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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Art & Graphic Design > Why does photoshop make my pictures washed out- Save for web

Why does photoshop make my pictures washed out- Save for web
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jpf566
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Jan 14, 2009, 11:19 AM
 
Hey guys, Im using CS3...so this has been an annoyance for me for a while now... I get an image all adjusted properly with it exactly how I want it. Then I go to File/Save for Web and Devices (I'm saving for websites) and when I save it as a jpeg the images are a noticeable amount brighter and washed out...Unless I open the JPG file in PS, Then the image looks fine! Does anyone know why this happens? Its really annoying to have to make my images too dark in photoshop and then save it for web and see if it looks like what I want it to! Thanks guys!
     
richwig83
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Jan 14, 2009, 11:43 AM
 
Any chance of some examples?
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Thorzdad
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Jan 14, 2009, 12:25 PM
 
My guess is that you are not converting the color profile of the image to sRGB before saving to web (Image > Mode > Convert to Profile...). If you don't do this, the image will remain in whatever color space you have set as your default (usually Adobe RGB). Adobe RGB is a much wider RGB color space that doesn't always display well in most browsers.

I'm also guessing you probably haven't done any real color calibration to your system, but that's a whole other can of worms.
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red rocket
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Jan 15, 2009, 08:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad
My guess is that you are not converting the color profile of the image to sRGB before saving to web (Image > Mode > Convert to Profile...). If you don't do this, the image will remain in whatever color space you have set as your default (usually Adobe RGB)
You’d think ‘Save For Web’ would do that automatically, wouldn’t you? Stupid Adobe.
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 15, 2009, 08:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
You’d think ‘Save For Web’ would do that automatically, wouldn’t you? Stupid Adobe.
Absolutely not. Photoshop is a professional-grade tool, not a "magic button" home application. As such, there is a certain expectation that you know what you are doing as far as preparing an image (either for print or web.) Quite often, an image needs a little (or a lot of) massaging before or after converting to sRGB in order to appear correct. Relying on a one-click process wouldn't give you consistent results, even though many people use "Save for Web" for exactly that.

"Save for Web" is more of an image quality process, anyway, where you can dial-in a trade-off between file size and image quality (well, at least that's how I use it )
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Veltliner
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Jan 15, 2009, 06:38 PM
 
What color space was the picture in before?

To make in image web-ready, you need to convert to sRGB and make it a JPEG.

You can use the image processor, too, for this.

PS: do you have "web save colors only" checked? This is one of those leftover features in Photoshop you don't need any more, but it reduces your colors to the very few that very old monitors could display... ten, fifteen years ago.

Other than that, with the little amount of information you provide I can't really tell what you did. If an image is an sRGB JPEG, then it will display the same no matter what window or tool you open it in.

Did you check your color settings? Did you, by any chance, change the gamma of your RGB workspace to 1,8? Some people still think that's the "Apple Gamma". You should use 2.2
     
red rocket
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Jan 16, 2009, 09:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thozdad
Absolutely not. Photoshop is a professional-grade tool, not a "magic button" home application. As such, there is a certain expectation that you know what you are doing as far as preparing an image (either for print or web.) Quite often, an image needs a little (or a lot of) massaging before or after converting to sRGB in order to appear correct. Relying on a one-click process wouldn't give you consistent results, even though many people use "Save for Web" for exactly that.
I still think that a menu item which says ‘Save for Web’ should be doing exactly that. It’s like ‘Print to PDF’, the user doesn’t want to muck about with PostScript code and fonts before he can safely hit that button, he just wants an automated workflow. At least I do, a professional app should not make things needlessly opaque or complicated. Time is money, after all.
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 16, 2009, 10:07 AM
 
Well, "Print to PDF" doesn't create well-optimized PDFs either. (And, for the record, there's no need for mucking about with PostScript code or fonts in creating a good PDF (beyond clicking the "embed fonts" button.)

