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Thread: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks!

  1. #1

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    Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks!

    Maybe if I put my frustration in point form it will make more sense. I have CS5 for my post processing program.

    1) Photos look fine on the screen. When I had them printed yesterday at my local, independently owned photo lab, they looked as if I had partially desaturated them. Skin tones looked grey, etc. I did not look at the photos until I got home so there was no chance to question the technician.

    2) I tried two "quick" labs this morning to see if there was a different result. The prints still looked bad.

    3) I went back to the original lab. One technician basically told me I should stick to JPEG. Ah, no. The other fellow, as my request, looked at the photos I had on the thumb drive, compared them to the prints and suggested this: a) make sure when I was saving that the ICC profile was NOT checked
    b) Under EDIT/COLOUR SETTINGS, check OFF for the three Colour Management Policies.


    4. I went home and did the above. Yes, my ICC profile had been checked and the three Colour Management Policies were showing Preseve Embedded Profiles (I set them to off).

    So, this is what is now happening. When I open a file, I "sometimes" get the message: The doc has an embedded colour profile that does not match the current RGB working space. The current RGB policy is to discard profiles that do not match the working space." If I select OK, then "sometimes" the photo will then develop the greyish desaturated look that I was seeing in the prints ON the screen.

    I also checked the bottom bar on ACR. Sure enough, it was also set to ProPhotoRGB. I reset it to the choice of sRGB IEC61966 2.1 It is still hit or miss with the message. If I open a jpeg in camera Raw and then in PS, I do not get the message.


    Does this make sense? I have taken screen shots that I will take with me to the photo store tomorrow and can post some here if that will help after I return from mucking out stalls. (That may be just the head clearning activity that I need at the moment!) I am also going to run test shots with the various settings.

    Thank you for any advice!

    Myra

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Here are some sample shots.



    These two shots show the problem the best:

    BAD! (Profile off/ Colour settings all set to OFF (grey shade again on screen))

    Beyond frustrated with colour print settings.  Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks!
    Profile off Colour settings all set to OFF (grey shade again on screen) by M.J. Hencher, on Flickr


    Better (profile off/ colour set to Working RGB on Colour settings)

    Beyond frustrated with colour print settings.  Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks!
    profile off colour set to Working RGB on Colour settings by M.J. Hencher, on Flickr

  3. #3

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    Have a guess :)
    Only got a sec (lunch getting cold)

    - set ACR to sRGB

    - Set PS to preserve embedded profiles

    - Always choose Image - CONVERT to Profile (and choose sRGB) before printing via a lab.

    Jpeg is fine if you want.

    Prob is your Prophoto colourspace isn't supported by the printers

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Myra: I have had a problem also not the same as yours. I found these two articles of help:

    http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps12_colour/ps12_1.htm

    and

    http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps13_colour/ps13_1.htm

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Simple solution. If you are using a commercial lab always set everything to sRGB (camera and CS5). You just have a colour space/profile mismatch. Don't even start talking colour space and profiles to most labs. They often just look at you like you're from another planet. Colin's suggestions should fix it. BTW this is why I print my own photos and now guess what - other people have me print theirs too.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Thank you all! So, I have ACR set to sRGB IEC61966 2.1 and not the ProPhoto
    I have the ICC profile turned off.
    The colour setting is the same as ACR. Question: Should the colour management polices be turned off or left at EMBEDDED? Colin, this is the thing the lab guy said to turn off. Also, Colin, I'm not sure what the Convert to Profile is. Wow, I wish I could teleport one or all or you to Nova Scotia!

    Thanks!

    Myra

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    You can work with whatever profile you want while editing. I stay in ProPhoto because it is the largest space and is what Lightroom uses. The key is what profile you use when you create the jpeg you send to the lab. All labs with which I am familiar will take sRGB, and some (you need to check before you do this) will take aRGB.

    So I think the key to it all is what Colin wrote:

    - Always choose Image - CONVERT to Profile (and choose sRGB) before printing via a lab.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    All labs with which I am familiar will take sRGB
    I've reached the conclusion that their software probably just ASSUMES sRGB. Honestly, it's unbelieveable in this day and age; we put men on the moon over 40 years ago, and yet in 2012, we still can't get a simply profile mis-match alert in the software used by 99% of photo labs.

    Note to photo lab software developers: "TIME TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE: IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE FOLKS!"

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    Thank you all! So, I have ACR set to sRGB IEC61966 2.1 and not the ProPhoto
    I have the ICC profile turned off.
    The colour setting is the same as ACR. Question: Should the colour management polices be turned off or left at EMBEDDED? Colin, this is the thing the lab guy said to turn off. Also, Colin, I'm not sure what the Convert to Profile is. Wow, I wish I could teleport one or all or you to Nova Scotia!

    Thanks!

    Myra
    Myra

    I'd happily come to Novia Scotia. Must be warmer than here!

    Looking at your last post I am not clear that you have picked up the best advice offered here.

