How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

Started Jan 1, 2020 | Discussions
vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 1,968
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

I have a BENQ PG-2401 monitor. I calibrate my monitor, so I don't use the selections, but I don't have any issues with color.

The attached image will show you what, I believe, you need to do in your situation.

You will need to load the BENQ ICC profile either from a CD that came with the monitor or from their support site.

Then, follow the image settings, but choose the BENQ profile.

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John Hoffman
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OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

Thanks. I've tried that.

IF I use the ICC profile that came with the monitor's driver AND I set the monitor to Adobe RGB, THEN colors are correct in Photoshop but over-saturated in Windows and all other programs.

IF I use the ICC profile AND I set the monitor to sRGB, THEN colors are too pale in Photoshop but correct in all other programs.

IF I don't use the ICC profile AND I set the monitor to sRGB, THEN sRGB colors are correct  in all programs including Photoshop but I can't display Adobe RGB images correctly in Photoshop.

Does this mean I would have to have two ICC profiles, one for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB, and then every time I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop switch the ICC profile and switch the color preset on the monitor? How complicated is that...?

Simon Garrett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,978
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
5

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB.

Some of that article is so over-simplified that it's positively misleading.

Windows doesn't recognise any colour space. Pixels in images are generally described in terms of colour spaces. Color spaces are defined by profiles. A profile defines what colour each RGB combination of values means. In other words, what colour is represented by that triplet of RGB values in that colour space.  To get accurate colours, in general you need to use colour management. Each device such as a monitor has its own colour space, which in general won't be the same as any of the standard colour spaces such as sRGB, Adobe RGB and so on. A colour manged program takes the image's profile (normally embedded in the image), the monitor profile (set in Windows if the monitor is calibrated/profiled) and converts each pixel RGB values from the image colour space to the monitor colour space before output to the monitor. Voila! The colours are right.

Now, Photoshop, Lightroom, most photo programs and most browsers except Microsoft browsers are colour managed. IE and Edge and most Microsoft programs (including the Windows desktop and the Photos app) are not colour managed.

What happens if a colour managed program isn't used? Well, the pixels just get hurled at the monitor in their original colour space, and unless the monitor colour space is identical to the image colour space, the colours are wrong.

Here's a get-out-of-jail-free card: most standard monitors are very roughly (but rarely exactly) sRGB colour space. So, without colour management, sRGB images (and only sRGB images) will look very roughly right on standard monitors.

What I suggest:

  • Use colour-managed software.
  • Calibrate/profile the SW240 with Benq's Palette Master s/w (that's the only way to adjust the internal LUTs in a Benq monitor). You need a colorimeter, and best is an i1 Display Pro.
  • Palette Master is a bit hokey and slow, but it works. Some important settings:
    • Use Advanced mode
    • You can calibrate in sRGB or Adobe RGB, but the widest gamut (and generally best calibration) is to use "Panel Native" in the "RGB Primaries" drop-down in the Display Settings screen.
    • Next scren ("Measurement") check "system level" and (VERY IMPORTANT) choose v2 not v4. V4 profiles give mysterious errors with much colour-managed software, including Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Once you've calibrated/profiled, don't touch any monitor control. If you change the monitor brightness, colour, colour space or pretty much anything then the calibration becomes invalid and you need to calibrate/profile again.

If you do all this, colours will be accurate in colour-managed software.

An alternative, if you don't have a colorimiter: set the monitor (using the front panel buttons) to either Adobe RGB or sRGB, and set the Windows default profile (Control Panel -> Colour Management) to AdobeRGB or sRGB IEC61966-2.1 as appropriate. If you don't see them in the list, click "Add..." and if they're still not there click "Browse" and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\color.

But better is to calibrate with a colorimeter.

Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

Not quite, see above, The important thing is that the profile set in Windows must match the monitor characteristics. Calibration/profiling software such as Palette Master creates a profile and then sets that as the default Windows monitor profile for the monitor.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

Each monitor has it's own colour space, determined by the dyes or phosphors in the screen. That means that the colour displayed by a given RGB combination is fixed. With the SW240 and other monitors that can be internally (hardware) calibrated, there is mapping between the RGB values sent to the monitor and the RGB values sent to the screen. For example, if the monitor is set to sRGB (using the front panel controls or using Palette Master software) then the mapping is set up to translate sRGB RGB values to whatever values display the corresponding sRGB colour on the screen. Most (cheaper) monitors can't do that.

