Color management and Photoshop Elements 2.0

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tom Spillman, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. Tom Spillman

    Tom Spillman Guest

    I have been involved in photography most of my life (I'm now 73), from my
    teen age years when I was the photographer for my HS annual to now. I've
    spent much time in the darkroom working in film sizes from 35mm to 4x5,
    primarily in B&W.

    Now I'm entering the world of digital photography and I'm finding it a
    whole new paradigm. I was a consultant system engineer, so the computer
    interfaces don't bother me and I find it rather enjoyable to be working on
    a print in bright daylight!

    I've bought a Canon G5 and a Canon S9000 printer and a copy of Photoshop
    Elements 2.0. On the whole, I'm quite pleased, although I miss a decent
    view finder where I can see the aperature and shutter speed in bright
    sunlight while composing! The LCD has difficulties in this area. I've
    also noticed a few slight differences in the appearance of an image on my
    monitor (calibrated with Adobe Gamma) and in the final print.

    As far as I can tell, Photoshop Elements is limited in what it can do for
    Color Management. My camera uses the sRGB profile according to the exif
    data while my printer uses cjpd3i00 and the only place I seem to be able to
    do much in PS elements is to set "full color management" in the color
    setting menu.

    Am I correct in assuming that Adobe has decided that if you feel a need for
    color management you'll be willing to pay for the full set of tools that
    comes with Photoshop?

    Of course, I can aways take the kind of approach I'm use to, correct the
    image, print it, then re-correct based on the print, and then reprint,
    repeating as necessary until satisfied.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Thanks...

    Tom
     
    Tom Spillman, Jan 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. Tom Spillman

    PTRAVEL Guest

    Tom, you need to calibrate your monitor and your printer. There are a number
    of products out there that will do it. I use a Colorvision Spyder for
    monitor calibration. It works within PhotoShop Elements (and Photoshop as
    well). Once calibrated, your monitor will accurately render what was
    photographed, so that you can make your adjustments on screen. The Spyder is
    a physical device which hangs on your screen and allows the software to
    accurately read color and luminance rendition. Once the monitor has been
    calibrated (it works with both CRTs and LCDs), it will store a color profile
    for you to use.

    You also need to calibrate your printer. I use Colorvision's printer
    calibration software, which does an adequate (but only just) job. It also
    works within Photoshop. You print out a target on your printer, then scan
    it using any scanner. The software analyzes and create a profile for the
    printer. I've found it takes quite a bit of tweaking to get the printer
    profile right. However, once you've profiled your monitor and printer, you
    can make your adjustments in Photoshop and produce a good print, first time.
     
    PTRAVEL, Jan 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. Tom Spillman

    bmoag Guest

    I agree the Spyder is very very helpful and a worthwhile investment. You
    also need to have a monitor that is of reasonably good quality: there is a
    reason a lot of monitors sell for so little. CRTs are still easier to use
    and more accurate than LCDs.

    A lot of color correction problems can be solved by learning to use the
    levels tools and the gray point dropper.

    You can create your own printer/paper profiles by a process analagous to
    making test strips in a darkroom. Use a representative image and vary
    printer settings until you get what you like. These settings are different
    with every brand and surface type of paper, not unlike wet darkroom
    processes. And only use the manufacturer's inks, however costly. For me,
    once I find a combination of settings I like for a particular paper the
    settings work consistently over a broad range of image types.

    I use PS7 with fuller color management. But what really makes the difference
    is developing a work flow that gives you satisfactory results. I nver liked
    the results printing straight on my Epson 1280 without tweaking the settings
    in the printer driver. I encourage you to experiment.

    It may also help to invest in a plug-in for PS that does its own color
    adjustments as the auto functions in PSL and PS are not very good. Comparing
    what the plug-in does to what you do on your own can be very instructive.
    The comparisons should be based on the prints, not the monitor.
     
    bmoag, Jan 1, 2004
    #3
  4. Tom Spillman

    Wayne Smith Guest

    Tom, I'm nowhere close to being an expert on these things, but I use
    an S9000, and PS Elements, too. You said you can "set full color
    management" in PSE, but you don't mention which color managagement
    profile you have set in your PC. I have Adobe 1998 RGB set as my
    profile, so when I "set full color man...", I then have to "save as"
    the photo, in order to map it to the profile I use. Then, when
    printing, I don't use the color management of the printer; I use
    "manual" and check the ICM box. This prints the photo using the
    profile embedded in the saved photo. I get much better prints doing
    this, than anything I ever got trying the printer's color management.
     
