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LR-Softproofing - Achieving true reds/magenta

Acranius

New Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2024
Messages
6
Lightroom Version Number
13.1
Operating System
  1. Windows 11
Hello!

Surely most of you have spent several thousands on your current gear; and so have I ... point being, I am very let down by input quality ≠ output quality. Most of my work is created for online purposes, e.g., web-presentations of any kind with the occasional print for advertising of my clients.

Using LR Classic (newest version through auto-update), I struggle, massively, to achieve 'true' reds and magentas in LR's editing softproofing. My target is SRGB and while I know that SRGB struggles somewhat with deep reds, the difference in color truly is too intense. E.g., recently I photographed an event which dealt mostly with strong and vibrant red lamps as key-color accent. In the 'normal' editing tab, these images look fabulous - as soon as I hit Softproofing (or upon exporting as SRGB) the images are flat and at best 'meh'.

Within the limitations of SRGB, are there any tricks to get the absolute most out of what's possible, regarding reds/magentas? I already played around with the 'normal' LR settings, but the ceiling is hit at what I would call darkish-oranges.

PS: My original images are RAW, 24MP, AdobeRGB

Thank you for any help/ tutorials/ tricks.
 
Within the limitations of SRGB, are there any tricks to get the absolute most out of what's possible, regarding reds/magentas? I already played around with the 'normal' LR settings, but the ceiling is hit at what I would call darkish-oranges.

PS: My original images are RAW, 24MP, AdobeRGB
You make no mention of the monitor that you are using or whether you have used a colorimeter to calibrate this monitor. The starting point is getting the best color monitor The state of the art standard are: IPS, 1000 nits, HDR-10, 98% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709. Next you need to correct the color output using a colorimeter such as a Spyder X2 or I1DisplayPro. A true Red for example is in Hex FF0000. It does you no good to create an image with a true red (FF0000) if your monitor is not capable of displaying that color correctly. Only with a color corrected display can you expect to achieve the results that you want. That said, you will only see your colors through your eyes, everyone sees color differently. Amplifying the issue, If you have two identical side by side displays calibrated with the same colorimeter and display the same image using the same software you will see color differences. The next issue to be considered is whether the app displaying the image is color managed, that is if the image has an embedded ICC color profile, does the app honor that color profile? Today, most Windows or Mac Browsers are color managed to some extent Microsoft Edge is but Internet Explorer is not. Most mobile devices are not color managed. Assuming you have correct the color for your image to your satisfaction in Lightroom and are satisfied with view of the image in your color manage browser, you are still at the mercy of the image consumer and their viewing app that may or may not be color managed on a display that is likely not calibrated and even more unlikely not going to have the same color characteristics as your monitor.

Soft Proofing is for Printers and Paper. Displays show transmitted colors. A Paper print shows reflected colors. Soft Proofing attempts to emulate the reflectance characteristics of a specific paper and printer using the transmissive characteristics of a monitor.

You mention that your original image is shot RAW. You probably are not aware that RAW photo site values have no color or color space. The AdobeRGB setting in the camera is for JPEGS. If you set the camera to shoot RAW and SRGB (for JPEGS) you can get rid of that leading "_" ( underscore) and the Image will get the color space assigned when the RAW is converted to RGB . For Lightroom Classic the Color space is ProPhotoRGB. This is a computational colorspace and not a color profile that you assigned to an export file.
 
Hello Clee,

I am using a calibrated (Calibrite Display Plus HL, meant to calibrate an: ) OLED display (100% sRGB, 97% AdobeRGB, and 100% DCI-P3, HDR True Black 500, 400nits, 1 month old). Also, it is not, that the monitor couldn't display the desired red-tones (e.g., deep and vibrant reds/ magentas); in fact it absolutely looks stunning! ... Only so long that Softproofing isn't activated.

I also noticed in LR that the appearance of the Softproofed-image under the edit tab = the image preview in the Library = the look of the images after export in SRGB. However, without Softproofing enabled, the images in 'Edit' look different (far better) than the images in 'Library' despite freshly generated 1:1 Previews.

