what settings control detail and colour accuracy in preview pane ?

Started by Steve01, May 04, 2018, 07:50:04 PM

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see attached, I have done my best and looked in help and couldnt find mention of any settings for altering sharpness/detail and colour in preview pane such as AdobeRGB1998 as I shoot in, for when viewing a CR2 raw file at 100% in iMatch and expecting it to be like the detailed colourful shot I see in Photoshop raw window before any adjustments in pshop raw are carried out.,
i,e looking as per original item I photographed, the sharpness is as can be seen somewhat less and colours are muted.

I found one setting in preferences to do with photools and raw mode and turned it on, see attached before and after. It made zero difference though. I also see compression artefacts .



IMatch is fully color-managed. This means it respects the embedded ICC color profiles in your images and your monitor ICC profile.

What kind of file is this? A RAW file or a JPEG? IMatch uses the embedded preview in RAW files. For JPEG files it loads the original file via Windows WIC and the graphic card. The graphic card is the key factor in the image pipeline. Make sure you have the latest graphic card driver. Your system looks like an old Windows 7 system, so maybe your graphic card driver is also very old...

IMatch does not perform any artificial sharpening and is not pushing the saturation or anything. It shows the image and colors as-is.
Photoshop usually always applies some standard settings when you load a file.


Its a canon 20D raw file, profile in use was AdobeRGB 1998.
Monitor is a top quality Eizo CG247 £1400 just under a year old running AdobeRGB 1998 6400K gamma 2.2 calibrated with the Eizo pop up utility and calibrated as per their tech support which is exemplary I might add.
Graphics card is an MSI GTX970 and one heck of a card, a milestone in graphics cards when released, a game changer, and it  is not dating back to when win7 came out, this PC is not an old PC but built 3 yrs ago or so, I went for win7 for this custom built Photo editing and video editing CAD beast of a PC as wild horses wouldnt have dragged me into windows 8 at the time, and the changes for changes sake Msoft did to the OS. and all colours are just fine.

Of the three cataloging contenders tested this is the most muted and least detailed view, the actual detail is also not there as is clearly obvious from the screen capture which was photoshop RAW window open alongside iMatch, Now with Photosupreme it was also a bit muted (not as much) and a tad less detail and there was a switch to flick to kick in RAW handler and it then matched the RAW view in photoshop, actually was a tad more colourful after that but detail was then same. I am hoping there was a setting to do same.

I wasnt aware photoshop enhanced a RAW file by sharpening it and applying saturation before the user even started tweaking it. This image was without any altering at all of any controls in photoshop. I wasnt aware my camera produced such a dull image lacking detail as this, it would take some recovery if so. I see that Pshop RAW has 25 as default in slider sharpness so taking that down to 0 reduces the detail a tad and attached is another screen sidebyside capture with that at 0, and all other saturation clarity etc sliders at their neutral default positions. There is still more detail, also I see 'frogspawn aberations along edges etc in iMatch, is there a way of reducing the compression ?




Please provide original file somewhere I can download it. Or send it to my support email support email address.
Also select the file in a file window and go to Help menu > Support > WIC diagnosis. We need to know which WIC codec is installed on your system and used to develop the file.

Results in Photoshop will always vary from RAW files developed by the WIC codec installed on your system
If the RAW file contains a suitable embedded JPEG preview, IMatch will use that for display purposes (Photoshop won't).
That can already explain the different results you are seeing.


I assume you compare a jpg produced by the camera with the preview embedded in the raw file.
If so consider:
How the jpg is produced is set within the camera - there are usually all kinds of settings relating to this.
The preview in the raw file is set somehow by the camera - some kind of neutral setting.
How PS ACR presents this depends again on some presets within ACR.

So it is no wonder there are differences.

(I experience this in an extreme case with raw images from a Samsung smartphone. The unprocessed RAW image
looks terrible and I need a lot of tweaking to get the image to match the jpg.)


I have used wetransfer and sent you the original CR2 raw file, I have camera set to shoot raw in adobeRGB1998, I dont shoot raw with jpg, just raw. That was on a 20D, now I have a 70D, ditto settings.
I am comparing DAM softwares on this and other images, so if I see iMatch do this and e.g photosupreme not do this, how is that explained ?
Also attached a cataloging prog as opposed to imatch mission versus pshop, and it does decent previews unlike others of that nature tested, and behold a virtual match to Pshop RAW, unexpected and pleasing.
However it can't find a folder in an easy normal way, so fails at basic . pleasure short lived.



