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Thread: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    I'm quite confused by the different jargons but it seem to that that at various stages, there are many options....

    1. in camera, you can choose color mode
    e.g. in my nikon D50, IIIa sRGB, Ia sRGB, II adobe RGB

    2. when you load a pic into a software for editing
    they may ask me to assign a workspace

    3. when i save my pic and convert to jpeg, i'm asked again with or without ICC profile.

    4. i read somewhere that for optimal printing, i have to either change it into cmyk (or cymk?) instead of RGB, or to load dunno what printer profiling from the shop. i've no idea of how to do that, but it seem again another step of color profile selection....

    so what is the diff between color mode v.s. workspace v.s. ICC profile?
    i'm already using color pantone colorplus to calibrate my screen. so in order to choose an optimum printing in the end that is consistent with what i view on screen, what settings should i use?

    nikon camera body color mode: II adobe RGB?
    workspace: remained using adobe RGB? no change?
    doing in software: save into CMYK - how to do that?
    when saving as jpeg: uncheck ICC profile?

    is that the app way to do it?

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    I normally shoot in aRGB, then save as sRGB (with the profile) then just throw the file to the printer (Epson R210, Fuji Labs, LF printing).

    If you want to view correctly, use sRGB. But make sure the applications are color-aware.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    I normally shoot in aRGB, then save as sRGB (with the profile) then just throw the file to the printer (Epson R210, Fuji Labs, LF printing).

    If you want to view correctly, use sRGB. But make sure the applications are color-aware.
    i'm using adobe photoshop elements, so that means in order to preserve the max color range but still view correctly on screen, i should shoot in adobe RGB 1998, then save as sRGB (with the nikon ICC profile) and then just pass to the printing shop to print? i do nef to psd while editing and only final product will be in jpeg max quality. is jpeg max quality the most suitable medium for these shops to process? or should i save from psd into another format that can give better quality? i intend to print them double sided and make them into a book so they will not be in conventional R sizes.

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    if you really want top notch quality and maximise colour accuracy you can save in TIFF. It is a more primitive type of widely recognised "RAW" file.
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by yanyewkay
    if you really want top notch quality and maximise colour accuracy you can save in TIFF. It is a more primitive type of widely recognised "RAW" file.
    my nikon only saves in nef (compressed raw 1:4). when processing in software, i save it in photoshop files (psd). if for final output, u r suggesting that i save as tiff to send for printing in tiff?

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    my nikon only saves in nef (compressed raw 1:4). when processing in software, i save it in photoshop files (psd). if for final output, u r suggesting that i save as tiff to send for printing in tiff?
    RAW -> TIFF for large prints.

    RAW -> JPEG for normal-sized prints.

    Keep the RAWs, dump the TIFF/JPEG after printing.

    Beware only send in TIFF if the shops allows it and you're doing very large format printing... most neighbourhood labs will prefer JPEGs.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    RAW -> TIFF for large prints.

    RAW -> JPEG for normal-sized prints.

    Keep the RAWs, dump the TIFF/JPEG after printing.

    Beware only send in TIFF if the shops allows it and you're doing very large format printing... most neighbourhood labs will prefer JPEGs.
    less than A4 size, considered normal size yah?

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    less than A4 size, considered normal size yah?
    Yepz... for 12" x 18" I also send in JPEG.

    Only when I do 20" x 30" kind of prints I go TIFF.

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    4. i read somewhere that for optimal printing, i have to either change it into cmyk (or cymk?) instead of RGB, or to load dunno what printer profiling from the shop. i've no idea of how to do that, but it seem again another step of color profile selection....

    so what is the diff between color mode v.s. workspace v.s. ICC profile?
    The common nomenclature is a bit of a misnomer. A more descriptive term for colour "space" would be "coordinate system".

    Normal human colour vision employes three different types of receptors. Thus, a complex spectrum of light is reduced to just three "stimuli" (I think CIE calls this "tristimulus"), spanning a 3-dimensional manifold. A different colour space just employs a different coordinate system to label the points within this manifold.

    In practice, most colour spaces arbitrarily limit the range of coordinate values, thus artificially restricting the range of colours that can be expressed ("gamut"). This is usually due to historical baggage coming from unsophisticated graphics software. To give an example, sRGB uses integer values from 0 to 255 to encode R, G, and B channels (since that's what can be expressed with 8 bits), clipping the gamut. If one would use floating point numbers instead and, in particular, allowed negative values, sRGB could reproduce any colour (and even colours that have no equivalent in nature - as a side note, JPEG compressed image files can contain such "imaginary" colours). Some more modern image processing software lifts these limitations, but it's not in widespread use (yet).