I also copied the exported images to several Android and IOS devices, as well as another testing PC I have and the SRGB-results look far closer to the Softproofed image, than when the box isn't ticked under 'Edit'.

Since most common web portals (website-makers, social media, etc.) only accept SRGB, as well as most (even professional) printers, only work on 8-bit basis, I see very little point in Lightroom 'teasing' me with much nicer colors, if the SRGB profile simply can't contain that information and Adobe RGB being practically useless in actual applications. And yes - I have had several clients that complained about washed out colors (incl. lost detail in vibrant areas) when delivering them the requested SRGB images, despite them looking perfectly fine prior to export (without Softproofing) in LR. So yeah - Lessons Learnt - Obviously Softproofing gives a better representation of what my clients see, therefore it appears necessary to use the feature.

My question now is, if there may be tutorials of how to best 'restore' the lost reds and magentas in Softproofing - most images seem unaffected but especially in some, more colorful scenarios, the lack of reds/magentas really 'kills' the image; this doesn't just affect light-sources but even skin-detail, e.g., lips may entirely blend in with the skin, when previously, there was a clear color contrast to the skin.

Thanks for your (and other's) help! Much appreciated!
 
Soft-proofing, as used by Adobe, is the capability to preview in how onscreen photos appear when printed, and optimize them for a particular output device. Soft-proofing in the Lightroom Classic lets you evaluate how images appear when printed, and adjust them so that you can reduce surprising tone and color shifts.
Monitors transmit light and the color you see is the result of the light emitted by the diode. Color ink OTOH absorb colors and reflects the color(s) not absorbed. White reflects ALL colors while Black absorbs all colors, Soft proofing is to use a transmitting media to emulate a reflected media.

You should not be using soft proofing in Lightroom to emulate a different transmitting colorspace. If you want to see your image in a sRGB color space. in Windows Settings set your display to the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color profile and adjust your image in Lightroom to tune that image to your satisfaction.
 
You should not be using soft proofing in Lightroom to emulate a different transmitting colorspace. If you want to see your image in a sRGB color space. in Windows Settings set your display to the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color profile and adjust your image in Lightroom to tune that image to your satisfaction.
That may sound like a good suggestion, but I don't think you can do that, unless you have a monitor that can be set to sRGB in hardware. If you don't have such a monitor, then simply using the sRGB profile as monitor profile will not show you the correct colors. What this does is showing you what the image will look like when it is sent to your monitor as if that monitor were sRGB, which obviously will only be correct if that monitor is indeed sRGB. If it is not, and your monitor is a wide gamut monitor for example, then everything will look over-saturated. But why shouldn't you be using soft proofing in Lightroom to emulate a different transmitting colorspace? Can you elaborate on that? As Lightroom does not support CMYK profiles, every profile Lightroom supports (monitor and printer) is RGB-based...
 
But why shouldn't you be using soft proofing in Lightroom to emulate a different transmitting colorspace? Can you elaborate on that?
I get my information from the Adobe website
"Soft-proofing is the capability to preview in how onscreen photos appear when printed, and optimize them for a particular output device. Soft-proofing in the Lightroom Classic lets you evaluate how images appear when printed, and adjust them so that you can reduce surprising tone and color shifts."
(my emphasis) https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/develop-module-options.html
And As Defined in Wikipedia: "Monitor proofing or soft-proofing is a step in the prepress printing process. It uses specialized computer software and hardware to check the accuracy of text and images used for printed products. Monitor proofing differs from conventional forms of “hard-copy” or ink-on-paper color proofing in its use of a calibrated display(s) as the output device.[1]

Monitor proofing systems rely on calibration, profiling and color management to produce an accurate representation of how images will look when printed." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monitor_proofing

I find no place where Lightroom soft proofing is used or recommended for transmissive media.
 
Soft-proofing is NOT just used for print... it can be used for previewing how things will look in output color spaces for the screen, too. That's why the default output spaces are listed in the Profile pop-up rather than just printer profiles.

