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Thread: My Calibrated Monitor is too good for the web!

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    Angry My Calibrated Monitor is too good for the web!

    Hey gurus! This is doing my head in!! So you think calibration solves all? ...... No.

    I have a Dell U2711 IPS monitor which I love and this week I acquired a Sypder3Elite hardware calibrator which has made it better....well I thought so anyway! My monitor calibrates well and I'm happy with the result. It shows a colour space (in the calibration report) which is reasonably close to AdobeRGB which I thought was good. Everything looks and feels nice...

    BUT

    Today while editing I found that different browsers are treating my photos differently. I've been a firefox user for years, but for a few reasons just switched over to Chrome for my general browsing. I am fully aware that Firefox is colour managed and Chrome is not. IE9 it seems is supposed to be colour managed but I'm not so sure what it's up to after today. So take this photo as an example which is pretty flat as you see it (a client has ordered it so I did some work on it and then discovered all these issues!!). Look at it in firefox and a non colour managed browser if you can. In Firefox it looks ok and it matches what I see in Lightroom nicely. But look at it in Chrome and the reds are terribly oversaturated. The edited version for the client is much worse! Fair enough I thought, Chrome is not colour managed.

    I upload direct from Lightroom to Smugmug so don't usually look in Windows. This experiment made me think I should and on looking at it I found that it looks terrible just like the Chrome display. OK, I've read that windows isn't colour managed either which is kind of weird but anyway! So now you're probably thinking what's the issue, no surprises there? Well IE9 is now supposed to be colour managed, but no, again my reds are terrible. Why is it so?

    Anyway this prompted me to explore what is happening when I upload direct to Smugmug, apparently LR export to SM is by default in sRGB mode which is fine (and can't be changed). It seems that Firefox can handle this! I continue to dig...

    On more exploring, I found this site which talks about colour managed browsers. The site behaves as I thought, Firefox is colour aware, Chrome is not, and IE9 according to this site is, but my image says otherwise, don't know why! Most of it makes sense to me but I ran into an issue when comparing an image that is tagged sRGB (ie profile included in image) vs an image which is not but should be displayed as sRGB as that is the default for the internet. Now these images should look the same but even in firefox they do not! The untagged version suffers the same red issues as I described before. Seems the author of the site is all over this issue and he describes it in detail here but doesn't have a solution.

    AHHHHHH So I have a monitor now that looks great in LR and great in Firefox for any images with sRGB profile included, but for images that are untagged with a profile they look terrible in windows and on any browser.

    Now my big issue:
    My concern is that digital images I sell to people are not being seen the way I intend, by the person downloading it from the Smugmug gallery or opening the email I send, or by the people seeing it posted online and viewed in who knows which browser. So now I'm confused, could it be that smugmug just makes my images 'untagged'? That would be bad for my clients that download images from there and then use them elsewhere! I think they are sRGB because they behave in Firefox, but I'm confused!

    I hadn't noticed the difference was all that much before I calibrated my monitor (maybe it was, but I never noticed). So now what do I do? Do I recalibrate with my monitor set on sRBG (and use a reduced gamut, such a waste) and hope that what I edit to is consistent throughout (I'm not even sure that would be the case though!). Do I suck it up and live with it? I just don't know.
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    It's all about the Light!
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    The ONLY way to get images to look good for everybody on the web is to publish using sRGB for web images.
    No ifs, buts, or anything else. sRGB is the ONLY way for web publishing.
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    Hi Kym

    Yes I know, and that is what I am doing, when I upload to SM they are using sRGB. I also believe most commercial printers prefer sRGB too.

    Bottom line my monitor is displaying an image that is sRGB and one that is the same but not tagged as such very differently.



    As a footnote, I have set my monitor to sRGB only and recalibrated and I still have the same issues.

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    OK further investigation...

    Firefox is colour managed only IF an image has a profile attached. If it doesn't it will just let your system decide how to display it hence I was seeing strange things. This explains it.

