anything, the tools that make my job easier, more accurate, more predictive and just plain better, are ProfileMaker Professional and Photoshop’s ability to use the great profiles it generates.

While there probably are a few vendors left using a film to plate for offset, they won’t be around for long as both film and analog proofing systems are going if not already gone. Anyone still using those systems are basically using up their inventory.

When you say you were mistaken and actually do use profile, just don’t embed them, are you doing the same with your RGB files?

Peter
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
Okay,
Here are a couple of screenshots. The first shows my profile settings, my ACR settings and my what I get when I click "open image" in the ACR dialog box.

The second is what the actual original camera color looks like. In the older versions of the import filter, all three instances would share the same color. None of my profile settings have been changed with the exception of the cmyk output settings, but that would not make a difference.

<http://code-resource.com/images/CameraRawIssue.jpg>

<http://code-resource.com/images/DSC06356-lowres.jpg>

Thanks,
-Chris
P
pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
There you go Chris. You’re saving Adobe RGB out of ACR, but your RGB working space is set to Monitor RGB, which is a definite no-no. In addition you’ve got your profile policies set to Off, which means that the file from ACR opens in Ps with no profile recognition. It’s the same as if you took your Adobe RGB file and Assigned Monitor RGB – you get profile mismatch. That is your problem.

What you really want to do is set your RGB workspace to either sRGB or Adobe RGB. If you use Adobe RGB just remember to convert files destined for the web to sRGB before they go online – and do embed the sRGB profile.

You do not want to use Monitor RGB as your RGB workspace. The synthetic RGB working spaces are by definition, neutral balanced where when you have R=G=B, you know it’s neutral. Not necessarily so with Monitor RGB. That’s the reason for having both the working space profile AND the monitor profile.

Next, you want to set Preserve Embedded Profiles and leave Profile Mismatch unchecked. That way, when you open a file that is not the same as your working space, Ps will open it in THAT space and use that profile for display. I like to keep the dropdown box in the lower left corner of the document window set to Document Profile to remind me of what color space each document is in, as I work in so many concurrently.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
I know they recommend setting the color profile to sRGB, but that makes my grey midtones pink. I’ve never had an issue with color being different on multiple platforms, and I do a lot of stuff on the internet. I can open the files I save on my pcs on my mac and they are all the same visually without having to change any profiles. Right now my screens are color balanced to show true tones.

I’m afraid if I go altering these settings, then when I save an illustration for someone, the color will be pink and over saturated for them and their clients unless they calibrate and set their profile to sRGB. I’ve actually received this feedback from clients and removed all of my profiles and that fixed the issue. Not to mention if I change my working profile in Illustrator I get the same result on both monitors. The left monitor is calibrated for print and the right stock/ uncalibrated for the internet. Both show pink tinged gradients in grayscale in illustrator using sRGB.

I have a new video card on order and will see if maybe they have a better calibration feature in it. I don’t do enough print to be able to justify a spider or anything like that anymore. I just want my camera raw files to look like my jpgs from the same camera without having photoshop force me to use profiles. I think I might scrap the raw format all together in light of this issue. This hasn’t been a problem until now.

Thank you for your time,
-Chris
JJ
John Joslin
Jan 14, 2009
And there was I thinking that all Dinosaurs used Photodeluxe Business Edition!

Sometimes ingrained practices are hard to move on from. The sad fact is that coming into the 21st century actually makes life easier in some cases.

Thanks Peter for a patient and comprehensive explanation. I think not only Chris will benefit from it. 🙂
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
It’s not that I’m stuck in my ways or a dinosaur, it’s that I don’t see the point in recalibrating all of my machines and all of my programs, Adobe and Non-Adobe for the sake of having their Camera Raw plug-in force me to use a profile when everything else looks and responds perfectly. If I were in a print shop or a service bureau where I needed to use a color workflow, then profiles would be the answer. But in this case they are a hurdle which could potentially cost downtime, money, and confused clients, who I am not willing to retrain to utilize profiles. I simply wanted my unaltered photos, not to set on a venture to recalibrate the world for Adobe.

