Color Management in Raw Processing

In the past week, I’ve found myself in discussions that involved the mechanics of color management. Not the theory, not the science, but the simple goezintas-comesoutas of profile/based management of color in a processing workflow. So, while eating my lunch, I concocted a cartoon of it, and submit to this august group for peer review:

Yes, it’s not August…


I’m not expert in this area (more like I am very experienced at being confused by it), but I sure hope your diagram is correct, because it makes perfect sense!

My hack software follows this flow, and after my experience with the whole thing i can’t cogitate any way for it to be different…


  1. Who understands the difference between Assign and Convert?

  2. Instead of separate boxes for convert|assign and four profile clouds, why not use Assign Camera Profile | Convert to xxx

1A. Almost no one. More folk need to. I’ll add a callout with the definitions.
2A. For those who are contemplating things like calibrated camera profiles/DCPs, I think it’s worth showing the distinction… ?

What does the Raw processing... step include?

2A: Yes, I agree. But I still prefer “Convert to Whatever” – and you could still have the clouds close by to show where the different profiles are used.

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I would:

– remove “Internal”
– combine action to profile; e.g.: “assign camera profile”
– move “assign camera profile” arrow(s) to between “raw file” and “raw image” for visual consistency

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Same thought occurred to me as i put it in, my notion is all the operations that take place prior to presenting a RGB image to the user for further editing. In no particular order, at least:

  • white balance
  • demosaic

After all, that’s where the representation of color becomes pertinent to the user. Before that, it’s just an array of measurements…

Edit: maybe, change it to “Raw Conversion…” ??

PS I think someone did this before in great detail; the map of a photographic workflow. I forgot who and which post that linked to it.

Revision 1. I think I addressed all comments in some manner. Still, feel free to beat on me 'till I get it right…

A step in the right direction…
However (why is there always a however???)
I wonder if the profile clouds perhaps should point to the blue rectangles instead?

I think we should write this up into an article for the main site!

Actually, yes, that drives home the oft-missed point that color profiles should follow the images encoded thusly. One of the realizations that made some of this clearer for me.

That would be really good. Funny, I started this when I realized I’d posted the same prose explaining it three times, and linked to previous posts a couple of times, here and at dpreview…

In my mind, that is what the main site is for: centralization of knowledge, a “final” place for that information, a place that we can point to instead of repeating ourselves, and the publishing process-- fact checking, proof reading, etc etc. :smiley:

Well though, that’s what I had originally. So, now that I call out the profiles in the assign/convert boxes, I can go back to that… ??

Should I continue peer review here, or move it over now?

Replace Open file with Decode file

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I’d continue here, seems like you’re getting some good feedback!

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