RGB Working spaces

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Matti Haveri, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Matti Haveri

    Matti Haveri Guest

    I have read (Blatner & Fraser in Real World Photoshop 7) that it is best
    to edit in Adobe RGB (1998) Working space because its color gamut is
    generally the right size for 24-bit RGB images.

    Should I convert my digital camera's embedded RGB Working space (sRGB
    IEC61966-2.1) to Adobe RGB (1998) when opening them in Photoshop?

    Or should I just use the embedded (sRGB IEC61966-2.1) profile while
    editing? I'm confused because at one page Blatner & Fraser say this is
    typically what you'd want to do, right after after praising Adobe RGB
    (1998) as the best working space!?

    Or should I keep the embedded profile but edit in Adobe RGB (1998)? This
    isn't possible in PS Elements so I must choose either from the previous

    I'm going to print the images at a shop as 6x4" glossy images, if that
    Matti Haveri, Nov 5, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  2. Matti Haveri

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: Matti Haveri
    I've also read "RW Photoshop" and also the more detailed "Real World Color
    Management" ... I think what they mean is Adobe RGB has the right sized gamut
    for printing on inkjets, film recorders, Light Jet 5000's etc, while sRGB's
    more limited gamut is still fine for other things like images destined for the
    web and print shops that use Fuji or similar printers.
    I would leave them as sRGB since most of these printers are expecting sRGB. In
    theory converting to AdobeRGB gives you access to a wider gamut if you were to
    increase saturation or change hues or do other things that might be helped with
    a wider gamut, but given you are printing at a shop they'll go right back to
    sRGB so it's advantageous to just stay in sRGB.

    Personally if I'm scanning film I usually use AdobeRGB as the working space
    unless there are certain colors I know would benefit from a wider gamut (mainly
    yellows), in which case I use Joe Holmes' Ektaspace 5, which has a wider gamut
    that more closely matches film. These images would typically be targeted for
    printing and if I'm going to jpeg some of them for the web I convert to sRGB
    just before the jpeg conversion to get a better gamut match for the web.

    With our digital camera if the image is RAW and destined for print I take
    advantage of the camera's AdobeRGB option, but if the image is a jpeg or is not
    headed for printing but rather the web I just leave it as sRGB. So picking the
    right working space depends in part on where the image comes from (ie, how wide
    the gamut of the capture device or medium) and also the gamut of the device it
    will be output on.

    Bill Hilton, Nov 5, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  3. Matti Haveri

    WharfRat Guest

    You should bring in the file without a profile assigned.
    Then "Assign" a Profile to the file.
    Your camera records much more information
    than sRGB will let you access.

    WharfRat, Nov 5, 2003
  4. Matti Haveri

    Eric Gill Guest

    If you're not using RAW format, there is little point. Your images have had
    their color data truncated to fit into the smaller color space and
    assigning them to another won't bring it back.

    RAW, however, preserves everything the camera shoots, which is generally
    more than any of the standard color spaces. You'll need to fiddle with the
    pics more, and of course shooting in RAW burns memory card space like mad,
    but it's the ultimate answer for color.

    Which camera?

    Eric Gill, Nov 5, 2003
  5. Matti Haveri

    Flycaster Guest

    Depends on your output. If you're going to a mini-lab or Walmart/Costco
    photo printer, leave it in sRGB since most of their machines (primarily Fuji
    Frontiers) are set up for that color space: iow, you'd just have to
    re-convert back before sending it out, and there's no advantage gained.
    OTOH, if you're going to a 6-7 color home inkjet, to CMYK, or to a high end
    digital photo printer, convert the file to ARGB98 and work away. Either way
    you probably won't notice much difference, except for a few super saturated
    colors (notably, deep blues).

    Last, in Elements (IIRC) the only way to "convert" from sRGB to ARGB98 is to
    strip the sRGB profile when you do a save-as, then re-open and save again,
    this time with ARGB98.
    Flycaster, Nov 5, 2003
  6. Matti Haveri

    Mike Russell Guest

    I'd stick with sRGB.

