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Thread: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

  1. #1

    Default True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Hi all,

    I am doing some client editing work for the first time and would like to make sure that - as much as possible - what I see is what the client sees (in email) and what the pictures will look like in print.

    It seems that it's better to edit in sRGB because:
    - Colour labs (incl. Kim Tian) only print in sRGB
    - Most clients are on Windows platform which uses sRGB as the default color profile

    [1] Is the above true?

    [2] Should I be editing in 8-bit or 16-bit? I know printers believe 8-bit since the file size is smaller but effectively can they print in 16-bit too? Are most clients' computers in 8 or 16-bit?

    [3] Is it better to edit based on the proposed by the colour labs? For e.g. Kim Tian proposes 8-bit and based on their ICM profile.

    [4] If the colour labs are running on Windows, is it better for me to edit in Windows so that we are all speaking the same language? (Windows, sRGB/their own colour profile, 8-bit)

    Thanks alot for your valuable feedback!

  2. #2

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Can't answer all the questions but can help in [2].

    Editing in 16-bit only brings advantage if you've captured in RAW in the first place. If it's JPEG then there's no point since they're 8-bit per channel anyway - all the extra information has been thrown out of the camera already. *qualifier: see grantyale's post below; seems to make sense.

    I think labs (unless you're talking about book or poster printers) prefer 8-bit because the smaller files places less processing strain on their computers. If you're not sure whether they will accept 16-bit files, just check nicely and see whether they can accommodate your request. I'm quite sure technically the equipment is competent to handle 16-bit files - otherwise where do professionals do their prints?

    For [3], if the lab gave you their ICC profile, then by all means use it. For me it's pretty useless since my monitor isn't colour calibrated. Using their ICC profile with calibrated equipment ensures they see what you see.
    Last edited by Ah Pao; 24th October 2007 at 10:03 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ah Pao View Post
    For [3], if the lab gave you their ICC profile...
    Ah, ICC is for MacOS while ICM is for Windows. They're cross-platform compatible less their names. Just to clarify.

  4. #4

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Windows is sRGB-centered but applications can be managed through ICM or ICC, [1] is only true if your printer's software doesn't recognize embedded profiles. You may want to figure out this part, or simply use sRGB because - few monitors really display full AdobeRGB. If the display is sRGB and one's using AdobeRGB as working space - the colors will not be right. Of course a conversion can be done at display time but - if it's absolute color space mapping, you'll see clipping before the numbers clip; if it's relative/perceptual conversion - one's justing using AdobeRGB as sRGB and guessing the colors. Practically, sRGB covers the normal lab printing gamut pretty well and I see little point going to other wider spaces.

    [2] It does make sense to use 16bit processing workflow even if one's working with 8bit JPEGs and output as 8bit. The problem is, whenever two levels becomes one, they'll never separate again. With Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3 and the advanced adjustment layers, the difference has become smaller but 16bit workflow still gives less posterization. By the way, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom seems to have a full 16-bit internal pipeline, regardless of input file depth.

    [3] It doesn't matter much what ICM profile they use for their photo printer. This ICM maps sRGB to the printer's color space. You may preview the printing result with the ICM but never use it as your working space.

    In short, the suggestion would be to process in sRGB, in 16bit and bring 8bit finals to your printer.

  5. #5

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Thanks for all your comments, esp that of grantyale's.

    OK - if I am understanding this correctly - edit in 16-bit sRGB and view in printer's ICM to see if colors are okay. Right?

    The next question is:
    [5] I would like to know if there's anything in Windows as quick and simple as iPhoto in Mac. I tried it yesterday on friend's computer and is really nifty for quick turnarounds. Picasa doesn't even come close.

    [6] If the labs are running on Windows, will I get truer colors based on my editing in Windows (as opposed to Mac)? Am asking this because I thought of buying Mac. Before I read about all these sRGB thingy I heard Mac colors are the closest to true colors but now am not sure if am better off on Windows.

