View Full Version : Work Flow and Color Space
12-04-2007, 10:52 PM
I normally shoot RAW and I have been using the ProPhoto RGB color space in both Capture NX and Lightroom during my processing. Thing is most of my photo's are either posted on the net, sent via email to friends and family, and/or are printed on a commercial printer. I'm starting to wonder why I even use ProPhoto as my initial color space considering I have to convert everything to a smaller sRGB color space anytime I want share my images.
For you pro's here, do you actually use the ProPhoto color space? If so what's the benefit if you have to convert to sRGB or at best Adobe RGB for your final output/print?
12-05-2007, 02:21 AM
Let me ask you this. If you only post pictures on the web and send jpegs to friends, why do you bother with a camera bigger than 1 mp? Same reason for processing in ProPhoto -- you want as much data to start with as possible for printing and archiving. Converting from 16-bit ProPhoto to 8-bit sRGB is instant. Converting from 8-bit sRGB to 16-bit ProPhoto is impossible.
AdobeRGB is, to me, a useless space. It is small enough that you are still throwing out data, but big enough to be problematic. For me, everything is processed, archived and printed in ProPhoto. Clients get ColorMatch unless they ask otherwise because most of the time the final image is either CMYK or sRGB and ColorMatch is bullet proof -- you just can't mess it up, or sRGB. The exception is a stock agency that requires AdobeRGB, which most of them do.
If you are serious enough about your work to be considering profiles, look into J. Holmes Chromespace.
12-05-2007, 05:45 PM
To be honest I just want to create the best photo's I can, but I'm a rookie and am still learning. Michael Slade actually introduced ProPhoto to me some time back, and I've enjoyed it for the most part, but processing in ProPhoto only to have to resprocess once converted to a smaller color profile due to color clipping feels like an exercise in futility. I don't have access to an output device that supports ProPhoto so should I still use it as my working color space, and unless I plan to keep the photo and profile for perhaps future output, does it provide me with any other benefit? Again, I'm relatively new to this, and am trying to figure out a good work flow that will result in the best results.
I'll have to look into ColorMatch, I hadn't heard of it. J. Holmes profiles look interesting as well, I'll have to dig a little deeper there as well. Thank you ever so much. If yo have more info or advice you'd like to share, I'm all ears, or eyes in this case.
12-05-2007, 06:13 PM
It will depend on your future uses for your current images. If you are capturing in RAW format, the file has to be converted to some colorspace anyway. If you are saving your RAW files, you can convert it to what ever you need in the future.
Right now, it sounds like you need to just convert your RAW files to sRGB, and simplify your workflow. You won't be dissapointed. If a particular image comes up, that deserves special attention, start over with the RAW file, and do what ever is best at the time. ProPhoto might be old news by then.
Another consideration: If you are a rookie at this, your photography will improve quickly. You will look back on last years images, and wonder why you kept them. If you are already creating good images, they will still be better next year, if you are doing anything to improve your skills. Your need for photos from prior years will be minimal. When you do need one, start over with the RAW file.
If you are a professional photographer, and shoot commercial work, or have publications that have specific requirements, you will either start with the RAW file, of shoot that job as necessary to fulfill the request.
All of these options are like tools in a toolbox. Use the ones that are right for the job you are doing. If you are out on an expedition, capture it in the highest quality possible; because you may not get back there. If you are "snapping" shots at the backyard BBQ, JPEG might be just fine.
12-06-2007, 12:00 AM
... I've enjoyed it for the most part, but processing in ProPhoto only to have to resprocess once converted to a smaller color profile due to color clipping feels like an exercise in futility.
Hmm, that sounds weird. Can you set it up as part of an action. Also, make sure you are converting, not assigning.
I don't have access to an output device that supports ProPhoto so should I still use it as my working color space, and unless I plan to keep the photo and profile for perhaps future output, does it provide me with any other benefit? Again, I'm relatively new to this, and am trying to figure out a good work flow that will result in the best results.
Just because you don't have an output device that can handle ProPhoto now doesn't mean you won't in the future. I buy the best cameras and lenses I can afford my application (which changes over time), so why would I want to cripple that with a small color space.
