Adobe RGB is just another version of RGB and a lot of people make a lot of fuss about it. My gripe with it is that the "wider gamut" (beside the phrase being somewhat on the edge of propoganda; wider or thinner, you still have the same numbers and the same 16,777,216 color possibilities) may actually not display correctly without correctly managed profiling...and then if it is displaying correctly, you should, in my book, see EXACTLY the same thing as you would when using sRGB. That is, if profiling works. If you are using color profiles to make color changes to your images, it is a gawd-awful tool, akin to using Brightness/Contrast or Auto-Levels.
I don't care what color space you use, you still have to get the color right. The BIG GLITCH is that when a profile fails, sRGB will probably be assumed, not Adobe RGB. If you have Adobe RGB assigned and you get looked at in sRGB, the mapping of colors is rendered as the "thinner" gammut. That is whatever 255, 40, 25 looks like in Adobe RGB now looks like 255, 40, 25 in sRGB. And that is what happens when using Adobe RGB tagged images on the web -- browsers don't read the profile and make a conversion of sorts because there is no profile for translation (like speaking swahili to a russian; you may understand neither, but I'd get the swahili phrase book if I was going where they spoke that language).
I'll say it...I am having the feeling that a lot of the push for Adobe RGB is, perhaps, some great plan to cultivate licensing fees...I'll put my sRGB images up against anyone's Adobe RGB images any day because there are only so many CMYK colors--a finite if large set--and you can't get any more CMYK out of CMYK with Adobe RGB than I can with sRGB unless the conversions are not correct.
To me, sRGB makes more sense because I can see the whole thing on my monitor (sRGB was designed based on the ability of monitors), and because it is the default. As long as you are calibrated, you'll see the right thing.
The only profile I could go for would be a custom one. Other stuff is pretty much arbitrary.
Thanks for the input everyone. I don't think ICC profiles are a silver bullet - more like a hidden mine. Apart from calibrating my monitor, they have been only trouble for me, so I don't like to use them if I don't know what they're doing now or might do later on.
Nor have I ever been happy with Adobe RGB 1998. I can see the effect of 5 color spaces (4 sRGB and AdobeRGB) when I shoot RAW with the D70 and switch color spaces in Nikon Capture. Adobe colors are weird.
I'm going to stick with sRGB, I'm going to try working in limited color manangement mode in PE2, and I'm going to leave the "ICC profile" box checked when saving to TIFF (mostly because I don't know how to permanently uncheck this box). I'll check Nikon View again to see if there is an option for not tagging images.
Will this new workflow embed the sRGB profile in my image or just tag it? Is there a difference? I'm leary about this, but will do some tests to see if prints or web shots are altered.
Read this only for the sake of curiosity, It's long, rambling, marginally coherent and written as much for my own benefit as anyone else's.
Clearly I've touched a warm spot here; I wasn't trying to start a controversy, just offering what I've learned since I got into digital printing. I should apologize for stepping in here without knowing the context. I failed to recognize this forum is dedicated to Photoshop Elements; I just noticed it as a new post and thought I could add something. I shoot a D1X and it's similar to the D70 in terms of image files. I've been developing my workflow with it for about a year and process between 100 and 400 digital images every 2 or 3 days. I use Photoshop 7 but I mean't no predjudice against Elements. I'm in no position to judge because I've never used it. I was referring to the fact that PS has strong support for color management and RAW files.
Following are the circumstances leading me into color management and Adobe RGB. I write this because, right or wrong, I feel a bit defensive because I percieve my advice as being judged incorrect or inappropriate. I'm not willing to put my Adobe RGB file up against anybody's sRGB file because, to me, that seems irrelevant; color models are reference tools with different applications.
For my first year or so of digital photography, I didn't take the camera, a Nikon E5000, very seriously and reserved it for personal use, mostly point and shoot stuff. My images were all sRGB TIFFs and I was perfectly happy with the prints. For work, I shot film and digitized it, still do for lots of stuff.
A little over a year ago I teamed up with a graphic designer and since have been responsible for print production in addition to photography. Before that, I didn't know much about nitty gritty printing, I just turned over my image files, prints or film and the designers and prepress guys handled it.
Our business involves print ads, exhibits and art reproduction. I am often faced with having to MATCH colors from proofing device to output device and make reprints which remain true to the initial run. This includes spot color and paint/media color in addition to photographic image color. Art reproduction clients are especially picky about color fidelity and it takes a structured process to get them what they want without doing lots of guesswork. A big piece of that is having a reliable way to use output profiles. We print both in and out of house and using Adobe RGB as our reference model has allowed us to proof using color laser or inkjet, then output to offset press, silkscreen and outside service bureau inkjets. It has also allowed us to easily print on different papers and films with relatively accurate results.
My first attempts using a service bureau for large format prints were with sRGB image files and, while the results were acceptable, the clients were sometimes critical about the accuracy of reds (ink limitation) and the tonality in smoothly graded blues (sRGB limitation). We still get comments about reds but the blues are no longer much of a problem now, at the suggestion of the printer operator, that we send Adobe RGB files. It was a few months after solving that problem that I read about sRGB having gamut limitations with saturated greens and blues.
