Lightroom: Bad advice about display profiles in Adobe help article

  • 3
  • Problem
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • In Progress
The Adobe help article Photos appear as black or gray rectangles in Lightroom provides incomplete advice about display profiles that in many circumstances is highly misleading and will further confuse many users.

Solution 2 for Issue 1 tells users to "Associate sRGB IEC61966-2.1 Color [sic] profile on your system".  That's good troubleshooting advice for quickly diagnosing whether the current display profile is incompatible with LR, either because it uses features that LR can't handle properly (LUTs or version 4) or because the profile doesn't strictly conform to the standard. 

But the solution omits a crucial step: The user must restore the previous display profile (if the solution didn't help) or calibrate / recalibrate the display to produce a new profile. An unsuspecting user with a wide-gamut display (more and more these days) who leaves sRGB assigned to the display will have horrible color issues, not only with LR but any other color-managed app as well.

See this forum thread for a user who was given this (bad) advice by Adobe customer service: https://forums.adobe.com/message/11144347#11144347

The LIghtroom Queen article is better: http://www.lightroomqueen.com/articles-page/how-do-i-change-my-monitor-profile-to-check-whether-its-...


Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 5132 Posts
  • 1456 Reply Likes

Posted 1 year ago

  • 3
Photo of Andrew Rodney

Andrew Rodney

  • 1044 Posts
  • 234 Reply Likes
Good catch, indeed that critical information is omitted and needs to be fixed.

I prefer the advice suggesting this sRGB profiles "swap" as one of the last resorts. Rather following this boiler plate I seem to have to paste too often (meaning, Adobe needs to fix their bugs using display profiles):

1. Check GPU settings (on or off) and try a different setting. This is found in preferences.
2. It could be a faulty ICC display profile. Recalibrate and build a new one.
3. It could be how the profile was built. Set your software to build Version 2 (V2) not V4 profiles.
4. It could be the type of profile built. Try Matrix instead of LUT based profile. Again, that's a setting in whatever software you use to calibrate and profile the display.
Photo of Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen

Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

  • 5659 Posts
  • 2261 Reply Likes
I shall add that to my notes, as we're working our way through updating the older blog posts :-)
Photo of Todd Shaner

Todd Shaner, Champion

  • 1965 Posts
  • 664 Reply Likes
This is all well and good, but what about users who do not have a monitor calibrator and no intentions on purchasing one? We could suggest the user download and install a display profile from the manufacturer's website as a better solution. Unfortunately most of these profiles are also incompatible with LR and ACR. Ditto for display profiles installed by a Windows update, which are usually just copies of the manufacturer's display profiles.

The user at the below post is perfectly happy to use the sRGB profile for all five displays used on three different systems because it made them ALL look the same. Agreed it is not the best solution, but achieved that objective without having to purchase a monitor calibrator.

https://forums.adobe.com/message/11137937#11137937

Photo of Andrew Rodney

Andrew Rodney

  • 1044 Posts
  • 234 Reply Likes
If they are using canned display profiles (or possibly EDID), what they see is likely wrong from the get go.

You can be happy being lied to or not know you're being lied to which is going to be the case using such profiles that don't define device behavior. Or to put it another way:


“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” -Søren Kierkega

So not sure he should be happy that ALL 5 displays are now previewing WRONG.
(Edited)
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 5132 Posts
  • 1456 Reply Likes
I agree that Andrew's steps 2-4 are worthwhile. But as a troubleshooting procedure, it's more efficient and effective to first identify whether the current profile is causing the problem by trying a known profile (sRGB). It takes just a few minutes to try sRGB, and if that doesn't eliminate the symptoms (missing thumbnails or a mismatch between Library and Develop), the user can move on.  If it does eliminate the symptoms, then the user can try the much more time-consuming steps of recalibration, matrix instead of LUT, and version 2 instead of version 4. 

Of the users who are calibrating, there are, a large number who don't know how to check their calibration software authoritatively for matrix-versus-LUT and version.  There's no simple list of precise recipes for all the different versions of calibration utilities. They're more likely to figure out how to do it if they're first convinced (quickly) that the profile is the cause of the problem.

Of users who don't calibrate, most of them are on modern, lower-cost displays that are fair approximations to sRGB, or they're on a display with a vendor-provided display profile.  In either case, they were previously getting results that were acceptable for their purposes (which usually aren't your purposes or my purposes).  Then their profile gets changed somehow, typically by Windows Update assigning a manufacturer-supplied profile that LR chokes on.  At this point, we can tell them to spend money and time to calibrate, which will typically take at least a week, or we can help them to get back quickly to the way things were before their profile got changed underneath them. And we can point them to a gentle introduction to calibration (as the Lightroom Queen article does).  Let's not make the perfect be the enemy of the good.


Photo of Todd Shaner

Todd Shaner, Champion

  • 1965 Posts
  • 664 Reply Likes
John, I've forked the conversation between Andrew and I to a separate post since it was going way off topic. I apologize for causing any confusion as to the original topic concerning the Adobe Help article.

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/display-calibration-alternatives

Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 5132 Posts
  • 1456 Reply Likes
No worries, understood.
Photo of Rikk Flohr

Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

  • 7585 Posts
  • 1730 Reply Likes
I've forwarded this to the documentation team for review. 

Thanks for the information.