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I'm trying to understand how to color manage to get consistent results but I'm failing spectacularly at it currently. For reference I'm using Cinema 4D with Redshift, working with ACES. On the default setting, Redshift is set to use ACEScg color space, displaying it on sRGB, and applying ACES 1.0 SDR Video on it.

When I render and save it as a PNG, and then open it up in Photoshop of Affinity Photo, it looks completely different. I have Photoshop set to ask me what profile to use whenever it opens a photo - this is part of the confusion. When I save an image off Redshift render as a PNG, and I open it up in Photoshop, what color profile should I choose? From what I've read and watched, I should choose the color profile it was saved with - which in this case is ACEScg, so I should choose that on Photoshop right? Except when I do that, it gets super bright and looks nothing like the render screen.

This is what I see on the render view

This is what it looks like on Photoshop with ACEScg profile assigned to it

This is what it looks like with sRGB profile assigned to it

What exactly is happening when I save an image off the render? Is there a color profile embedded/baked into it? If so, which one? And when I open an image in Photoshop, what profile do I need to use - the one the image was made with, or just sRGB?

For reference, my display is a Dell U2414H, and I'm using Dell's ICC profile for this specific monitor (I can't calibrate it with external tools because they're just a tad bit too expensive for me right now).

These are my current windows color management settings

EDIT: Additional info. If I open the image and set photoshop to not color manage, it opens as an untagged image. Even then, the colors are still somehow different from the render view and within Photoshop.

The green is a completely different shade!

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  • The photos you uploaded are untagged [ie they have no profile attached]. that means they will simply be assumed to be sRGB & we have nothing to go on. Photoshop should be set to not change profile on import, only change at export or if you have to use layers from different sources. You should also never set Photoshop's working profile to your display profile [ can't see from the info posted, but that's a common mistake]
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 9 at 19:54
  • Also note: I have zero experience with ACES workflows. I found this - prolost.com/blog/aces but it's way beyond me ;) A quick look at specs for your display though - it's barely capable of sRGB, so you won't see a lot of ACES or Adobe RGB, which can lead to errors.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 9 at 20:02
  • Just tried opening the image without assigning a profile (so leaving it untagged), and it's still different! I'm so confused.
    – firefiber
    Jan 9 at 20:07
  • if it has a profile, then opening it untouched into Photoshop should not show as untagged, it should show the original profile. I'd suspect your prior export isn't saving the profile.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 9 at 20:08
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    ACES, as I've read, is for video.. if you're goal is a PNG, ACES is an inappropriate profile to use, since PNGs won't support ACES and 2D image editors aren't going to support ACES for a few years. -- if you want consistent color, then you should use a profile which is supported across all your editors, not just the 3D editor.
    – Scott
    Jan 9 at 21:05

1 Answer 1

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Your Photoshop working space should be set to ACEScg ACES workingspace AMPAS S-2014-004.

Now you need to make sure your output is really aces because ACEScg bercause it seems like it is not. Note that your viewer needs to do something to the image because your monitor can not show ACEScg.

Side note: by using ACEScg your not following a ACES workflow.

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  • Photoshop ought to be able to use an image imported with the ACES profile even without conversion… same as it would for a simpler Adobe 98. I'm certain the OP's colour change is because they're either not embedding the profile in the first place, or discarding it at import. Setting Photoshop to 'unmanaged' would do the same thing, ie completely discard the profile & treat is as 'probably sRGB'.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 10 at 15:20
  • @Tetsujin. you can assign a profile or you can do a profile to profile conversion. But most likely the cinema 3D does not have a profile aware viewer so its done with a lut so what gets saved is not correct. Or then therrs no color management and what he sees in cinema4D is not correct.
    – joojaa
    Jan 10 at 16:14

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