Anyway, there are many variables in creating a proper-looking picture for web use, and it all really begins with the original file. What color space was it created in? Adobe RGB? CameraRAW? Was it originally a CMYK image? Crappy scan of a family pic using the local monitor or scanner color profile? You can't automate conversion to sRGB from any of those and expect uniformly good results from a single-click function. As I said, too many variables. It's best to leave it to the user to dial-in the color conversion first. Photoshop is very much a hands-on tool.
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waxcrash
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Jan 17, 2009, 01:58 AM
 
I know exactly what is causing your problem. You most likely have an uncalibrated monitor and were adjusting your image with no color proof setup.

By default, when you first use Photoshop, the proof colors is turned off. To fix, open up your image you want to manipulate. Go to the VIEW drop down menu and make sure PROOF COLORS is turned on. You'll see a little check mark next to it when it's on. Next, under the VIEW drop down menu under PROOF SETUP select either the WINDOWS RGB or MACINTOSH RGB setup. If you are saving an image for the web, I recommend using the WINDOWS RGB setup as that is what 90% of the people will see.

     
red rocket
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Jan 17, 2009, 06:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad
Well, "Print to PDF" doesn't create well-optimized PDFs either. (And, for the record, there's no need for mucking about with PostScript code or fonts in creating a good PDF (beyond clicking the "embed fonts" button.)

Anyway, there are many variables in creating a proper-looking picture for web use, and it all really begins with the original file. What color space was it created in? Adobe RGB? CameraRAW? Was it originally a CMYK image? Crappy scan of a family pic using the local monitor or scanner color profile? You can't automate conversion to sRGB from any of those and expect uniformly good results from a single-click function. As I said, too many variables. It's best to leave it to the user to dial-in the color conversion first. Photoshop is very much a hands-on tool.
If all you’re doing is putting the image on the web, how much effort do you think is merited putting into the process? In most cases, ninety-plus per cent of the people who are going to see the image will have crappy, poorly calibrated monitors, lousy gamma settings, wrong profiles selected, and what-not. Say you shoot a gallery of porn pics, for instance, do you really want to go over every single one of them and try to get them all identically ‘perfect’? I think not. ‘Save for Web’ doesn’t strike me as part of a professional image optimisation workflow, I have always viewed it as a lowest-common-denominator consumer export plug-in, personally.
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 17, 2009, 09:45 AM
 
As a professional, you should make sure what you put on the web is the best possible image. It's a quality baseline from which everything else can be evaluated.

As an example, say you just completed a website for a client, and the client calls you up, mad as hell, because the photos on the website look horrible...over-saturated and red. If you took the brief time to a) Make sure your system is properly color-calibrated (there are both software and hardware tools that pros use for monitor calibration...waxcrash's example above is not monitor calibration.) and b) properly adjust the photos to look correct, you can assure the client that the photos are, in fact, color-correct...that it is his monitor that is displaying bad color and needs adjustment.

On the other hand, if you've done nothing to assure correct color, you have no base to stand on when the client says you screwed-up the website and must re-do everything. You're going to eat some time (money) re-adjusting the photos so they look good on the client's crappy monitor.

Now, you can take the "most people have bad monitors" approach and not care what garbage you give clients, that's certainly your prerogative. If you don't care, you don't care. I prefer to make the effort and ensure what I give them is as correct as possible. We aren't talking hours of slavery. I use "Save for Web" all the time. I simply take a few minutes beforehand to color-correct and adjust the images. It ain't rocket science. But, it is good client service.
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Veltliner
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Jan 18, 2009, 03:42 PM
 
The argument that many people have horrible displays doesn't count.

Because, in these days, more quality concerned people (potential clients) have good monitors (even though mostly not calibrated).

Even if I was the only one with a calibrated monitor I would put images in a correct way on the web, because:

1. I'd feel bad about doing shoddy work

2. Doing it right is not more difficult than doing it wrong. (calibrate your display, convert web images to sRGB, resample them in Photoshop to their right sizes and don not leave this to the browsers, use 120 ppi, make sure your images are in 8-bit mode).