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

That's probably because you don't have the monitor set to the same colour space as the Windows default profile (or there isn't a default profile set).

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it?

Yes, any colour managed program needs the profile of the monitor to be set as the default profile (Control Panel -> Colour management) or it doesn't know what colour space the monitor is.

At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

Yes, but you need the monitor calibrated before you can use colour managed software.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I have a SW271 which is pretty similar except screen size. I calibrate in "Panel Native" mode, as the native gamut of the monitor is even wider (slightly) than Adobe RGB. That's normally the only calibration and profile I use. The only real disadvantage of that is that non colour managed programs will tend to over-saturate colours, as you have found. However, I don't use any non colour managed software except the Windows desktop, so it just means that desktop icons are a bit more saturated than they should be.

If you want two calibrations (e.g. native or Adobe RGB as one and sRGB as the other) then be careful. If you switch from one to the other you have to do several things:

  • Change the monitor colour space, either by the front panel buttons or by the Benq puck if your monitor has one.
  • Change the Windows default profile by going into Control Panel -> Colour Management and changing the profile
  • Close and restart any display programs you are using. This is because colour managed programs typically check the profile only once, when they start.

Isn't life complicated...

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

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Simon

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afterburn Senior Member • Posts: 1,356
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
3

TL;DR: maintaining a color managed way of working can be complicated, especially when dealing with AdobeRGB or other non sRGB color spaces. If you only display images on the web or on a screen, stick to sRGB as that's the color space the world is using and save yourself the hassle. You should still manage your color space and calibrate, but you can save yourself from some annoyances and some complexities that come from working with AdobeRGB.

Mind you, Adobe Lightroom (and camera raw?) use ProPhoto RGB by default to calculate their adjustments and corrections before converting to whatever color space you are using for display. What color space you use for display should be dependent on the intended final output (ie screen or paper). If you edit for web or electronic consumption, you should edit for sRGB and view it like that. Likewise, if you edit for paper, you should use a profile that matches as closely as possible the output of your selected printer hardware on the paper medium of your choice so you don't run into surprises when you hit the print button or send the file off to be printed.

Color management is difficult to do right. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be by getting hung up on using AdobeRGB because your screen can if it doesn't add anything to your final objectives.

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John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 1,968
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

I verified with my monitor before I posted that it worked. Sorry it didn't work out.

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OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
1

Simon, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed answer! This is very helpful.

I still don't quite understand the signal flow from an image file to the screen though. Assuming an image contains a pixel with an RGB value of 250, 50, 10, and its profile is "Adobe RGB", what exactly happens to that pixel if I open the image in Photoshop?

So Photoshop recognizes the image profile and, together with the monitor's calibrated ICC profile, calculates what RGB values to send to the monitor so that its screen will accurately display the color of that pixel?

With the SW240 and other monitors that can be internally (hardware) calibrated, there is mapping between the RGB values sent to the monitor and the RGB values sent to the screen.

Does the monitor actually receive RGB values from the graphics card or something else? And the mapping you are talking about, is this the so-called LUT of the monitor? What is it used for in this case? Isn't the monitor's ICC profile used for mapping the images RGB values to the monitor's color space?

You can calibrate in sRGB or Adobe RGB, but the widest gamut (and generally best calibration) is to use "Panel Native" in the "RGB Primaries" drop-down in the Display Settings screen.

So I could choose sRGB in the display settings and the screen would still be able to accurately display Adobe RGB images afterwards?

I calibrate in "Panel Native" mode, as the native gamut of the monitor is even wider (slightly) than Adobe RGB. That's normally the only calibration and profile I use. The only real disadvantage of that is that non colour managed programs will tend to over-saturate colours, as you have found.

That's a big no go for me. I will hardly ever work with Adobe RGB images, since even the photo printing services work in sRGB exclusively. And I need accurate colors in MS Office and other software.

The important thing is that the profile set in Windows must match the monitor characteristics.

I played a bit with the ICC profile that came with the monitor. If I assign it to the monitor and set the monitor to Adobe RGB then Photoshop works great. It doesn't matter what ICC profile I set as Windows default.

