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RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-16-2005, 05:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Im have a tuff time figuring out my color management settings in photoshop.should I be using adobe RGB(1998) or sRGB. the difference between the two really throws me off as far as my photos go....which one more acuratly represents my actual photo? which is best for printing? which is best for web?
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Re: RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-16-2005, 05:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, someone is likely to give a better answer than I, but...

I use Adobe RGB for everything I can. It contains more color data than sRGB. I also work in 16 bit as long as possible. If possible I won't convert to 8 bit until I am ready to save for the web.

My normal workflow is to shoot in RAW; edit, retouch etc in 16 bit after converting from RAW; save the image, including all layers (do all correcting on layers so you always have the original to go back to if you need it); resize; sharpen. At his point it depends on what I'm going to do with the image. For printing on my Epson, I set the output to the correct profile for the printer and usually set for perceptual and print. This gives me the closest print to what I see on my screen. For using on the web, I convert to 8 bit, convert to sRGB and then do a Save for Web. This gives an image that will look as close to the same ass possible in various web browsers. (Many of the images you see posted that look kind of flat were saved as Adobe RGB. Save and open in Photoshop and the colors are amazingly better.)

You will find experts who disagree with my preferences. However, from the computer geek's point of view, never throw away data you don't have to. Since Adobe RGD holds more data than sRGB, I use it. I only convert to something else when I have to, but even then I don't convert my original, I convert a copy so I can always go back to an image with all of the data possible.

Hopefully this all made sense. I'm on more than a little codine at the moment.

Dan
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Re: RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-16-2005, 06:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Dan...you answered my question exactly to the point. I've noticed that any image Ive save in sRGB is really has an unatural (good lord did I spell that right?) tint to it..when I convert it back to RGB it looks just fine.
so I guess what confused me is...you want it to look more saturated for the web? well Im going to follow what you explained and only convert to sRGB for web. thanks Dan.
 
 
Re: RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-16-2005, 09:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No, you don't want to up the saturation for the web. However, it does tend to look that way.

Here's an example from a friend's wedding. The first was simply saved as a jpg in adobe rgb format. The second was converted to sRGB and saved for web.



Now, in a color managed application like photoshop, the two images look almost identical, but in an application like a web browser which (on a Windows PC) isn't color managed the sRGB file looks much better. The Adobe RGB image looks flatter, less saturated, less contrast. That's why you want to convert to sRGB for web use. Also, the save for web stips out all of hte extra stuff stored in the image file, so you can get a higher quality jpg for the same file size.

Note: The only difference in these two images is the conversion to sRGB and save for web on the second image. All the other adjustments and editing are identical.

Dan
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Re: RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-16-2005, 09:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Adobe RGB is wide gamut (lots of colors) which is a good thing, but you pay for that with a bigger file.

sRGB is a bit smaller, but the advantage is much smaller file sizes, and sRGB might be considered the "standard". It's used for the web because the web is limited gamut, thus no sense having a wide gamut that the web can't display.

So, for "tweaking" and maximum image infor, clearly a big file with a big gamut gives you the best option.

Printing an image requires you to think in a similiar vein to putting something on the web.

If you have a 16 bit file, but you print it on an HP Laserjet 5, you are going to get a high quality black and white image, but no where close to a real photo or an inkjet. An HP just can't print millions of colors, it can't print color at all.

Just because you switch to a "color" printer, doesn't mean you can now print every color the file can support or possibly display on a monitor.

So the question becomes, how are you trying to print the photo, and what is the highest gamut supported by the printer you are sending the photo to?

It doesn't matter if you can display or categorize 5000 shades of red, if your printer can only print 256 shades of red.

Most photo printers cannot print the full gamut of srgb, so there is no sense sending a photo to a printer in regular Adobe RGB format.

That's why most Fugi Frontiers request you bring in an sRGB file......

So yes, sRGB is a smaller gamut than 1998, but if you can't print the full gamut of the "s" version....it really doesn't matter.

Mark
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Not to muddy the waters but:
Old 03-16-2005, 10:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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read this article:
http://www.shootsmarter.com/infocenter/wc025.html
In fact book mark the whole Smartshooter.com site. Lots of good info here.
This article cites the fact that there are no printers or monitors that can reproduce the spectrum of either RGB or sRGB. . .yet. One of the folks from GG commented that he works for the day that it will be possible to reproduce RGB 1998 and saves for that day. Might happen but I wonder if we'll live to see it and if in fact it will be visible to the nekkid eye. We at our studio have elected to set the cameras to sRGB, Work in sRGB and send our files out in sRGB (since that is what our's and most every other lab request). The only exception to that is when we are preparing images that will be larger than 11x14 then we open the raw file and work from there. We shoot both 8Meg and 11Meg cameras so the jpeg fine files from these cameras produce great images up to 8x10 and in most cases 11x14's. Our idea is to save the time and confusion of constant conversions.

Now who can tell me about BruceRGB?

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Re: Not to muddy the waters but:
Old 03-16-2005, 10:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are now a few printers that print colors outside the sRGB color space. Why lose those colors by limitting yourself to sRGB? Personally, I prefer to work in Adobe RGB and then convert to whatever I need for the output. Gives me more options.