I'm not for or against sRGB, Adobe RGB, LAB or ICC color management in general; they are just tools in the box and when I need them, I use them. I try to do as little to an image as possible to get what I want. I am terrible at guessing about color and I hate having to change color balance in an image just to print it on a different device or media. It's just a lot easier for me to convert the profile and if the proof looks right, let it run. That's not using profiles to CHANGE colors, that's using them to NOT change colors, at least within the limits of the output medium.
I also agree that the number of displayable colors is the same for Adobe RGB and sRGB... on a given device. Number of displayable colors for all RGB color spaces are device dependent. I use the terms wide or narrow when speaking of gamut for lack of a better way to say it clearly. It is fair to say though that the color gamut of sRGB is compressed when compared to Adobe RGB.
All of this has to be framed by saying that our business is PRINTING... ink on paper, ultimately CMYK. We don't directly publish to the web so we rarely have cause to use sRGB as an output profile. That's what sRGB is designed for, right? It's an attempt at standardizing an approximation of the average, uncalibrated Windows monitor for the purpose allowing some degree of color consistency on the millions of uncharacterized monitors.
I could not agree more that you must get the color right to begin with; that's why I prefer my camera and scanner to supply images with their proprietary source profiles which I keep and then, when I'm ready to proof, I convert a copy to the appropriate output profile, a paper/printer profile if printing in-house or Adobe RGB if we're sending it out.
This is what works for me... most of the time; color management is imperfect but it has saved me a lot of time and money since I got used to using it. A client can ask me how something that's on matte will look if it's on glossy and I can show them in a few minutes, then they can ask what it will look like on ivory coated... and I can show them. That's a cool thing.
Thanks Chris. I can see why there is no simple "how-to" manual since we all have different needs and environments. Capture One does look pricey, unless they come up with an econo version for the D70. I also see why it's a good idea to save the tiff images tagged with the camera profile. If I change to limited or full color management in PE2, color/contrast gets messed up without the tag.
While it is a little bit of a tangent for this forum -- which isn't just about Photoshop Elements, but more specifically is for users and readers of my books and tools who use Elements -- there is a bit more to say considering you responded about Photoshop. My goal here is not as much to respond to the poster as to respond to the post, with the good of the Elements user in mind.
If the goal of your workflow is to match colors, I would imagine the best way to do this is to create final files that are in the form of the output. In other words, if you are going to an offset printer, create CMYK files with Photoshop, not RGB of any variety. This way you can have a pre-determined CMYK value that is best, and shoot for it. If you are using Adobe RGB or sRGB it shouldn't matter--if you have made the best corrections for that color space (preferably, changes that you can SEE--and this is where Adobe RGB provides a little disadvantage), your conversion to CMYK should finish up pretty much the same. You don't get more colors out of one color space than you do with another. You also don't get more accurate color. A tagged file correctly 'corrected' is a tagged file that will convert from RGB to CMYK. The wider gammut provides a buffer, but at the same time suggests that the mapping of colors from RGB to CMYK and Adobe RGB to CMYK is not consistent. I don't know that one is better than the other...I do suggest that Adobe may have a vested interest in making one work better than the other. As they control the medium, it is an interesting situation...and one that can easily be used by them. I have been doing CMYK output for quite a while...before there were even tagged images--as a technician and a graphic designer. I would much prefer to do my own CMYK conversion and final adjustments than to place that part of the artistic judgement in the hands of a computation.
While Chip may have developed a system with a current printer, that doesn't translate to the right way to do things generally. That isn't a poke, it is an observation and a clarification for those who use Elements and would be wondering about the Adobe RGB workflow. "Wider Gamut" is a sexy term, but in reality it shouldn't provide much...that it does is suspect. My sRGB image with full tonal range and correct color has the same number of colors; an Adobe RGB image with full tonal range and correct color should map out the same in preview if it is using my monitor profile. If it doesn't, my preview on screen will look different with sRGB and Adobe RGB...and if the purpose of profiling is to provide an accurate translation, this has failed. This is again, not a poke at the post, but a poke at the positioning of profiling. Somewhere here, someone added some unnecessary complexity and tried to make seem glamourous a 'wider gamut'...in turn a message of confusion in a realm where too few people know the right answer--and where, because of the complexity, there may be none. A well corrected image should work in either case--and technically the result should be the same if the process is accurate.
My interest in books and responses is to preach simplifying and making logical sense of workflow steps. You SHOULD profile if working in Adobe RGB and sending RGB printers to a CMYK printer. A better workflow, in my opinion, is to convert to CMYK and optimize that file if going to a CMYK printer.
My only question, Chip, would be what you are considering 'accurate' color to match on. Whether you use Adobe RGB or sRGB, CMYK is CMYK...the gammut of that does not get extended. Your original will almost always be RGB of some form (scanned, digitally captured, or, really, using film). Unless there is a known color in the image (e.g., a company logo color), what color is there to match? If it is to match what you see on screen, profiling will get you less distance than a good colorimeter which will help be sure that what you see on screen is a best representation, and profiling will only remain important for telling a second device what color space you were in in the first place so it can recognize the color mapping. It doesn't deliver more accurate color automatically. If that were true, it would be the only choice. I don't doubt you feel you get better color, but I question why rather than whether you do or not. Technically the end result should be the same.
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