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Old Oct 6, 2006, 12:07 AM   #1
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I was messing around this afternoon with Capture One Pro and processed a single RAW image into a series of jpgs, using a different ICC output profile each time, such as sRGB, Adobe RGB, the profile from a local photofinisher, and Photo Pro. Just playing.

Looking at the resultant jpgs in Capture One, the differences caused by the profiles are easily visible as changes in saturation, contrast, hue shifts, and so forth. As I would expect.

ACDSee Pro and Photoshop CS also show these difference. In all cases, the three programs agree about the relative appearances of the images, i.e., that this image looks greenish, that looks oversaturated, and so forth.

But in Qimage the differences are barely visible, both in the thumbnails and preview panes. Here, the four images are nearly identical. Does Qimage handle color differently than the other three programs?

-- mike elliott



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Old Oct 6, 2006, 2:22 PM   #2
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The only differences you should be seeing are subtle differences caused by bright, saturated colors being in/out of gamut. Any time an image is converted to various color spaces, properly color managed software should show them virtually the same! I'm not sure why PS CS and other software would be "failing" in this regard.

That's what color management is all about: the software should be able to recognize the differing profiles in the images and be able to properly display them on screen so that they all look virtually the same, minus any gamut differences caused by the brightest, most saturated colors in the image. If you see drastic differences, such as the wider gamut images (Pro Photo) looking washed out, something isn't working properly in your viewing software.

Mike
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Old Oct 7, 2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mike -- that goes a long way toward helping me understand this. I find that I had not taken the time to make doubly-certain that I had things set properly in each program before I posted my message, and I apologize for that. Still, I'm finding some interesting things (interesting to me, at least).

I found that I had my color management turned off in Photoshop (duh), while ACDSee has a management on/off button. I checked BreezeBrowser Pro, and it has a button to enable or disable management of thumbnails, and the preview window is managed.

So here's where it stands:
PS CS: managed
Capture One Pro: unmanaged
BreezeBrowser Pro (1.6): managed previews, choice of management for thumbnails
Google's Picasa: unmanaged (hey, it's a free program!)
ACDSee Pro: has handy button to enable/disable color management
Qimage: managed
The real puzzler (to me) is Capture One Pro. I have color management set correctly there, but it does not manage the images. I'll bring this over to their forum. Its images match what I see in the other programs when they are set to not manage color: sRGB is the most saturated, Adobe RGB less so, and Pro Photo the least saturated with a distinct green cast. This agrees with what I know about the relative sizes of their color spaces.

When managed, the Adobe RGB, sRGB, and ProPhoto profiled versions of my image look essentially identical to each other in ACDSee, BB, and Qimage; but the one done using the profile for my local Costco's Noritsu printer looks somewhat washed out in ACDSee, while in BB and Qimage it does not, but has a slight magenta cast. PS displays it the same as the other profiled images. So there appears to be some variation in how color is managed by the various programs.

-- mike elliott

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Old Oct 7, 2006, 12:28 PM   #4
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That's interesting. It is possible that Capture One can only color manage the raw files. Once you've converted them, maybe it doesn't pick up the embedded profile from the developed copies? In other words, maybe it only knows how to color manage the raw (NEF, CRW, CR2, etc.) files and can't do that with the developed images. That'd be something to discuss with the C1 folks.

Mike
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Old Oct 11, 2006, 9:42 AM   #5
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Follow-up: I asked about this in the Capture One forum and their guy asked me to make sure I had the color management button turned on. I tend to overlook buttons with unclear iconography -- though I can't think of a simple image that would signify "color management."

Anyway, turning on CO's color management reduced but did not cancel out the displayed color differences of the images. Qimage and the other programs listed earlier in this thread apply the profiles to the files in such a way as to equalize their appearances. CO seemed to go halfway there. The former seems to me to be the correct way of dealing with profiled images: apply the specified profile (name of which is stashed in some secret location in the image file, I reckon) and use it to interpret the image before displaying it. If done right, there should be little difference between the images, except w/r/t out of gamut colors, I guess. It's not clear why CO seems to have "less power" in this regard.

I have an inquiry about that on the CO forum and will bring back anything of interest.

-- mike elliott
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