    I have recalibrated my monitor a couple of times using various default monitor settings (sRGB, aRGB, full custom adjustments etc) and the difference in images is still there. It seems the fully calibrated monitor is showing me a larger gamut of colours hence making these differences easier to see. So I have gone back to calibrating to the widest gamut possible, why not see as much as you can IF the information is available to you. This does display the photos in LR nicer and closer to the non-managed versions, but still a very significant and unacceptable difference IMO. Why isn't Windows properly colour managed?!?!

    I had a thought that my change to aRGB for my camera jpgs might have been the cause. I did some test shots with in camera setting of sRGB, aRGB and also RAW and processing them all in lightroom. This made no difference whatsoever to my eye. They all behaved the same. So I'll stick with aRGB for jpgs into LR so to maximise my options, still export anything for web as sRGB.

    I have done some experiments with sRGB, aRGB exports from Lightroom to my hard disk (to eliminate smugmug from the issue) and also a PS saved image with no ICC profile embedded. Note Lightroom uses ProPhoto or aRGB where it can and you control the output export as sRGB, aRGB or ProPhoto.

    I then viewed each photo in all different ways:
    - Lightroom (where the image was processed) Photos look nice, and interestingly the imported no profile photo from CS5 looks the same
    - Photoshop CS5 - all versions render as per Lightroom.
    - Windows 7 File Explorer - all versions look the same and red is over saturated.
    - Windows 7 Photo Viewer - all versions look as they do in Lightroom, again interesting that the no profile image looks ok.
    - Chrome - sRGB and the no profile image is over saturated and looks just like Windows File Explorer, interestingly for a non colour managed browser aRGB looks reasonable but not the same as LR, the reds have a different hue.
    - IE9 - all versions are over saturated and look the same as Windows Explorer. IE9 is supposedly a colour managed browser and passes the colour aware tests in the sites mentioned above, but ALL images (mine and tests) have oversaturated reds.
    - Firefox - Displays both sRGB and aRGB exactly the same as Lightroom and the no profile image like all the other methods above as expected.


    Conclusions
    1. Pay attention to colour spaces, it DOES make a difference!
    2. Smugmug uploads (from LR) have a colour profile attached, hence they look right in FF.
    3. My normal exporting from LR in sRGB is working fine again demonstrated by FF and should be ok when I email them.
    4. IE9 still sux, although they say it is now colour managed, it still doesn't display images correctly.
    5. Chrome is still no good for photo viewing, cmon google, make this great browser brilliant!
    6. Firefox 5 IS colour managed but images that are have no profile attached will display differently (even if they were based on sRGB). But you can change a config setting in FF to make it treat files without a profile as sRGB - up to you what you prefer!
    7. Don't just assume that because you are looking at a photo on the net that it is sRGB, it may display differently if it doesn't have a profile attached, or even it if does, if you are in different browsers.
    8. You should recommend your images are viewed with colour managed software, ie online in a Firefox browser or using photoshop for most accurate colour display (assuming calibrated). NOT Windows file explorer!! (should test Safari)
    9. The differences in images depends a lot on the colours involved. Rich reds and greens is where you will see most of the differences.
    10. A hardware calibrated quality monitor will highlight the deficiencies of Windows and non colour managed web browsers and software !!!!!



    Now I must try some printing for the ultimate test
    Last edited by etherial; 14-08-2011 at 1:22am.

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    I kinda feel like I'm talking to myself here but anyway...hopefully this all helps someone...

    Below is an screenshot of the same image (sRGB High res jpeg) opened in a colour managed and non-managed browser simply to demonstrate the relative difference. The browser you are viewing this in will determine which side looks better (in Firefox the left looks a little flat) In others the left is what I would call correct colours and the right is showing as oversaturated.

    Colour-Space-Aware-Differences-1024.jpg
    Last edited by etherial; 14-08-2011 at 10:35am.