After a little research the RAW plug-in which came with my camera does not adjust the color of the photos so I will use that instead.
P
pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
"Both show pink tinged gradients in grayscale in illustrator using sRGB. "

Chris – if your gradients read neutral, meaning red, green and blue are all equal values, and they look pink, this means two things – you need to recalibrate or your current monitor profile is hosed – or both.

"The left monitor is calibrated for print and the right stock/ uncalibrated for the internet."

You don’t calibrate one for print and one for the internet. The best way is to calibrate both to the same base hardware settings – 85-90 cd/m2 for CRT, 110-120 cd/m2 for LCD, white point color temp of 6500K – and then use the correct profiles to preview for all different types of output. It sounds to me like you’re trying to apply pre Ps5 attitudes on a much more modern application. It’s fighting an uphill battle that will only frustrate you.

"I have a new video card on order and will see if maybe they have a better calibration feature in it."

You never want to use the calibration "feature" built into your video card. That alters the way the monitor displays without building you a corresponding monitor profile. You want to use a hardware colorimeter with its software, which does alter the video card lookup tables, but then builds the custom monitor profile, which Ps and other color managed programs can use to display your images more accurately.

"I don’t do enough print to be able to justify a spider or anything like that anymore. I just want my camera raw files to look like my jpgs from the same camera without having photoshop force me to use profiles.’

Ain’t going to happen. It’s not just print work that justifies a Spyder (much prefer the EyeOne though). You’re missing the whole point about profiles. You seem to think that they are the problem, but just the opposite, they are the solution.

"I think I might scrap the raw format all together in light of this issue. This hasn’t been a problem until now."

It’s not the Raw format that’s causing your problem. I’ve pointed out in a previous post exactly where you problem lies. I guarantee if you follow all the advice here, you will have success.

It does take some time to digest and understand the relationship between all the variables, but a more measured, less scatter approach will serve you better in the long run. I understand your frustration and here the resistance in your tone, and while I don’t want to say that resistance is futile, I do want to emphasize that there is a much better way than the way you’re struggling with now.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
The only thing I was struggling with WAS the RAW plug-in and it wasn’t necessarily a struggle as much of a question as to whether I could do things the way I am comfortable or not. At this point you are beating a dead horse.
P
pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
Chris,

Do you now at least understand where your ACR problems came from?
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 14, 2009
I knew where they came from, I was asking if there was a way to NOT use the profiles in the plug-in. I didn’t need a lesson on profiles or any of that stuff. Simple answer would have been "No".

No need to try and convert the world to the church of the color profile. I’m sure if anyone who was ever been confused about color profiles happens upon this thread they will only be more so confused. I on the other hand have gained no extra knowledge from this exercise, except for the fact that color profiles are going to be forced upon the masses more than likely against their will, in a global altering screen calibration bonanza.

People will complain about the color on their websites not looking correct and their photos not turning out properly and there will be legions of color profile "experts" like yourself who will spread their gospel to the world. In the end this stuff will ultimately be secretly installed in the background like the root kits from Acrobat and licensing monitors of the world and none will be the wiser, because it will all work flawlessly. Until then, good luck I need to get back to work. It has been fun. Maybe when I have a couple of months of downtime and am wishing for a headache of none calibrated monitors, I will join you on your quest. At present my color prints the way it looks on the screen and I am perfectly fine with that.
JJ
John Joslin
Jan 14, 2009
Chris

Sorry mate – your opinions are just nuts!

The only one in step eh?
P
pfigen
Jan 14, 2009
"I knew where they came from,"

Clearly you didn’t know where they came from. The screenshot you posted is a great example of that, and it revealed the source of the problem. Hey – we’re just trying to help you understand the process. Whether you want to implement is up to you. At least you should have a better understanding now. If not, there are many books on the subject. Don’t feel bad, it’s one of the most confusing topics going in digital imaging, next to resolution.

Not trying to convert anyone. Just trying to explain what’s happening and that no matter what you do, you’re going to be using profiles whether you like it or not. It’s not them being shoved down your throat. It’s that we’ve always used them even if they weren’t called profiles. Might as well get used to them and use them to your advantage. Really, they’re not a bad thing.
CC
Chris_Cox
Jan 15, 2009
Pfigen has it right. Nobody is preaching, just trying to correct your many mistakes.

