Photoshop 2018: Interprets colors differently than Photoshop 2017

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  • (Edited)
[Edited: No one has commented on, or perhaps even read, my post below, which means that I can still edit it. So I changed the title from the more sanguine "Photoshop CC 2018 interprets Vibrance/Saturation layer differently than CC 2017."

I think that this bug is a complete show-stopper. If Photoshop 2018 changes the colors, and the effect of flattening, compared to Photoshop 2017 and earlier versions, then I can't use it. And I find it surprising that others can use it, at least on images that were edited with earlier versions.

Perhaps I am being overly shrill — I would love it if someone would check out and confirm or deny that this is a widespread bug.

My original post follows.]

I installed Photoshop CC 2018 (Macintosh, Sierra v. 10.12.6) and I find that the colors displayed in a file are different than they are in Photoshop CC 2017. This makes it impossible for me to use Photoshop CC 2018.

I have a test file with two layers — an image and a Vibrance/Saturation layer. The file is in 8-bit Pro Photo. I have one color sampler in it (set to 5 x 5 in both versions of the program). If I turn on the Vibrance/Saturation layer, the colors are much less saturated in PS CC 2018 than in PS CC 2017. There are also small differences in hue. The following table shows the differences seen:

This difference can also be seen visually, and if you show out-of-gamut (CMYK gamut) colors the areas shown are different between the two programs. And, if you flatten this image, the values shown in the two versions of the Photoshop above are "baked into" the file — which means that the difference I am seeing is not a difference in reporting HSB values, but is a difference in interpreting a Vibrance/Saturation layer.

The file, and versions flattened in PS CC 2017 and PS CC 2018 can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/35yds87iocpglup/AAAd-QVKoztY2HDxonkgxXQca?dl=0

It would be great if someone else could test this bug report and see if it can be replicated on other machines.
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Alan Harper

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Posted 2 years ago

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Josh Byers

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I have also experienced this. Images are over saturated and like you said it makes the program nearly unusable.

This first image is opened in PS 2017. The second image is what happens when I open the same image in PS 2018. No adjustments or changes have been made. It looks like that on open.

(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Hi Alan, your files were helpful. I am seeing the difference in values between 2017 > 2018. I'll have the engineers take a look. Will let you know if we need anything else
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Alan Harper

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Well, that is fascinating, Josh. What I see is exactly the opposite — colors are much less saturated in PS CC 2018 than PS CC 2017:
This is PS 2017:

and this is PC CC 2018:


Your example suggests that the calculation of colors in general has changed, not just the Vibrance/Saturation layers.

Would you be able to post this document (a crop if you are worried about copying) somewhere so we can see the differences ourselves?

Thanks for the report. This is making me very nervous -- if there has been a fundamental change in Photoshop's color algorithms, everything I have created pre PS CC 2018 will be different if I upgrade.

A
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Deborah Rivero

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I agree with you, I see colors as much less saturated after the update. I need to go back to the previous version.
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Josh Byers

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So, as I dove in a little deeper the color values according to info panel are exactly the same but the program is obviously interpreting that color differently. I'm looking at this on the same monitor. 

I figured it was maybe a preference switch or something but I can't find anything that would relate displaying the color differently.

Here is the link to the file I opened: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mml6ltedeer2u7w/judges-of-israel.png?dl=0

Here are a couple more screenshots for reference:


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eartho, Champion

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Check your Color Settings and make sure neither CC is converting without asking...
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Alan Harper

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Hi Josh

Thanks for the clarification. You are displaying a png file, which makes it clear (at least to my muddled mind) that your issue is different than my issue. My issue is that the same layered file is interpreted differently. The bottom image is the same, but as layers are applied (at least, a Vibrance/Saturation layer), the colors diverge between the images. In your case, there is but one layer, and PS reports the same color values, but displays them differently.

I would first look into something in the preferences being different. I wasn't 100% careful when I installed PS CC 2018, but while I thought that I clicked "keep preferences from older version" I did see some preferences had changed.

You could walk through (again!) all the preferences and see if there are differences, but what I find easiest in situations like this is to create a new user in System Preferences:Users and Groups. When you launch PS in a new user, PS should create default preferences for both PS 2017 and PS 2018. Then you can see if there is a difference in displaying your file. (Copy your test file into the Users/Shared folder to access it from the new user).

The other thing you could do is go to Creative Collection app and uninstall PS 2018, and make sure that you delete the preferences when you delete the app. Then reinstall PS 2018 and make sure you check "bring over preferences from earlier version" (not sure of the exact wording).

Anyway, I would bet (at least 25¢) that your problem is PS CC 2018 preferences being different from PS CC 2017, and that your issue is unrelated to my report.

Good luck!

A
(Edited)
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Josh Byers

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Hey Allen, thanks for the advice. I first created a new user and tested out the programs and the issue went away. So that assumes that it is indeed a preference issue. I went back to my normal user and scoured the preferences one by one, side by side, and visually nothing was different.
I then uninstalled PS2018 and reinstalled and the issue has gone away.

So thanks for the help! Though I still wish I knew exactly what the issue was.

