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Colour management - browser issue, X-rite vs DisplayCAL profiles

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by BigMackCam, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. BigMackCam

    BigMackCam TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2018
    North East of England
    Firstly, my apologies if you've come across this post on one other forum that I frequent, but I thought it worth posting here too, as I feel it may be of interest...

    For some time now, I've been using an X-rite ColorMunki Display colorimeter and X-rite's official software to profile the displays on my Windows 10 system, and I've been fairly happy with it.

    My browser of choice for the last five years or so has been Chrome, and I've updated regularly (currently at version 65). I also have Firefox (version 59), but have rarely used it... until now (read on
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    When posting photos on forums, I've noticed some colour differences between what I see in Lightroom and Chrome. Not huge differences, but noticeable.

    Yesterday, I decided to move away from X-rite's software and replace it with the quite-highly-regarded open source DisplayCAL tool, which I already use in my Linux Mint installation with good success.

    The profiling worked flawlessly, and Windows Desktop and Lightroom both showed the temperature and colours I'd broadly expected. But when I loaded Chrome, the colours for websites and photos were way off base... faded / posterised / just plain weird.I checked "chrome://flags" and confirmed that "Force color profile" was set to "Default", thereby (allegedly) using the active colour profile for the current display (unfortunately, it's not possible to force the colour profile to a specific path and file). I then changed that flag to "sRGB", restarted Chrome, and everything looked pretty much OK again - though on close inspection, the accuracy of colours compared to Lightroom still wasn't quite right... reasonably close, but no cigar.

    Next I loaded Firefox, went to "about:config" and set "gfx.color_management.display_profile" to the path and file of my new DisplayCAL profile, and restarted. Lo and behold, photo colours were rendered exactly as I saw them in Lightroom.

    So, in summary:

    (1) Chrome has never (so far as I can tell) rendered colours 100% accurately for me - not when compared to Lightroom, and it seems it's the browser at fault.

    (2) Chrome is happy with X-rite-produced profiles, but doesn't like DisplayCAL XYZLUT + matrix profiles (why is that?).

    (3) Firefox seems to like both X-rite and DisplayCAL profiles, and is far more accurate in reproducing the colours I see in Lightroom.

    In the interests of a reliable colour-managed workflow from capture, through developing / editing and finally online viewing, I'll be sticking to Firefox for now. But I can't help wondering if I'm missing something, or doing something incorrectly
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    Has anyone else run into difficulties with colour-management in Chrome? And how about the profile differences... why is it, I wonder, that Chrome doesn't like DisplayCAL profiles?
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  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    I am just a hobby photographer so take what I say with a grain of salt...

    Color management is one of those things that I feel I am understanding when I start looking into it. And some minutes later, I feel like I fell down a rabbit hole like Alice In Wonderland. I like the concept, and it is essential if you are going to print, but then you have to calibrate and profile all of the devices in your workflow to the final destination. Even for on line, I have occasionally forgotten to specify a profile with image exports and been disappointed in how they rendered in various browsers and on various devices, so I agree one should do what one can to get as much right as possible. Yet I cannot help but wonder how many people who see my images (which isn't a lot) will be looking at it on less than ideal displays with sub-optimal browser settings, and not really seeing it as I intended when I made the image.

    I followed the links in your thread on that other site, which I found while googling this topic - interesting stuff, and I tweaked Firefox a bit as a result. It may be confirmation bias, but the test in those links now pass muster and I think I can see an ever-so-slight improvement viewing some images. I've done tests in the past and Firefox definitely met or surpassed the other browsers even without tweaking it.So maybe using Firefox is the solution for you as of now.

    You probably know way more about this than I do. For some reason, I felt like throwing in my half-penny.
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  3. BigMackCam

    BigMackCam TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2018
    North East of England
    I've learned an awful lot from other hobbyists, so I'm always grateful for feedback and opinions :) 

    My main interest in having a colour-managed workflow is being confident that my images will be reproduced as intended if the output destination is also colour-managed. I realise that most people viewing the few photos I post online probably won't be using calibrated screens, but so long as my photos look OK relative to others, that's fine. More importantly, I can view and edit my photos on my laptop, external screen and tablet (which is also calibrated) and see almost-identical results across those devices. Plus, I know my photos are in a good state for photo printing services as and when I need them.

    Since my post, I've done a lot of back and forth testing, and I'm definitely happy with Firefox so far as colour reproduction is concerned. I'm sure I'll find some browser functionality that I'll miss from Chrome, but nothing's jumping out at me right away.

    I'm also happy with DisplayCAL's profiling, and it's nice to be able to switch between my Windows and Linux installations, use the same software and see the same results.

    I'm glad you did. Thanks :) 
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
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  4. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    I use Datacolor SpyderPro 5 for monitor calibration and printing. I really don’t care much about the browser because I it’s too much out of my control. The service/site, the viewers monitor, mobile, browser version, etc. I use Chrome for a number of reasons beyond viewing images and it is notoriously bad with color management. I have loaded the same image to many sites and it looks slightly different everywhere. I gave up.

    if we’re honest color management is pretty obscure. Browser color management is almost nonexistent. There’s a reason why the most popular browser (Chrome) puts so little into it.
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  5. BigMackCam

    BigMackCam TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2018
    North East of England
    And yet, I'd like to bet that far more images are shared and viewed online than ever make it to print. On that basis, you'd think colour management for browsers and image viewers would be at least as important as for printing...

    That aside, Firefox seems to be doing a grand job so far. It's early days, but as yet I've not noticed any difference between what I see in Lightroom and my view of the same files in the browser :) 
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