Saved images have different color than when in PS

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Jon Danniken, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest


    When I was making yet another futile attempt at calibrating my monitor, I
    caused an unwanted behavior. Specifically, when I save an image in PS (CS),
    the saved copy is lighter in color (higher gamma?) than the image was when
    in photoshop itself.

    This is recent, and I caused it yesterday when I was messing with the color
    settings. I have disabled Adobe Gamma loader from starting at bootup, and
    tried different color settings, but this is still occuring.

    What is the setting that is causing this behavior?


    Jon Danniken, Dec 22, 2005
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  2. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest

    "Jon Danniken"
    Here is an example of what I am talking about; sorry I didn't include it in
    the original:

    The image on the left is how it looks in PS, the one the right is how it
    looks when I go to save it.

    Jon Danniken, Dec 22, 2005
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  3. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    Probably the Desired Gamma setting. Use "Windows Default" to set a gamma of
    Mike Russell, Dec 22, 2005
  4. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest

    Thanks, Mike, but the problem occurs when I *do* use the 2.2 gamma (or any
    other "user specifiec" gamma setting through Adobe Gamma).. Only when I go
    into system32/spool/color/ and delete the *.icc I created does this problem
    go away.

    I like the idea of setting up my monitor to a calibrated space, but why when
    I do this is my output different than what I am working on? In other words,
    why would I want to work on something in PS only to have the levels flip
    all over the place when it is output?


    Jon Danniken, Dec 22, 2005
  5. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    Here's another possibility: you may have your RGB working space's gamma set
    to something other than 2.2. Type ctrl-shift-K and look at your RGB Working
    space. Set it to sRGB for the time being.
    I haven't tried this, but I would expect Photoshop would behave as if it
    were a non color-aware app.
    You have the logic backwards. The levels are being changed systematically
    so that the appearance is the same, if (and only if) you have an accurate
    monitor profile. Before Photoshop knew about working color spaces, the same
    image would look lighter on the Mac than on the PC. Now that Photoshop is
    color aware, the image can be converted from the working space to the
    display space, resulting in the same image appearance on the PC and the Mac.

    This works, but programs other than Photoshop have failed to follow suit,
    for a variety of good reasons. The result is that many images look
    different in Photoshop than they do in non color managed applications. This
    is only a problem if your images are destined for the web, or if you are
    going to share your RGB images with others and there is a chance they may
    use them outside of Photoshop.
    Mike Russell, Dec 22, 2005
  6. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Jon writes ...
    I've helped several people track down problems like this and in *every*
    case so far it was caused by a bad (inaccurate) monitor profile.

    Regenerate the profile from scratch and see if that fixes it.
    Just generate a new profile.

    Bill Hilton, Dec 22, 2005
  7. Jon Danniken

    Jim Guest

    Furthermore, the fact that the problem goes away after you have deleted the
    icc file is further indication that the profile is bad.

    And, previously, the OP said that he delete Adobe Gamma Loader. The purpose
    of Adobe Gamma Loader is to load the custom profile into the graphics
    driver. Hence, if you delete the loader, it cannot load the profile thus
    you will get a problem where the image looks good until you exit PS.
    I use Monaco because I really don't trust my eyesight to get a good profile.
    This was especially the case before I had cataract surgery.
    Jim, Dec 22, 2005
  8. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest

    Thanks Mike; it is set to sRGB IEC 61966-2.1, but I still have the issue of
    the image looking different when I go to save it.

    I realize I am missing out on a crucial (and likely very simple) concept
    here, and I apologize for my stupidity.

    Regardless of how my monitor is set up, I do not understand *why* Photoshop
    changes the appearance of an image
    *while still in Photoshop*, when it is viewed in the saving window.

    I do not understand why it is that Photoshop wants to change the levels of
    image when it is saved, and why it doesn't save it looking the same way that
    I see it while I am working on it.

    Hopefully it will make sense at some point, but right now it just isn't.

    Thanks though,

    Jon Danniken, Dec 23, 2005
  9. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    You're obviously not stupid. At some point in the future, not many years
    away, color management will be dirt simple. Right now it's not, and there
    is a large amount of frustration out there. In fact, it's a real mess, and
    there are about 32 different ways to set it up incorrectly - you have simply
    found one of them.
    Photoshop is designed to display the image in a consisistent way on all
    monitors. To accomplish this, you must have a correct monitor profile, and
    the colors must be altered sightly to compensate for your monitor.
    You can use Photoshop this way if you disable color management. Select
    "Color Management Off" in the Color Settings dialog. There is nothing wrong
    with this, except that you will be swimming hard against the tide of
    convention. Up to, but not including version 5.0 this was how everyone used
    Photoshop. Although you can do high quality work this way, you may run into
    problems when you share your images with others. Much excellent work was
    done before color management - a large fraction of all digital publishing,
    and no one complained.
    OK - here's another thing to try. You may have saved on top of your sRGB
    profile, when you used Adobe Gamma to save your screen profile. Download a
    fresh copy from Adobe,