3. The "bad monitors" are possibly all over the place in the way they are off. If you occupy the center with correctly worked out images, then you still make for some improvement for the poorly adjusted monitors.
     
red rocket
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Jan 20, 2009, 05:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
As a professional, you should make sure what you put on the web is the best possible image. It's a quality baseline from which everything else can be evaluated.

As an example, say you just completed a website for a client, and the client calls you up, mad as hell, because the photos on the website look horrible...over-saturated and red. If you took the brief time to a) Make sure your system is properly color-calibrated (there are both software and hardware tools that pros use for monitor calibration...waxcrash's example above is not monitor calibration.) and b) properly adjust the photos to look correct, you can assure the client that the photos are, in fact, color-correct...that it is his monitor that is displaying bad color and needs adjustment.

On the other hand, if you've done nothing to assure correct color, you have no base to stand on when the client says you screwed-up the website and must re-do everything. You're going to eat some time (money) re-adjusting the photos so they look good on the client's crappy monitor.

Now, you can take the "most people have bad monitors" approach and not care what garbage you give clients, that's certainly your prerogative. If you don't care, you don't care. I prefer to make the effort and ensure what I give them is as correct as possible. We aren't talking hours of slavery. I use "Save for Web" all the time. I simply take a few minutes beforehand to color-correct and adjust the images. It ain't rocket science. But, it is good client service.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for perfectionism, where it can be attained, and seen.

What I am questioning is Adobe’s wisdom in providing a ‘Save for Web’ function that does not automate the process as much as possible. It wouldn’t have to be ‘one button’, necessarily, but I do find that it should at least allow users to make all the necessary adjustments in one dialogue, instead of expecting them to navigate to a different menu to convert colour profiles, and then make further adjustments.

I find this highly counterintuitive, and cannot help thinking that if, say, Apple, were to release a Photoshop killer, that app might even ask about the target device/audience as soon as you open the image, saving you the wasted effort of working in an unsuitable profile in the first place.

As you said yourself,

Originally Posted by Thorzdad
"Save for Web" is more of an image quality process, anyway, where you can dial-in a trade-off between file size and image quality (well, at least that's how I use it )
you’re already compromising on quality. What is ‘correct’ for the web does not appear to equal ‘correct’ in the mind of perfectionists who make the effort to calibrate their cameras, monitors and printers to the extent that everything looks perfectly identical, just to see all that effort go to waste because to someone else viewing the image on different, arguably worse equipment, it won’t look ‘right’. Just take Veltliner’s suggestion to use a 2.2 gamma, for instance. From where I am sitting, that never, ever, looks right. It’s too dark, shadow detail is lost.
     
Veltliner
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Jan 21, 2009, 04:36 AM
 
You don't need to use "save for the web".

Everything it does can be done with other tools.

I have the impression it's a typical left-over feature in Photoshop (but it's still widely touted everywhere).

Look, for example, in the lower left corner. Here you have download speed for your image. At 28,8 kbs. When did we last have this low-end dial-up speed? Ten years ago?

Also, when reducing image size, you cannot choose the kind of sampling you want.
     
Veltliner
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Jan 21, 2009, 04:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post

What I am questioning is Adobe’s wisdom in providing a ‘Save for Web’ function that does not automate the process as much as possible.
As Thorzdad said, Photoshop is a professional application, and not at all foolproof.

You can automate it yourself by using "actions" or the scripting feature. Actions are very easy to do. You just need to read through the instructions, and you can do it.
     
red rocket
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Jan 21, 2009, 06:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
As Thorzdad said, Photoshop is a professional application, and not at all foolproof.

You can automate it yourself by using "actions" or the scripting feature. Actions are very easy to do. You just need to read through the instructions, and you can do it.
Just because something is a ‘professional application’ doesn’t mean it’s got carte blanche to overcomplicate or obfuscate matters, not in my opinion.

Having a top level menu item that is labelled ‘Save for Web’ strongly implies that PS is gonna get the image suitably prepared for the web, whatever state it’s in now. The fact that it fails to do that seems like poor UI design to me, typical Adobe basically.
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 21, 2009, 07:52 AM
 
You're arguing semantics. Get over it.

