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Elements Color Management Settings

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  #1  
Old 12-16-2008, 05:48 AM
Robert Budding Robert Budding is offline
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Elements Color Management Settings

I'd like to make sure that I understand how Elements handles files that are already tagged with an icc color space that is not sRGB or Adobe RGB (1998). THe 'Help' section of Elements sounds as if the program will convert to either sRGB or Adobe RGB (1998) even if another space is tagged. Is this true? Or will my edits occur in in the tagged space and be preserved?
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:32 AM
Michel B Michel B is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

I can imagine you want to work with a CMYK image produced by Photoshop, or with a Prophoto RGB profile from another software (Lightroom?)
In the first case, you'll be warned you have to convert to RGB, either sRGB or aRGB, since CMYK is not supported in Elements.
In the second case, nothing will happen, your prophoto profile will be recognized and displayed correctly. This will show in the info palette if you check showing the color profile, and will be also kept in the save as dialog. If you choose to convert to another profile, the only 2 options are sRGB and aRGB.
What you have seen in the help file is probably meant to tell Elements which profile to choose if no profile is embedded in your image.
What I understand is that there will be no conversion (changing the R,G,B values) but the display will take the profile correctly into account during your edits while the profile stays tagged unchanged. I hope color management gurus will tell us more about this and correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:48 AM
Robert Budding Robert Budding is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

Thank you, Michel. I was hoping that tagged files would stay in the tagged space for edits.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:44 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

I don't use Elements often, so please double check any references to keys or menu names. However, Elements (since version 4) can handle tagged files. It does depend on your color settings though. If using the default setting of AdobeRGB, it will only assign AdobeRGB when no tag is present. Otherwise, tags are preserved and edits happen in the preserved color space.

Printing actually converts the image to a new color space on the fly, unless you have checked the option for printer driver color management. Elements uses the same conversion engine as the full Photoshop to do this. You just don't get any access to the ACE in the dialog.

If for some reason you're using Elements prior to version 4, this is not true.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:57 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

The color management settings vary from version to version, and the results can be tested easily enough. Just use Save As when you save and you'll see what profile Elements is currently using as the suggested tag.

I wonder, however, if it is really good to do something like choose to edit in sRGB and retain an aRGB profile...Elements does that with later versions of the program and frankly it is incorrect (you upload an image to a photo web site and the AdobeRGB tag is dropped and you will see a sometimes severly altered image...).

So why the concern with retaining the profile?

Michel, where's that CMYK stuff come from? Elements can handle CMYK, just not in the way Photoshop does.
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:58 AM
Michel B Michel B is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_Lynch View Post
Michel, where's that CMYK stuff come from? Elements can handle CMYK, just not in the way Photoshop does.
For example, I was given once CMYK pictures produced by Photoshop. Elements gives a warning and suggests converting to RBG if you want to open them. Elements converts them to sRGB or aRGB depending on your color management preference choice (optimize for printing or for screen). My suggestion was to show that Elements can open other color modes than RGB and convert them to RGB. I should mention that I have read and practiced your chapter on CMYK in the PSE4 Hiddenelements book. Very interesting for the theory, but not very useful in everyday tasks... although I sometimes happen to play with the K channel.

Similarly, I have found that the topic of color modes is never clearly explained if you shoot raw and process in ACR/Elements. Here is what I have found. First of all, some say that the camera setting you choose for your camera (aRGB or sRGB) is indifferent if you shoot raw. This may be true for LR/Photoshop, since you can choose your profile (Prophoto for instance) for Photoshop. However, it seems that when Elements opens from ACR, the tag in the exif data is taken into account and the conversion is made accordingly. The color preference (always optimize for print/screen) is not taken into account, since it applies only if this tag is missing. So, unless I am mistaken, the only way to work with aRGB is to choose it in camera. Otherwise, you end up with a sRGB file which you can convert to aRGB which is supposed to be totally useless.