    Many thanks for your kind advices!

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Windows is sRGB-centered but applications can be managed through ICM or ICC, [1] is only true if your printer's software doesn't recognize embedded profiles. You may want to figure out this part, or simply use sRGB because - few monitors really display full AdobeRGB. If the display is sRGB and one's using AdobeRGB as working space - the colors will not be right. Of course a conversion can be done at display time but - if it's absolute color space mapping, you'll see clipping before the numbers clip; if it's relative/perceptual conversion - one's justing using AdobeRGB as sRGB and guessing the colors. Practically, sRGB covers the normal lab printing gamut pretty well and I see little point going to other wider spaces.

    [2] It does make sense to use 16bit processing workflow even if one's working with 8bit JPEGs and output as 8bit. The problem is, whenever two levels becomes one, they'll never separate again. With Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3 and the advanced adjustment layers, the difference has become smaller but 16bit workflow still gives less posterization. By the way, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom seems to have a full 16-bit internal pipeline, regardless of input file depth.

    [3] It doesn't matter much what ICM profile they use for their photo printer. This ICM maps sRGB to the printer's color space. You may preview the printing result with the ICM but never use it as your working space.

    In short, the suggestion would be to process in sRGB, in 16bit and bring 8bit finals to your printer.

  6. #6

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Actually that preview doesn't make much a difference. It basically tells you which colors get compressed or clipped.

    [5] Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the quick develop panel gives basic adjustments, while you still have all the advanced options to fine tune the images. 16bit internal flow as I said. You may not have the option to preview the printed colors but I'm not too sure (used lightroom trial/beta a while ago).

    [6] I think Mac still use a default 1.8 display gamma. However, it's easily changed to 2.2 (which is Windows' default value) in OSX and it has a subjective calibration procedure in case you don't feel like buying a spectrometer. That piece of software is better than those I've used on Windows.

  7. #7

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Thanks Grantyale for giving clarity to the questions!

    Asked my photography instructors today on all the questions [1] to [6] (they are seasoned journalism photographers) and guess what:

    - they shoot and edit in sRGB
    - they use Windows
    - they run on 8-bit
    - they feel it's so much more straight forward this way!

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Actually that preview doesn't make much a difference. It basically tells you which colors get compressed or clipped.

    [5] Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the quick develop panel gives basic adjustments, while you still have all the advanced options to fine tune the images. 16bit internal flow as I said. You may not have the option to preview the printed colors but I'm not too sure (used lightroom trial/beta a while ago).

    [6] I think Mac still use a default 1.8 display gamma. However, it's easily changed to 2.2 (which is Windows' default value) in OSX and it has a subjective calibration procedure in case you don't feel like buying a spectrometer. That piece of software is better than those I've used on Windows.

  8. #8

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Actually there isn't much complication once you settle on a workflow.

    8-bit editing... http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/...howtopic=20470
    As I said, the gain could be marginal but is there.

  9. #9

    Default Re: True or false: better to edit in sRGB (minimize inconsistencies)

    Quote Originally Posted by schnurbart22 View Post
    Thanks Grantyale for giving clarity to the questions!

    Asked my photography instructors today on all the questions [1] to [6] (they are seasoned journalism photographers) and guess what:

    - they shoot and edit in sRGB
    - they use Windows
    - they run on 8-bit
    - they feel it's so much more straight forward this way!
    that has been what I have been recommending on this forum for some time... although of course, you can use Macs as well, as long as the monitor is calibrated to gamma 2.2... sure can convert it to relevant format for client in workflow, but is it worth the effort especially when rushing a job?...

    unless the image requires heavy work or colour sensitivity this is good enough... if it does require heavy work and colour sensitivity, then work in 16bit Adobe RGB or even Prophoto RGB... and get a good monitor that can show at least most of either colour space... but most importantly for any monitor, profile it to make sure colours come out right...

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