Hell, I should have just spent the extra cash and bought an iMac! Color management seems to be a serious pain in Windows.

OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

I absolutely agree. I know my default way of working will be everything set to sRGB. I would just like to know how things work so that in case I will ever want to work in Adobe RGB I know how to set it up.

ArtIsRight
ArtIsRight Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
5

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

Hi Vostok101,

So with your BenQ, you can set the color space in Windows and then set the corresponding color space on the BenQ display. However, as you are finding out the color does not look good at all. Let me ask you this first, are you using an HDMI cable to link your display with the computer? If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues.

Or this said, the next thing that you should do is a custom hardware calibration on the display. You can do this by watching these guides. In essence you are going to download a program called Palette Master Element from BenQ website. Install and run it. You will need a colorimeter in this case, either an X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Studio, or the pro line color spectrophotometer. Or you can use a Spyder 4, 5 or X as well. My recommendation for the best result is to get the i1Display Pro.

This will give you the long fundamental of why you should do it.

https://youtu.be/GjJb4-40KyM

This will give you the best setting for the latest version of Palette Master Element.

https://youtu.be/bz9y3db9vRI

All of this said, I would recommend that you calibrate your display to Panel Native, based on the video link above, this way you are viewing the largest color space possible. The point about color space is that even though you will eventually export your work to sRGB. It is always best to work and save your images in the largest color space possible. Right now, we are at a time where display can show larger color space, and prints, although, they are not there yet. At some point in the future you would be able to prints with a much larger color gamut. So it is best to edit the images and think about the future, rather than just today.

Lastly in Photoshop, usually if the system is using the custom calibration, PS would automatically adjust the colorspace in real time in the background for you so that you are viewing the correct color space setting. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Simon Garrett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,978
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

vostok101 wrote:

Simon, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed answer! This is very helpful.

I still don't quite understand the signal flow from an image file to the screen though. Assuming an image contains a pixel with an RGB value of 250, 50, 10, and its profile is "Adobe RGB", what exactly happens to that pixel if I open the image in Photoshop?

It depends on the Photoshop settings, and whether the image has an embedded profile.

Here are the settings I use in Photoshop, Edit -> Color Settings:

Working space to your choice, but I recommend setting all the policy drop-downs to "Preserve..." and check all the "Ask when..." options, so you get told what's going on.

When you open an Adobe RGB image with an embedded profile, Photoshop knows the image is Adobe RGB from the profile, and if the working space is Adobe RGB then it just opens it, with no change to colour space.  RGB values aren't changed.

If PS's Working Space is not Adobe RGB then it asks you whether you want to convert to your Working space or leave it in Adobe RGB.

If the image has no embedded profile then PS asks you what to do.

So Photoshop recognizes the image profile and, together with the monitor's calibrated ICC profile, calculates what RGB values to send to the monitor so that its screen will accurately display the color of that pixel?

That's right.  It doesn't matter whether the monitor is wide-gamut or normal gamut (i.e. approximately sRGB), provide the monitor profile set in Windows accurately reflect the monitor's colour space, PS will convert each pixel to RGB values that will display the correct colours on the monitor.  Provided, that is, the colour to be displayed is within the monitor's colour space.  If not, it will display something as close as possible, depending on the "rendering intent" defined in the profile.

With the SW240 and other monitors that can be internally (hardware) calibrated, there is mapping between the RGB values sent to the monitor and the RGB values sent to the screen.

Does the monitor actually receive RGB values from the graphics card or something else? And the mapping you are talking about, is this the so-called LUT of the monitor? What is it used for in this case? Isn't the monitor's ICC profile used for mapping the images RGB values to the monitor's color space?

Photoshop (or whatever program you are using) does any colour space mapping, as described above.  There are LUTs in all graphics cards, but these normally can't map the colour space, but can alter the white point (that is make the overall picture more red or blue), and alter the Tone Response Curve (e.g. to a particular "gamma" curve).

For monitors with internal 3D LUTs, in general these can not only map white point and TRC but can map from one colour space to another.  Of course, this only works if the colour space the monitor is emulating is within the monitor's capabilities.  That is, you can make a wide-gamut monitor like the SW240 emulate sRGB, but you can't make a standard (narrow) gamut monitor emulate Adobe RGB.