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    on my so so calibrated imac monitor with safari the image on the left has more yellow. The face is yellower and the dogs coat looks yellowy/greeny/gingery.......the dog on the right has a coat that looks correct

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    Sounds similar to a problem I was having. Is your Dell screen a wide gamut one?

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ms-were-solved

    Thankfully i'm using Mac OSX and safari which is colour managed. Firefox is colour managed for sRGB ICC v.2 profiles but not for sRGB ICC V.4.
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    Hey Matt, yes it is a wide gamut monitor and Spyder tells me it is pretty close to AdobeRGB. It seems I have had the same issue as you did 18 mths ago! Understanding colour management is a must!!

    ricstew, yes I agree, in a colour managed program ( ie firefox) I see the same as what you describe.

    Have a look in a non colour managed (like Chrome or IE8) and you will see that the left is good and the right is over saturated. The left one was the good one, but the printscreen then photoshop save has ruined it a bit. This simply highlights the difference. It was the same file simply opened in firefox and chrome placed side by side and screenshot taken and the difference is what I'm highlighting. (but thanks for your assessment, gives me reassurance that I am seeing the same thing )

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    Interestingly, this image looks fine on my old computer in any browser. On my new computer, it looks fine in LR, Windows photo viewer and Firefox, but it looks oversaturated in chrome, windows file explorer and IE9. Seems I'm narrowing the problem to simply my wide gamut calibrated monitor reading the file in a non-colour managed program gets it all wrong!

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    Yep it's just one of the issues you have to be aware of with a wide gamut monitor - it works best only in colour managed apps. Also don't use the sRGB simulation mode. From your posts it seems you've worked out the Firefox config settings that will tell it how to behave with untagged images.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etherial View Post
    Hi Kym

    Yes I know, and that is what I am doing, when I upload to SM they are using sRGB. I also believe most commercial printers prefer sRGB too.

    Bottom line my monitor is displaying an image that is sRGB and one that is the same but not tagged as such very differently.



    As a footnote, I have set my monitor to sRGB only and recalibrated and I still have the same issues.

    As I understand it, most (high quality) printers prefer aRGB due to the higher quality possibility, but of course if they can manage aRGB, then an sRGB file is also easily handled.

    The quick print, kiosk type photo printing places you find in shopping centres may not(or may??) recognise the aRGB bit setting.
    (note that I use the term commercial printer as the type of printer that does high quality large format printing for professionals. I use the term Kiosk photo printers, and soemtimes I've used the term 'retail printer' to describe the usual harvey norman/kodak/officeworks pritn booths that the average mum and dad use for their photos... it's just my 'upbringing'! For 20 odd years the bulk of my work was to and from printers)

    I had troubles with a Kodak kiosk machine a while back, where I (incorrectly)assumed that by setting the images to aRGB they may print with a slight advantage, but they printed stupidly!
    I quickly rushed home and fixed the error and loaded them again in sRGB mode .. perfect!

    The other side of the issue is how you're setting the colourspace in the final output file(for upload, print, display, etc).

    I think(I'm sure) we've touched on the topic of colour management ages ago, where it's best to save any non RAW file in either the aRGB or ProPhoto colourspace for best editability, but then to make sure you convert the image to sRGB for those that you want to upload to the web.
    I remember that in some instances Adobe's software does weird things with respect to colour management in the file, and that if you set it from say aRGB to sRGB, it doesn't really do it as the user intended, and that you have to convert to sRGB .... and not assign .. or whatever the issue is/was.(sorry I don't use CS or ever LR all that much, and I don't like the way LR handles colourspace configurability!!)

    if you're using LR, make sure that when you save the images in the final step they are saved in the sRGB space.
    You have no control over which colourspace you want to use whilst editing a raw file in LR!!!! You only get what they allow you to use, which I think is only ProPhoto.
    Note this is only for the raw file, and once you export to a bitmap image type(TIFF, or JPG) you need to be aware of what colourspace it has been saved too.

