July 25th, 2012, 09:26 AM
Color gamut and printing woes
Been reading a lot about printing as I've been asked to do some work for a hotel that wants to use several of my prints to decorate their rooms and lobby. The prints will sent out to AdoramaPix as I've had good luck with them in the past. Here's my problem. It seems the more I read, the more I feel I've had my camera settings, monitor and Aperture print settings all wrong. Here's a list of things that I hope I can get some help with. All shooting will be done with an xPro1 and Fuji's lenses.(I might have access to an M9 just to give it a try). I hope I don't like it!!!$$$$$
1. Camera settings. I've always used sRGB as that's "what's recommended". I've been reading that for prints I should either shoot raw or Adobe RGB as it has a wider color gamut. I'd like to keep shooting JPEG's as I feel the Xpro1 is excellent here. I'd also like to stay away from the extra post processing involved with shooting raw but if I need to I'll make the adjustment.
2. Display. I'm using an older IMac and I've just started to calibrate(what a difference)! and have found that the color gamut doesn't even cover 70% of the sRGB color gamut. If I can't see beyond that would there be any point in shooting with a wider gamut that I can't see? Maybe I'm misunderstanding the whole color gamut thing. Also, I'll be replacing this monitor soon and hopefully getting one with a wider gamut than this old timer. Any suggestions here? (Been waiting for the new IMacs but so far there's no word on when and if they'll be available).
3. Aperture. When importing from the sd card are there any setting that I should be paying special attention to?
When I export I've always used "export as JPEG, original size". I've had some prints made this way with good results but for my own use or for family/friends. I just want to be sure I'm getting the best output I can without a lot of post processing.
I found this from Apple.
"Setting your colorspace in Aperture
In contrast with Adobe Photoshop, you don't have to set your "workspace." Instead, Aperture will always work in a wide gamut, except for when you apply Onscreen Proofing, which shows you how your work should look in final output. When you know your project is bound primarily for one medium, such as RA-4, it's a good idea to leave Onscreen Proofing on all the time while editing, which would give you the equivalent effect of setting your workspace.
After you're done editing your project, set the Export Presets to match the ColorSync profile that you use for Onscreen Proofing.
Tip: In some cases, the profile lists don't match (an issue resolved in Aperture 1.1 or later). Adobe RGB, for example, is included as an Export Preset option but not as an Onscreen proofing option. Try using ColorMatch RGB or Wide Gamut RGB when proofing for Adobe 1998.
To make your color settings, using RA-4 as the example output, you would do this:
From the View menu, choose Proofing Profile > sRGB IEC61966-2.1.
Look in the View menu again. Notice that there's now a checkmark next to Onscreen Proofing, which only appears after making your initial profile selection. From now on, you can turn it on/off by selecting this menu command or using the Shift-Option-P keyboard shortcut.
From the Aperture menu, choose Presets > Image Export.
In the Export Presets dialog, locate the ColorSync Profile pop-up menu, and choose sRGB IEC61966-2.1.
All of this is new to me. I've also read that I should export as a 16 bit tiff. More confusion.
I'm just looking for the most efficient way to go from camera-display-output and getting the best possible prints in the end.
If any of you can help it would greatly appreciated.
July 25th, 2012, 09:52 AM
I have no idea how Aperture works, so I really cannot comment on that. As to the choice of a color space, the difference between sRGB and a wider gamut space such as Adobe RGB is in the number of different colors that may be reproduced. What this means is that colors that are out of gamut will be represented by a slightly different color that is within gamut. In theory, this impacts your image in two ways: colors may be less accurate with regard to the original scene, and transitions between colors (for example, sky blue going from lighter to darker) may be less smooth. How important this may be depends on the scene and its particular colors.
The reason why sRGB is the "recommended" space is because that is what is used for the web. If use a wider gamut color space and neglect to convert to sRGB prior to posting on the web, the colors will look wrong. You are, in effect, sacrificing color accuracy for convenience. What you should do is use the wider gamut color space and convert to sRGB prior to posting on the web.
