Confused color management problem with my calibrated LCD monitor

I recently learned some color management knowledge and bought an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter to have my LCD monitor calibrated (ordinary LCD). But I met an problem, which I cannot find the true answer.

I used RawTherapee to edit a JPG photo and saved the result with the default output RT_sRGB profile. I uploaded the result photo to a web site,and then viewed that uploaded photo with my latest Firefox browser (as I know Firefox has color management). I found the blue sky have different color to the one I saw in RT. Then I tried various things to locate the problem:

  1. check firefox settings to make sure color management works: Firefox result does not change.
  2. open the result photo with Picasa 3.9: same result to RT case.
  3. open the result photo with Gimp 2.10.6: same result to RT case.
  4. open the result photo with Photo viewer in Windows 10: same result to Firefox case.
  5. open the result photo with Canon DPP: same result to Firefox case.
  6. open the result photo with latest free ACDSee Viewer: same result to Firefox case.
  7. open the result photo with FastStone Viewer 6.6 with color management checked: same result to Firefox case.
  8. open the result photo in my Android phone: similar to Firefox case.
  9. switch monitor profile to none in RT: the preview changed to Firefox case, but the saved result does not change.
  10. download the uploaded image and open in the above viewers: no changes.
  11. save the photo result again without ICC profile, and open it with above viewers: no changes.
  12. download a background image from, and open it with above viewers: same results.

It seems most of the softwares I tried whether support color management or not have the same results, which is different to RawTherapee, Gimp and Picasa. If I switch monitor profile to none in RT, I see the other result. The images are all in sRGB color space, and it seems that’s related to my monitor profile, but which is the right color managed result? How to explain those results? I’m really confused.

Hi @fangyc and welcome!

Ah yes, isn’t colour management an interesting jungle :wink: ?

a) Are you on Windows, or what?

b) How did you tell the OS to load your new profile?

c) What are your firefox gfx.color_management settings?

  • gfx.color_management.display_profile
  • gfx.color_management.enablev4
  • gfx.color_management.mode
  • gfx.color_management.rendering_intent

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

Have you checked to see whether all the various softwares are using your new monitor profile as their monitor profile? A long time ago, back when using Windows, PhotoShop, and Canon DPP, it took me the longest time to figure out that PhotoShop was using the system monitor profile, but Canon DPP was using sRGB as the monitor profile.

Which OS and which calibration software do you use?
I suppose that color management is off in your Firefox. I think you need to configure this in about:config. Forget Faststone, does not do color management, at least the free version. Same applies to Win 10 Photos app.
I would recommend that you use Displaycal and the Displaycal profile loader for calibrating and setting/choosing the profile, Windows is unreliable. RT and Gimp do color managment. Probably they show the correct colors.
Note that color managment is always “interpretation”. Different applications might not show the exact same colors, though they should be very similar, if they are correctly configured.

a) Yes, I’m on Windows 10.

b) I used the i1Profiler software on x-rite website to calibrate, and found the generated icc is set to the default value in windows color management control panel. I also found a startup program of i1display which seems to be a loader. I also tried manually checked “Using Windows Monitor calibration” and clicked reload current calibration in Windows color management control panel.

c) The current settings are as follows:

  • gfx.color_management.display_profile: C:\Philips_220X_20-10-2018-120-lut-max.icm
  • gfx.color_management.enablev4: true
  • gfx.color_management.mode: 1
  • gfx.color_management.rendering_intent: 0

I copied the icm file to C:\ and removed the space in the file name. I also tried the last one with value 1, but didn’t find obvious changes.

I can’t make sure if all of them are using the profile, because most of the softwares contain only a checkbox to enable or disable Color Management. Canon DPP 4 contains a color management preference tab, which provides workspace profile settings and monitor profile settings, but no matter I choose use system monitor profile or manually designate my icm file, the results are the same, like the firefox one.

I’ve never used Windows 10 - the last version I used was Windows 2000, so that was a long time ago. But I think people have told me the location for the system monitor profile is still buried in winnt or some such deep system folder. Also people have said (I think!) that the way to install the system monitor profile is the same as it’s always been, which is by right-clicking on the desktop to bring up a monitor-related dialog.

If Displaycal works on Windows (I’m pretty sure it does), then @betazoid’s advice to use the Displaycal installer is good advice. And if you have Displaycal installed, there are probably some command line utilities from ArgyllCMS (which also can be installed separately and is available for Windows) that allow to set the system monitor profile. No doubt there’s other ways! But way back when I just used the right-click on the desktop approach to open the monitor dialog.

Thanks, I’ll have DisplayCAL a try.

Now, hold it, please!

He is on Windows.
He has an X-rite i1 Display Pro.
It does place the profile in the correct Win folder
and also tells Win to use it forever after.
He has copied the .icm to the root of C: (for firefox to pick it up),
meaning that the .icm also is in the right place for Win’s col mgmnt.

So in my opinion there is no need to complicate things (yet) to
switch to dispcalgui.