Interestingly enough, when I installed 18 the first time I removed 17 at the same time. When I started having issues I re-downloaded 17. That makes me question the preferences issue as all the preferences from 17 would've been gone or carried over the first time I installed 18. Weird.

For what its worth. I tried to replicate your issue with the new copy of 18 and I could not. Hope it gets solved for you.

Thanks again.
(Edited)
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Alan Harper

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Great. Glad you could solve your problem. I think you owe me 25¢ ;)

FWIW, by default, when you uninstall 2017, the preferences are not deleted, so when you later reinstall, you get back those preferences, not the default preferences. But it depends on which buttons you pushed when you did that. (And if you are like me, you have no idea what you did 20 minutes ago, let alone 2 weeks ago).
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Can you run a quick test for me? If you're on Windows, quit Photoshop, go to the application folder and navigate to Required>Plug-Ins>Extensions>HalideBottlenecks.plugin. On Mac, right click on the Photoshop app, choose Show Package Contents, and navigate to Plug-Ins>Extensions>HalideBottlenecks.plugin. Put a tilde infront of the plug-in's name to disable it.

Try running Photoshop and check your colors. Are they correct? 
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Alan Harper

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Hi Jeffrey

I had to reinstall PS 2018 in order to check.

I turned off the extension, and it had no effect on the colors.

To confirm, I'm on Macintosh and I added a tilde to the following file (not quite the same path as you indicated):

/Applications/Adobe Photoshop CC 2018/Adobe Photoshop CC 2018.app/Contents/Required/Plug-ins/Extensions/~HalideBottlenecks.plugin

Alan
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Cristen Gillespie

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That's a fairly significant difference in saturation you're seeing. Here on my Mac I've tried several images, including creating a graphic image with saturated colors, and I can't see a difference side-by-side, nor does the Info panel. Now I'm curious. I don't want something like that to sneak up behind my back.
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Alan Harper

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Hi Cristen.

Did you download my TIFF and try it? If so, did you get the same HSB values or different values?

I was quite surprised when I saw this, and I saw the effect on many images (as part of a project I am working on).
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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Okay, this is just weird. Your file shows a significant difference in saturation. My own file shows no difference.


(Edited)
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Alan Harper

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Yes, I agree, "this is just weird." All I can say is that I am working on a project of photos of flowers, and in general, as I edit them, they get more and more saturated. At the end, I add a layer of Vibrance/Saturation to control that, and for most of these photos I get a big difference between PS 2017 and PS 2018. Obviously, I am working in some kind of "space" where the differences between PS 2017 and PS 2018 are manifested, and your photo is not in that space.

Of course, if I had first transformed to L*ab, I probably wouldn't be having this issue, but it would be a lot of work to redo my 2,000+ photos now. And, in any event, I don't think any user of Photoshop expects colors to shift when a new version comes out.

I suspect that Adobe must have some regression tests when they bring out a new version of Photoshop, to confirm that it interprets files the same as previous versions. (They must, right???) And, probably, their photos are like your photo, and no shift was evident.

A
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Cristen Gillespie

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> photos of flowers, and in general, as I edit them, they get more and more saturated.>

You're only human. Working with photos is like eating chilies. You build up a tolerance for an excess of color and contrast.

I don't know what they do. Visually, there isn't enough difference in the flower you show that most people not using numbers would be all that likely to pick it up, but what engineers might do is beyond me, though I assume to test is likely more rigorous than a visual perusal. After seeing your file, I wondered why mine didn't demonstrate it. We're missing a piece to this puzzle.

I have other issues now that I've given up on resolving my problems with Bridge—way too much uninstalling, clearing prefs, reinstalling for my liking—but it's about time I did that with PS to make sure I'm working with a good clean copy. If my results with this change after I clean it up again tomorrow, I'll report back. I'll also try with other files just to see if it isn't all over the map.
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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When I disabled Halide, I now get something that matches:



Did you restart Photoshop after adding the tilde to the file name?
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Alan Harper

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I did restart PS.

What you are showing me here is that on your machine, PS 2017 is now showing the same values as PS 2018 (the same values I get for PS 2018). So somehow, you have changed PS 2017.

I get Saturation 85% for PS 2017, and 66% for PS 2018, you (here) get 66% for both.

Or was I supposed to disable Halide for PS 2017?

A
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Alan Harper

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To follow up, I am completely confused. I just confirmed, I get 85% for PS 2017. If you look at Cristin's screenshots, she gets different values, 66% for PS 2017, and 93% for PS 2018.
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Yeah. I'm confused now, too. I'll revisit this with engineering in the AM with a fresh brain.
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Domnita Petri, Employee

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Hi Alan, I've been looking into this case today. The color sampler stayed constantly different between PS 2017 and PS 2018, regardless the Halide on/off state. I had made sure to align the color policies across the two versions, since your file has an embedded profile, still the numbers continued to be different. But right now I un-installed/re-installed PS 2018, and I get similar values, to my dismay. Just wanted to add this extra-detail to the already confusing story. Thank you, we'll talk more tomorrow.
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Alan Harper

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Hi Domnita

So, I uninstalled PS CC 2017 including its preferences, and then reinstalled it over night, and now it is showing the same values as PS CC 2018 (not the values I got in PS CC 2017 yesterday).