Technology changes and it changes pretty fast. I've already had to reprocess old raw files a couple times now because new technology allowed me to get a lot more out of the pictures.
That said, perhaps I need to rethink my answer. Keep an archive copy of your image. If you do any work on the image in photoshop, you should save the image in a way that preserves as much data as possible. If you don't really do anything to it, save the raw and output a smaller image for your needs. If the question was: All I'm doing with this picture is e-mailing a jpeg to a friend, why do I need to mess with ProPhoto? The answer is "you don't." But if you are making optimized psd or tiff files to save in your archives, then you should do it right.
Are you familiar with Peter Krough's The DAM Book (http://thedambook.com/)? If not buy yourself one for Christmas, it may help with some of your questions.
If yo have more info or advice you'd like to share, I'm all ears, or eyes in this case.
I'm happy to share what I know, but it is very easy to firehose people. This stuff gets deep and complicated pretty quickly. It really is a case of "how much do you want to know"?
12-06-2007, 11:19 AM
I'm processing from Lightroom into a 16 bit sRGB tiff file before opening and saving the pic again in Capture NX using save at High Quality JPG. I think that's what I'm doing wrong, and where the color clipping is coming into play.
I'm definitely going to order that book, thanks for the link. Again I'm relatively new to "photography", but I find it to be a very enjoyable hobby and I would like to learn as much as I can about making good images. The answer to the question "how much do I want to know?" is, as much as is possible.
Again I really appreciate all the help.
12-06-2007, 01:35 PM
A 16-bit sRGB is probably a bit pointless. SRGB is a very small color space. Start big (ProPhoto, 16-bit) for editing and archiving and go down to smaller spaces for individual needs. When you go to a smaller color space, you are throwing out information. Yes, you can take a sRGB file and click the button and make it ProPhoto, but you are just redistributing the same information -- it is still a sRGB file.
Does that make sense? Things start to get a bit nebulous when you get into pixels and color spaces.
12-06-2007, 04:10 PM
I must agree with Bill.
Save the file in the original RAW format for use later, as technology changes.
Work on the RAW file in a fashion that retains as much of the original data as possible, and save that file.
Then, optimize that file, for your current needs. If it is the web, use something like Photoshop's "Save for Web" function. This works well for e-mail also. If it is for printing, prepare it for the particular printer's needs. Most of these files will be much smaller than either of the two archived files. Sometimes the printing files can be fairly large, depending on your desired print size.
The info about color spaces, will involve the camera, the image file, the post processing software, and the printer. It can get deep quickly. Today, viewing and printing have limited color spaces. But in the future, these technologies will improve, and you will still have archived files that will be able to make use of the improvements. If you reduce the colorspace to sRGB and archive it that way, that will be your limiting factor from then on.
This is a good discussion. I hope it is of some help.:26_7_2:
12-06-2007, 05:09 PM
Makes perfect sense. Don't even ask me why I was working the way I was, chalk it up to being a noob and not having a full understanding of what I was doing LOL.
12-07-2007, 02:58 AM
Wow I was really missing out the way I was doing things. I was playing around and you can really see what a difference color space and proper work flow makes. All the pics came from the same RAW image. I processed in Capture NX using ProPhoto color space first and then "converted" the first two pics to ColorMatch, and sRBG. In the second two I "applied" the spaces after working in ProPhoto which resulted in..well...you can see. I did bump the saturation up in the original RAW photo a bit when processing just to better illustrate the difference and show what happens when you "apply" a smaller color space after working in ProPhoto instead of converting when ready.
Here's what happens when you don't know what you're doing LOL.
Messed up sRGB
Messed up ColorMatch
Thanks for the insight guys.
12-07-2007, 03:26 AM
If it is the web, use something like Photoshop's "Save for Web" function.
Trevor, one thing to be aware of with "save for web" is that it strips the profiles from the image (no, I don't know why). This is probably the biggest reason people think they did everything right only to have their images look odd online. If you go this route, set up an action to "assign" the SRGB profile (the image already has been converted, it just needs the tag reapplied) before you upload your images.
12-07-2007, 03:32 AM
I don't have Photoshop, only Lightroom and Capture NX. I understand what you're saying though.
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