When profiling with X-rite, you got the possibility to switch
between before/after, right? How was the difference?

Stubbornly Yours,
Claes in Lund, Sweden


Well I know nothing about x-Rite but the x-Rite software should have something like a Profile Loader. Then he should use that app. But sticking to Windows color management is not recommended at all.

The x-rite i1Profiler software provides a loader program which is automatically set at Windows startup. I think it is doing the loading thing.

The i1profiler software does have a before/after switch button, which is only found when a profiling is completed. I’ve done calibration and profiling several times with the i1 since I bought it, and in my memory I did see some minor but visible changes when I clicked the before/after button each time I finish a calibration.

I don’t colour manage my workflow but I do have some thoughts that might be helpful.

1. Keep it simple. It appears that you have lots of software on hand and have done lots of tweaking. You might have settings, utilities, etc., running that interfere with each other. It could be time for you to clean up the clutter and make sure you don’t have something running at startup that you don’t need. You seem to have a lot of old stuff; e.g., Picasa is no longer supported.

2. Along the lines of #1, sometimes apps or app ecosystems try to be too “smart”. Start with and understand the basics before jumping in the deep end and trying to do everything at once.

3. Make your profiles and select them here:

4. It isn’t a good idea to place your profile in C:\. Place them where they belong, which I believe is C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\color.

Use test images like @snibgo’s.

1 Like

For some reason RawTherapee doesn’t read the embedded ICC profile for pngs. But there is an option to assign the correct profile from disk under the “Color” tab.

RT does properly read and work with non-raw files. I use RT a lot to remove shadow noise from things like camera-generated jpgs using the RT “Impulse” noise removal algorithm. But it does seem strange that RT doesn’t automatically read embedded ICC profiles in pngs.

I tried testing on my working Ubuntu 16.04.5 PC today, which was calibrated using DisplayCAL 3.7 with the X-rite i1 Display Pro several days ago. The result is disappointing, which is similar but not identical to my Windows 10 PC.

I tried the following:

  • set the image as wallpaper
  • open it with RawTherapee 5.4
  • open it with EOG, the default image viewer of Ubuntu
  • open it with Firefox 56 (after checking its color managemeng settings)

I still got 2 types of results:

  • Wallpaper: similar to the Windows RT result.
  • Open with RT: When setting monitor profile to none, the preview result is similar to the Windows RT result; When set to system default (which shows “from GDK”), the preview result is similar to the Windows Firefox result. (Just opposite to Windows) Since I had the calibration result installed to current user, I can’t find the saved ICC in RT.
  • Open with EOG: Similar result to the Windows Firefox result. I was thinking EOG doesn’t support color management, but I tried the picture @afre mentioned, and found it does supports color management. At least it read the embeded icc.
  • Open with Firefox: Similar result to what’s in Windows.

Most of the results are still bias to the Windows Firefox one. Also I had another discovery: I set the Windows Firefox gfx.color_management.display_profile value to a path of an apparently wrong ICC profile, but the Firefox result seems no change! (I rechecked to make sure the path was correct, and restarted Firefox) This means my firefox doesn’t use the ICC profile I provide at all! Does my firefox have problems?

Thanks. In fact some of the softwares I used was just to verify which result is correct. What I care most is what is the real color after I have edited, and I wish when most of the others see my edited photo via a not-too-bad characterized or uncharacterized screen, they get similar result to what I saw. (At least if it was through my eyes via their screens) I can export all my images in sRGB colorspace, but the problem seems not at the source image, it’s at the output side: the screen.
So I want to get the reason as well, what caused the difference. If it were the software’s problem, I would simply discard it. But if it were something I did wrong, I wish I could correct it.

I reset the windows color management as your picture and restarted, and I still could not figure out the differences from before.

With the help of a Windows user, once I compiled a long list of reasons why “it looks different in different applications” on Windows, but many of the same reasons apply to Linux. Unfortunately I can’t find the emails, sigh. But here are some from the top of my head:

  • Using different monitor profiles (already listed)
  • Using different rendering intents (I think already listed)
  • Using different Color Management Software - on Windows there is LCMS, PhotoShop’s CMS (if you have PhotoShop installed), Windows CMS, and maybe others?
  • Using the same CMS but with different settings (that are beyond the user’s control), or even using different versions of “the same” CMS
  • Not using color management at all
  • Using color management but assuming the monitor profile is sRGB without letting the user make a choice

I think the list had more than that, but that’s a lot already.

I vaguely recall PhotoShop users having to go through contortions to disable Windows Color Management so they could use PhotoShop color management. Maybe Firefox on Windows is somehow similarly affected? This is purely a guess!

@Elle I believe that Photoshop and other Adobe software have improved since. I recently read a guide saying that all that needs to be done is adjust Color Management. However, since I neither use Photoshop nor colour manage my workflow, take everything I say with a grain of :salt:. Some fortunate souls don’t have any issues at all but most of us seem to experience otherwise.