There are some people out there preaching against color calibration, usually out of ignorance (or, in once case, desperation to remain relevant).
P
pfigen
Jan 15, 2009
Chris – perhaps we should talk about your veiled hint sometime. I have a much different take on him than you do.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 15, 2009
Geez kids, when has the Adobe forums turned into a personal attack. This isn’t YouTube or MySpace. I have a completely different view of color profiles than you. In the 90’s I was responsible for using colorimeters and densitometers to create profiles for digital imaging equipment and whole production workflows involving dot gain on metal plates, file, stat cameras, and a whole slew of other devices. Some of the now outdated stuff with lasers… You know lasers? I’m sure you heard about them in school. Now it’s much simpler and dare I say safer. No more nasty chemicals, no more potential for getting your tie caught in a… well I guess that’s not true… when there is a will… I also calibrated and setup a color profile system for some odd 50 machines at the newspaper I was working at and I was responsible for calibrating each with the then new Spider, since I was the lead on the color quality control team.

I worked in a neutral r=g=b room and had to wear neutral colors everyday with a couple of drum scanners where the walls where a mind numbing grey and everything was attached a profile. We output numerous types of jobs through the yes, dare I say automated PDF workflow I established in 1999. This workflow embedded the profile for the end imager, and the proofer it was scheduled to be printed on prior to imaging. I sort of continued this whole pattern since. This is not new stuff kids. You talk of me like I have been in the dark for sometime.

I myself wish that this whole endeavor hadn’t crept into my plug-in for downloading photos off of my PERSONAL DIGITAL CAMERA. There is no need for it. Trust me. It worked before… the color is different now. I have no need to remain relevant and am probably way ahead of the curve than you, considering you’re still talking about print.

I know the less I speak up, the more things like the red eye reduction tool will creap into the software I’ve supported for some odd 18 years. Many of these tools are due to laziness or dare I say ignorance in much more better suited tools. And maybe these forums aren’t the place for this.

But not everyone with a digital camera (and trust me on this) is prepared or willing to calibrate their whole computer so pictures of mom and grandpa will not be yellow or pink (depending on the profile) because some wise-guy at the camera store told them to buy the larger memory card and save everything in RAW. Then they take them to somewhere after they’ve color corrected their photos and have them turn out the opposite on the color wheel because even 10 years later the world is STILL not ready for this color profiling system to be unleashed and the people at the local drug store can’t help them.

There are CONTROLLED instances where profiles work well. Yes, Of Course I use profiles. Of Course EVERYONE uses a profile. Even Windows and MacOS have default profiles. Even your receiver in the livingroom has a profile, or your bank card when you put it into the machine, or the chair in your car that returns to its position.

It’s not a semantic question I posed. It was a simple question. A very simple question. I realize there is a difference between converting with a profile and applying a profile for tagging, but if you convert in English can it not also be the same as applying something for the conversion? No need for all of this. No more need for street cred on the Adobe site. You’re not going to be any cooler for bagging on someone you assume is an old man.
P
pfigen
Jan 15, 2009
Chris,

You asked for help in figuring out why you saw a difference in ACR vs. Photoshop. Your screen shots told the entire story and the reason had to do with how you were handling your profiles, and yet you insist on wanting to work sans profiles.

This has never been about trying to prove anything. It’s only been about troubleshooting your specific problem. Through the process of that it certainly appeared that there was a fundamental misunderstanding of digital workflow in regards to color. That’s what led to other facets of discussion. Even with your past experience in prepress, it seems that the concepts are not quite holding. This is not a personal attack, just an observation. Listen, I remember when I first was exposed to this stuff and found it completely baffling. Gradually – mostly through many mountain bike rides, it all sort of fell together in my brain.