A monitor with internal LUTs doesn't need the graphic card's LUT, so the software that calibrates the monitor's LUTs (e.g. Benq Palette Master) normally creates flat LUTs (i.e. LUTs that don't alter the RGB values) for graphics card.

You can calibrate in sRGB or Adobe RGB, but the widest gamut (and generally best calibration) is to use "Panel Native" in the "RGB Primaries" drop-down in the Display Settings screen.

So I could choose sRGB in the display settings and the screen would still be able to accurately display Adobe RGB images afterwards?

Only if you are using colour-managed software, and even then any pixels with colours outsite sRGB colour space will be clipped to a colour within sRGB.

Without colour management, Adobe RGB images will look under-saturated, as the monitor will be incorrectly interpreting the pixel values.  Conversely, if you set the monitor to Adobe RGB mode and give it sRGB image data, it will be over-saturated.

I calibrate in "Panel Native" mode, as the native gamut of the monitor is even wider (slightly) than Adobe RGB. That's normally the only calibration and profile I use. The only real disadvantage of that is that non colour managed programs will tend to over-saturate colours, as you have found.

That's a big no go for me. I will hardly ever work with Adobe RGB images, since even the photo printing services work in sRGB exclusively. And I need accurate colors in MS Office and other software.

The important thing is that the profile set in Windows must match the monitor characteristics.

I played a bit with the ICC profile that came with the monitor. If I assign it to the monitor and set the monitor to Adobe RGB then Photoshop works great. It doesn't matter what ICC profile I set as Windows default.

I don't quite follow this.  What do you mean by "assign it to the monitor"?  I think of that as setting it as the Windows default, but your next sentence implies that you don't mean that.

Hell, I should have just spent the extra cash and bought an iMac! Color management seems to be a serious pain in Windows.

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Simon

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John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 1,968
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
1

My monitor is calibrated and I use the custom profile.

As I reported up above, to try and help the OP, I switched the monitor to the built-in Adobe RGB setting and used the BENQ ICC profile provided by BENQ. It worked fine and I couldn't see any visible difference.

But after reading this: " If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues." I do have a DVI connection (not HDMI).

So I would agree with the recommendation to switch to DVI. Ultimately custom calibration is best but the reviews I have read on many BENQ monitors say their internal setting are very accurate.

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John Hoffman
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OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

I don't quite follow this. What do you mean by "assign it to the monitor"? I think of that as setting it as the Windows default, but your next sentence implies that you don't mean that.

In Windows color management, I can assign ICC profiles in two places. First of all, I can assign a profile to the monitor (screenshot 1, sorry, it's in German). Then, on the Advanced tab (or by clicking on the "change system standards" button) I can choose a color space or ICC profile as Windows system standard (screenshot 2).

In my experience, the setting I choose for system standard has no effect at all. I don't understand what this is for.

OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

Well, as I said above, the combination of using the monitor's Adobe RGB preset and BenQs ICC profile works fine for me too - but only in Photoshop (and web browsers, if I activate color management). All the rest of the Windows software like e.g. MS Office and the Windows desktop will then display over-saturated colors.

As Simon Garrett pointed out above, this is not a flaw but it's just how Windows works, because the OS is not color-managed.

The cable is not an issue in my case, I use Display Port.

OP vostok101 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

Thank you guys for your help. I'm trying to draw a conclusion here from what I've learned:

  • If I want to be able to work with both Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces in Photoshop, I need to calibrate my monitor using its native gamut (or Adobe RGB) and make sure that the resulting ICC profile is correctly assigned to the monitor in Windows color management.
  • In Windows, there is no way to use a high gamut monitor and be able to display all colors in all programs and the Windows desktop accurately. Because Windows is not a color-managed OS, this will result in the colors in most software looking over-saturated.
  • This kind of compromise in my optinion only makes sense if you are a professional photographer who needs to work in Adobe RGB and uses his computer mainly for photo work.
  • For someone like me, who uses his computer mainly as an office machine, who hardly ever will create an Adobe RGB image (because even printing services work in sRGB) it's better to stick with sRGB. This means: Calibrating the monitor in sRGB mode and using an sRGB ICC profile for the monitor.
  • For the case I ever need to work on an Adobe RGB image, I will also create a calibrated Adobe RGB ICC profile. For editing an Adobe RGB image, I will then switch the monitor to high gamut mode and assign the appropriate ICC profile to the monitor.
Simon Garrett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,978
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

vostok101 wrote:

I don't quite follow this. What do you mean by "assign it to the monitor"? I think of that as setting it as the Windows default, but your next sentence implies that you don't mean that.