    Wayne Smith, Jan 1, 2004
    #4
  5. Tom Spillman

    Flycaster Guest

    Welcome aboard. You'll get a lot of renewed interest in photography as a
    result of your new diversion.

    PSE2 will do probably do everything you need. It has the same color
    management engine as full Photoshop, just dumbed down somewhat. Use "full
    color management" and you'll have the choice to use either sRGB or
    AdobeRGB98. Your Canon JPEG's are imported with the sRGB tag, and PSE2 will
    use that. Canon RAW files can be tagged with either space, depending in
    your conversion software. Your Canon printer has a gamut that is better
    matched by using AdobeRGB98, but you'll get no benefit by converting a file
    that is already tagged with sRGB.

    The fact that your prints do not "perfectly" match your screen is fairly
    common, even with high end calibrated monitors and profiled printers. If
    you've been careful using Adobe Gamma, your screen should be pretty close to
    a calibrated and profiled state; getting it closer will cost several hundred
    dollars.

    Your Canon printer does not, unfortunately, come with canned ICC profiles
    (as high end Epsons do). Thus, you should probably rely on the driver
    settings to control the print gamma and colors. By experiementing a little
    (ie, burning a little paper and ink), you should be able to get a pretty
    darned good screen-printer match.

    Is there a better, more accurate way? You bet, but it doesn't come cheap.
    If you want more information, let me know.

    Good luck.
     
    Flycaster, Jan 2, 2004
    #5
  6. Tom Spillman

    Tom Spillman Guest

    Thanks...

    You've reinforced much of my own thinking (therefore you MUST be right!)...

    Regards...

    Tom
     
    Tom Spillman, Jan 2, 2004
    #6
  7. Tom Spillman

    Tony Guest

    I second PT's comments on the Colorvision products. I use both as well, but
    IMO the Printer Profiling package is too troublesome and difficult to use.
    I've spent hours tweaking a printer profile after using the software, to a
    point where I wondered if I just wouldn't be better off using the color
    adjust sliders on my Epson control panel. The software works by printing a
    target that you then scan on a flatbed scanner. It then does some measuring
    to determine the profile. I've concluded that I cannot believe this can work
    well if the scanner is not also calibrated (which Colorvision insists is not
    necessary). I like the monitor calibration tools, but personally I'm looking
    for a better printer profiling package.
     
    Tony, Jan 2, 2004
    #7
  8. I used the spyder to calibrate the LCD monitor on my Mac G4 PowerBook.
    I used VueScan and an IT8 target to calibrate my Epson scanner. I tried
    using VueScan to calibrate my Canon printer, using the above
    print-scan-profile technique, but decided the Canon profile was about as
    good as you could get.

    That said, here is what I have observed. If I scan and print the IT8
    target, using the VueScan scanner profile and the Canon printer profile,
    I get a print that is very close to an exact match of the target. The
    VueScan profile is better thgan the Epson profile in this regard.
    However, what I see on my screen is way off.

    OTOH, for actual subjects, what I see on my screen is very close to what
    I get in my prints. My conclusion is that an IT8 target, or any pure
    color target, is going to bring out the worst in any calibration
    technique. It is a good thing to use to get as close as you can, but
    the differences among scanners, displays and printers mean you will
    drive yourself nuts trying to get an exact match.
     
    Robert Peirce, Jan 3, 2004
    #8
  9. Tom Spillman

    Flycaster Guest

    I've been at this a long, long time and agree with just about everything you
    say. "Exact" exists only in theory. Even in ultra high end service bureaus
    which use $5K Barco monitors and $250K lightjets there are variations from
    screen to screen and printing output that can be measured, and sometimes
    even seen with the naked eye.

    Good enough is good enough, and chasing perfection is a waste of time.
    (that's why there is this thing called "re-prints.")
     
    Flycaster, Jan 4, 2004
    #9
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