Thumbsplus... lol.. my first DAM circa 1999!  Sorry.. just had to comment....


Please run a WIC diagnosis as instructed above so we can see which WIC codec is installed on your machine.
Select the file in a File Window and then go to Help > Support > WIC diagnosis.

IMatch develops Canon RAW files via the installed WIC codec, and it has paramount impact on the result. If you have an old Canon WIC codec. you use the built-in codecs in Windows, if no codec is installed at all and IMatch falls back to using LibRAW, if the file has an embedded preview in suitable size or the RAW must be developed, which color profile is recorded.

Do you use a custom monitor profile?

IMatch uses both the embedded color profile in your file and your monitor profile for an end-to-end color managed workflow. Some of the other apps you mention in passing don't even do color management so the results will be different from what you see in IMatch.


I have downloaded your image, thanks.

Comparing the "original" image in ACR/Lr (without applying any adjustments) and the image in IMatch's preview panel / Viewer, I don't see any noticeable difference:

The image has a small preview so on my system IMatch extracts the full RAW via the FastPictureViewer CR2 codec.
Note that IMatch does not apply any adjustments to the image, no saturation boost or artificial sharpening contrast enhancements you may see in other applications.


Analyis file attached
Also iMatch compare pshop raw window, compare your image.
My Pshop RAW window is a tad less saturated than ACR/Lr and iMatch is visibly jaded !
also iMatch v Pshop raw 100% where artefacts are visible in imatch versus the pure image of Pshop, already mentioned , but the lack of colour and the lack of purity of image detract and spoil the show in iMatch.

ACR/Lr  what is ACR,...Lr is Lightroom I think.

If Lr is displaying images with more saturation than Pshop RAW window that is somewhat odd if Lr is supposed to display original RAW 'as is'.

The notable thing though is your iMatch has rich colours.

I would like to see the areas I have picked out in this post and in past images showing the artefacts though. Frogspawn, etc, as in high jpg compression. viewed at a zoom equivalent to the image at 100% in RAW window.



The "Photoshop RAW window" is ACR (Adobe Camera RAW).
Probably you have already dialed in some default settings that affect the image.

Again, IMatch does not apply any settings to the image, unless the WIC codec you use does so.
It uses the embedded JPEG for most RAW formats, which usually represents the image as the camera likes to see it, or the software that has processed the RAW and created the embedded preview.

Since your files contain only a very small preview, IMatch loads the full RAW data 'as-is' via the WIC codec and then renders it via DirectX. The only modification IMatch performs is to apply the embedded color profile in the image (if any) and the monitor color profile (if any).

That you get different results for the same RAW file in different applications is totally normal.

Every RAW processor interprets sensor data in different ways and applies different defaults and settings.

A RAW is an undeveloped image, basically just RAW data from the camera sensor. How it is converted into an image depends on your software.
IMatch, as a DAM, is satisfied with being able to display over 150 RAW formats. More is not needed for a DAM.

Your system has only the default WIC codecs installed by Windows.
IMatch uses it do produce a rendition of your image.

If you want "better" results, process the file in the RAW processor your choice and either make it embed a preview with a usable size (IMatch will then use that instead of the RAW data) or convert your RAW files into DNG with an embedded preview.


QuoteIf you want "better" results, process the file in the RAW processor your choice and either make it embed a preview with a usable size (IMatch will then use that instead of the RAW data) or convert your RAW files into DNG with an embedded preview.

I have tens of thousands of raw files , to have to open each one and process it so as to see a better image matching Pshop ACR is impossible, but the other DAM progs tested show image matching ACR, so I dont understand why iMatch is so different and cant do what they do 'out the box'..as it comes etc, or even after settings changes, they all have access to whatever is on my pc, I havent applied any tweaks at all to the image in Pshop RAW window. You say each prog will be different, well they by sheer fluke are all the same except iMatch.

Also the frogspawn round the edges of items in the image in iMatch, again unlike the others that dont do this. Why is that there, nothing do do with colour management.