In Windows color management, I can assign ICC profiles in two places. First of all, I can assign a profile to the monitor (screenshot 1, sorry, it's in German). Then, on the Advanced tab (or by clicking on the "change system standards" button) I can choose a color space or ICC profile as Windows system standard (screenshot 2).

In my experience, the setting I choose for system standard has no effect at all. I don't understand what this is for.

Thanks for explaining.

As I understand it, the second set of settings are used only by programs (mainly Microsoft programs) that use Microsoft's WCS colour management system.

Normal colour-managed programs ignore this, and use only the profile set as Windows default in the first screen.

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Simon

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Roy Sletcher
Roy Sletcher Senior Member • Posts: 1,338
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

ArtIsRight wrote:

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

Hi Vostok101,

So with your BenQ, you can set the color space in Windows and then set the corresponding color space on the BenQ display. However, as you are finding out the color does not look good at all. Let me ask you this first, are you using an HDMI cable to link your display with the computer? If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues.

Or this said, the next thing that you should do is a custom hardware calibration on the display. You can do this by watching these guides. In essence you are going to download a program called Palette Master Element from BenQ website. Install and run it. You will need a colorimeter in this case, either an X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Studio, or the pro line color spectrophotometer. Or you can use a Spyder 4, 5 or X as well. My recommendation for the best result is to get the i1Display Pro.

This will give you the long fundamental of why you should do it.

https://youtu.be/GjJb4-40KyM

This will give you the best setting for the latest version of Palette Master Element.

https://youtu.be/bz9y3db9vRI

All of this said, I would recommend that you calibrate your display to Panel Native, based on the video link above, this way you are viewing the largest color space possible. The point about color space is that even though you will eventually export your work to sRGB. It is always best to work and save your images in the largest color space possible. Right now, we are at a time where display can show larger color space, and prints, although, they are not there yet. At some point in the future you would be able to prints with a much larger color gamut. So it is best to edit the images and think about the future, rather than just today.

Lastly in Photoshop, usually if the system is using the custom calibration, PS would automatically adjust the colorspace in real time in the background for you so that you are viewing the correct color space setting. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Hi ArtisRight or Simon,

Apologies if I am hijacking this thread, but it is germane to one of my issues with my new BenQ monitor.

Can anybody clarify empirically the problem with an HDMI cable. I have seen several comments including Youtube videos indicating this is a sub optimal connection method.

My situation is that I have a four week old BenQ SW270C connected with an HDMI 2.1 cable to a rather old Nvidia GEForce GT 630 graphics card.

Two local computer shops have said this is OK and will not result in a degraded signal, colour or whatever signal degradation is alluded to in the above post. One was the shop that sold me the cable so they may not be a disinterested party.

I am still getting to know the monitor, and keen to ensure I am making the correct choices and selections. This thread has been a great help in that regard.

-Roy Sletcher-

ArtIsRight
ArtIsRight Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?
4

Roy Sletcher wrote:

ArtIsRight wrote:

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

Hi Vostok101,

So with your BenQ, you can set the color space in Windows and then set the corresponding color space on the BenQ display. However, as you are finding out the color does not look good at all. Let me ask you this first, are you using an HDMI cable to link your display with the computer? If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues.

Or this said, the next thing that you should do is a custom hardware calibration on the display. You can do this by watching these guides. In essence you are going to download a program called Palette Master Element from BenQ website. Install and run it. You will need a colorimeter in this case, either an X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Studio, or the pro line color spectrophotometer. Or you can use a Spyder 4, 5 or X as well. My recommendation for the best result is to get the i1Display Pro.

