Photoshop CS5 Not Using Sytem Default ICM Profile


on my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 machine, I just calibrated my Dell SP2309W monitor using an i1DisplayPro and basICColor 5, creating a ICC v2 profile (I am aware of the problems under Windows with ICC v4 profiles).

It created the ICC profile and applied it to be used by Windows. I double checked under COLOR MANAGEMENT that the new ICC profile is being used.

First thing I did is comparing the new basICColor profile in ColorThinkPro 3 against standard sRGB IEC 61966-2.1 on a test image - a great way to see how the image should look like with the new calibrated profile…

Although I can see that the new ICC is being used (desktop appearance changed), there are a few issues I am experiencing:

(1.) Windows Photo Viewer

The thumbnail in Windows Explorer look fine (they DO use the new ICC profile), when I double click the test image and open the image it DOES NOT use the new ICC profile. When I click the PLAY SLIDESHOW button (starting the slideshow) in the opened test image in Windows Photo Viewer, the image DOES use the new ICC profile.

(2.) Internet Browsers

All current internet browser (Firefox, IE, Safari and Chrome) DO use the new ICC profile and display the test image correctly.

(3.) Photoshop CS 5

When I open the same test image - that Windows Photo Viewer does not correctly display (according to the new ICC profile) - in Photoshop CS5, I get the same image display that Windows Photo Viewer gives me (when not thumbnail or not in slideshow mode) - it appears to be the sRGB display.

My color settings in PS CS5 are: North America General Purpose 2 > sRGB IEC 61966-2.1.

When I go to View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB I get the image display using the new ICC profile.

Why does the image look different in PS than my calibrated monitor should output ?

I was under the impression (please correct me if I am wrong), that the sole purpose for calibrating my monitor was to get a uniform display across (ICC aware) applications. Even when one applies different color spaces to a document in PS, I thought the output on my calibrated screen done by the graphic card should always be according to my calibration and the settings in the ICC profile being used.

What Am I doing wrong or what am I misunderstanding ?

Any help or input is appreciated !


  • M

I share your confusion. Does your test image have an embedded profile? It seems that Windows Photo Viewer is honoring an embedded profile, at least in thumbnail and slideshow modes. Photoshop should be honoring that embedded profile as well. Can’t think why that’s not happening.

Since North America General Purpose 2 does not turn on a profile warnings, you might go in and check those boxes so you’ll get a dialog box if a profile is missing or mis-matched. Then you should check that the test image you’re viewing in PS still has that embedded profile assigned to it - and it hasn’t been stripped off or converted to the working space automatically when you imported it into PS.

I think the main purpose of monitor profiling is so your images are represented in an accurate way according to the abilities of the display. The secondary purpose of a monitor profile is to describe your display to any ICC aware applications. Photoshop for example, will make use of your monitor profile, when it presents the image to you.
The graphics card gets loaded up with the RGB ramps that are embedded in the default monitor profile, so all the color passing through the graphics card is “corrected” for the screen. This is done generally, for the whole display.

As a separate function, the individual apps may use or not use any embedded ICC profile in your images to describe how this particular image is intended to be displayed. As some elements in an operating system are color managed and some aren’t - this is generally the cause of color inconsistency between programs on one screen. So my guess is that your problem has something to do with a profile attached (embedded) to an image and whether that profile is used or not.

Patrick, you are absolutely correct.

Here’s what I found with more testing:

Windows Photo Viewer by default honors embedded profiles in images and displays them accordingly to that profile. If an image is untagged (no profile embedded) it will default to sRGB IEC 61966-2.1 - always ignoring the specified system default profile (my custom profile)

Photoshop acts similar. It displays the image according to the embedded profile, if the image is untagged, then it will be displayed via the default Color Working Space (unless you have warnings enabled). Although PS will take my custom calibration monitor profile into consideration when displaying the image, it appears the colors are much more saturated on Wide gamut displays (for my custom profile), which one has to know when he soft proofs.

Windows Photo Viewer in Slideshow Mode as well as the Windows Explorer thumbnail display do the exact opposite. They ignore embedded profiles and display all images via the specified system default profile (my custom profile). Internet browser appear to do the same thing.

  • M

By George, you’ve got it! You have a good understanding of how monitor profiles work in and out of your operating systems.

This thread would make a nice little primer for someone wanting to understand these concepts.