    Another limitation of using low-precision numbers (e.g. 8 bit values) is that there are a lot of roundoff errors. As a general rule of thumb, it is therefore advisable to change the colour space as seldom as possible, as roundoff errors accumulate. Also note that different colour gamuts mean that after conversion, the image is limited to the smallest common gamut subset common to all colour spaces, i.e. one can not gain, only lose, from a conversion.

    CMYK employs 4 coordinates to label the points of a 3-dimensional manifold. Obviously, this is a degenerate case (i.e. different CMYK coordinates represent exactly the same colour), and how colour is translated to CMYK always employs an arbitrary element. The reason for CMYK lies in limitations of printing technology, and a "good" conversion to CMYK would always depend on the specific type of printer/set of inks used. Many modern ink printers do not print in CMYK at all, but use more inks - an inkjet employing 7 different inks would employ its own 7-dimensional coordinate system. CMYK is therefore pretty useless, unless it is within the very narrow context of 4-colour printing on a specific machine with specific inks. Even if it was standardized, the degeneracy introduces ambiguities and unneccessary headaches when doing any image processing without any benefit.

    Note that virtually all colour capable photographic recording systems are based on additive tristimuli (i.e. RGB-like). CMY is based on subtractive colour mixing and its only practical use is on the reproduction side. Also note that e.g. photographic film/paper may employ CMY dyes, but is exposed (= recorded) as RGB.

    The concept of a "connecting space" is simply a tool to keep colour space conversions manageable. Conversions from a colour space "A" to a colour space "B" are described by "colour profiles" (and "ICC profiles" are just a standardized format for specifying these profiles).

    In photography, a picture is first recorded, then reproduced. The image recording device (i.e. camera) uses one native colour space, the reproduction device (i.e. printer) another. For N different recording devices and M different reproduction devices, there are N*M profiles necessary to cover all combinations. By using one connecting colour space C as an intermediate, only N+M profiles are necessary - a much smaller number. The choice of C is in principle arbitrary.

    The "working space" is similar to a connecting space. In principle, the same image manipulations can be performed in any coordinate system. In practice, much software operates blindly on the coordinate values, ignoring how they are defined (this is strictly speaking a design flaw). In such a case, the result would depend on what coordinate system is used. By standardizing on one specific connecting space as a "working space", operations can be made reproducible.

    To summarize, in principle it does not matter what kind of colour coordinate system one uses. In practice, many colour spaces have arbitrary restrictions, so it is best to work in a colour space as close as possible to the "native" colour space of the imaging devices used. This almost invariably boils down to a variant of RGB.

    Finally, a very significant part of images is stored/transferred in "compressed JPEG". Despite all claims about "sRGB" or "aRGB" colours, JPEG compressed images do not use RGB at all - they are based on a colour space called YCrCb, to/from which it is converted on-the-fly while saving/loading the image. In this light, "RGB" colour profiles for JPEG images have to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by yanyewkay
    if you really want top notch quality and maximise colour accuracy you can save in TIFF. It is a more primitive type of widely recognised "RAW" file.
    Au contraire, the "primitive" format is "RAW". For all cameras employing Bayer pattern sensors, there is already a lot of nontrivial processing involved just to get from "RAW" to a basic colour image that could be stored in TIFF. (TIFF is also a very complex file format in itself, to the extent that most software supports only a small subset of its features.)

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    littlewolf, are you singaporean, your english is quite chim leh.... what is "Au contraire"?

    i got the vague idea that becos our eyes cones have 3 types of color perception photoreceptors that captures red, green and blue to form a color, 255 values for each color components are use to form jet black or bright white and colors in between - that forms 255*255*255 colors possible, but even that is not sufficient to encode all the colors we can see. different system have different intervals for each color component, so switching from one to another will cause a round up/down to nearest value, thus causing changes in data. printing from ink however do not use addition of light with RGB system but by subtraction of light with systems depending on no. & color of ink used.

    so i should try to keep the profile in the same color space.

    in my case, my nikon D50 does not save in tiff. so i will save them using nef (1:4 compressed raw) using the color space adobe RGB 1998 system in the camera (called color mode), i will continue using the same color space on my calibrated monitor using adobe photoshop elements 3.0, saving all data as photoshop files (psd) so that the original data from the camera and the changes to the picture as seen on my calibrated monitor are saved in totality in the files. saved and remaining at 300 DPI, 3008x2000 pixels from my 6.1MP DSLR gives a sub-A4 size of 16.93cm x 25.47cm. after i add a 4.1cm border (0.1cm black border and 4cm white border), it gives me the size of 21.03cm x 29.57cm, it will fit quite closely to an A4 size of 21cm x 29.7cm within 1mm difference (which is not an issue since there is nothing near the edge of the white border that will get cut off by that 1mm difference. after various editions and steps saved in psd files, i will then proceed to save the final copy in psd and then saved as jpeg largest and best format (quality maximum 12/12 large file), with the option checked with ICC profile: nikon sRGB.

    however like to ask

    1. under photoshop elements 3.0, other than picture quality of jpeg, there are 3 format options - baseline ("standard"), baseline optimized, progressive scans (can be 3,4 or 5). which one should i choose for best quality?