In most cases, soft-proofing for screen is unnecessary as the color space conversion does a pretty good job, but deep reds do show significant shifts when they drop to sRGB, as the OP notes.

@Acranius, I would probably play with Point Color (in the Color Mixer panel)... you wouldn't be able to keep the red saturation, but you can probably bring back the detail in the reds and shift them in a direction that looks good. The shot below is a really quick attempt... the image on the left is the sRGB exported JPEG without adjustment, the one on the right is soft-proofed as sRGB then adjusted with Point Color. (I can't show the whole image as I don't own the copyright, but it's a good example of how reds get crushed)
110 (3).jpg
 
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I find no place where Lightroom soft proofing is used or recommended for transmissive media.
That does not surprise me a lot. Soft proofing is mainly used for printing. But like Carl Sagan always said: "Absence of proof, is not proof of absence" (pun intended).
 
Soft-proofing is NOT just used for print... it can be used for previewing how things will look in output color spaces for the screen, too. That's why the default output spaces are listed in the Profile pop-up rather than just printer profiles.
This is not described anywhere on the Adobe site. With respect to Carl Sagan, why isn't there more (any) instruction of how to use soft proofing tools for transmissive media? With references to the OPs question, where are the "tutorials of how to best 'restore' the lost reds and magentas in Softproofing" for transmissive media?
Adobe RGB was first a Print color profile before there were displays that could manage that color space. sRGB was developed for screens first but it too can also be used for reflective media.
 
This is not described anywhere on the Adobe site.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s not on Adobe’s website. I’m going by the conversations with the engineers and color management experts when the feature was being developed in 2011, but those conversations are under nda so I can’t share them directly with you. Camera raw also allows you to preview in an output space (or it did when I last looked).

We’re going way off-topic here, so bringing it back to the original question, would anyone else like to share the ways they would handle colors that get lost when going from Lightroom’s wider working space down to a smaller color space like sRGB, whether for print or screen use?
 
There’s a lot of stuff that’s not on Adobe’s website…
We’re going way off-topic here, so bringing it back to the original question, would anyone else like to share the ways they would handle colors that get lost when going from Lightroom’s wider working space down to a smaller color space like sRGB, whether for print or screen use?
I searched the web looking for answers for the OP. All of the information I find on Softproofing deals with emulating reflective media (paper) using transmissive media (monitor). So my advice to the OP has been that soft proofing in not the way to solve the problem (assuming it is solvable) And for that I get criticism.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
I searched the web looking for answers for the OP. All of the information I find on Softproofing deals with emulating reflective media (paper) using transmissive media (monitor). So my advice to the OP has been that soft proofing in not the way to solve the problem (assuming it is solvable) And for that I get criticism.
That is why I quoted Sagan. The fact that you could not find any reference of soft proofing a different RGB color space does not mean you have found a reason to advise against it. Absence of proof (i.e. you could not find information on soft proofing sRGB) is not proof of absence (i.e. you cannot conclude from the absence of info that soft proofing in sRGB does not work).

Soft proofing is a simulation of how an image will look in another color space. There is no reason why that other color space can only be a printer color space and not a monitor color space. And -as I said before- Lightroom always soft proofs an RGB color space, because it does not even support CMYK icc-profiles.

As for Victoria’s question and back to on-topic. I would say that soft proofing is the answer.
 
As shown in Victoria's example, you can see that colors (esp. reds and magentas) can change drastically to the degree of detail being lost. For my own part, e.g., portraits with strong red lights look wildly different. Not only are the reds more like deep oranges, details like lips and even shadow-areas in the face, can entirely vanish (look at the dress that Victoria posted - that's what I mean).

Regarding the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 monitor profile; not only does this cancel my image calibration (with Calibrite Display Plus HL) but also doesn't help here: My original problem is, that images exported in SRGB (e.g., for web-use) look vastly different from how they look under LR-Develop. I am talking about output on the same screen. E.g., I can open the exported SRGB image in Windows Photo-Preview and move the window next to the LR window - The difference is similar to Victorias dress-sample, even with sRGB IEC61966-2.1 enabled.

