Color Space for scans

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,276
Re: Need to know to convert! Also ...

hhhhhhhh wrote:

IMO the must-do item is to ask the service that scans your art what color space they're saving it it. If they aren't aware of color spaces, then IMO look for a new service.

Also good advice. There is a slim chance it's in the native camera/scanner colorspace. Sort of like one of the options dcraw.c has for raw images. But you then need an input profile attached to it so it can be converted to a standard colorspace. So I suspect it's already converted to some standard colorspace. Odd that they haven't tagged it so it may be just sRGB which is not adequate for scanning artwork that has highly saturated colors. Depends on the artwork.

Actually, my paintings are very desaturated, almost monochromatic. But still, even if it's B&W, I'd prefer 16, over 8-bit.

Well then if it's in sRGB that's actually a good fit for images that don't have colors outside of sRGB's gamut and it makes better use of the 8 bits than larger gamut colorspaces.

If your file is a tiff file, not jpeg, then you will not see any difference between 8 bits and 16 bits even when printed large. I've only very rarely seen an issue with jpegs which are effectively about 7 bits or less due to lossy compression. So doubt there is in issue even then. It is a good idea to convert to 16 bits prior to doing significant editing. You can induce artifacts with heavy editing of 8 bit files though it's often not an issue. You really have to work at it to see differences between 8/16 bits.

Assuming that they are saving it in a color space that the service that prints it can use, I see no reason to convert to a different color space unless you're performing edits that will substantially change the color. If they scan to sRGB and that clips your art's colors, then your converting from sRGB to e.g. ProPhoto RGB is not going to restore those colors.


I see no color space assigned to the files. It says "Untagged RGB", which I assume it's no color space at all.

There is no such thing as an image in no color space. If an image is untagged it is usually displayed as if it was sRGB or whatever the default working space of the application is. Photoshop, for instance lets you set the default working colorspace which defaults to sRGB. Since your image is near monochrome sRGB is actually a good fit and it's likely the image was rendered in sRGB.

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