    This is one of the reasons I don't like using LR .. it doesn't allow you to 'assign' a colourspace to the image you're editing, unless you save the raw file into an image.
    Sometimes you may want to (pre)view an image in various colourspaces to see how the editing is going.. has it been pushed too far, can it be pushed any more.. etc.
    Not an overly important issue, but if CaptureNX can do this, then a dedicated piece of photo editing software should also be able to do this too!

    according to this LINK Chrome is also colourspace aware.

    But as Kym said. You can't assume that your audience/clientelle are PC savvy enough to understand all this. In fact they are most certainly not. So you need to be 100% sure that your marketable images are set to the lowest common denominator for not only them, but even the vast majority of us to view correctly too!
    Remember that the vast majority of users don't have wide gamut screens either.(I still haven't got around to getting my own screen yet! .. but the Tablet is fantastic )

    Makes sense of the colourspace is not correctly set in a file and displayed on a wide gamut monitor tho. Common sense would dictate that this shouldn't be the case, but if there's room for somethign to go wrong, chances are that it will do so at the most inconvenient time
    If this is the issue, then the problem is with the editing software, and it's inability to correctly, and positively, set the final image to the correct colourspace.
    If an aRGB image is set to sRGB, and that sRGB version has the colourspace info stripped, it should be displayed correctly irrespective of the monitor used to display the image.

    There is possible confusion as to the file types used(raw or raster??) there is confusion as to the conversion to a different colourspace(assign or convert too) .. so it's easy to see how this problem can surface.
    Keep at it Mic, and in fact, if Chrome is not set to be colour managed yet, don't do it! This is wise for now, at least until you sort out the colourspace setting issues first. Use it for confirmation, then uninstall it

    FWIW: I installed Chrome on my Tablet, and found no advantage in using it over FF. Waste of space and time ti was, and the only reason I haven't removed it, is because I've forgotten that I installed it(used it once or twice, got the kids to try it out, and it failed(in that it failed to impress in any way, over FF).
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    Alright I think I've nailed it. Doesn't mean problem solved but problem understood!

    This article describes the problem nicely.

    I have managed to use Spyder3 to calibrate my display as sRGB and found where I went wrong before when trying this. You must close down and restart programs for them to see the new profile in use; I didn't do that before so thought the different calibration was just making sRGB look terrible and flat. So with my ide gamut monitor restricted to just sRGB everything looks fine everywhere!!


    So now I have a decision to make:

    Option 1: Calibrate to the full gamut and enjoy it in programs like LR, PS, Firefox and when using commercial printers that use aRGB (because my monitor should match their prints). But windows colours (like in icons, spreadsheets etc) and non colour browser all look terrible.

    Option 2: Calibrate to sRGB and be restricted to that colour space across ALL programs. At least I see consistent colours everywhere, but loose the benefits of having a wide gamut monitor when it comes to working and printing in a wider colour space!



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    Option 2: Calibrate to sRGB and be restricted to that colour space across ALL programs. At least I see consistent colours everywhere, but loose the benefits of having a wide gamut monitor when it comes to working and printing in a wider colour space!

    Thats the way I went ages ago, My images look the same every where , Printed or on the net , Sad but it works
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    Option 3: Move to Apple (hardly economical).

    I went option 1 because my OS is colour managed so it made the choice a bit easier for me - and my print lab uses Adobe RGB, I work in Adobe RGB and my prints match screen pretty closely

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    Quote Kaiser : and my print lab uses Adobe RGB

    I wonder what my images (Printed) Are missing out on Doing a lot of printing on "Fuji Pearl" Lately and my printer is very happy with the print colours in sRGB profiles , So am I !! , I even work in sRGB in PS to keep everything consistant , Suppose you could do both if you really wanted to

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    Yeah I'm not saying anyone is missing out on anything - just saying I have everything set up with that lab and that is the profile that they request for print ready images so it's easier for me