    Then install it in the color folder, and see if things start behaving
    On my system the color folder is C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color,

    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Dec 23, 2005
  10. Jon Danniken

    rusure Guest

    You are overly optimistic. If (not when) color management should become
    "dirt simple" (and dirt cheap), many of us would either have gone broke
    (from all $$$$$ we wasted on it), or have been locked up in a mental
    institution (from the frustration of trying).

    Here's my take. There are technical challenges to get color management
    right, simple and cheap. And many digital imagers do not need it to
    begin with. But Adobe and many vendors not only DELIBERATELY turn color
    management into a nightmare, but also try to convince every user that
    they need it. Why? To keep revising their products to make ONLY
    incremental changes to bait the users. It is their business model to get
    the users to keep "upgrading" the sw and hw, and keep wasting consumable
    in making test prints.
    rusure, Dec 23, 2005
  11. Jon Danniken

    John Guest

    Of course, when you say 'Colour Management', you mean 'ICC Colour
    Management'. Everyone uses colour management of a sort, it's just that in
    the past, each company had their own 'sealed system' - admittedly an
    empirical one but a colour management system nevertheless. They knew exactly
    what they would get from their own originated material and therefore could
    produce excellent results without ICC. That was all well and good when the
    original material is on film or hard copy and you can do a direct colour
    match between original and output. However, what happens when the original
    material is digital capture by an external customer? This is becoming
    increasingly the norm. How does such a customer convey correct colour
    meaning to the service provider? Without a universal 'colour language',
    there isn't a hope in hell that the customer will get anything like
    predictable colour. ICC colour management is one such language, perhaps it
    is not the best but at the moment it is the only choice for most people.
    John, Dec 23, 2005
  12. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Jon Danniken writes ...
    The 'saving window' you apparently refer to is 'save for web', which
    opens ImageReady (based on the link you provided) ... you were saving
    as a jpeg and 'save for web' shows you what the image will look like ON
    THE WEB, where there is no color management, that is, the ICC working
    space profile is ignored for almost all browsers (if you even assign
    one) AND the monitor ICC profile is ignored. So basically it's not
    "the appearance of an image *while still in Photoshop*" that you're
    looking at, it's how that jpeg will look when viewed outside Photoshop
    in a non-color managed application like a web browser.

    All this is saying is that you have a very bad monitor profile, since
    you shouldn't be seeing THAT big a difference if you first convert the
    file to sRGB before making it a jpeg. Make a new monitor profile
    that's accurate and understand what ImageReady is doing when you 'save
    for the web' and the problem is solved.
    It doesn't 'change the levels' at all, it just shows what the image
    will look like without profiles when you are saving a jpeg using 'save
    for the web'.
    Hope this helps ...

    Bill Hilton, Dec 23, 2005
  13. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Jon Danniken writes ...
    As I said moments ago, it's because you're saving as a jpeg using 'save
    for web', which opens ImageReady ... one way to see what's really going
    on is to do this 'save for web' and check the 'icc profile' box to keep
    the working space profile, then open this jpeg up in Photoshop and make
    sure this profile is still assigned (if it's different than the default
    you'll get a dialog box asking if you want to drop it, keep it or
    change to the working space).

    As you'll see, re-opened in Photoshop with the initial working space
    profile it should now look pretty much identical to the original image
    you had before you did the save. Basically this just verifies that
    what you saw in the ImageReady window when you did 'save for web' was
    showing you what the image looks like OUTSIDE Photoshop when viewed in
    a non-color managed application. And since it's significantly
    different than what you see in Photoshop the culprit is almost always a
    bad monitor profile, which Photoshop uses but which the ImageReady
    preview ignores.

    Bill Hilton, Dec 23, 2005
  14. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    writes ...
    Why would a vendor "DELIBERATELY" create problems? Makes no sense to
    me ...
    Photoshop color management was revamped radically with Version 6, which
    came out 3 revs and maybe 5-6 years ago. Since then there haven't been
    ANY Photoshop color management changes that I'm aware of, which kind of
    kills your conspiracy theory.

    And of course you can always turn color management off if you don't
    want to use it.
    I've helped several total beginners get up to speed ... here's my take
    .... I agree with you that there are "technical challenges" but they
    aren't overwheliming ... the newbies I've taught needed to do/know
    three things, which weren't all that hard once the basics are
    understood ...

