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Colour Space - SRGB or Adobe RGB?

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What colour space do you use? Does it make that much of a difference? From what I have read SRGB seems to be more popular these days because of the abundance of pics going on the web. Adobe RGB was more suited to photos in print. Is that correct?  Any advice much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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2 minutes ago, Jansos said:

What colour space do you use? Does it make that much of a difference? From what I have read SRGB seems to be more popular these days because of the abundance of pics going on the web. Adobe RGB was more suited to photos in print. Is that correct?  Any advice much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

This is a good question and Iwas about to ask it myself while cleaning and correcting my keywords and captions.

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There's a 6 page thread on colour space started in july 2019.

 

I've tried to put a link in but its not workin..

 

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Well done Niels!!😀

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6 minutes ago, Jansos said:

What colour space do you use?

Would that be for Alamy or just generally? Mark Chapman did extensive tests that proved, and eventually elicited a response from Alamy confirming it, that all downloads are in the sRGB colour space, but have no colour space embedded. Anything uploaded in a different colour space is converted to sRGB. We don't know whether that conversion takes place on upload or download. 

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Thanks for reminding us of this issue, John—I was just setting up the menu on my new little Sony. It's true that when I worked at Time Warner mags, Adobe RGB was the industry standard. But that was then and this is now. 🙂

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jansos said:

What colour space do you use? Does it make that much of a difference? From what I have read SRGB seems to be more popular these days because of the abundance of pics going on the web. Adobe RGB was more suited to photos in print. Is that correct?  Any advice much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

For images submitted to Alamy it doesn't matter because they convert everything to sRGB and then (contrary to best practice) strip the profile. I work in sRGB because it provides me with a consistent viewing and editing experience and simplified my workflow, and the libraries I submit to take sRGB. I do however keep my RAW files so I can always go back and recover any colour information the conversion to sRGB may have lost. I don't do much printing.

 

You may find this interesting https://hubpages.com/art/SRGB-AdobeRGB-and-ProPhotoRGB-colour-spaces, there are links to some sRGB, AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB test images towards the end.

 

The biggest differences (on screen) IMO occur when images encoded with one profile (e.g. sRGB) are rendered using the wrong profile (e.g. AdobeRGB). This can make viewers believe the differences between sRGB and AdobeRGB are more significant than they are. 

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Posted (edited)

I’m not going deep into this again and I am not going to argue with Mark here but feel it is worth making a few points. 
 

1. Many modern displays including most or all of the Apple range (phones and tablets included) have gamuts  wider or much wider than sRGB which was devised for computer displays in the last century. The idea that we should just use sRGB for the web because that is how most people view images online is dated. Wide gamut displays are much more common now than even a few years ago and many or even most people are using phones and tablets. 
 

2. If you process or even worse shoot in sRGB (JPEGS) then you are throwing away vast amounts of data, most of which you can’t see but which might well matter if the image undergoes further editing (colour banding for example) - similar in some ways to why it is best to shoot raw and convert to 16bit before doing any further editing. The differences may not be evident to you now but they may well be evident down the line. The principle is to start wide and work down, the opposite does not work. 
 

3. Converting and processing in a wider colour space does not add any overhead in terms of size or processing power so why throw away so much data. You can simply export a version in a smaller colour space if required but you can’t do the opposite (you can but it would be pointless). 
 

4. If you are only ever going to use Alamy and do nothing else with your images then there is no disadvantage to using sRGB. But do you really know that anyway. It doesn’t hurt to use a wider colour space and export a version for Alamy in sRGB if that is what you want to do. 
 

5. To Edo - the colour space you set in camera is irrelevant if you are shooting raw, it will only affect in-camera JPEGS and maybe the initial previews when you transfer to Lightroom. AdobeRGB is still the industry standard. 

Edited by MDM
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1 hour ago, MDM said:

I’m not going deep into this again and I am not going to argue with Mark here but feel it is worth making a few points. 
 

1. Many modern displays including most or all of the Apple range (phones and tablets included) have gamuts  wider or much wider than sRGB which was devised for computer displays in the last century. The idea that we should just use sRGB for the web because that is how most people view images online is dated. Wide gamut displays are much more common now than even a few years ago and many or even most people are using phones and tablets. 
 

2. If you process or even worse shoot in sRGB (JPEGS) then you are throwing away vast amounts of data, most of which you can’t see but which might well matter if the image undergoes further editing (colour banding for example) - similar in some ways to why it is best to shoot raw and convert to 16bit before doing any further editing. The differences may not be evident to you now but they may well be evident down the line. The principle is to start wide and work down, the opposite does not work. 
 

3. Converting and processing in a wider colour space does not add any overhead in terms of size or processing power so why throw away so much data. You can simply export a version in a smaller colour space if required but you can’t do the opposite (you can but it would be pointless). 
 

4. If you are only ever going to use Alamy and do nothing else with your images then there is no disadvantage to using sRGB. But do you really know that anyway. It doesn’t hurt to use a wider colour space and export a version for Alamy in sRGB if that is what you want to do. 
 

