Lightroom 4: Export to jpg (sRGB color space): Why colors are off in non-color managed programs?

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LR 4.0 / LR 4.1 beta
If I export a taw file from a 5D MkII with the camera color space set to Adobe RGB and I export using LR 4.0/4.1 to JPG color space sRGB the colors are off for non color managed programs like Faststone Image Viewer / Irfanview: the appear far too red. For color managed programs like QImage or PS5.1 colors are correct. Ho do I get colors right for all apps?
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Germ Wind

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Posted 6 years ago

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jdv, Champion

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The real answer is probably not what you want to hear: there is no way to guarantee anything will work for non-colour-managed apps. It is completely out of your hands what happens in these cases.

Your best bet is to render in sRGB if it is important that non-colour-managed apps show something reasonable. It is still no guarantee, but many such apps assume sRGB.

[Later]

I just noticed you say you are exporting as sRGB, though I am confused by your description. Setting the colour space in the camera doesn't (or shouldn't) do anything for raw images it captures -- the colour space is for renditions (like JPEG) only.

Internally, Lr uses a tweaked ProPhoto colour space, so the Adobe RBG set in the camera shouldn't even enter into it.

My initial comment still stands though: it is a gamble to get non-colour managed apps to play nice, no matter what the colour space of an exported image is.
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Germ Wind

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see my message below
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Germ Wind

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Thanks for the info John.
The confusing part is: if I export using sRGB Faststone Image Viewer shows it way too red, if I export using Profoto RGB it too yellowish something and when I export using Adobe RGB it is pretty much spot on. Hence my link to the camera setting. It's perhaps the same experience as when you clap your hand and the light goes off One automatically thinks these event arte linked. Question is: is it a bug or is it a "feature"?

sRGB:


ProPhoto RGB:


Adobe RGB:
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jdv, Champion

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I'm reasonably sure this is pure (bad) luck. The colour information is processed by the app in a way that out-of-gamut values are coerced into some new coordinates, or just thrown away.

Are you sure this app is not colour-managed? I see this on the FastStone web site:

[...]
Version 2.27 (November 02, 2005)
[...]
Add Color Management (embeded[sic] ICC) support. To enable it, go to "CMS" tab in the "Settings"
[...]

(http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDeta...)

You might just need to enable this and get much more accurate renderings -- assuming the app is any good at rendering ICC profiles.

Anyway, sRGB and AdobeRGB are close enough that both those versions are reasonably photographic. The sRGB version is more juicy than I'd like, too, but it sort of reminds me of the common sRGB "portrait" mode many cameras use to create JPEGs.

But, unless Canon is doing something very weird, your raw images do not have a color space -- they are typically comprised of masked RGB bit values representing the response of the camera body sensor, and not at all related to some ICC profile. The AdobeRBG setting is for when the camera is making JPEGs, and /might/ be used when rendering the quick JPEG preview embedded in the raw image (which Lightroom does not use, but you can see it on import just before Lightroom renders its own previews) and perhaps also for calculating the values for the in-camera histogram.

The latter is why you can't really trust the camera histogram -- it blows out highlights well before the sensor and raw files do.

Finally, you should make sure your monitor is also colour managed. You can have all the management in an app you want, but if the monitor is not managed, some colour managed apps can actually look worse.

A *hack* is to set the monitor *temporarily* to sRGB and see what the images look like. One sure sign the monitor needs help is if the previews, histograms and preview thumbnail in the Lightroom Library and Develop views also have a weird cast to them. That is, the Lightroom UI is, essentially, a colour managed litmus test.
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Germ Wind

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Ah.. my monitor is callibrated all right. Shouldn't be any problem there.
It all comes down to the problem that there is no option to export to JPG without embedding a color space, like PS can. I'll post this as a problem. Thanks for all your input.
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jdv, Champion

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Get Friedl's Metadata Wrangler and you can strip the ICC profile from the JPEG, even though this is not really recommended.