Are my images Green?

Started Jul 4, 2014 | Questions thread
MiraShootsNikon Contributing Member • Posts: 771
Different Color Spaces Articulate Color Differently

Stacey_K wrote:

Robin Casady wrote:

You are likely to never use anywhere near to whole color space, so when you convert to a smaller profile, you still leave these larger steps between colors.

They get compressed (the gaps narrow) when converted to output color space.

That depends on how you do the conversion. Clearly we aren't going to agree on this, so time to call it a day.

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Hmm. When I compare AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB to sRGB, what I see is that the gamuts are all shaped differently. It's not just that ProPhotoRGB or AdobeRGB are "bigger" than sRGB in every direction--it's that they're bigger at different rates in different directions.

That would suggest to me that it's not just a question of one space being able to account for "more" or "less" color than another; rather, it would seem that the same RAW bits converted in different color spaces would articulate color with qualitative differences, based on each space's shape. If you edit in ProPhoto RGB or AdobeRGB, it's not just that there's "more color" or that each bit represents a bigger color shift in every direction--it's that the result will actually look different over the regions the two spaces share.

Taking this observation one step further: if you process your RAW in ProPhoto or AdobeRGB and then later convert to sRGB, is it true that your software "squeezes" the ProPhoto or Adobe RGB articulation into the sRGB space (i.e., compresses the "gaps" per bit) or is it the case that your software simply converts the ProPhoto or AdobeRGB articulation to the closest directly equivalent colors in the sRGB space and just clips any instance in which the ProPhoto or AdobeRGB articulation exceeds the sRGB gamut?

I think the later is what occurs, not the former.

In other words, processing RAW in ProPhoto or AdobeRGB and then converting that result, later, to sRGB gives you the ProPhotoRGB or AdobeRGB articulation of color (at least over the regions sRGB has equivalents). That is not the same thing as processing (or just shooting JPEGs) in sRGB from the start, in which case you'd only ever have the sRGB articulation of color--not just the sRGB range, but its unique articulation, too.

What I'm getting at, here, is that choice of color space seems to depend on how you ultimately want your colors qualitatively represented, not whether you want "more" or "less" color or whether you're afraid of posterization, etc. Based on what I see processing RAW, ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB appear to be more attractive choices for most subject material, even if you'll ultimately be converting the ProPhoto or Adobe articulation into sRGB over the range of colors they share.

But, you know, I could always be wrong and/or color blind!

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