5. To Edo - the colour space you set in camera is irrelevant if you are shooting raw, it will only affect in-camera JPEGS and maybe the initial previews when you transfer to Lightroom. AdobeRGB is still the industry standard. 

Well the world may be truly ending, I agree with Michael 100%......

 

What he has written is very good advice indeed and is the only way any imaging professional or person who wants to make images for use in media

should be working.

 

Chuck

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To Edo and MDM: AFAIK the histogram in the viewer / on the screen is based on your jpg settings.

 

wim

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Hmm. Even to a techno dummy like me, this stuff is interesting.

 

Michael, it's true that I shoot RAW most of the time, but I also shoot Extra Fine jpegs sometimes and regularly use the Twilight Scene. So I guess I'll leave my color space at Adobe RGB. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, MDM said:

I’m not going deep into this again and I am not going to argue with Mark here but feel it is worth making a few points. 
 

1. Many modern displays including most or all of the Apple range (phones and tablets included) have gamuts  wider or much wider than sRGB which was devised for computer displays in the last century. The idea that we should just use sRGB for the web because that is how most people view images online is dated. Wide gamut displays are much more common now than even a few years ago and many or even most people are using phones and tablets. 
 

2. If you process or even worse shoot in sRGB (JPEGS) then you are throwing away vast amounts of data, most of which you can’t see but which might well matter if the image undergoes further editing (colour banding for example) - similar in some ways to why it is best to shoot raw and convert to 16bit before doing any further editing. The differences may not be evident to you now but they may well be evident down the line. The principle is to start wide and work down, the opposite does not work. 
 

3. Converting and processing in a wider colour space does not add any overhead in terms of size or processing power so why throw away so much data. You can simply export a version in a smaller colour space if required but you can’t do the opposite (you can but it would be pointless). 
 

4. If you are only ever going to use Alamy and do nothing else with your images then there is no disadvantage to using sRGB. But do you really know that anyway. It doesn’t hurt to use a wider colour space and export a version for Alamy in sRGB if that is what you want to do. 
 

5. To Edo - the colour space you set in camera is irrelevant if you are shooting raw, it will only affect in-camera JPEGS and maybe the initial previews when you transfer to Lightroom. AdobeRGB is still the industry standard. 

 

I also agree with MDM. But offer the following comments.

 

1. Agree the gamut is wider in modern displays, but so are the contrast ratios. So the question is how much difference can those with "wide gamut" displays see between correctly tagged and rendered sRGB and AdobeRGB versions of exactly the same image? Try downloading and then opening these images in the the colour managed app of your choice, and toggle between them on your wide gamut display.

Passport colour chart - AdobeRGB

Passport colour chart - sRGB

OK the range of colours here in this real life example is limited, so try these Granger charts which include all the available colours in each colour space.

Granger chart - AdobeRGB

Granger chart - sRGB

You will probably see a difference in the Granger charts, but these charts include colours that don't occur in nature (but may in man-made surfaces).  

 

2. Agree that conversion should ideally be from 16 bit. Therefore, because Alamy will convert 8 bit AdobeRGB jpegs to sRGB I'd argue it's absolutely best to submit as sRGB so you can do the conversion from a 16 bit source and Alamy don't have to do the conversion from AdobeRGB to sRGB on 8 bit data, which will cause some banding.

 

3. Agree. The problem I had was not the data processing overhead (there isn't one). The problem I had was the inconsistency of the rendering and histograms if I worked in AdobeRGB in PS and then saved as sRGB. Try the following test. Load a colourful RAW image into PS and carefully adjust the histogram to give full tonal range (as Alamy request). Now save as an sRGB jpg. Now open the sRGB jpg and inspect the histogram, I find it's now badly clipped, contrary to what Alamy request. Even soft proofing doesn't seem to fix this problem for me.  Maybe I'm doing something wrong? So, in the end I went for simple consistency of both the colour rendering (WYSYWIG) and histograms by working in sRGB throughout. I'm not throwing any data away as I still have the RAW files and the sidecar develop settings will allow me to recreate in another colour space if I need.

 

4. The first sentence matches my current needs. The hurt came with the inconsistencies mentioned above when I worked in AdobeRGB and then discovered Alamy actually want and sell sRGB. Working in sRGB throughout I can be confident that the image Alamy sell to customer matches the image I edited in PS.

 

5. Agree. Shame Alamy seem to have gone with sRGB....

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
Updated links to TIFFs of Granger charts and to emphasise that the files must be downloaded...
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A bit of difference on the Granger chart. Possibly a wider range of colours in ARGB but with banding. Possibly some slightly purer colours.

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No difference on the Granger (if there is one I don't see it)  but there's a difference on the Passport for me. The difference is in saturation not hue btw. This is on a color managed FF and wide gamut Eizo's.