One of the advantages of shooting in RAW mode is that you can choose your color space after the fact, during the RAW conversion process.
The fact that your computer monitor may not be able to display the entire color gamut should not keep you from using a wider gamut. The reason is that the printer will definitely be able to print more of the color gamut so, even if you could not see it on screen, you will see it on paper. It's to one's advantage to capture and keep as much information as possible. Why cripples your files now when it is likely that your next monitor or output device will display more of the gamut.
One last note: If you do try the M9, you must shoot RAW (DNG) as the JPEGs do not come close to showing the camera's potential.
July 25th, 2012, 10:03 AM
I'll be following this topic closely. I understand that the Adobe RGB has a wider gamut with more colors and think I'll probably switch over to that, but I'm also primarily a JPEG shooter (unless it's a scene with a really wide dynamic range or difficult mixed lighting that I may want to tweak).
I'd be interested to read what other Fuji X-pro1 shooters would say here since the RAWs are notoriously difficult to work with. In the OPs case would it make any sense to continue to shoot JPEG, but switch it over to the Adobe RGB? I mean, you'd still be getting the benefits of the wider color gamut and so long as you change the colorspace before sending to the web, you'd have a better representation of the actual colors.....correct?
July 25th, 2012, 11:26 AM
One thing I rarely see in discussions of colour space, is the effect on the gradation of colours within the different colour spaces. For a given bit depth, a smaller colour gamut will lead to a more gradual change in colours whereas a larger gamut will have coarser "steps". So a smaller colour gamut would be better for images where nuanced differences in colour are important* (I could imagine skin tones being an example**) whereas a larger colour gamut has benefits for shots with rich, intense colours.
See Working Space Comparison: sRGB vs. Adobe RGB 1998 for more info, if you hadn't read that already.
*as long as the required colours fall within the small gamut
**in the colours that skin tones usually consist of, yellow-orange-red/pink, the sRGB and the Adobe RGB colour spaces don't differ very strongly so the difference between these two colour spaces for skin tones should be limited. I can't immediately think of a common situation where cyans or greens require very smooth gradations, but for these colours, the difference will probably be larger.
July 25th, 2012, 11:30 AM
For the best output shoot RAW (even on the XP1 it makes a difference, although dealing with XP1 RAW files is still difficult for some apps - experiment with JPG vs RAW), use Adobe RGB (or something even better if possible) and calibrate your monitor (as you've discovered this makes a big difference). In terms of AdoramaPix, I've found that my own prints are always better than such services because I can choose the paper and control and adjust the output. I don't use Aperture.
If you are selling your artwork it makes sense to invest in a good printer. I use the Epson 3880.
Even though I've made progress with printing and I'm generally happy with my results it is still a black box to me and it's one area where I'd like to get a real education.
July 25th, 2012, 11:32 AM
Just out of curiosity, what is it that makes the X-pro1 RAW files difficult to work with? I believe I had read this elsewhere but do not know the reason. You still get the benefits of the wider color space even if you shoot JPEG, so IMO it would make sense to switch to Adobe RGB. However, you can convert RAW files to 16 bit TIFFs, so there is yet another advantage in terms of dynamic range and color gradation. Again, whether these things are actually visible depends on the scene and the file. But, more information is almost always better than less information.
Originally Posted by Luke
July 25th, 2012, 11:36 AM
This is completely out of my comfort zone. So I will be following this also. At least until I feel, that I am drowning.
July 25th, 2012, 11:39 AM
It's been hard for third party apps to decompose the sensor configuration (and Fuji has not helped them). Something about demosaicing...
Originally Posted by ajramirez
July 25th, 2012, 11:40 AM
I'll let you know in a couple days , but it's the different RGB pixel layout of the X-trans sensor and the 3rd party software makers dealing with the learning curve without much (or any) help from Fuji is my crude understanding of the issue.
Originally Posted by ajramirez
July 25th, 2012, 02:59 PM
I'm still getting my mind around this book -
From what I've read so far, it's a hands on practical guide to the issues you seem to touch upon. You could give it a shot.
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" ~ Voltaire
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