    Starting from the beginning:
    As you are using ACR I take it that you are shooting RAW. In that case ACR is going to assign a colour space to your RAW data: all that means is assigning a standard set of numbers, that the computer can work with, to each real life colour in your image. The correct choice of destination profile here is the largest colour space that you can get (ProPhoto as Dan said) , simply because if you squeeze your image into too small a number set (like sRGB) you risk artefacts occurring in your image when you are making adjustments in Photoshop.

    Next, settings for importing into Photoshop.
    The reference Allan provided has it right, although Ian Lyons doesn't get definite enough! Line your settings up with Fig 16 at the end of Section 3. Exactly. (FWIW I think the last word on managing colour correctly in Photoshop is in a book called 'Color Management for Photographers: Hands on Techniques for Photoshop Users' by Andrew Rodney. Bottom line, his recommended settings are the same as Fig 16 in Allan's web reference!)

    Lastly. Sending to print.
    Colin is right. Labs are generally, in my experience, clueless about colour management. Your safest route, when you need to take an image to a lab, is to SAVE or EXPORT your image from Photoshop as the highest quality JPEG possible, and convert the colour space information, at that point (and not before), to sRGB. NB converting your image to sRGB and JPEG should be the very last thing you do. Don't do any such conversion before you have finished your editing.

    If you're interested in the 'why' of all this, in order to better understand what the settings are doing, might I volunteer http://fromcameratoprint.com/About%20CM/Why%20CM.html

    Cheers

    Tim

    PS Colin is right in his message to lab people and their s/w developers. "Get with the program. This is the 21st century!" In the meantime its why I've chosen to do all my own printing. Never been happier!
    Last edited by Macmahon; 29th June 2012 at 05:00 AM.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    The correct choice of destination profile here is the largest colour space that you can get
    Hi Tim,

    For some, but not necessarily for all. In reality, there's little that a camera can capture outside of the Adobe RGB colourspace, but the other issue is that the bigger the colourspace you work with, the bigger the mess that you can get yourself into because most monitors are only physically capable of displaying an sRGB gamut -- and as such you can have colours that appear as one colour on the screen (because they're out of gamut), but print a significantly different colour (because they're in-gamut for the printer).

    In reality, if you're not going to be doing your own printing then you're safest having the images spat out of ACR in sRGB. If you're doing your own printing, then there MAY be some small gamut advantage to be gained by using Adobe RGB. Generally ProPhoto RGB is a waste of time because anything it contains outside of the Adobe RGB colourspace generally can't be displayed or printed accurately so (a) there's no advantage, but (b) there can be a significant disadvantage if things start going OOG and you don't realise it.

  11. #11

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post

    Generally ProPhoto RGB is a waste of time because anything it contains outside of the Adobe RGB colourspace generally can't be displayed or printed accurately so (a) there's no advantage, but (b) there can be a significant disadvantage if things start going OOG and you don't realise it.
    Hi Colin,

    I had that experience once. I was desperately trying to match the colour of the bride's mother's jacket on screen and print. I didn't learn until this year with the soft-proofing capability of Lightroom 4 that the problem was that the colour was being printed correctly but was out of gamut (OOG) on the monitor. (I'd all the while assumed the print was wrong!) If I'd used sRGB and reduced the colours to those displayable only on the monitor, I'd have got it wrong on both counts.

    I'm firmly in the Ian Lyons, Andrew Rodney, and Allan Short camp on this one.

    Anyway the important thing for Myra was that she had taken the message to deselect embedded profiles (as I read the post), and that would not help her problem at all.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Hi Tim,

    I take the position that "the bigger the space, the more trouble people can get themselves into".

    If they understand colour management then fine - the likes of Prophoto / LAB are great - but folks need to understand the potential limitations of what they see on the monitor.

    If not, then I like to think of sRGB as being "Safe RGB".

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    Anyway the important thing for Myra was that she had taken the message to deselect embedded profiles (as I read the post), and that would not help her problem at all.
    Finally I've got some time to get to this thread!

    If you're meaning "turn off embedded profiles in Photoshop", then no - that's crazy. ACR will attach the selected profile (eg "Adobe Standard" (by default) - or if the user is more advanced - a custom camera profile created using the likes of the DNG Profile Editor or Color Passport). If one has gone to all the trouble of profiling the camera it makes no sense at all to just throw away all of that customisation and - in essence - turn the file into "mystery meat".

    Myra's issue is simple; the files are being submitted for print whilst still in Adobe RGB or Prophoto RGB - so all she needs to do is click EDIT -> CONVERT TO PROFILE and make sure the destination colourspace is set to sRGB (I have this set as a button on my actions panel).

    Note: Myra - sorry - I think I said IMAGE -> CONVERT TO PROFILE before; apologies - it's under the Edit menu, not Image menu (was going from memory, and I don't actually do it by hand anymore since I use an action button).

    Note #2: Be sure to select CONVERT to profile, not ASSIGN profile.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Big hugs to all of you for the time you have taken to offer help! As of two hours ago I am ON VACATION for two months. Before the housework gets done, before I start a new novel... this print thing WILL be figured out. The camera shop people have said I can send some test shots. I am also going to print off the articles that were in the links and present them to the owners to have a look at. This is the first time I've had these issues in over twenty years of having prints developed there, so I'm pretty confident that it will all work out in the long run.