 

wim

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

No difference on the Granger (if there is one I don't see it)  but there's a difference on the Passport for me. The difference is in saturation not hue btw. This is on a color managed FF and wide gamut Eizo's.

 

wim

 

I just updated the links on the Granger to 16 bit TIFF versions. Did you download them? If I view in my browser, the Granger charts look pretty much identical too, but I think Google drive is preparing an sRGB preview. The true difference should be visible if you download the TIFFs and then open. 

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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Hmm the Passport reacts the same, viewed in Photoshop. And the difference is easy to spot in the histograms which are quite different.

Now the Granger are visually quite different with the saturation up a lot in the Adobe one, however the histograms look very much the same, only in the AdobeRGB there's some clipping.

Let's  go back to the browser: the same like before: almost no change in the Granger and the Passport is quite noticeable.

 

wim

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3 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Hmm the Passport reacts the same, viewed in Photoshop. And the difference is easy to spot in the histograms which are quite different.

Now the Granger are visually quite different with the saturation up a lot in the Adobe one, however the histograms look very much the same, only in the AdobeRGB there's some clipping.

Let's  go back to the browser: the same like before: almost no change in the Granger and the Passport is quite noticeable.

 

wim

 

I suspect the browser comparison is probably just showing how well (or not?) Google convert AdobeRGB to sRGB to create the preview image? Is there a way to prove that's what's happening? I think the valid test is to download the images and view in PS or other colour managed application.

 

Another option is to create you own comparison images using a RAW image file that you think is demanding and should benefit from the increased gamut of AdobeRGB. Open the RAW file in LR and export an AdobeRGB and sRGB version. Then open both in PS (do not convert the profile) and toggle between them. On my monitor (which is not wide gamut) the difference between sRGB and AdobeRGB is quite subtle, to my eyes anyway. 

 

Mark

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Just now, M.Chapman said:

 

I suspect the browser comparison is probably just showing how well (or not?) Google convert AdobeRGB to sRGB to create the preview image? Is there a way to prove that's what's happening? I think the valid test is to download the images and view in PS or other colour managed application.

 

Another option is to create you own comparison images using a RAW image file that you think is demanding and should benefit from the increased gamut of AdobeRGB. Open the RAW file in LR and export an AdobeRGB and sRGB version. Then open both in PS (do not convert the profile) and toggle between them. On my monitor (which is not wide gamut) the difference between sRGB and AdobeRGB is quite subtle, to my eyes anyway. 

 

Mark

 

Use false colors maybe?

I use this one:

http://www.gballard.net/psd/colorlooksbad.html

 

wim

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25 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

Use false colors maybe?

I use this one:

http://www.gballard.net/psd/colorlooksbad.html

 

wim

Checking the source code. Google drive appears to be "serving up" a png file without colour profile for the previews. So using the Google Drive preview images as rendered by your browser is not a valid way to compare those sRGB and AdobeRGB Passport or Granger chart images. They have to be downloaded. Is it any wonder folks get confused by colour management. (Me included!!)

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

Checking the source code. Google drive appears to be "serving up" a png file without colour profile for the previews. So using the Google Drive preview images as rendered by your browser is not a valid way to compare those sRGB and AdobeRGB Passport or Granger chart images. They have to be downloaded. Is it any wonder folks get confused by colour management. (Me included!!)

 

Mark

 

Yes, but are they converting or stripping?

In Alamy's case we concluded last time (using that profile, but not that image) it's converting.

 

wim

Edited by wiskerke
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Another oddity I really don't understand.....

 

If I follow my own instructions...

 

Another option is to create you own comparison images using a RAW image file that you think is demanding and should benefit from the increased gamut of AdobeRGB. Open the RAW file in LR and export an AdobeRGB and sRGB version. Then open both in PS (do not convert the profile) and toggle between them. On my monitor (which is not wide gamut) the difference between sRGB and AdobeRGB is quite subtle, to my eyes anyway. 

 

Although the difference in the images is very subtle, the histograms are quite different.....

 

Screenshot-at-May-21-21-25-11.png

 

Screenshot-at-May-21-21-26-24.png

 

The sRGB image (bottom) has the full luminance range. But the AdobeRGB version doesn't. It's one of the reasons I ended up standardising on sRGB for my workflow, so that the end result was predictable and should match what my Alamy and my other customers receive. Maybe I should have turned on soft proofing and keep swapping to AdobeRGB or sRGB before adjusting the histogram and exporting? All too complicated for me. So I stick with sRGB, simples...

 

Mark

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Yep then the limiting factor is the display.

Unless you have an older Apple where the monitor profile was used for everything. Aaargh.

 

wim

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

Yes, but are they converting or stripping?

In Alamy's case we concluded last time (using that profile, but not that image) it's converting.

 

wim

They (Google Drive) must be converting (presumably to sRGB) before they create the preview pngs. If they simply stripped the profile then the Passport chart images would look quite different to each other. If an AdobeRGB image is incorrectly rendered as sRGB it looks quite "dull" (compared to an sRGB image correctly rendered as sRGB)

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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