Gamut Warnings in Photoshop and Vivez

Sunrise on Twistleton Scar. Olympus EM5, Olympus 9-18 lens at 10mm, 0.6ND Grad filter. ISO200, 1/60" at f/8.0
Sunrise on Twistleton Scar. Olympus EM5, Olympus 9-18 lens at 10mm, 0.6ND Grad filter. ISO200, 1/60″ at f/8.0

I was recently editing an image with Nik Viveza when I noticed some silvery dots appearing. When I zoomed in to 100% magnification I could see these dots a little larger and they seemed to be covering areas of very saturated colour. The Gamut warning feature was back, or perhaps it never went away.

Gamut warnings seem to cause a lot of confusion so I will try to simplify the situation. When you edit an image it will have a colour space associated with it. Colour spaces determine the range of colours that can be reproduced. Some are quite small such as sRGB and some are very large such as Pro Photo RGB. When a point in an image is changed so that it moves outside the images colour space, it’s said to be out of gamut.

Display and print equipment also have their own colour spaces which reflect the colours they can reproduce. If you have an image edited in a large space such as Pro Photo RGB, it’s quite possible some of the colours in the image will fall outside the colour space of the monitor or printer. These colours are again said to be out of gamut.

A gamut warning shows you where these colours are in the image and can be turned on in software editing tools such as Photoshop. They also used to show up in Nik Viveza which was quite useful and now they seem to be back (although it might be that they have always been here and I didn’t notice). Here’s how to see them when editing from Photoshop.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop
  2. Set up the proofing option. This tells Photoshop which colour space you want to check your image against for Gamut problems. To set the proofing colour space select “View | Proof setup | Custom” from the menu. This will display the “Customize Proof Conditions” dialog as shown below. Here you can select the colour space to proof the image against. For this example, I have selected “sRGB” as its likely to show some warnings.

    Customize Proof Conditions
    Customize Proof Conditions
  3. With the proofing profile set you can now turn on Gamut Warnings in Photoshop by selecting “View | Gamut warning” from the menu. Once you have done this you will see any warnings on the image preview as shown below.

    Image showing Gamut Warning in Photoshop
    Image showing Gamut Warning in Photoshop
  4. It I now edit the image using Nik Viveza whilst I have the Gamut warnings turned on, they also appear in Viveza preview as shown below. I have also chosen to make the warnings more obvious by enhancing saturation and warmth in Viveza.

    Image showing Gamut Warning in Nik Viveza
    Image showing Gamut Warning in Nik Viveza

In summary, the Gamut Warning only seems to display when you have this turned on. It’s a nice feature but unfortunately I haven’t seen it in the other Nik tools.

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