    1) calibrate the monitor accurately ... if you can't do it well enough
    with Adobe Gamma or one of the other free software solutions (I never
    could, to my satisfaction) then spend $200 on a good hardware solution
    like the Sypder 2 or Gretag Eye-One or Monaco Optix.

    2) Learn the difference between a device-specific profile (like the
    ones for your monitor or printer) and a 'working space' profile, and
    don't mix them up. Almost everyone stumbles over this when they start
    down the color management path.

    3) Buy a printer with good built-in ICC profiles that are accurate for
    the papers you'll use and learn how to print to them from Photoshop
    (OK, maybe that's four things :). Epson is the leader in this field
    but the better Canon and HP photo models are catching up. That's it
    .... a decent calibrated monitor, a printer with accurate ICC profiles
    that you know how to apply in Photoshop, and understanding the
    difference between working space profiles and device-specific profiles
    should be enough for most people.

    Bill Hilton, Dec 23, 2005
  15. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    LOL - good points both. Perhaps outpatient status and heavy medication
    wouldn't hurt, now that you mention it.

    You do have a point, but I'm somewhat more optiministic that color
    management will mature, just as networking did, and become much more trivial
    to manage.

    Meantime, the OP's problem with externally viewed images being substantially
    darker presents an interesting puzzle. I don't think it can be explained
    merely by a bad device profile. If it is, then what would be the simplest
    way to verify this? Perhaps he could email the profile in question to one
    of us who has a profile viewer.
    Mike Russell, Dec 23, 2005
  16. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Mike Russell writes ...
    Of course it can ... he gave plenty of clues ... it may indeed by
    something else but evidence suggests otherwise ...

    Clue 1 - "This is recent, and I caused it yesterday when I was messing
    the color settings." ... he isn't specific as to what he was "messing"
    with but when you build a monitor profile first you 'calibrate' the
    monitor by getting it to a known state, then 'characterize' it by
    measuring colors ... the profile is only accurate for that known state,
    once you start "messing with the color settings" you've invalidated the
    profile and need to generate another one.

    Clue 2 - "Only when I go into system32/spool/color/ and delete the
    *.icc I created does this problem go away." ... what can I say?
    Obviously this means the profile that was deleted was inaccurate ...

    Clue 3 - "I have disabled Adobe Gamma loader from starting at bootup,
    and tried different color settings, but this is still occuring." ...
    disabling Gamma loader means the system is picking up some default
    monitor profile of unknown origins ... you can check to see what this
    profile is with Edit - Color settings - in 'working spaces: RGB' box
    scroll to the top and see what's listed beside 'monitor RGB' ... this
    is the profile being used.

    Clue 4 - he wasn't clear about what he meant by "saved" in Photoshop
    but the link he provided showed the difference between an image
    displayed in Photoshop and the same one in the 'save for web' window of
    ImageReady ... the ImageReady window shows how the image will look on
    the web without the monitor and working spaces profile, otherwise
    there's no difference. Again, this narrows it down ...
    Generate a new, accurate monitor profile (and if you "mess with the
    color settings" again then generate a new profile) ... make sure Gamma
    loader is enabled if you use Adobe Gamma, or disabled if using a
    hardware solution since their software will load the profile, and check
    that this profile is picked up. That should do it.

    If you want to see the effect the monitor profile has in Photoshop then
    open an image like the test one and do View - Proof Setup - and choose
    'monitor RGB' ... this ignores the monitor profile ... then do cntrl-y
    to toggle this on/off, showing you the effects of applying the monitor
    profile ... if the image is sRGB then you should see just a slight
    shift in the saturated colors if you have a good monitor profile ... if
    you're seeing a wild jump in colors then the monitor profile is bad ...
    so Jon, can you try this? I'll bet you see the image look very similar
    to what you get with ImageReady when you do 'save for web' ...

    Bill Hilton, Dec 23, 2005
  17. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    The specific problem is that Photoshop displays a significantly brighter
    image than Save for Web. Changing the controls on the monitor will not
    affect this comparison, since all images will be equally affected. A bad
    monitor profile would explain this, but Jon has stated that he re-created
    the profile using a gamma of 2.2. IMHO this means the problem may not be
    due to a bad monitor profile..
    The profile could be fine. This clue does show that he has re-created the
    profile at least once, and Jon has said that he specified a gamma of 2.2.
    Since Photoshop must remap from a lower to a higher gamma value to display a
    brighter image, I think it's worth checiking his working space profile,
    sRGB. Adobe Gamma, among its other virtues, makes it very easy to clobber
    the wrong profile.
    The System profile will be in place in any case. Adobe Gamma Loader is
    responsible for initializing the video LUT to the values specified in Adobe
    Not exactly. The string listed beside monitor RGB is a copy of the
    description of the profile that Adobe Gamma loaded initially. It would be
    nice if Adobe appended a "modified by Adobe Gamma" to the end of the
    description, but since it doesn't, this string is not a reliable way to
    determine the monitor profile.

