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Thread: Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

  1. #1
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    Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

    Hi all,
    sorry if this has been discussed a lot before but I've got a question regarding colour profiles in Lightroom when exporting. As I understand it, Lightroom edits everything in the ProPhoto colour space. I know Lightroom does not have colour soft proofing, but I don't know how it handles colour conversions when exporting. Does it convert using "relative colormetric" or "perceptual?" Or what? Can the rendering intent be controlled? Or... Is it just safer to export as ProPhoto when doing critical printing then soft proofing then converting to other colour spaces using Photoshop?

    I ask this question mainly because my inkjet prints are always perfect and closely match my screen. But I've found that when printing to a Fuji Frontier on Chrystal Archive paper I loose tonal definition in black values below 10. Even when adjusting the black output point in PS to 10, the shadow detail is still mushy. The prints just don't have the contrast range and subtlety I like to see in my prints. I know this is partly due to the resin based paper, but surely I'm doing something wrong?

    Oh, and I forgot to say I am up to play with monitor profiling etc. I'm working on a MacBook Pro, which is by no means best for critical work, but, as I said above, it's giving very reliable results when printing to an Epson 3800.

  2. #2

    Re: Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

    Hi tjv, the conversion is done using Relative Colorimetric in the Export dialog box. For the purposes of doing for-print optimization in Photoshop, I recommend you export the file as 16-bit ProPhoto (or you can just use the Edit in Ps command built into Lr). The crushed shadows you are seeing when printing on the Frontier is possibly an issue with the printer profile that is being used in that case. I don't think it's a fundamental issue with that printer or process.

  3. #3

    Re: Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

    A RAW converter – no matter if Lightroom, Focus, Capture One or Aperture – does not work/edit in any color space. A Raw file does not have a one. Only when exporting lightroom will assign the colour space that it has been set to use.
    Relative colormetric or perceptual only come into play when further converting to a different color space.
    When assigning a color space (in Lightroom when exporting) one should consider what's the final intent the picture is used for.
    If the photo will be later converted to CMYK one is way better of to assign Adobe RGB 98 instead of ProPhoto.
    ProPhoto is such a large color space it will only complicate things down the road.
    If one's intend is to use an inkjet printer go as big as possible.

    Relative Colormetric is more commonly used in western countries. When converting to CMYK it tries to match the "pixel color" (to simplify things) of the destination colors with the source colors.

    Perceptual (commonly preferred in Asian countries) strives for a more visually pleasing color rendering by trying to keep visual relationships between source colors.

    Regarding your problem with a Fuji Frontier and Chrystal Archive paper ... I am not familiar with both, printer nor paper, but a quick Google search found this.

    "Profiling Your Local Frontier
    To achieve the ultimate in quality and consistency, consider making your local mini lab part of your calibrated work flow. Ethan Hansen, a professional photographer from Oregon, has created a web site with a database of freely available Fuji Frontier and Noritsu digital printer Icc profiles for mini labs all over the country. The purpose of his project is to be able to hand a client a color accurate proof when shooting on location. Go to, and see if a mini lab near you has been profiled. If not, download Ethan’s Frontier or Noritsu profiling target and have it printed at your local lab. Mail him the target and he will profile it at no charge, and add the data to his online database.

    The site also has a very good primer on color management issues, and explicit instructions on how to use its ICC profiles with Photoshop. If you are serious about consistent, optimized color these tools can help you achieve excellent results with the inexpensive prints you can get from a Fuji Frontier printer."

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by 2x2; 13th June 2010 at 14:06. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    Re: Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    A RAW converter no matter if Lightroom, Focus, Capture One or Aperture does not work/edit in any color space.
    not exactly. They all work in a certain color space and they all assign a color space (profile) to the RAW file in the first place. Otherwise we couldn't see anything on a display.

    A Raw file does not have a one.

  5. #5

    Re: Lightroom 2 and 3 rendering intent

    I may have misunderstood, but I believe the OP's question was about how the color transform is being done at LR's export stage. LR's export stage does a conversion from LR's internal working space, which is RIMM (ProPhoto primaries, linear gamma), to the user's selected output space (e.g., sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc.). My comment is that the conversion is being done in LR via the Relative Colorimetric intent.

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