I am not a Lightroom user (not yet...) but I believe LR lets you choose Prophoto for instance. What I have seen is that this profile is kept all along in the editing process in Elements, which means no conversion by default, and you can choose either aRGB or sRGB if you want to convert (Apply profile). That means you are indeed working in Prophoto in Elements. Whether it is best to convert before you edit or before you save the result, I am not sure.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:10 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel B View Post
Elements converts [CMYK] to sRGB or aRGB depending on your color management preference choice (optimize for printing or for screen). My suggestion was to show that Elements can open other color modes than RGB and convert them to RGB.
I wouldn't do that. CMYK>RGB conversions are not recommended as CMYK versions will already be limited. This will compound the issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel B View Post
your chapter on CMYK in the PSE4 Hiddenelements...Very interesting for the theory, but not very useful in everyday tasks...
The conversion to CMYK in a one-off is actually pretty useful when compared to buying PSCS for $700 more just for one image. I also actually print one in the book, and it looks just as good as the Photoshop processed CMYK side-by-side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel B View Post
However, it seems that when Elements opens from ACR, the tag in the exif data is taken into account and the conversion is made accordingly. The color preference (always optimize for print/screen) is not taken into account, since it applies only if this tag is missing.
Adobe has this botched currently, in my opinion, but it also changes from version to version -- just to add to the confusion. I don't think your statements are valid for all versions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel B View Post
I am not a Lightroom user (not yet...) but I believe LR lets you choose Prophoto for instance. What I have seen is that this profile is kept all along in the editing process in Elements, which means no conversion by default, and you can choose either aRGB or sRGB if you want to convert (Apply profile). That means you are indeed working in Prophoto in Elements. Whether it is best to convert before you edit or before you save the result, I am not sure.
I am not convinced of the benefit of retainig a profile when you cannot see the color you are editing.

Hope that helps!
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:14 AM
Michel B Michel B is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_Lynch View Post
I wouldn't do that. CMYK>RGB conversions are not recommended as CMYK versions will already be limited. This will compound the issues.

The conversion to CMYK in a one-off is actually pretty useful when compared to buying PSCS for $700 more just for one image. I also actually print one in the book, and it looks just as good as the Photoshop processed CMYK side-by-side.

Adobe has this botched currently, in my opinion, but it also changes from version to version -- just to add to the confusion. I don't think your statements are valid for all versions.

I am not convinced of the benefit of retainig a profile when you cannot see the color you are editing.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for the detailed answer.
1 - CMYK to RGB conversion: it's only a compatibility matter. I was able to open the CMYK files I had received, but I felt the images had lost some quality. My correspondent pretented it gave better skin tones... I understand that people working with pre-press are accustomed and skilled in working with CMYK, but definitely it is not recommended for Elements as you are stating.
2 - CMYK hiddenelements tools: I agree, it is a very smart workflow, and I assume it is even more flexible than the rigid PS conversion. I understand your point about the price difference... here 945 euros more!
3 - I have checked this with versions 5 and 6, I won't upgrade to 7. When I think about the typical Element user, I think even the choice between aRGB and sRGB is confusing and a common source of serious problems. I also think there is such a thing as the 'hidden power of the ACR version for Elements'. Adobe has no interest in this, better push LR ahead...
4 - Totally agree. Some have contended that even if you can't see it on screen, you may get better results in printing with recent home printers with 6+ inks... I am not convinced. I don't want to have two versions for web lab printing and home printing. Plus, if I can spot a difference, will it be better?
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:36 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Elements Color Management Settings

Quote:
Some have contended that even if you can't see it on screen, you may get better results in printing with recent home printers with 6+ inks...
well, I am guessing even if you can see it in screen you get better results with 6 inks. Really the problem for most people that rely on fancy color spaces to get the job done is that they do not correct images the best way in the first place, and these other color spaces may end up adding saturation and dynamics that they do not get by good image processing.

It may just be my opinion, but I'd be willing to test it.
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