You've come into this thread and derailed it because you, apparently, can't understand how professional software works and refuse to learn. That, or you just want to engage in some Adobe bashing. You certainly have been of no help to the OP.

There is no overcomplication or obfuscation. The process is counterintuitive only to amateurs, such as yourself, who don't bother to take the time and learn the professional software, expecting one-click simplicity. If the software so offends your sensibilities, don't use it. As Veltliner points out, there are other workflows available to get you there.

Move along.
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red rocket
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Jan 22, 2009, 08:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad
You're arguing semantics. Get over it.

You've come into this thread and derailed it because you, apparently, can't understand how professional software works and refuse to learn.
What a ridiculous and offensive remark. I have been using Photoshop since version 3.

That, or you just want to engage in some Adobe bashing.
Oh, come on. Feature creep, inconsistencies, a UI that gets progressively more Windows-like, there are plenty of things you can legitimately criticise.

You certainly have been of no help to the OP.
We haven’t heard back from the OP, the conversation has moved on since.

There is no overcomplication or obfuscation.
You said it yourself, ‘Adobe RGB is a much wider RGB color space that doesn't always display well in most browsers.’ Therefore, it is the wrong colour space for the web. You can go through the ‘Save for Web’ process without that being addressed, thus it is obfuscated. You have to go to a different menu to sort that out, thus it is overcomplicated.

The process is counterintuitive only to amateurs, such as yourself, who don't bother to take the time and learn the professional software, expecting one-click simplicity.
Are you a Linux user? By your logic, it’s more professional than OS X, requiring more time to learn.

If the software so offends your sensibilities, don't use it. As Veltliner points out, there are other workflows available to get you there.

Move along.
Seeing as it’s probably a matter of time before Adobe drop Mac support, maybe we all should consider moving along from Photoshop, anyway. Parts of it work well, parts of it do not. It is hardly the be-all, end-all of image processors.
     
alphaBromeo
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Jan 22, 2009, 10:50 AM
 
When i post images to the web, they appear washed out after "saving for web". Even a flat color that I made sure was 'web safe'...I find the 'generic rgb' color profile is the closest to what they look like in Firefox/Safari. Any ideas?
     
Veltliner
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Jan 22, 2009, 06:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
Just because something is a ‘professional application’ doesn’t mean it’s got carte blanche to overcomplicate or obfuscate matters, not in my opinion.

Having a top level menu item that is labelled ‘Save for Web’ strongly implies that PS is gonna get the image suitably prepared for the web, whatever state it’s in now. The fact that it fails to do that seems like poor UI design to me, typical Adobe basically.

The best is to accept what's there and work with it. I personally like Photoshop a lot, and take its menu quirks like people's character quirks.

You can always customize the menu and throw out items you don't need or are outdated, like "sharpen" or "sharpen more".

Adobe leaves old features in for users who have been with the program for a long time. They try not take functions away from them (which would disrupt their workflow).

Save for the web has the advantage that you can save in .gif You don't have this option from the general menu, only .png. Which should be a better format anyway, and should be supported by all browsers.
( Last edited by Veltliner; Jan 23, 2009 at 12:33 AM. )
     
Veltliner
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Jan 22, 2009, 07:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by alphaBromeo View Post
When i post images to the web, they appear washed out after "saving for web". Even a flat color that I made sure was 'web safe'...I find the 'generic rgb' color profile is the closest to what they look like in Firefox/Safari. Any ideas?
If you could give us more info...

1. What color space is your image in BEFORE it goes to "save for the web"? Is it tagged (has a color profile at all, is it color managed?).

2. Did you click "web save colors only"? Don't. It reduces your colors.

Color management problems or axing colors with the "web safe color" check box... as I described above.

For the web you need an 8-bit JPEG. And don't push the compression slider all the way to maximum. If you want good image quality I would not go below 8.
     
   
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