    Adobe RGB has several problems - if you simply assign it to your newly
    captured images, which I don't recommend, you will be jacking up the
    saturation. There is a small possibility that this will create some
    saturated colors that cannot be displayed without clipping.

    The worst problem, though, is your images will look drab to others unless
    you take care to convert them to sRGB before putting them on the web,
    printing them from an application that does not recognize embedded profiles,
    or otherwise posting them.

    All that said, the difference in working space gamut is not that much,
    whichever choice you make. BTW - if you want a cheap and easy way to look
    at these gamuts, check out the Curvemeister gamut viewer:


    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Nov 5, 2003
  7. Matti Haveri

    George Kerby Guest

    Generally the sRGB space is for Web/monitor and Adobe RGB is for
    printing/reflective. My Photoshop defaulted to sRGB. You need to set your
    defaut space to Adobe RGB for 4" x 6" prints and go from there.
    George Kerby, Nov 6, 2003
  8. Matti Haveri

    l Guest

    These situations will be a smaller problem if you get your Proof Setup
    correct and edit in Proof Colors view. Of course one must then re-edit
    in another Proof Colors if one is very, very concerned about the way the
    images will diplay on a web page.

    But I wouldn´t worry about web pages. It is all too likely that the
    audience will have a screen that is neither calibrated nor able to
    display even the sRGB gamut in full. Whatever you do, the colors will
    very likely be biased somehow when they hit the screen of average Joe.

    l, Nov 6, 2003
  9. Matti Haveri

    Waldo Guest

    OTOH, if you're going to a 6-7 color home inkjet, to CMYK, or to a high
    I wouldn't recommend CMYK for a consumer inkjet printer: de Windows printer
    driver converts CMYK back to sRGB, the printer converts it back into it's
    device CMYK again. This results in ugly prints (at least it did with my

    Waldo, Nov 6, 2003
  10. Matti Haveri

    Mike Russell Guest

    It's true you can use Soft Proofing that way, provided you have the
    "Preserve Color Numbers" box checked in the Custom Proof setup, but this is
    not really the way to accomodate multiple uses of an image, and this is one
    of the few remaining ways to produce an image that is out of synch with its
    embedded profile.

    Rather, use Convert to Profile to convert the colors to sRGB before saving
    for web. Save for Web does the same as far as color is concerned.

    Soft Proofing is actually designed for a slightly different purpose: to
    preview your image in another color space. For example, with a suitable
    "paper proof", and "Preserve Color Numbers" un-checked, soft proofing
    allows you to view how your image will look when printed on a particular
    inkjet printer/paper combination, or a variety of other image viewing
    It's true that many people don't calibrate their systems in any way. It's
    also true that no browser recognizes embedded profiles. But putting an
    Adobe RGB image on the web, or emailing one, is guaranteed to look drab to
    the recipient. Some of those may be in a position to particularly
    appreciate your images. If you are a professional, this translates to
    dollars lost.

    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Nov 6, 2003
  11. Matti Haveri

    lostinspace Guest

    I do convert a scanned image to rgb1988 (same as assign to rgb1998?)
    before and during PS editing. I then preview a softproof with a specific
    printer+media profile, and tweak in PS if there is any major color
    shifts. Finally I convert to the media profile before sending the file
    to the printer. As you stated, there are times that a saturated color
    would appear drab in softproof as well as in the print.

    I am not sure how working in sRGB can fix this problem though, since I
    believe that a printer media profile has a more limited gamut than
    either sRGB or rgb1998. If I only intend to print to a specific
    printer+media, I often wonder if I should make that profile my working
    space to begin with. That way, I can see if the colors will print as I
    When I save the edited image described above to web, it does lose a lot
    of saturation and becomes drab on the monitor. This is a big problem
    since the viewers are not seeing anything close to what a real print
    looks like. I believe that save to web implies that PS will convert to
    sRGB. I think that by "convert them to sRGB before putting them on the
    web", you meant convert to sRGB and edit to restore saturation before
    saving to web. But that would be a lot of work. For an image edited in
    rgb1998, is there another way to make it look close when saving to web?
    I assume that if the image is edited in sRGB, this won't be as big a
    This is an interesting statement. The two problems just described seem
    to imply that the drab softproof or print, and save to web image is due
    to sRGB having a (much?) smaller gamut than rgb1998. Or is there a
    different explanation?