Have you tried the suggestions I made about altering your color settings and calibrating your monitor – y’know the calibration, setting your workspace to a standard RGB workspace and not your monitor profile, and most importantly, enabling the profile recognition in Photoshop’s Color Settings. I know that they will fix your problem, but if you insist on working without profiles, or at least ignoring them, you’ll never get to the root of the issue.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 15, 2009
Pfigen,
I’m sure if I were to use color profiles as you’re suggesting for the conversion, then everything would be fine. That’s why they were built into the plug-in because Adobe is assuming that everyone has started using profiles in all aspects of Photoshop. My initial question didn’t indicate that I do not know how to use profiles. It simply stated…

"I know it’s the color profile that RAW is assigning." Meaning I know when I click on let’s say Adobe RGB1998 that is where the color change is coming from. "My question… is there a way to disable the color profile conversion coming from Camera Raw?"
Meaning is there a way to make it so the color came out bit for bit with the assigned native RGB values.

I had already played with the color profiles available, didn’t like the results of any of the 4 wonderful choices, didn’t seem to remember this being a problem with older versions of the camera raw plug-in and was wondering if anyone, who works like myself had taken the time to figure out how to skirt the color profile annoyance. I was basically looking for a quick fix without having to go through and implement the whole color profile workflow. I do think it is annoying to have to switch output intentions for print versus web, and for different types of print. However not all of the programs that I use for work support profiles, so in those cases, the color on screen for them is completely horrible if I recalibrate to make Photoshop appear correct after applying a profile, unless I run completely different monitor setups, meaning 2 calibrations. One for Adobe applications where profiles are enabled and one for other applications.
CC
Chris_Cox
Jan 15, 2009
There is no need for multiple display profiles — just one CORRECT one.
DS
Dennis_S
Jan 15, 2009
Chris,

ACR has to make some kind of assumption for the output colorspace for an RGB image.

Based on your comments and setup images, it looks to me like you are expecting ACR to output in your monitor’s colorspace/profile. That is really the only way that the trip from ACR to PS could involve "no conversion" for the way you are set up.

If you are using a stock monitor profile, then you are expecting Adobe to offer an option for outputting an image specifically for that brand and model of monitor. If you are calibrating or profiling your monitor, then you are expecting Adobe to offer an option for outputting an image specifically for YOU. Neither of those things is going to happen.

You may have a workflow and setup that works for you and the people you interface with but you are definitely in the minority. It is sort of like using Photoshop for word processing. I guess you can do it but don’t expect Adobe to add a Thesaurus panel anytime soon. 🙂
P
pfigen
Jan 15, 2009
The problem Chris (not Cox) is having is that he is outputting Adobe RGB (from what I remember) according to his screen shot and then opening that up in Photoshop as an untagged file using Monitor RGB as his working space. The effect is the same as if you assigned the wrong profile in Photoshop – the color and tonality gets whacked.

Chris continues to say he’s trying to avoid the use of profiles, but it’s that avoidance that is actually causing his problem. This has been pointed out simply, calmly and clearly. It’s Chris’ choice and we’re only trying to help the understanding, but Chris seems hellbent on hoeing his own row.

I still haven’t figured out the reason for the aversion to profiles in general. Most of the time, they’re transparently hanging out in the background doing their job and making digital life much easier.

Seriously, Chris – have you gone through the entire process of recommendations and still come up shy?
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 15, 2009
Here is the issue, I can set my color working space to sRGB and I can set my import option to sRGB. I can export for the web and have it set sRGB. This is all once I’ve calibrated my monitor so that sRGB looks optically correct. Once I open the image on a computer with a monitor that is not calibrated, the color is incorrect, because I altered the color of the original file to compensate for sRGB. Are we only designing for people who know how to calibrate their monitors or implement color profiles?

The other issue is the fact that I have to color adjust every image, whereas before the color was fine. It’s like you’re creating work for yourself by even using RGB workspaces. What is wrong with using the default monitor workspace for real world editing if they’re going to view the file without implementing a color profile? I use the profiles when I’m converting to CMYK, just never been forced to adjust my RGB workspace before.

And Camera raw already has color values per pixel. Why change those when you import?
JM
J_Maloney
Jan 15, 2009
I don’t have an Acer monitor.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 15, 2009
Precisely the reason I’m not spending the money on a monitor calibration device.
P
pfigen
Jan 15, 2009
"Here is the issue, I can set my color working space to sRGB and I can set my import option to sRGB. I can export for the web and have it set sRGB. This is all once I’ve calibrated my monitor so that sRGB looks optically correct."