ACDSee, PhotoSupreme, even a prog like ThumbsPlus, all match Pshop RAW image and also have no frogspawn.

I dont have to process all my raw images for those.




I don't know why you see a difference and I don't.
Or why you are the only user who is reporting this problem while apparently so many other IMatch users have no problems displaying their RAW files in IMatch.

Maybe the WIC codecs installed on your system (the default Microsoft WIC codecs for Canon RAW) don't do a good job. This can happen, depending on your camera model.
I use the FPV codecs, which may produce a better result. Adobe of course uses their own technology to interpret the RAW data in your files.

When I analyze your images in Microsoft's WIC Explorer, I see no difference between the small embedded preview and the full RAW.

As I have shown in my screen shot, there is also a only a minimal difference between the results I get when I look at your image in Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom and in IMatch.

Maybe your WIC codec is faulty or does not handle the image very good. You may want to send your image to Microsoft so they can look at it and what their WIC codec can extract from your file. This is outside of my control.

Try to ignore the Microsoft codecs installed on your system.

Go to Edit > Preferences > Applications.
Search for RAW on that page and enable the option "Prefer photools.com RAW processing".
Select one of your "problem" files and press Shift+Ctrl+F5. Choose "Force Update".

IMatch now re-creates a new cache image and thumbnail, ignoring the WIC codec installed on your system. It now uses the renowned LibRaw processing library. Again. IMatch will apply only the default settings, no artificial enhancements.

If you think the result is better than the result you get from your WIC, keep that setting and rescan all your files.
Else revert the setting back to the default.

At least on my system, the results produced for your sample file by LibRAW are much darker than what WIC produces. I like the results of the FastPictureViewer codecs better. I did not bother to setup a clean Windows to try out the built-in Microsoft codecs on your file. I may do that the next time I prepare Windows versions for a new build-

Note that IMatch does not do RAW processing. It's not an image editor. It either processes your RAW files for display using Windows WIC or the LibRaw library.


Quote from: Mario on May 22, 2018, 07:27:19 AM
I don't know why you see a difference and I don't.
Or why you are the only user who is reporting this problem while apparently so many other IMatch users have no problems displaying their RAW files in IMatch.

I also have problems with color management in IMatch. Some of them were reported here: https://www.photools.com/community/index.php?topic=5074.msg35177#msg35177,
but it affects RAW files as well. The images in IMatch are usually darker than in other viewers and I have to use other software to view them.


IMatch fully supports the built-in ICM in Windows, including color profiles in RAW images.

Please supply a sample file which fails to produce a proper color rendition.

I can run it through the debug version of Windows WIC to see if and how Windows ICM interprets the color profile in your images or if there is a problem. Did you check the IMatch log file for error messages related to ICM? Do you get the same results in the Quick View Panel, Viewer, Slide Show?

The Slide show uses a different rendering pipeline than the Viewer / Quick View Panel. The slide show uses the same 3rd party imaging component used throughout IMatch to produce thumbnail, batch processing, printing, image processing etc. This pipeline is fully color-managed as well, of course.

Which WIC codecs do you have installed? Which are used for your file? Include a WIC diagnosis result in your reply.

I use IMatch with CR2, SRW and NEF RAW files all the time...


Hi Mario,
looked in on that raw setting and it was already set to yes. Had done so early on in flagging up this difference and a reply from you.

but I still then did the select image and force Update, it ran for some time on the folder with the image in, then got stuck on one image, nothing different than the others, for 10 minutes, so I hit dismiss, copied the image using win explorer to another folder and force updated that.

attached results.

No difference. in colour or aberations. :(



So, both the installed WIC codec and the LibRaw library produce images which differ in color appearance from the default settings you see in Adobe camera RAW. This is to be expected, Adobe neither uses WIC or LibRAW to produce an image from the RAW data in your image.

Since the ACR image looks much sharper, I assume that ACR always enhances edges and contract and edge sharpness. IMatch does not do that. IMatch is a software to manage files, not a RAW processor software. When I look at your file in MIcrosofts WIC test tools, it looks exactly as in IMatch. No sharpness applied or other enhancements.

If this is not to your liking, you should use a RAW processor software to process your images before you manage them in IMatch. Save the resulting image as DNG, and IMatch will show it exactly ad you have prepared it in Lr, C1, SilkyPix or whatever RAW processing software you use.