    Thanks for commenting on two of the (many) problems I face.
    I'll check that out.
    lostinspace, Nov 6, 2003
  12. Matti Haveri

    Haveri Matti Guest

    AFAIK using a printer profile as a RGB Working space is a bad idea because
    they often aren't gray balanced like "device-independent" Working spaces
    like Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB are.
    BTW, aren't Mac browsers like Explorer and Safari color managed so they
    support embedded profiles?
    Haveri Matti, Nov 6, 2003
  13. Matti Haveri

    Mike Russell Guest

    The colors will always appear a little drabber in the soft proof, since the
    printer is going to lose a small amount of color range that your monitor is
    capable of showing. But its possible you're losing more saturation than
    necessary due to the way your soft proof and printer are set up. Try
    setting the rendering intent to Relative Colorimetric in both the soft proof
    and in your Color Settings, rather than the Adobe default of perceptual, and
    you will get brighter colors.
    By working in sRGB you are eliminating the possibility that someone will
    accidentally look at your images in a non color aware program and see drab
    colors. Other than that rather important IMHO advantage, there is no
    Adobe does not recommend using a device space as your working space, and
    there are several good reasons for this. The standard ones are grouped
    together: For PC use Adobe RGB or sRGB. For Macintosh use ColorMatch or
    Apple RGB. There are also some interesting working spaces from third
    parties, including BruceRGB which has a smaller gamut designed to accomodate
    inkjet printers.
    No, there is no need to re-edit. Pick your working space - Adobe RGB or
    whatever your choice may be. When you save to web the colors will be
    automatically converted so that they look correct on most people's monitors.
    It's related. More than likely you will see an improvement in this if you
    change your color settings to Relative Colorimetric (relcol for short) Give
    that a go and see if things brighten up.
    You're not the only one to get caught in this problem.

    Haveri Matti asked:
    support embedded profiles?

    Yes, so Adobe RGB images should look fine on a Macintosh running either of
    these browsers. I don't think Netscape yet supports them. This doesn't
    really work well, though, so I still recommend saving in sRGB to maintain
    color saturation.

    I did a google search and the following article by John Maclean in the
    adobe.photoshop.macintosh group points out some of these problems in a
    systematic way:

    *** begin John Maclean's article
    Here are my observations:

    Adobe RGB PSD is about midway in saturation, with WPG (Web Photo Gallery)
    lowest and SFW (Save for web)highest.
    WPG matches Adobe RGB PSD w/ Monitor RGB softproof.

    IE5 -

    ColorSync on = images look really dead
    ColorSync off = less saturated than Adobe RGB PSD. Very close to PSD w/
    Monitor RGB softproof.

    ColorSync on = closest to Adobe RGB PSD, slightly less saturated.
    ColorSync off = more saturated than Adobe RGB PSD.
    ***end article


    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Nov 6, 2003
  14. Actually, SfW does not convert the colors. If your file is tagged with Adobe
    RGB (or any other tag), what you need to do is select Image » Mode » Convert
    to Profile and choose sRGB _before_ you enter SfW. When you do the
    conversion, Photoshop will do its best to preserve the current look.

    In the Convert to Profile dialog box, you have a choice of intents, which
    intent is best depends on the color content of your image. Try RelCol and
    then Perceptual. The help file explains the differences.


    --/ Shangara Singh.
    :: Photoshop 7.0 Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
    :: Photoshop 7.0 Essential Tips
    :: Photoshop Glossary of Terms, Phrases & Acronyms
    :: http://www.photoshopace.com
    :: Exam Aids for Photoshop, Illustrator & Dreamweaver
    :: http://www.examaids.com
    Shangara Singh, Nov 7, 2003
  15. Matti Haveri

    Mike Russell Guest

    You are correct. Thanks for pointing this out. This is yet another reason
    to work in sRGB if your work is destined for the web.


    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Nov 7, 2003
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.