I think you’re not understanding what calibration entails. It’s not forcing your monitor to make sRGB (or some other color space) look correct. It’s adjusting you screen so that it conforms to a specific standard or luminance, color temperature and gamma, that can be done repeatably on an ongoing basis. Once you have a well calibrated and profile monitor, you then adjust your images to look good on screen.

"Once I open the image on a computer with a monitor that is not calibrated, the color is incorrect, because I altered the color of the original file to compensate for sRGB. Are we only designing for people who know how to calibrate their monitors or implement color profiles?"

sRGB is a synthetic color space derived from the average of many uncalibrated PC screens. It’s surprising close to a large number of supposedly uncalibrated screens out there.

It looks like, from the description of your workflow that you are adjusting images to look good on a screen that is not anywhere near sRGB specs, thinking that they are in fact sRGB, but the reality has been skewed by your out of calibration monitor.

"The other issue is the fact that I have to color adjust every image, whereas before the color was fine. It’s like you’re creating work for yourself by even using RGB workspaces. What is wrong with using the default monitor workspace for real world editing if they’re going to view the file without implementing a color profile?"

Of course, you have to correct every image. That the nature of digital imaging. If you have large numbers of images needing the same correction, then you can batch process those corrections saving time. What’s wrong with using Monitor RGB is precisely the fact that your screen IS different from every other screen. And if you haven’t hardware calibrated it, you have no idea how far out it is. The whole idea of using RGB working space is that they have specific white balance, gamma and are r=g=b color neutral, something your monitor definitely is not. That comes back to the whole point of monitor calibration and profiles. The monitor profile describes the monitor characteristics to Photoshop so it can compensate for your individual display. The genius of this when it was introduced back in Ps 5.0 was that it decoupled the monitor color from the actual image color space. Prior to that the only RGB color space WAS monitor space.

"I use the profiles when I’m converting to CMYK, just never been forced to adjust my RGB workspace before."

You’ve got half the battle. If you use profiles for CMYK then why not for RGB. They’re just as important if not more so. Maybe not thinking that you’re being "forced" into something and maybe looking at how profile integration can help you might ease the resistance.

"And Camera raw already has color values per pixel. Why change those when you import?"

The pixel values you see in Camera Raw are based on conversion from the internal camera profiles for your camera, the internal ProPhotoRGB Gamma 1.0 working space of Camera Raw, and the output space you choose in Camera Raw – i.e. sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc.

Those values will only change if you convert them in Ps, but you really do need to set your Color Preferences to the one I suggested in an earlier post. Opening your files untagged will only continue to cause you grief.
DS
Dennis_S
Jan 16, 2009
Here is where I get confused. The viewers/users of your images apparently don’t use calibrated/profiled monitors nor do they use standard gammas and white points but somehow you have been able to coordinate them all so they are all off in the same way by the same amount so that you can send them an image with your special, home-grown profile and they see your image exactly as you intended. Did I get that right?

If you haven’t somehow been able to coordinate them all, then some people are going to see the image off no matter what. Unless maybe you have a custom profile for Joe and another for Jack and so on. Or do you just have one client/viewer who is important to you?

Sorry, but it is just very hard to understand your scenario.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
My monitor was manually white balanced using charts and other items I have for color matching under balanced light. I guess I’ve been lucky to this point. The color is only slightly off from sRGB, but the gamut difference between my monitor’s profile and sRGB when I was using the plug-in for Camera Raw was drastic enough to make me feel like something was wrong either with my camera or something else. The fact that the colors in the plug-in’s interface rendered without adjustment since I was disabling monitor profiles and using my own monitor’s profile for the workspace upset me a little because they would look perfectly fine, then they would convert to the awful opposite of the difference between my monitor profile and the profile assigned. I’ve looked at things I’ve created in RGB on this machine and on thousands of machines and never seen much of a difference with the exception of opening the files in Photoshop on a machine with an Adobe 1998 profile in place which was to be expected.