So far, I found that only images edited with Softproof look identical after SRGB-export (meaning the windows photo app image and LR-Develop-Softproof). Further, a test-upload online reveals that the uploaded image also looks like the Softproof/ SRGB export image. This indicates to me, that Softproof creates accurate previews also for SRGB web-use.

However, this also indicates to me, that the 'normal' LR Develop tab is utterly useless, considering that the majority of web-uploads are in SRGB and prints are in CMYK, something LR doesn't even support. However, I also noticed, that the printed images (e.g., converted to CYMK by the printer/ printhouse) look drastically closer to the Softproof results, than the LR Develop (non-Softproof) function.

Two questions remain:

(1) Why is Adobe offering a Develop-Setting in LR which can color-wise not be represented by neither web- nor print media??
(2) How to best fix the lack of accuracy of reds/ magentas

Regarding (2) - I tried Victorias suggestion with the color-pickers and would say it made the issue 'better' but it's sadly far from ideal. I wonder, if there may be any filters/presettings that can simply be thrown onto all images as batch to get the SRGB results as close as possible to the original LR Develop (non-Softproof-) preview. Any ideas or perhaps screenshots of your filter-settings?
The relevant sliders here seem to be Saturation, Vibrance, (even) Texture (as colors seem less detailed), Color Mixer and Color Grading, Masking - Point Color. I played around with them a lot yesterday but feel like I am FAR from perfection.

PS: About Victorias edit - That looks good so far but is specific to that image, since, with such low Luminosity settings, skin may start looking patchy
 
I don’t have a complete answer for the main question yet, although I think Victoria has the right approach to solving it. I mostly wanted to say, regarding what Adobe wrote about soft-proofing in their help articles, I believe the soft proofing text Adobe wrote may not have been updated for many years. I agree that the soft-proofing features in Adobe applications should be usable to proof against any color space (not just print) as long as you can select a profile that soft proofing accepts enough to list in its menu.

I would guess that the reason it says “print” is probably because no one has edited it in a while. It is certainly the case that the color management and soft proofing features in both Lightroom Classic and Photoshop have not substantially changed in 15-20 years, so they probably haven’t touched those help files either. When that text was originally written, soft-proofing was only thought about in terms of print, so the text was likely written from that point of view only. And back then nobody thought about soft-proofing non-print color spaces because most computer displays were either sRGB-ish or something wacky, and if you were editing pro video you proofed on a reference studio monitor, hardware-calibrated to something like NTSC broadcast standards.

In the last few years, we have seen an explosion of alternate gamuts as wide-gamut displays became practical. There are Adobe RGB and Display P3 wide gamut displays, which means there is now value in soft-proofing sRGB on those, and video standards now include wide gamut spaces such as Rec.2020. I’m not aware of any reason you can’t use Adobe soft-proofing for those, but the wording in their help files has apparently not yet been edited with the current workflows in mind.
 
As for Victoria’s question and back to on-topic. I would say that soft proofing is the answer.
Then where is the tutorial explaining to the OP how to do what he is asking? You still have not provided an answer to the OPs questions.
 
Why is Adobe offering a Develop-Setting in LR which can color-wise not be represented by neither web- nor print media??
Because the same image may be used for web and print, and printing on glossy paper is very different from printing on matt paper or canvas. The only logical way of editing your images is to edit them in a non-device specific ‘working’ color space, so that is what Lightroom (and Photoshop) does. From this edited base image you can then make device specific copies (virtual copies in Lightroom) using soft proofing if and when needed.
 
I tried Victorias suggestion with the color-pickers and would say it made the issue 'better' but it's sadly far from ideal. I wonder, if there may be any filters/presettings that can simply be thrown onto all images as batch to get the SRGB results as close as possible to the original LR Develop (non-Softproof-) preview. Any ideas or perhaps screenshots of your filter-settings?
Even if you find a working solution, this only applies to your Monitor and your app (Lightroom) Viewing the same image on someone else's monitor using an app that might not be color managed is still going to give you unpredictable results.
 