    The worst of this whole thing is that I was paid to do two family shoots in the past few weeks. The photos looked OK on the disks I gave both clients. Just for "fun" I decided to see how they would print. ARGHH!! I was so upset I couldn't sleep. Thankfully, I know both folks and they have had things printed of mine before, so they are understanding and I'll redo the disks as soon as possible and have their prints re-done.

    Not sure if this has anything do to with it, but I have switched main cameras from the 40D to the IDIII (I got a deal on a new one that could not be passed up). Up until then, pictures were printing fine. No changes in processing software.

    Tim, we've had a huge rain/thunder/lightning storm last night, but it's warm and overcast today. June to October are the best months in this part of the world

    Thank you all!

    Myra

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Just wanted to follow up. It seems that if my ACR settings (on the bottom of the screen) match my Working Spaces Colour Settings AND if I save to the ICC profile that also matches, I am good to go. So if I have ProPhoto set in one spot, I go ProPhoto all the way.

    Thanks again!

    Myra

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    Just wanted to follow up. It seems that if my ACR settings (on the bottom of the screen) match my Working Spaces Colour Settings AND if I save to the ICC profile that also matches, I am good to go. So if I have ProPhoto set in one spot, I go ProPhoto all the way.

    Thanks again!

    Myra
    Arrrggghhh.

    If you send them to the lab still set for Prophoto then skintones will (at best) look like "death warmed up". If you stick to Prophoto as a working space - on a monitor that can only display sRGB then you MAY run into out of gamut situations if you're trying to adjust strong colours using the monitor as your sole point of reference.

    If you're having shots printed at a lab you must Must MUST ensure you convert them to sRGB before hand. No exceptions.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    Just wanted to follow up. It seems that if my ACR settings (on the bottom of the screen) match my Working Spaces Colour Settings AND if I save to the ICC profile that also matches, I am good to go. So if I have ProPhoto set in one spot, I go ProPhoto all the way.

    Thanks again!

    Myra
    Myra
    I'd need to be watching over your shoulder to see if I'm understanding correctly what you've written. However, the first part seems right: ACR settings and working space should be the same, and, for my money, should be ProPhotoRGB. ( I know Colin has well-founded reservations. ) But it is really important that,when you send a file to print, the colour space attached to the file is properly interpreted by the printer. If you are doing this on your own printer, you'd convert the image to your printer's colour profile. If you're sending it to an outside service, and they're like most services we know about, they'll expect sRGB so you must convert the file to sRGB before sending it.

    For an illustration of why this can go wrong, have a quick look at http://fromcameratoprint.com/Referre...e%20plots.html
    For and explanation about the difference between assigning a colour profile and converting to a profile see http://fromcameratoprint.com/Referred%20pages/FAQ4.html

    Good luck with this. You'll be so pleased you persevered when you finally get on top of this stuff.

    Hope the weather it still good up there. We're still wet in NZ, and the earth is moving under our feet as well!!

    Tim
    Last edited by Macmahon; 4th July 2012 at 11:27 PM.

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    If you are doing this on your own printer, you'd convert the image to your printer's colour profile.
    Hi Tim,

    No. No conversion necessary; the software will adjust the data correctly when the correct printer profile is selected as part of the printing process (ie one doesn't go Edit -> Convert to profile when doing one's own printing).

  19. #19

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Oh dear, I've passed my frustration on to Colin!

    Colin, I read the Ian Lyon's articles and figured the ProPhoto would be the way to go. I just replied to Bobo's thread about colour settings; even on Flickr, those deathly grey tones were showing up when viewed as a slide show. The article suggests that the sRGB is mainly for web use. Not so, it appears?


    Tim, I can see that greyish, desat look in the example of the flowers. Yes, I have to persever and get this right. Thank goodness for CinC!! We're having a bit of a heat wave, but I think thunder showers are on their way in the next 24 hours. That will cool the air. I LOVE summer. It's so short, though.

    Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to respond to all the comments!

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    Re: Beyond frustrated with colour print settings. Would SO appreciate advice. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    Colin, I read the Ian Lyon's articles and figured the ProPhoto would be the way to go. I just replied to Bobo's thread about colour settings; even on Flickr, those deathly grey tones were showing up when viewed as a slide show. The article suggests that the sRGB is mainly for web use. Not so, it appears?
    Hi Myra,

    sRGB is for devices that only support an sRGB gamut (think of it as the lowest common denominator). This includes many monitors, and just about ALL print "labs".

    Basically you have a couple of choices:

    1. Stick to prophoto. Advantages - you're not discarding colours (although the colours that you might discard aren't usually that noticeable anyway -- most couldn't see the difference). Disadvantages - if you don't convert to sRGB before sending to a print lab you end up with ... well you know what you end up with.

    2. Stick to sRGB. Advantages - all your problems go away. Disadvantages - you MAY (but probably won't) notice a slight change to certain highly saturated colours.

    Hope this helps

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