When I had a machine setup solely for print I was using the Adobe 1998 working space without issue, but since most of the stuff I work on now is in RGB I’ve been disabling the profiles and stripping embedded profiles and relying on my optically balanced color set. Which presented no issue until I started using the plug-in. Since I read up on the sRGB standard and since more web browsers are implementing color management (even though it’s still off by default in Firefox as of Version 3 and embedded profiles are not visible in IE 7) I’ve elected to go with the calibration for sRGB since it is accepted for HD and I can embed a profile which is read by most browsers. As for print or lab color I’ll probably have to convert back to the Adobe 1998 working space since it has a wider gamut range, but since both sRGB and Adobe 1998 are balanced, that shouldn’t be an issue with my new calibration.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
I was afraid this would happen. I’ve calibrated my screen to where sRGB looks fine in the Adobe Applications, using sRGB for the working space. If I go to the web and look at untagged pages (or even my windows desktop for that matter) everything has a green hue to it, opposite of what I was experiencing before (a magenta hue with profiles disabled).
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
But HOW have you calibrated your screen, and are you generating new monitor profile every time you recalibrate? If you just tweak the screen or video card controls to make the screen look good when sRGB is loaded, that’s NOT calibration. You’ll be forever chasing your tail if that’s what’s happening, and it’s no wonder there are problems.

At the very least you have to use Adobe Gamma or some other eyeball calibration software to do a rough calibration, but that only works for CRT screens. An LCD needs hardware calibration to be any good. And whatever method, if it doesn’t produce a good monitor profile that is loaded into the system for Photoshop (and browsers like Safari and FireFox) to use, then there’s no point in even calibrating.
DE
David_E_Crawford
Jan 16, 2009
Calibrate all day long but what the person sees depends on how rods and cones are in their eyes. Eye cone size, how they are set up and type, affect colors as different people see them. I had to research this about 5 years ago because I got tired of customers asking me why I could see a color different then they could or vice versa on a Calibrated LCD screen or a color sample.
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
Sure, there are differences in the way different people perceive an image, but for the most part they are very similar. Chris’ problems are many fold here and we’re trying to get him on a solid foot, with some resistance, it seems.
DE
David_E_Crawford
Jan 16, 2009
I agree. I did enjoy what you wrote.
DS
Dennis_S
Jan 16, 2009
The fact that not all participants in an archery contest are going to hit the bullseye is not a reason to eliminate the target. 🙂
DE
David_E_Crawford
Jan 16, 2009
Move the target
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
Okay, so after calibrating my system with the sRGB profile as the monitor’s default, I opened a few of my older files fearing the worst with the sRGB profile set as my working profile and they appear to be balanced as before. So now I can leave the profile embedded and not worry about the outcome.

Something else I noticed on these LCDs is that you don’t necessarily want to run the contrast all the way up as you had to on the CRTs. It’s been a while since I’ve calibrated. Should probably do so more often with these monitors having a bulb life. Thanks again.
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
If you’re running CRTs and LCDs in a mixed environment, there are going to be other problems as well.

LCDs are capable and actually have to run much brighter than CRTs. It’s a little more complicated than that. CRTs are capable of a darker black than LCDs but not as bright a white. To have a similar perception on both you need to run the CRT in a lower ambient light environment, and that gets hard when you’ve got both at the same time. To complicate matters, it’s impossible to force the CRT to run as bright as the LCD, and when you force the LCD to be a dim as CRT, you can lose a lot of available levels and the monitor can look flat by comparison, as the black point will never get as black, making dead blacks seem grayish.

I’m still a little confused about your calibration process. When you say you are using sRGB as the monitor’s default, exactly what do you mean? You don’t mean that you’re using sRGB as your actual monitor profile, do you?
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
Now this is in Windows Vista, but I right-click on the desktop, select Personalize > Display Settings

Inside of the Display settings box there is a button that says "Advanced Settings". Under advanced settings there is a Color Management Tab. I click on that, then click the Color Management button. This allows me to assign a default profile for the monitor.

So I go down through the list and assign "sRGB IEC61966-2.1" as the default color space for the monitor. Then I open up my calibration chart I’ve been calibrating with all along in Illustrator with the workspace set to sRGB in the program and recalibrate to a balanced and neutral gray scheme, similar to what you would have done in Adobe Gamma or the Mac Color Calibrator.