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    I am NOT all that good with computers, but is it not possible to have two profiles, one you use for when you want to process the images in say photoshop, and then one for viewing in FF or whatever.I know it is a bit of a pain having to open the colour management but it might be worth it. It seems a shame to have a wide gamut monitor and not be able to get the benefits from it.
    Just as a matter of interest, yes, in FF on my screen the left hand image is the "flattest" of them all, the RHS image is over saturated, and in IE9 the LHS images looks OK and the RHS images is much brighter, but not oversaturated as in FF.
    Have you asked Damien? I am sure he would know what is going on. http://www.facebook.com/groups/195567190503489/
    Last edited by agb; 14-08-2011 at 7:50pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser View Post
    Option 3: Move to Apple (hardly economical).

    I went option 1 because my OS is colour managed so it made the choice a bit easier for me - and my print lab uses Adobe RGB, I work in Adobe RGB and my prints match screen pretty closely
    But Win7, is also colour managed, and the options to use many advanced colour management features is there for all to use(I'm not sure if Vista and XP are/have been tho).

    In Windows7, rightclick the desktop, select Screen resolution and look for the Advanced Settings link. This then takes you to another window, which may be a graphics driver application, and if there is an advanced tab in this advanced window .. it may lead you to a Windows colour management settings console, where you can set all manner of colour management issues. There is also a Calibrate Display tab in there, but in effect is as useless as the old Adobe Gamma screen calibration app of yesteryear. That is, it does something, but the value of that something is questionable.

    Another issue I reckon may be worth looking into is the Spyder software. I have to say I'm not a fan of it, and got burned by them in a sense, in that I went with the Sypder3 Elite(gives you the software to calibrate multiple monitors at once and compare(on the same PC that is!)
    Had trouble after issue after head scratching problem with some of it, and they eventually released a v4(I had v3), and it kind'a got worse. Worse in that it was very inconsistent in loading the profile into the LUT, and I never knew if the screen was calibrated or not? Got to the point where I HAD to load an image onto my desktop to be sure that the screen calibration profile was loading at start up, and if not, I had to manually start the Spyder software, and then it would load up!

    So, by chance, I found good things written about another software called BasICColor, and tried that out for a short time, and found that not only was it so much faster to calibrate, but loaded up the calibration profile.
    It did give me some weird grief a while back, but this may have been due to graphics drivers or whatnot, as it now works fine all over again, and that I know of the only change I've made to the graphics system is a couple of driver updates in the past 6-12months.


    William: I think the point is that if you are using sRGB and are happy with it, you aren't really missing anything, BUT! that aRGB offers more colour graduations, in print.
    To be fully honest, 'my printer'(or more accurately my preferred printing place .. Prism Graphics in North Melb, as I don't have an image printing device at home!) has politely described some of the reasons I want to use aRGB and not sRGB, and that they do print from sRGB, but recommend aRGB, he explained a few technical bits and bytes, but in reality 99.9% of it went in one ear and came out as dead pixels on my camera's sensor.. That final 0.1% that remained within the vast universe that is the insides of my skull, remembers better colour graduations in print, if I ever wanted them.

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    Hey Arthur, I've been in a played with all those settings in Windows 7 colour management and I can't get them to do anything, so if you can point me in the right direction??

    Re Spyder, I'm pretty happy with the Spyder3Elite4.0 software, it is a bit clunky and not very intuitive at times but I'm happy it is applying the calibration ok. I have managed to save two profiles and with a few clicks and changing the corresponding monitor settings I can change between my sRGB and aRGB in under a minute. Bit of a PITA but until I can come up with a way to make Windows play nice with aRGB colours I'll have to live with it.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    The ONLY way to get images to look good for everybody on the web is to publish using sRGB for web images.
    No ifs, buts, or anything else. sRGB is the ONLY way for web publishing.
    Yep, that's correst, Kym. I too have and IPS Dell monitor and calibrated by Spyder 3 Pro and can get some excellent colour almost to AdobeRGB, but I stick with sRGB for all my photos that I put on the web.

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