Aperture 3 Color Space Strangeness

A while back a reader emailed me with a color management issue regarding Aperture 3 profile conversions. The file above is pretty simple (his file). The file has a color space of Adobe 1998 and that green block happens to be out of gamut in sRGB. No big deal right? Well it turns out to be a big deal unless one of us can figure out what is going on here.

Here is the issue. If you import this Adobe 1998 profile image into Aperture 3. Then export it to with an export preset that targets the same exact Adobe 1998 profile as the target color space the color of the image changes. The behavior is odd to say the least in that it seems the farther out of gamut the color is from sRGB the worse the issue.

At first I thought this was no big deal. What I thought was that Aperture was converting on import to a different internal working space like ProPhoto and just using a different conversion method than what might be set up in this persons Photoshop color settings. This kind of thing would happen if let's say Your Photoshop color settings were set up to convert to a ProPhoto working space on opening the file using relative colormetric and Aperture was converting to ProPhoto using absolute colormetric. Turns out this doesn't seem to be the case…

I have tried every combination of profile conversions and assignments I could imagine in Photoshop and cannot even come close to reproducing the results from a simple import/export in Aperture 3. I went through this to try to determine exactly what profile conversions were happening in Aperture 3 on import so that we could all be more informed about what color spaces to use when importing non-RAW files into Aperture 3 and even what color spaces to use for external editors. I can find no answers.

Just a note - I even tried an Aperture import of a ProPhoto version of this image (what is assumed to be the internal working space of Aperture) and ended up with the same un-explainable results.

So - either myself, the reader, and a few people who have verified this behavior are suffering from some sort of hallucination/mental block or localized retardation, or… we have an issue and a quite serious one at that. I am posting this in hope that others working on this and looking at this can inform both myself and the Aperture 3 community at large on what the hell is going on here and we can work on the best way to deal with it.


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