MacOS struggles

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This topic contains 52 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  buckie (@buckie) 2 days, 23 hours ago.

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  • #18394

    buckie (@buckie)
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    Hi folks, hi Florian.

    I’m struggling to understand what’s going on with macos color management and how to make it behave. Displaycal warns us that Apple’s CMS doesn’t support anything but single curve + matrix profile with black point compensation. The problem is, regardless of the profile type I eventually choose (and recalibrate from the start), the black gradient is always wrong. It is of course always correct in Photoshop, but in Preview it always tends to go straight into gray, continue fading into black slowly and then abruptly crash into 0 at the very end. That way when you view a black and white image with jpeg artifacts, pixels which are 250:250:250 are always clearly visible as light gray dots. With XYZ profile the gradient is even more extreme in Preview, but it is definitely not correct with a single curve profile either.

    So what should I take from this? Is it possible to make Preview match Photoshop?

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    #18396

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    Use defaults.

    #18397

    buckie (@buckie)
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    That’s what I used I think? I.e. single curve+ matrix + Black point compensation. What defaults exactly are we taking about?

    #18398

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    Settings -> Default.

    #18410

    buckie (@buckie)
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    Seeing exactly the same thing after doing a calibration run on everything default.

    #18411

    buckie (@buckie)
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    Here’s the most recent profile created using defaults.

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    #18415

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    Disable ANY and ALL power saving, screensaver, night light, etc. Look at the tone response curves. The display is not stable.

    #18417

    buckie (@buckie)
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    It’s not stable because it’s a plasma and I set the calibration speed to high. I will definitely get to that later, but at the moment the problem is that the color profile itself is different in Preview and Photoshop, regardless of its trueness to the actual display. In other words, even if it doesn’t fully match the actual display, it should still bring the same visual result to every application. I would perhaps see an incorrect gradient, but it should still look the same everywhere.

    Found this thread, is this what I may have stumbled upon? I don’t remember that happening on El Capitan and I’m on Mojave now.

    https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/272115/50379

    #18418

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    the problem is that the color profile itself is different in Preview and Photoshop, regardless of its trueness to the actual display

    Forget about it. If an application (this includes the OS) is not working properly, there is NO WAY to fix this at the profile level.

    #18426

    buckie (@buckie)
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    I thought you might know more about why that is happening than I do. Certainly some profiles (such as the various ones provided with the OS, or the display EDID profile) work correctly – i.e. the same in Preview and PS. The post on stackoverflow that I linked mentions that – specifically that newer macos versions don’t “like” profiles created by displaycal or basicccolor and randomly tweaking various options reportedly worked for some (that is, bringing Preview and PS to parity). You certainly have much more in depth knowledge of the inner workings of profiles than any of us do.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  buckie.
    #18429

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    I thought you might know more about why that is happening than I do

    Unfortunately, that is not the case and very unlikely to change – macOS color management when it comes to the Apple CMM and apps like Preview is a black box, and unless you work for Apple, no one is able to peek inside.

    Both a good and bad thing, in the professional world no one has to care much about what Apple is doing, and can rely exclusively on 3rd party products (e.g. Adobe Creative Suite, or open source imaging applications that use littleCMS) with proper color management. I guess this is also the reason why these Apple bugs are likely to exist indefinitely – no one cares, definitely not at Apple.

    Certainly some profiles (such as the various ones provided with the OS, or the display EDID profile) work correctly

    These are synthetic profiles. They either have the sRGB or simple gamma TRC, and no embedded calibration. They do not characterize an actual display response. The EDID profiles are good enough to not have oversaturated colors on Apple’s P3 displays, but their usefulness quickly nears its limits when you are after some notion of accuracy.

    The post on stackoverflow that I linked mentions that

    These issues are addressed by creating the correct type of calibration and profile (i.e. defaults).

    #18431

    buckie (@buckie)
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    I’ve tried doing defaults and those issues persist and are not addressed by using defaults. Things look different compared to, say XYZ LUT profiles, but the difference between macos apps and Photoshop still remains. Displaycal defaults aren’t helping there. I can get a broadly similar picture at most but it’s still always visibly different, to various degrees.

    There has to be a way.

    #18432

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
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    There has to be a way.

    Very unlikely.

    #18434

    buckie (@buckie)
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    All right, so what is the bottom line? I did everything as you suggested, reset Displaycal to defaults and redid calibration. The result is the same difference in macos apps and apps using their own CMM.

    Do we agree it’s an inherent flaw of macos and Displaycal-created profiles can not be used reliably with Apple’s CMM in recent macos versions in any form, but can be used with Adobe’s ACE (for example)?

    #18435

    Florian Höch (@fhoech)
    Administrator
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    All right, so what is the bottom line? I did everything as you suggested, reset Displaycal to defaults and redid calibration. The result is the same difference in macos apps and apps using their own CMM.

    You need to fix your display stability issues.

    Do we agree it’s an inherent flaw of macos and Displaycal-created profiles can not be used reliably with Apple’s CMM in recent macos versions in any form

    No, obviously, because you’re the only one having this problem (so far).

    but can be used with Adobe’s ACE (for example)?

    Correct.

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