Category Archives: Help

sRGB or Adobe RGB – that is the question…

It’s one of our most frequently received colour management questions in recent years.

What is the difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB?

Simply put – Adobe RGB defines a larger colour-space than RGB. (The ‘s’ stands for standard). But, how do you choose which format to work in?

The general rule of thumb is that the more you know and understand about colour management as a whole, the more likely it is you’ll want to use Adobe RGB to give you that extra control and customisation. Have you been pondering over switching to Adobe RGB? Have a read of our summary below…

The key advantages of Adobe RGB

  • Colours of a stronger saturation can be defined when working in Adobe RGB. In practical terms – or ink on paper – this means that some colours which use the Cyan – Yellow range of printing inks will not be reproduced to its full intensity as when working in sRGB.
  • The strongest Cyan printing colour that can be defined within sRGB equates to a 75% intensity of a Cyan printing ink, 85% of Green or 95% or Yellow, depending on your ink and paper combination.
  • As a result, Adobe RGB is considered the preferred source colour-space for conventional print when converting to press CMYK.

The key disadvantages of Adobe RGB

  • Monitor capabilities – Most monitors can only display the sRGB colour space, which generally means the increased colour intensities of Adobe RGB are not visible on-screen. Although sRGB sounds restricting in terms of colour vibrancy, Adobe RGB’s greater saturation is not necessarily that ‘natural’, and may only be relevant to a few percent of the pixels in your images.
  • Colour quality – Colour in sRGB is defined in steps, starting at white through to the most saturated level of Red, Green or Blue. Basically, the larger the colour space, the larger the steps have to be. Working in a smaller colour gamut – sRGB – means smaller steps, and less of a colour jump from one to the next. This means sRGB contains a larger range of intermediary colours, and smoother colour transitions within images.
  • Common use of sRGB – Web browsers automatically interpret images in sRGB format, so for colour accurate display online, images should be sRGB

So, in summary, working in sRGB is the best route to accurate colour for many users. But, once you understand and appreciate the potential pitfalls of working in Adobe RGB, you are in a much better position to make use of its advantages.

As with our previous last few blog posts, the above extract was taken from our extensive learning centre. For more information, or for a selection of similar articles, click here.

Adam Borriello
Social media & marketing

Colour management; a few Q&A’s

Part 2 of our Learning Centre influenced blog posts follows on from last weeks ‘an overview of colour management’.

So, you now hopefully know what colour management is – roughly – but I imagine these have raised a few questions…

We talked about profiling in our previous post, but “how does your system compensate for the differences between profiles?”

“The straight answer to this is that it doesn’t! A monitor does not work to a colourspace rather it attempts to reproduce colour as closely as possible. This is exactly why monitor profiling is so essential. A monitor profile optimises your monitor to only produce colours it is capable of using the known data saved in the profile, thereby not creating colour distortions. Put simply without a monitor calibration device you cannot truly trust your monitor. If you do start  looking at rendering intents I would suggest further reading, however for most photographic work the perceptual rendering intent is suitable.”

I’ve profiled my monitor fine, but there’s this new sRGB and Adobe RGB thing, “what’s the difference between them and when should they be used?”

“The main difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB is quite simply the size – Adobe RGB is a significantly larger colour gamut.

“Advantages of using AdbobeRGB in photography are:

  • Blue/Cyan and yellow colours of increased saturation can be achieved in a photograph when printing from the AdobeRGB colourspace. The increased cyan/blue will be visually more noticeable than the yellow.
  • The flexibility of using other types of output device with the potential of future devices able to achieve more saturated ranges of colour.

“Advantages of using sRGB in photography are:

  • Many computer monitors will only display colours to a colour saturation as defined by sRGB. Therefore this is appropriate as it avoids colours that cannot be accurately displayed on a monitor.
  • Many cameras are configured to work as a default in sRGB. Avoiding conversions between colourspaces reduces the potential for errors.

“There is no single, correct working space to operate in and it depends on the type of photography you are undertaking but for minimum fuss and maximum control, use sRGB, however if you want to capture as much as possible and make amends to colour from the top down then using AdobeRGB may be just fine.”

The above was an extract taken from our colour management Q&A document which you can download for free here. You’ll also see an extra 2 questions on the pdf, which will be particularly useful if you’re a bit confused with CMYK/RGB printing, or are struggling to grey balance an image in Photoshop post-shooting.

As ever, if you have any questions or problems, comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Adam Borriello
Social media & marketing

Jargon [jahr-guh n, -gon] – noun

1)    Specialised language concerned with a particular subject, culture, or profession

2)    Language characterised by pretentious vocabulary or meaning

3)    Gibberish

Any or all indeed of those sound familiar in photography, design, print and colour management??

Having worked in the technology sector for most of my working life I have become accustomed to the jargon heavy influence of this business. In truth I expect whatever industry you are in the Three Letter Acronym (TLA) syndrome is pretty strong; but when you dive into the world of colour management it not just that there is the usual industry jargon and TLA’s, but to be honest even the real words seem a bit made up to me.

I remember walking into Color Confidence just over 5 years ago and being confronted by talk of ‘Spectros’, RIPs, RAW and metamarism. To be honest for some time I was wondering whether it was bit of an elaborate joke at my expense.

I find the use of Jargon interesting. The first and most amusing is the use of Jargon to prove how clever you are. Have you ever had a conversation with someone when every second word is a mystery to you and you end up feeling either entirely dumbfounded or just inadequate? I’m not sure it’s deliberate in a lot of cases; I just think we all get wrapped up in our own world sometimes and the application of these words and phrases just seems normal.

This often extends into the TLA monotony of people speaking in shortened words so much that they sounds like a text message being read out.

I for one completely understand the use of Jargon and why we look for shortened words and phrase – I mean who really wants to go round talking about Raster Image Processors all the time, when a RIP will do.

But, at the same time I think we all need to understand that if you’re new to this or just haven’t been in the loop for a while, you shouldn’t be shut out just because you don’t know what a word or phrase means.

I think the business we are in needs more good people and more people to understand it, and I think being simple in our use of language – or taking the time to explain when we are necessitated to use a horror word – can only help us all.

At Color Confidence we know that we have been guilty of this jargon sin in the past and will be in the future!

With this in mind we thought we’d do something about it…

Firstly:

Let’s hear from you… – what words are used all the time in this sector that you don’t understand? Maybe it’s in photography and people are always going on about CCD’s or stops or RAW. Maybe it’s in the design world, or maybe it’s something everyday that would be good for us all to know about!

Secondly:

Color Confidence is about to launch our very own Jargon Buster. It’s not live yet, but keep you eye out next week, when we kick things off with a selection of phrases and terms which we think could do with explaining. We will then update this on a regular basis with either a single new word every so often (maybe you have asked for one to be done), or a particular set of words relating to a subject.

So keep your eye out for the new Jargon buster and let us know which jargon you would like to see busted – we’ll give it our best shot!

Javan Bramhall
Marketing manager