But the strange thing is, if I copy yesterday's preferences (from a Time Machine backup) back into the ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 Settings folder, it still continues to show the PS CC 2018 values, not the values it was showing yesterday.

Don't ask me why, but I also have a copy of PS CS 6, and it is showing the values that PS CC 2017 did yesterday.

So, in summary, PS CC 2018, always, and PS CC 2017, today, show a Saturation of 66, while PS CS 6, always, and PS CC 2017, yesterday and before, show a Saturation of 85.

There are other tests I can run, but they will take some time, and, since bad luck is autocorrelated, my AT&T internet service has slowed to a crawl, so deleting and reinstalling software is taking hours when it should take minutes.

I'd love to hear what you find out, if you can figure this out better. Right now my guess is that there is an obscure setting, not in the "Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 Settings" folder, that is causing this difference. (And, I deleted the few plug-ins I had installed, just in case, and that made no difference).
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eartho, Champion

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The files are identical for me in 2017 and 2018. Are you all sure that you're not converting to another profile without asking when you open ProPhoto?

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Domnita Petri, Employee

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Hi Alan again, 

Can you please attach the old preferences to the bug report? I hope there are some valuable clues in there. And yes, eartho, I had the same suspicion with the profile, but I could not prove it. Thank you.
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Alan Harper

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That is the issue, eartho, it is the color settings. I get one value with sRGB (default on install) and the other with Pro Photo RGB. I'm still trying to figure out the details, but that is the difference. THANK YOU!
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Alan Harper

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So, to finish this saga (thank you, everyone who contributed).

If change your working space in your color settings, the colors will be different (at least for this image), even if your image has an embedded profile.

My test image (linked above) is in Pro Photo RGB color space. If you open that image with your "working RGB space" as Pro Photo RGB, then the image will be more saturated.


If you open the same image with Working RGB space as sRGB, then the photo will be less saturated.


This difference follows through if you flatten the image. In either case, the flattened image will be saved in ProPhoto RGB (because I have "preserve embedded profiles" set for both cases). But the colors of the flattened images will be different. Here are the examples:



I had no idea that this is how Photoshop interpreted colors, but now I do. This issue has nothing to do with the version of Photoshop being used. I don't know where Photoshop saves its Color Settings, but it seems that it is not saved with the other preferences in the ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop folder.
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Domnita Petri, Employee

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Hello Alan, It's very good that we got some understanding of this tricky case. Do you think you can still send in the old preferences? I would like to document this behavior, but right now I cannot reproduce it, everything now looks OK. Thanks a lot.
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Alan Harper

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Hi Domnita. Attach to this thread or upload them somewhere? I can replicate this behavior in multiple versions of Photoshop, and can even suggest why it is happening (what i think is going on inside Photoshop). But I don't want to add to this already overlong thread. Let me know.

If you want to continue this via email, send me something at adobe at alanharper.com.
(Edited)
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Domnita Petri, Employee

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Yes, let's take it offline from here, could you please email me the prefs, dpetri@adobe.com? Thx
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Cristen Gillespie

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> That is the issue, eartho, it is the color settings. I get one value with sRGB (default on install) and the other with Pro Photo RGB. I'm still trying to figure out the details, but that is the difference. THANK YOU!>

Glad Earth came up with the right question. I got back to this just now and was about to ask if you had your eyedropper set to sample a different size. I noticed that made a difference, but didn't think about having Color Settings that might affect color space. I hadn't even gotten around to setting up my own settings, figuring default was fine until I went through the whole uninstall, remove prefs, start fresh routine—and I completely forgot about that factor. Good catch on Earth's part.

Numbers in RGB have to represent vastly different color spaces, but stick within 255 numbers to represent the colors, so a wide gamut space to a narrow one or vice versa will be completely different numbers. And no, Settings aren't saved with Preferences, though I think it would be nice. On Mac, User Library> App Support> Adobe> Color> Settings.

And I am adding to the thread because many of us (including future readers here) need to remind ourselves how critical color management is, and how easily it affects our files, especially when we ignore it.  '-}
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Alan Harper

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Just to summarize. It should be clear from this discussion that this is not a bug in Photoshop CC 2018. A (hopefully clear) description of the issue is in my followup post.
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scott moore

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I could not reproduce the issue with the TIF file of the sunflower. However when I run PS 2017 and PS 2018 side by side and open the same PNG file next to each other, they appear differently. But when I look at RGB values with the eyedropper, the values are the same, they are displaying differently. 

Hope this helps. 
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Sivashankar C

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Hi Everyone... I am not sure what exactly you are all talking about, but i have a similar kind of issue like what you people face with PS 2018. When i open a new file, the background instead of white color, it shows pale yellow. But the same image is seen as white outside PS 2018. Sometimes, i have white background display correctly, but while exporting it to PNG or JPG, the background white becomes Pale blue. Please let me know what settings i need to change. Thanks!