This will give you the long fundamental of why you should do it.

https://youtu.be/GjJb4-40KyM

This will give you the best setting for the latest version of Palette Master Element.

https://youtu.be/bz9y3db9vRI

All of this said, I would recommend that you calibrate your display to Panel Native, based on the video link above, this way you are viewing the largest color space possible. The point about color space is that even though you will eventually export your work to sRGB. It is always best to work and save your images in the largest color space possible. Right now, we are at a time where display can show larger color space, and prints, although, they are not there yet. At some point in the future you would be able to prints with a much larger color gamut. So it is best to edit the images and think about the future, rather than just today.

Lastly in Photoshop, usually if the system is using the custom calibration, PS would automatically adjust the colorspace in real time in the background for you so that you are viewing the correct color space setting. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Hi ArtisRight or Simon,

Apologies if I am hijacking this thread, but it is germane to one of my issues with my new BenQ monitor.

Can anybody clarify empirically the problem with an HDMI cable. I have seen several comments including Youtube videos indicating this is a sub optimal connection method.

My situation is that I have a four week old BenQ SW270C connected with an HDMI 2.1 cable to a rather old Nvidia GEForce GT 630 graphics card.

Two local computer shops have said this is OK and will not result in a degraded signal, colour or whatever signal degradation is alluded to in the above post. One was the shop that sold me the cable so they may not be a disinterested party.

I am still getting to know the monitor, and keen to ensure I am making the correct choices and selections. This thread has been a great help in that regard.

-Roy Sletcher-

Hi Roy,

So for general use HDMI is not an issue. For photography use or critical color use it can be depending on your computer and graphic card. This is part of the reason why I tell people to avoid them. So some background here, HDMI standard is really designed for tv and specifically to hook up tv to cable box, game console, dvd, blue-ray player and etc. Now think about all of the devices when hook up to a TV via HDMI. The HDMI cable doesn't just carry the picture signal. It also carries sound and in the case of HDR, HDR code signal for proper play back. Now if you think about these cable, they's a finite bandwidth. So in the case of HDMI to make room for sound and etc. It has a tendency to compress RGB output range to reserve extra room for all of these other signal. In general the RGB output instead of being 0-255, it compresses it to 16-235 cutting out all of the detail in the white and black. And if you use a BenQ display, Palette Master Element primary calibrate white, gray and black tone. So if the program can't distinguish 0-15 and 236 - 255 then the validation would fail. Beside this, these tonal compress also effect colors as well being that they will show up more saturated. This is a subtlety with HDMI that not many know about. So the best thing when doing color critical work is to use either Display Port, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 or DVI.

You can also check out this video explaining the issue too https://youtu.be/s5YyelfX5Qk

I hope that this clarify things up.

Art

Simon Garrett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,978
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

ArtIsRight wrote:

Roy Sletcher wrote:

ArtIsRight wrote:

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

Hi Vostok101,

So with your BenQ, you can set the color space in Windows and then set the corresponding color space on the BenQ display. However, as you are finding out the color does not look good at all. Let me ask you this first, are you using an HDMI cable to link your display with the computer? If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues.

Or this said, the next thing that you should do is a custom hardware calibration on the display. You can do this by watching these guides. In essence you are going to download a program called Palette Master Element from BenQ website. Install and run it. You will need a colorimeter in this case, either an X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Studio, or the pro line color spectrophotometer. Or you can use a Spyder 4, 5 or X as well. My recommendation for the best result is to get the i1Display Pro.

This will give you the long fundamental of why you should do it.

https://youtu.be/GjJb4-40KyM

This will give you the best setting for the latest version of Palette Master Element.

https://youtu.be/bz9y3db9vRI

All of this said, I would recommend that you calibrate your display to Panel Native, based on the video link above, this way you are viewing the largest color space possible. The point about color space is that even though you will eventually export your work to sRGB. It is always best to work and save your images in the largest color space possible. Right now, we are at a time where display can show larger color space, and prints, although, they are not there yet. At some point in the future you would be able to prints with a much larger color gamut. So it is best to edit the images and think about the future, rather than just today.

Lastly in Photoshop, usually if the system is using the custom calibration, PS would automatically adjust the colorspace in real time in the background for you so that you are viewing the correct color space setting. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Hi ArtisRight or Simon,

Apologies if I am hijacking this thread, but it is germane to one of my issues with my new BenQ monitor.

Can anybody clarify empirically the problem with an HDMI cable. I have seen several comments including Youtube videos indicating this is a sub optimal connection method.