I have imported your file via PS ACR (default settings for that CR2 variant and camera) and then displayed the file in the IMatch Viewer at 100% too.
Then I created a composite of both (left image in PS after importing it via ACR, right IMatch Viewer).

I think that the rendition is quite acceptable, given that for a DAM only the ability to display RAW files is important, not to develop them with dozens of settings. That's why you combine a DAM like IMatch with a RAW processor / image editor.


A RAW file is just that... bits of data that is meant to be intrepreted by software and then rendered in that fashion.. there is not defined standard on how to render a RAW file unless you have an established preview image embedded into that RAW file.  This is one reason why I always export to JPG and only show the JPG images in IMatch... I want to see the ACTUAL edits I make to all RAW files... if you don't want to edit the files - then use a RAW editor that can apply a minimal global set of adjustments upon import (bump clarity, reduce highlights, add a bit of sharpness) and then export those to JPG for IM to use (or to version with the originals).  I do this with Capture One - but of course LR and other applications offer this option as well.


QuoteIf this is not to your liking, you should use a RAW processor software to process your images before you manage them in IMatch
I just dont understand why the other progs tested all manage to make a raw file look like it does in photoshop raw window, yet I have to process and deal with tens of thousands of raw files, which I simply dont have time for, so that iMatch can then manage to do what they do as well.

...and what of the artefacts typical of high compression ? Where did they come from ?

They are not there in the native raw file, such things get added but raw files dont start out with frogspawn.

Photosupreme matches colour and lacks the frogspawn. Initialy it ddnt but turning on the Photosupreme handles raw setting it then did, in fact its then a tad richer and sharper.
ThumbsPlus matches colour ( a tad less) and lacks the frogspawn.

I havent had to process thousands of raw files for them to manage that.

see what even ThumbsPlus manages to do.  Note its clarity/sharpness is same as RAW as seen in pshop. note it has no compression artefacts, its as pure as the raw in pshop pic.

This from a prog that isn't a photo prog as such in the way iMatch or Photosupreme are designed, i.e. more a cataloger of all files. Though Photosupreme is designed in fact to handle all files.


QuoteSince the ACR image looks much sharper, I assume that ACR always enhances edges and contract and edge sharpness. IMatch does not do that. IMatch is a software to manage files, not a RAW processor software. When I look at your file in MIcrosofts WIC test tools, it looks exactly as in IMatch. No sharpness applied or other enhancements.

I open a cr2 file into pshop, the first page of sliders are all at 0, I open the sharpness page, its at 25, so for these comparison I drag it to 0, thus no alterations, no sharpness added.



I cannot do more for you, sorry.
IMatch is an asset management software, not a RAW processor. Developing and optimizing RAW files to your requirements is not part of its feature set. That is what you use your RAW processor for.

I showed you how the file looks here in ACR / PS and IMatch. Not much of a difference.
If you get the same (!) results on your system by using the Microsoft WIC codec AND the totally different LibRAW processing, something is messed up badly. These are totally disjoint technologies and they will interpret the RAW data in your file differently.

What minimum cache size have you set for IMatch under Edit > Preferences > Cache?
It should be 2000 pixel at least to ignore the small embedded preview in your image file.

Maybe you will be happier using one of the many other software you seem to already have (PhotoSupreme, ACDSee, ThumbsPlus, Photoshop, ...). Whatever works for you is good.


I checked here also own images with Photoshop RAW and IMatch viewer.

In my case the differences are very small. There are, but really very small.
And at least IMatch for me is a DAM. Every change in an image, like colour and sharpness I do in Photoshop.

I usse IMatch for culling and for this the viewer is great.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)


attached the cache panel as found, I havent been altering it at all, its as delivered by install, one assumes its set to ideal settings.

Is that it set on 75 when you say 2000 ?

should it not be 2000 as it comes with install ?

If I were to set quality to 100 would that get rid of the frogspawn ? I try that as well as 75 altered to 2000 and rescan the folder with the image in it but no difference.

I also turn off use embedded preview but no change. I am interested to know what setting controls the detail being lost and compression being applied ?

see differences between imatch thumbsPlus and Pshop raw sharp 0.

