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.
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