My situation is that I have a four week old BenQ SW270C connected with an HDMI 2.1 cable to a rather old Nvidia GEForce GT 630 graphics card.

Two local computer shops have said this is OK and will not result in a degraded signal, colour or whatever signal degradation is alluded to in the above post. One was the shop that sold me the cable so they may not be a disinterested party.

I am still getting to know the monitor, and keen to ensure I am making the correct choices and selections. This thread has been a great help in that regard.

-Roy Sletcher-

Hi Roy,

So for general use HDMI is not an issue. For photography use or critical color use it can be depending on your computer and graphic card. This is part of the reason why I tell people to avoid them. So some background here, HDMI standard is really designed for tv and specifically to hook up tv to cable box, game console, dvd, blue-ray player and etc. Now think about all of the devices when hook up to a TV via HDMI. The HDMI cable doesn't just carry the picture signal. It also carries sound and in the case of HDR, HDR code signal for proper play back. Now if you think about these cable, they's a finite bandwidth. So in the case of HDMI to make room for sound and etc. It has a tendency to compress RGB output range to reserve extra room for all of these other signal. In general the RGB output instead of being 0-255, it compresses it to 16-235 cutting out all of the detail in the white and black. And if you use a BenQ display, Palette Master Element primary calibrate white, gray and black tone. So if the program can't distinguish 0-15 and 236 - 255 then the validation would fail. Beside this, these tonal compress also effect colors as well being that they will show up more saturated. This is a subtlety with HDMI that not many know about. So the best thing when doing color critical work is to use either Display Port, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 or DVI.

You can also check out this video explaining the issue too https://youtu.be/s5YyelfX5Qk

I hope that this clarify things up.

Art

I have a SW271, which is similar to the SW270C except for higher resolution (i.e. higher bandwidth signals) and have had no problems with either HDMI or Display Port.

HDMI can handle 4K signals (i.e. greater than the SW270C) without compression.

-- hide signature --

Simon

 Simon Garrett's gear list:Simon Garrett's gear list
Nikon D800
ArtIsRight
ArtIsRight Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

Simon Garrett wrote:

ArtIsRight wrote:

Roy Sletcher wrote:

ArtIsRight wrote:

vostok101 wrote:

I recently bought a good computer monitor to be able to accurately display images. It's a BenQ SW240 that covers 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB. It has presets called "Adobe RGB" and "sRGB", and when you create a custom preset you can choose from various color spaces.

I am more or less familiar with the differences and uses of sRGB and Adobe RGB, but I don't really have a clue about the way color spaces are handled by Windows and computer monitors. So I was assuming that I could just set the monitor to Adobe RGB and then it would display all colors in every program correctly, since the sRGB color space is contained in the Adobe RGB space.

Obviously this is not the case. What happens in Adobe RGB mode is that many colors are way over-saturated. I read quite a few online articles on the subject to understand what's happening but I don't seem to get my head around it.

What I learned from this article is that Windows does not recognize Adobe RGB. Only software like Adobe Photoshop will be able to display Adobe RGB images correctly. This makes using an Adobe RGB profile on your monitor for anything else than editing an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop a bad idea.

But what happens on a technical level inside my monitor? Does it interpret the sRGB color values coming from the OS as Adobe RGB (if set to Adobe RGB) which results in the colors being overly saturated? Is this a valid explanation?

What confuses me very much is that in my case, even in Adobe Photoshop the colors look over-saturated. Even if I open an Adobe RGB image in Photoshop, it's over-saturated. In fact, it looks the same as in all other image viewers - although Photoshop should be able to correctly color-manage pictures.

Does Photoshop need an ICC color profile assigned to my monitor so that it can communicate correctly with it? At the moment, I have no ICC profile installed. I thought it was only needed after you have calibrated the monitor.

And if I decide to calibrate the monitor, will I want to create a calibrated profile for sRGB and one for Adobe RGB? And then use the sRGB profile for everyday purposes and the Adobe RGB profile for editing Adobe RGB images?

I'd be grateful if anyone could shed light on these issues ...

Hi Vostok101,

So with your BenQ, you can set the color space in Windows and then set the corresponding color space on the BenQ display. However, as you are finding out the color does not look good at all. Let me ask you this first, are you using an HDMI cable to link your display with the computer? If so the first thing to do is change that out to a display port or in your case you can use a DVI cable too. Either way, HDMI has been know to limit RGB output range and cost a lot of color over saturation issues.