It’s tricky, but I match the blacks as dark as they’ll go and make sure the grey tones have an even spacing to match a photographically printed greyscale chart used for balancing drum scanners. You want to make sure that you keep those sort of things out of light when they’re not in use as with the Pantone Color books because paper stocks fade under light.

It’s not as accurate as a spectrophotometer because it is based on my eyesight, but considering I’ve been doing color correction for some time now without color inconsistencies or complaints, there is little reason to doubt my eyesight now. Then I tweak the monitor settings until I get the color to be balanced and for the greyscale to show completely and accurately through the monitor’s on-screen display. This process bypasses the need for using an additional profile for the monitor. Since sRGB is the standard monitor companies are trying to adhere to, then these settings will work for all of the formats I need to use them for and I have no worries about my screen colors being different outside of my Adobe Software in Lightwave or in my other programs as well.

I do need to get a new monitor though, my newest LCD has a different much brighter light source than my older LCD. I noticed the differences between the LCDs and the CRTs a while back when I was using a Sony Trinitron CRT for print and a Viewsonic LCD for my palette monitor. I know you can get away with using one monitor these days, but I’ve been spoiled by multiple displays and hate the panels in the CS3+ apps. Thank goodness you can save workspaces.

Back inside of Photoshop if I go into the Camera Raw plugin, select sRGB as the output profile and open the file, then reopen the plug-in in the foreground, color is the same in both images.
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
Chris,

The problem with your method is that while it might offer some calibration ability, it still won’t save a monitor profile. sRGB is an abstract color space, not the color space of YOUR monitor. This is the way we used to do it with Ps 2,3, and 4, unless you had a Barco or Pressview.

You’re still doing your best to avoid profiles, but, really, they are not your enemy. I’m not sure if it’s your old prepress experience that has ingrained that in you. I wish you could come by my studio for an hour or two and I’m sure I could answer all your questions and give you a live demonstration. It’s much harder in this forum format to both explain complex theory and to absorb it.

Peter
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
I realize I’m not calibrating my monitor to a balanced whitepoint then applying a profile to make it work in the colorspace, but rather balancing my whitepoint through calibration using the colorspace as a visual adjustment. In the end, the optical results will be the same, I’m using the profile for my workspace which matches what I am using for my hardware adjustment. This allows me to turn back on the profile embedding for my exported files and my other files without worrying about the outcome. Plus I don’t need to purchase a new or rent a spectrophotometer. It’s not a bad solution for making the monitor balanced either. When I get the financial means I’ll pursue the calibration utilities and software if need be.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
Hey Peter,
I was reading up on the color calibration devices that are available these days and it sounds like they’ve made a lot of advancements since I last looked. I’ll probably go the route of one of the more expensive ones since I’ve read about issues with lower quality parts and lack of multiple monitor support in some of the lower end models. My work around should suffice in the interim. I suppose what I was doing in the past was making a profile for error correction as opposed to a hardware profile post balancing.

Oh well, thanks again for your time.
-Chris
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
yes, peterfigen.com is mine.
CP
C_Patterson
Jan 16, 2009
nice work.
P
pfigen
Jan 16, 2009
Thanks Chris. Check back in a few weeks. It’s about to undergo a major renovation.
PV
Peter_Vali
Feb 1, 2009
Hi to everyone,

I have the same problem, like C_Patterson. I’ve read all your comments, and since I’m not a PS expert, I’ve tried to follow the instructions listed in message no. #10 of pfigen.
I’ve found, that after setting my WorkSpace RGB to AdobeRGB(1998) in CS3 and in ACR too, unchecking Profile Mismatches, and leaving Color Management Profiles in "Preserving Embedded Profiles", my problem still appears. I have a screenshot here, and you’ll see, what i’m talking about.

<http://samu.ki.iif.hu/pannonium/_temp/color_problem.jpg>

For me printing or web-applications doesn’t matter, i just bothers me, that my photos in CameraRaw aren’t the same any longer in CS3.

Thanks for your help:

peter

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