Then where is the tutorial explaining to the OP how to do what he is asking? You still have not provided an answer to the OPs questions.
I don’t have a ready to use tutorial for him, but I can make one remark. Even soft proofing won’t solve the problem that sRGB simply does not contain those vibrant red colors. That means that there is no way to display those colors in sRGB, no matter what you try. In my experience the standard conversion to sRGB that Lightroom does when you export an image in sRGB is pretty good, and maybe as good as it gets. I seldom soft proof sRGB for that reason.
 
Even soft proofing won’t solve the problem that sRGB simply does not contain those vibrant red colors.
The way I phrased it in one of my earliest posts. is that soft proofing is not the tool to be using.
 
The way I phrased it in one of my earliest posts. is that soft proofing is not the tool to be using.
Ok, so if not via Softproofing, how can I edit my images using LR in a way, that I can preview how they would look after export into SRGB for the purpose of web use? There is virtually no point if I edit an image the way it looks good, only to find out colors/ details shift heavily after upload.
 
There is virtually no point if I edit an image the way it looks good, only to find out colors/ details shift heavily after upload.
This is the point I have been trying to make all along. The chart below shows the colors available for the various Colorspaces (Gamut). As you can see sRGB is the smallest. Any color that is in the computed image will be mapped to the nearest color inside the triangle. The. red colors that you want to see will always fall outside of the sRGB Rec 706 triangle. When the file is saved those red colors that fall outside of sRGB will be converted to the nearest color on the edge of the sRGB gamut.

CIE1931xy_gamut_comparison_of_sRGB_P3_Rec2020.svg.png
 
Makes you wonder what the point of these wider color-spectrums is, if almost no consumer-device (smartphone, average PC-monitor), online platform nor printer can make any use of it.

It also makes me wonder, why especially those online platforms that focus on images (e.g., instagram) limit the color spectrum to SRGB ... I mean obviously TIFF files are huge, but speaking of 'outdated philosophies' what's wrong with a jpeg-like file that simply has that 20-30% more information by including Adobe RGB, instead of SRGB.

It really sucks that cameras have come such a long way with countless dynamic steps, only to be bottle necked by just about any presentation-medium.
 
Makes you wonder what the point of these wider color-spectrums is, if almost no consumer-device (smartphone, average PC-monitor), online platform nor printer can make any use of it.

It also makes me wonder, why especially those online platforms that focus on images (e.g., instagram) limit the color spectrum to SRGB ... I mean obviously TIFF files are huge, but speaking of 'outdated philosophies' what's wrong with a jpeg-like file that simply has that 20-30% more information by including Adobe RGB, instead of SRGB.

It really sucks that cameras have come such a long way with countless dynamic steps, only to be bottle necked by just about any presentation-medium.

At one time the majority of Web users had monitors that were only 1024X768. Now there are 4K & 5K monitors that are fairly common.

Apple has produced DCI-P3 monitors for some time now. AdobeRGB has always been the default Color space for files destined for Print media. I would speculate that no sRGB Monitors are being sold. And Just a few years ago there was only one web browser that was color managed Now all support some color management. The Latest trend has been toward HDR 10+ images and software and hardware to support it . It will always be a slow shift toward better technology and there will always be a few soul’s that bring the average back toward the Neolithic.


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I think we may need to clear up some misunderstanding about soft proofing. Soft proofing does not magically allow you to display out-of-gamut colors. What does not fit inside sRGB will not be displayed in sRGB, soft proof or no soft proof. Nothing can change that! Soft proofing can be useful however because it allows you to manually adjust out-of-gamut colors, rather than having to wait and see what the standard conversion does. This may not be necessary in many cases (like I said, I rarely soft proof sRGB), but it could be with a lots of saturated reds, like the example Victoria showed.
 
I am far from being a colour management expert, but nobody mentioned that there are two ways to 'manage' out of gamut colors, ie perceptive and relative.
When using soft proofing, you can try both and see the one that best fit your purpose. That choice is particularly important when dealing with very saturated colors.
 

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