To improve the fuzzyness and compression artefacts would be a step fwd.

note the clarity purity detail and artefacts or lack of at A B and C in image. I wwas hopeful that altering 75 to 100 would see changes.

these other progs all have issues. Not one does the basic set required. one that handles removeable media has declared folders missing when I update the drive, it thinks its looking at previous drive, ThumbsPlus cannot search on folder names, one has to create keywords from folder names and use those, 100,000,000 keywords just to find a folder, but it doesnt cope with AbuttedNamesWhenDoingSo. Wincatalog is very slow and doesnt support psd, has no large preview. AbeMeda previews are very poor fuzzy etc, ACDSee cannot handle removeable media at all, and so it goes on. Lr cant handle non photo files.



QuoteIs that it set on 75 when you say 2000 ?
No, I think Mario refers to the "Minimal size" entry in the preferences (one line below the "Quality" setting with value 75 you are referring to). Your screen shot shows it is set to 640, so, if your RAW files contain a embedded preview of this size you might end up with this. Please try to use 2000 for "Minimal size", as Mario suggests, maybe it makes a positive difference.

Just as a hint: If you select a setting (e.g. "Quality"), a short explanatory text is shown at the bottom of the preferences window.
Win 10 / 64, IMatch 2018, IMA


And MAYBE the amount of quality could also create a better cache.

It is often (I believe default) at 75%, maybe a higher percent could be better.
And the maximum cache size could also be bigger then only 10GB.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)


This explains a lot.

With only 640 as the minimum cache size, IMatch you force IMatch to use the small embedded preview in your file, not loading the full RAW.
This may lead to other results than what we see on our machines, where IMatch is allowed to develop the RAW.

Set this to 2000 pixel to ignore the small preview.
Then force a rescan of your file by selecting it in the file window, then pressing Shift+Ctrl+F5 > Force Rescan.
IMatch will now ignore the small embedded JPEG preview and use the full RAW file.

I wonder why you had only 640 pixel in that field.
The default for IMatch 5.5 / 2017 and later is 1920 pixel, to require at least "HD" resolution.
Most RAW files with small embedded previews stick to 1024, or else embed a full 100% RAW. Hence this is a very workable threshold.

640 pixels was used by old IMatch versions. But I was under the impression that you were new to IMatch.
Or did did you perhaps have installed / used iMatch previously on that machine? An older version? That would explain the old default setting.


maybe the explanatory text for the "Minimal Size" entry should be updated? It (still) states "A value of about 400 is better." That could be a bit confusing to new customers if the recommended value is something on the lines of Full HD.

Win 10 / 64, IMatch 2018, IMA


This text has already been revised for IMatch 2018.


Quote from: thrinn on May 24, 2018, 11:10:34 AM
maybe the explanatory text for the "Minimal Size" entry should be updated? It (still) states "A value of about 400 is better." That could be a bit confusing to new customers if the recommended value is something on the lines of Full HD.

That I did (set to 400), but had no problems, the viewer is fine.  :D
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)


but that last image posted, called 'compare after 2000 100 'was done AFTER altering prefs to 2000 and 100 and applying the suggested 'Force Rescan'. no difference.
and I also then altered 'use embedded preview' from yes to no, just in case that made a difference, ran the force update yet again, and still no difference.

so I have already done as suggested.

However I will do it again, just to prove so. I will also increase cache , but to what, ????       slider goes to 1000 in one click, what should it be at ?

699Gb I shall try pending your feedback .

I will post this then report back with how it looks second time around.

attached the settings I am about to try again.
Should I be going with use embedded preview yes or no ?
I shall try both ways, but wish to know which is suggested.

Do note these settings in prefs which I had not altered until this was mentioned, are as they came, I see I have a prior download aug 2017, may have also tried out iMatch back then.

ok and reporting back see atrached, some changes evident, but notably its darker, thats killed it in another way now,  noticed that as soon as it came onto screen. white specks better and loss of fuzz artefacts, yet last post was also embedded profile 'no' 2000 100 , the only difference being 699 and not 10gb.



IMatch shows the result of whatever your WIC codec (or LibRAW) returns as the pure, undeveloped RAW. Except ICC color management, no operations are performed.