    2. and as for the other option other than "image options" (quality) and "format options" is the third option - size, which can be saved as 14.4Kbps to 2MBps, which size should i choose then?

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    Au contraire, the "primitive" format is "RAW". For all cameras employing Bayer pattern sensors, there is already a lot of nontrivial processing involved just to get from "RAW" to a basic colour image that could be stored in TIFF. (TIFF is also a very complex file format in itself, to the extent that most software supports only a small subset of its features.)
    eye opener for me today. I always thought that because TIFF was introduced earlier is inferior to current camera raws(WB settings, focussing point, etc..). I guess the part about majority of software supporting only a small subset of features reinforced my preception of the TIFF format.
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

  13. #13

    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    littlewolf, are you singaporean, your english is quite chim leh.... what is "Au contraire"?
    It means "on the contrary" in french. It can also mean "I beg to differ"

    adn i learned something new today too Thanks for the lesson on colourspaces.
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    littlewolf, are you singaporean, your english is quite chim leh.... what is "Au contraire"?
    No, I'm not.. sorry. "Au contraire" is french and means "to the contrary".

    1. under photoshop elements 3.0, other than picture quality of jpeg, there are 3 format options - baseline ("standard"), baseline optimized, progressive scans (can be 3,4 or 5). which one should i choose for best quality?
    To the best ofmy knowledge, there is little to no effect on image quality. These are just variations of the file format itself, i.e. how the compressed data is laid out in the file.

    There could be a slight difference due to different chioce of whats called "quantization tables", but it would be very slight for most pictures. Without the manual telling you, it's difficult to give a definite answer.

    2. and as for the other option other than "image options" (quality) and "format options" is the third option - size, which can be saved as 14.4Kbps to 2MBps, which size should i choose then?
    The numbers you listed are data transfer rates (i.e. network or modem speed). They have nothing to do with the image quality, but are used to provide you with estimate how long it would take to download the picture, which may be an important consideration if you do web design.

    Edit: It may be that the software decides on a "recommended" file size based on the given rate. You're better off monitoring the file size directly. Common software should have the option of previewing the compressed miage so you can judge the quality before you commit.
    Last edited by LittleWolf; 7th June 2006 at 08:45 AM.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    thanks

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    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    Wonderful explanation by LittleWolf!

    To summarize, the colour management workflow from screen to print, based on what LittleWolf has said as well as what I feel, is as follows:

    1) On a colour calibrated monitor, do most of your editing in the colour space which you captured the picture in. For printing purposes, its best if your camera is set to AdobeRGB, as it has the widest gamut range in most cameras capable of selecting the colour space to use. For monitor viewing, sRGB is best since that's the limit most monitors can go. Hence, try to shoot with the largest gamut colour space available, such as ProPhoto RGB, in order to capture a larger range of "encodable" colours. Try to minimize conversion of colour spaces, meaning that there is absolutely no need to convert from RGB to CMYK, unless specified by your professional printer. This prevents clipping of certian colours during the conversion.

    2) Once you're ready to print, first decide on the media and ink being used. Then you need to obtain the related printer ICC profiles for the same media and ink type. The purpose of such ICC profiles is to help in the "conversion process" from the screen to print, since printers are unlikely to reproduce the colours in the colour space that you use accurately. These ICC profiles act as a correction tool that acts in an opposite bias from the printer being used.

    3) Then print the image using the appropriate ICC profile, while turning off all color correction tools shown in the Print Driver.

    To answer the OP's question, the colour mode in the camera = working space of the picture. The function of these is to notify the program used as to how it should interpret the different colour values. Examples are ProPhoto RGB, sRGB and Adobe RGB. They are all variations of a coordinate system, such as RGB and CMYK.

  17. #17

    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    is it possible then to load a new colour space into your cam to have a wider gamut range? for canon cams specifically since it's using only 2 namely sRGB & aRGB

  18. #18

    Default Re: How many color profiles are there from shoot to print?

    No it is not possible, and not necessary as well. This is because the existing aRGB is wide enough for most of your output devices, including inkjet and dye-sub printers. You shouldn't always choose the colour space with the widest gamut range, but choose the one which is just "enough" for your output destination, whether it be on the monitor or in a printout.

    Monitor - sRGB
    Printer- Adobe RGB

    In any case, if you still demand a wider gamut range, one alternative is ProPhoto RGB, which you can learn about more here: http://luminous-landscape.com/tutori...hoto-rgb.shtml

    To use it, shoot only RAW and assign ProPhoto RGB to the image during the conversion process with your RAW converter. As far as I know, there's no way to shoot in another colour space in-camera.

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