    In addition, this profile is not the same thing as the System's display
    profile, but a separate profile used by Adobe products for display
    conversion purposes. The system display profile is in the Monitor settings
    for Windows 2000 and later. Adobe Gamma normally keeps these in sync, but
    it's possible to manually change things out from under the Gamma Loader. I
    don't think this is Jon's problem, BTW.
    It certainly does.
    Good idea. I'd also like to get hold of one of Jon's files. If it displays
    too light on my system, I'll know it's a problem with the embedded profile.
    If it doesn't, then the problem has to be, as you suspect, somewhere in the
    display setup.

    The moral of the story, I think, is that color setup is too arcane. It's
    ironic that one of the oldest computer peripherals is still not truly plug
    and play. We are waiting for an Alan Oppenheimer of color to make sweeping
    simplifications to the setup process.
    Mike Russell, Dec 23, 2005
  18. Jon Danniken

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Mike Russell writes ...
    You have it EXACTLY backwards ... here's the link he gave ... ... the
    Photoshop image is on the left, the ImageReady image on the right ...
    download it and tag it with sRGB and I read about 213/9/10 for the
    Photoshop image, and 250/5/4 for the ImageReady image. I don't see how
    you can miss this ...
    No, because the ImageReady version isn't using the monitor profile or
    the working space tag ... depending on what monitor controls he changed
    he could easily have rendered his profile invalid/inaccurate , which
    would explain the differences he's seeing.
    It doesn't matter what gamma he uses if the profile is bad, and a bad
    profile is the most likely explanation for the differences he's seeing.
    How could using Adobe Gamma "clobber" another profile, unless maybe he
    named the newly created profile "sRGB IEC61966-2.1.icc" or similar?
    The only other way I know to mess this up is with Edit - Color Settings
    and doing a Custom RGB change on the gamma setting and then saving it
    as the name of a preset profile by mistake. I'm pretty sure he's doing
    this :)
    Right, with XP you can check this by right-clicking on the open desktop
    and doing Properties - Settings - Advanced - Color Management ... the
    monitor profile grayed out in the lower box is the one being used and
    I've never seen it not match up with what's listed in the Photoshop
    window mentioned.
    You can't say for sure until Jon tries a couple of the suggested fixes
    .... it's probably just a bad monitor profile, in which case it wasn't
    arcane at all ... at least that's what it was the other 20-something
    times people had this same problem in this newsgroup.

    Bill Hilton, Dec 23, 2005
  19. Jon Danniken

    Mike Russell Guest

    Mike Russell writes ...

    Right you are, Bill. Thanks for pointing this out. This does not the
    reasoning behind what I said, except that the tagged profile's gamma may be
    higher, not lower, than 2.2.

    Based on what Jon has said, my money is on the embedded profile at the
    moment. Yours is on the monitor profile. Either way, I think we are on the
    way to solving the problem.
    You have described two different ways to clobber the sRGB profile, and I
    have encountered people who have done this. This is why I suggested that
    Jon reload the sRGB profile.

    I suggest that Jon provide one of his images as a way to determine whether
    this is the case, and I think it would be informative as well for him to
    post his monitor icc file as well.
    Mike Russell, Dec 23, 2005
  20. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest

    It does, Bill, and thanks. I realize now that PS isn't changing the output
    (as seen in the "Save for Web" dialog) but is instead applying a
    compensation to what I am working on instead. .

    As is probably obvious to yourself and others, I am having issues
    calibrating this monitor, not a terribly good one at that, and I had fiddled
    with the monitor settings after attempting to set a profile for it.

    The problem is that the monitor is mainly used for web browsing, and it is
    only when I work with images (digital source, photo lab destination) that I
    really want the monitor to match the output (or what the print will look
    like when it comes back from the lab).. What would be handy would be a
    toggle switch that would switch between a web setup and photolab setup; I am
    experimenting with "soft proof" in PS as a means of achieving this. .

    I'll need a better monitor to really be able to make any decent attempt at
    realistic color matching, but I have a better understanding of what caused
    the problem and at least know how to fix it back the next time I go fiddling


    Jon Danniken, Dec 23, 2005
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