And as to whether we'll see output devices capable of using all of Adobe RGB, we're already getting closer. I wouldn't bet against seeing it in a few years. Look how far things have change in just hte last 10 years and how much more in the last 20. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Dan
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Re: RGB or sRGB for Printing images?
Old 03-17-2005, 01:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Most photo printers cannot print the full gamut of srgb, so there is no sense sending a photo to a printer in regular Adobe RGB format."

Actually, both sRGB and Adobe RGB are "working" color spaces -- the range of colors you work with -- and are device independent. No printer's color space matches either the sRGB or Adobe RGB color space. Each printer has a unique color space that depends on the idiosyncrasies of the printer, the ink type (dye vs. pigment) and manufacturer (OEM vs. third-party), and the paper printed on.

Many manufacturers default to the lowest common denominator -- that is, the smallest color space (sRGB) -- in order not to exceed the capabilities of non-color-managed software, such as Adobe Elements and most Web browsers. If you're displaying your photos in a Web browser, or on a monitor connected to a PC (which is less color aware than Macs), or printing with Adobe Elements, then you should follow the strategy of using the lowest common denominator. If you're printing with Adobe Photoshop or other color-managed software, you should print with the actual, unique color space that your printer uses. Your printer's ICC profile for various papers probably came on the CD packed with the printer, or you can download it from the printer manufacturer's Web site.

Here is color space diagram for the Epson 2200 printer. Note that the gamut of this printer exceeds sRGB (white box), but is almost completely contained within Adobe RGB (black box). If you set your camera to capture sRGB, or you work in sRGB, you will lose all the color information outside the white box, including the deep cyan and green colors that could have been printed if the camera had been set to capture Adobe RGB and you had maintained the Adobe RGB working space until Photoshop converted it to the printer's unique color space for printing.



Dry Creek Photo has an excellent tutorial on color spaces. They also have downloadable ICC profiles for most of the commercial digital printers at Costco, Wal-Mart, etc. --Randy
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The operative word. . .
Old 03-17-2005, 01:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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in this article was YET. If such printers are available I've yet to hear about them and I'd surely like to. More important would be tests from these printers to see of the EYE can tell the difference. Remember RGB 1998 with all that info shows up poorly over the web simply because the web is optimized for sRGB. I'll just bet that once a file is optimized for which ever printer it won't matter a hoot which standard was used.

Never the less, it's a personal choice and I can't fault your reasoning. As a hobbyiest or small business it probably makes little difference the extra time spent doing these conversions. But when computer time and PS tech cost from $20 to $50 and hour it adds up. As Long as the processor asks for sRGB that's what we'll give them and since time is money we just can't justify doing it any other way. Moreover for us we've found that rarely do we go back to reproduce old images. Make that very, very, rarely. Heck I'm wondering if in ten to twenty years we'll be able to read the dang files off them antique storage devices. I have thirty years of negs and the only ones that will ever see the light of day are family things. If that. . .

I've got this gut feeling that this is much ado about not much. 'course, to coin a phrase . . .that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
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Re: The operative word. . .
Old 03-17-2005, 02:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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These are small quotes from my 'guidelines' thread at fredmiranda.com

You want a working color space that can hold most or ideally all of the color data your camera can capture, but don’t want to choose a working color space that’s way too big and with that risking delicate colors getting compressed into a single level.

Using 48-bit RGB images’, having three 16-bit color channels, eliminates all the negative aspects of working with large gamut color spaces.

If you want to retain all data your camera can capture, you maybe want to consider an ever larger color space like ProPhoto RGB. ProPhoto RGB is an example of a large gamut color space. It even has imaginary colors, that don't exist and no printer or light source can create. Working is this color space can be useful on some specific cases, but you absolutely don’t want to use this with 24-bit images because of the risk of posterization and banding.

You may want to consider Bruce Lindbloom's Beta RGB. It’s slightly smaller than ProPhoto RGB, contains essential all colors that can be captured or reproduced.

sRGB is a small-gamut space, has a limited color gamut, approximating that of the average computer monitor. Frequently it’s too small to hold the color data of your image and you throw many colors away. All colors outside sRGB are gone forever. Converting sRGB to a larger color space is useless. You simply risk loosing even more color data. Some people claim that the gamut of portraits or weddings is very small, even smaller then sRGB, but that’s most of the time not true. If you’re forced to work with low-bit (24-bit) images, sRGB will reduce the change of posterization and banding compared to a larger working space like Adobe RGB. Adobe RGB is not a bad choice even with low-bit images, you maybe want to think about using an alternative color space like BruceRGB. BruceRGB is a good choice if you're primarily concerned with ink-on-paper output, work in 24-bit RGB, and you need a decent amount of editing flexibility.

Ideally you work with 48-bit images in a large color space (at least Adobe RGB) and convert your copies when you’re done to the end output device. sRGB for web display and the printer-profile when you want to print the image.

Btw, I would ignore the infamous Will Crockett, do a search at Rob Galbraith’s website if you want to know why.
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