Or this said, the next thing that you should do is a custom hardware calibration on the display. You can do this by watching these guides. In essence you are going to download a program called Palette Master Element from BenQ website. Install and run it. You will need a colorimeter in this case, either an X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Studio, or the pro line color spectrophotometer. Or you can use a Spyder 4, 5 or X as well. My recommendation for the best result is to get the i1Display Pro.

This will give you the long fundamental of why you should do it.

https://youtu.be/GjJb4-40KyM

This will give you the best setting for the latest version of Palette Master Element.

https://youtu.be/bz9y3db9vRI

All of this said, I would recommend that you calibrate your display to Panel Native, based on the video link above, this way you are viewing the largest color space possible. The point about color space is that even though you will eventually export your work to sRGB. It is always best to work and save your images in the largest color space possible. Right now, we are at a time where display can show larger color space, and prints, although, they are not there yet. At some point in the future you would be able to prints with a much larger color gamut. So it is best to edit the images and think about the future, rather than just today.

Lastly in Photoshop, usually if the system is using the custom calibration, PS would automatically adjust the colorspace in real time in the background for you so that you are viewing the correct color space setting. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Hi ArtisRight or Simon,

Apologies if I am hijacking this thread, but it is germane to one of my issues with my new BenQ monitor.

Can anybody clarify empirically the problem with an HDMI cable. I have seen several comments including Youtube videos indicating this is a sub optimal connection method.

My situation is that I have a four week old BenQ SW270C connected with an HDMI 2.1 cable to a rather old Nvidia GEForce GT 630 graphics card.

Two local computer shops have said this is OK and will not result in a degraded signal, colour or whatever signal degradation is alluded to in the above post. One was the shop that sold me the cable so they may not be a disinterested party.

I am still getting to know the monitor, and keen to ensure I am making the correct choices and selections. This thread has been a great help in that regard.

-Roy Sletcher-

Hi Roy,

So for general use HDMI is not an issue. For photography use or critical color use it can be depending on your computer and graphic card. This is part of the reason why I tell people to avoid them. So some background here, HDMI standard is really designed for tv and specifically to hook up tv to cable box, game console, dvd, blue-ray player and etc. Now think about all of the devices when hook up to a TV via HDMI. The HDMI cable doesn't just carry the picture signal. It also carries sound and in the case of HDR, HDR code signal for proper play back. Now if you think about these cable, they's a finite bandwidth. So in the case of HDMI to make room for sound and etc. It has a tendency to compress RGB output range to reserve extra room for all of these other signal. In general the RGB output instead of being 0-255, it compresses it to 16-235 cutting out all of the detail in the white and black. And if you use a BenQ display, Palette Master Element primary calibrate white, gray and black tone. So if the program can't distinguish 0-15 and 236 - 255 then the validation would fail. Beside this, these tonal compress also effect colors as well being that they will show up more saturated. This is a subtlety with HDMI that not many know about. So the best thing when doing color critical work is to use either Display Port, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 or DVI.

You can also check out this video explaining the issue too https://youtu.be/s5YyelfX5Qk

I hope that this clarify things up.

Art

I have a SW271, which is similar to the SW270C except for higher resolution (i.e. higher bandwidth signals) and have had no problems with either HDMI or Display Port.

HDMI can handle 4K signals (i.e. greater than the SW270C) without compression.

Simon, something to keep in mind is that HDMI can be computer depending. I'm glad that you are not having an issue. I've personally tested this myself and found other who have issues with HDMI

Art

Austinian
MOD Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 10,916
Re: How to use an Adobe RGB monitor on Windows?

ArtIsRight wrote:

Simon, something to keep in mind is that HDMI can be computer depending. I'm glad that you are not having an issue. I've personally tested this myself and found other who have issues with HDMI

I've found that some 4K/UHD TVs can cause the video cards to default to a "Limited" RGB setting; at least on Nvidia  cards it's been a simple matter to change that to "Full" in the Nvidia Control Panel.

Other than that I've had no problems with HDMI.

 Austinian's gear list:Austinian's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony a7R IV Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +2 more
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