I can only repeat: The results will differ from what you will get from Adobe software. Or C1. Or SilkyPix. Or from one of the other RAW developers. You don't use a DAM to develop your RAW files.
For IMatch it is fully sufficient to be able to display a rendition of the RAW file.

As I and other users have demonstrated above, the results in IMatch are on most machines absolutely sufficient for a DAM. You can see the RAW. That's all that is needed.
Nobody uses a DAM to look at RAW files under other aspects as pure file management.

If you need more, IMatch is not the software for you. Usually users combine the IMatch DAM with a proper RAW development software and/or Photoshop.
If you don't want to use a separate RAW Processor / Image editor. I suggest you look at Adobe Lightroom or ACDSee or other all-in-one packages.


Quote from: Mario on May 24, 2018, 09:16:42 PM
Usually users combine the IMatch DAM with a proper RAW development software and/or Photoshop.

I do so.
IMatch for DAM (culling, organize, finding ...) and Photoshop and Photoshop RAW for "develop" and edit the files.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)


and here it is after a reboot.
with embed profile no then altered to yes.

so I am using all the suggested settings.

should that be set to no or yes. please tell me.

But why is it dark now ??? and should I accept this dark image as how it will be with iMatch. would you all accept these darker images, makes the entire photo set I have look dreadfull. surely DAM is better than that ??? the other ones tested dont do that, I am sure imatch can be as good. is it that this is how it should be for us ?

I am hopint to show results of tests and the chosen DAM to fellow photo librarians etc etc, I cant show them this !

If I can get it bright again then I have reached the goal !!!

I so dearly want this to look like you have it. why have I now gained detail and lost the artefacts, which is a real step forward...but its too dark.

, and is this acceptable to have versus the other DAM and not so DAM softwares, as they all look much the same, I am so wishing to get iMatch to look near or same, as opposed to 'well its a picture of the same thing', judge its use by opening up in pshop.
The others allow judgement of its potential in them.

This is a crazy hurdle I cannot get over here.

That darkness though, surely not acceptable to anyone ? why has it gone notably darker ?  :'( :'( :'(

How do I solve that, al I did was alter settings , cache basically as I already had tried 2000 and 100 qlty yesterday and they made no difference to detail or artefacts or darkness.

and should it be yes or no to embed preview, please tell me please....



Here are how others tested compare on suggested settings, though I await feedback on cache Gb and yes or no to embedded preview.
yes or no made no difference on darkness though.

They are all about equally bright, except iMatch, such a shame. that all images now viewed in iMatch are a good 1 step underexposed . makes my photography appear poor, I have to open an image to see if its any good, with the others I can tell beforehand far better, and apply stars and tags etc , which I thought was the idea. Why the difference ? if thats how it should be then b/w mode might as well get used, saves on disk space.



As I said, can't help you any further. I neither control how the WIC codec interprets the RAW, or LibRAW, if you use that.
IMatch does not perform any manipulations on the RAW, except for applying the ICC profile.

Making a RAW presentable would at least require camera-specific histogram operations, lens-specific corrections and all that. But that's what a RAW processor is for. Not a DAM.
Only your RAW processor can show you what you can expect from your images after developing it. And every RAW processor will produce a different outcome.


The "Maximum cache size" is only relevant if you also set "Purge" to "Yes". Alas, both settings only control how much disk space (max) will be used by the cache (e.g. JPG representations of your RAW files). If you have lots of free space on the drive where the cached images are stored (look at the bottom of the preferences window to find out where the cache folder is located), you can set "Purge" to "no". Or set is to "yes" and the "Maximum cache size" to e.g. 300 GB - or how much GB you are willing to "reserve" for the cache.
But these two settings do not influence how an image is displayed.

You might set "Quality" to 85, if you want (80 is the default), but in my experience there is seldom a visible difference in the resulting JPGs.
Win 10 / 64, IMatch 2018, IMA



As Mario suggested previously, did you try FPV (Fast Picture Viewer Codec)? I have used this now for many years and it consistently displays better RAW files in IMatch and Windows Explorer for all my various raw formats (Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic).

At least try it out if you have not done so.


Another endorsement for FPV Codec https://www.fastpictureviewer.com/codecs/. Works great, no issues for me.


FPV.. been using for years and don't think or worry about codecs...