Firstly: I know this problem has been around and recurrently emerges since around 2014. Many OSs and program updates happened since then. Some solved the problem (cfr. Lightroom version 5.7 that fixed the issue for some), some broke the toy again.
I want to acknowledge some of those who have been writing and looking for a solution in the past years by sharing the links to those threads and thus the knowledge within them:
this guy has a different take on the problem, stating that it could happen the OPPOSITE of what most are experiencing, which is: color managed applications showing wrong colors, not the other way around.
The following is the bug report I submitted today to Apple, slightly edited
It seems that ColorSync (?) misinterprets color profiles.
I had a similar problem in high Sierra with a LUT based ICC profiles made with DisplayCAL. I solved it by creating a simpler profile with the default "colormunki photo" software.
The problem is MUCH worse in Mojave. And it is worrying me (and other professional I believe).
With ANY ICC profile, including the original default profile, there is a notable difference between the image rendering within a) Photoshop, b) Lightroom (both library and develop module) and c) preview/quickview.
In very simple terms: you modify a (raw) picture in Lightroom, then you export it and open it in Photoshop and it looks different (in Photoshop shadows are smoother). Then you open the same image with Preview and darker values look clipped and color looks shifted.
The "custom ICC profile" in my long experience is always "warmer" then the default apple ICC profile. The interesting thing is that the color shift within Preview, when comparing it to Photoshop, is towards blue, almost complementary to the ICC profile change. I don't know how to interpret it, but it seems relevant.
It happens with sRGB and adobeRGB embedded profiles, so I think it's not an "input profile interpretation" but a "monitor CMM" issue.
the most troubling thing is that if you open a raw file in Lightroom/CR and its high resolution jpeg or tiff in Photoshop the images look different. This should not be.
I tried with a 16-bit adobeRGB tiff and with a sRGB jpeg, with the same result: dark areas are more clipped in Lightroom then in photoshop.
Some suggested that enabling soft-proofing in Lightroom to emulate the current monitor profile shows the correct color. I have tried it and it doesn't change a bit.
As a side note: when I experienced the problem years ago, in Mavericks/CameraRaw, disabling GPU for CameraRaw solved the mismatch. So I know it can be a GPU issue in some cases. Not this time. I tried with and with GPU acceleration enabled and disabled. Nothing changes.
It's a most serious bug. It means that I'm modifying the raw file in an arbitrary way because It's being displayed wrong. It makes working unpredictable.
Hours of editing being done in Lightroom, sometimes to export a deliverable (-> not a file to be further edited in PS), to realize that once opened in PS or printed they look different: that the client will print it differently.
It's a humongous issue.
It's so huge that I can hardly believe that every creative who uses an apple product and calibrates their monitor (as it should be) has this problem.
Steps to Reproduce:
A.1) calibrate and characterize the monitor you are using: use any probe (colormunki, x-rite, Spyder etc), calibrate to 6500°K + 2.2 gamma + original luminosity, then characterize with the default settings. You can test both V2 and V4 ICC profiles. In my experience the rendering mismatch is persistent.
A.2) if you want to exacerbate the effect, create a LUT-based profile, for example with DisplayCAL + Argyll. The OS will really flip.
- open any raw image in Lightroom or camera raw.
- export the image (can be jpg or tif with sRGB or adobeRGB embedded profile).
- open this image in photoshop (set color to general pre-press) and preview / quickview.
- put them side by side and compare dark areas with detail (like hair or any dark pattern)
- without closing the programs, open "system preferences->monitor->color" and use a different monitor profile, if possible a custom profile you created for your specific monitor using a probe (see A.1)
- close system preferences
- compare the images again
Images should be identical
Each program displays dark areas differently. blacks are clipped. may also present a color cast.
Issue tested on latest OS (Mojave 10.14.4 (18E226) freshly installed) and original Adobe software (Lightroom CC 8.2 build 1204643; CR 11.2) on a new 2018 MacBook Pro.
It also happened with High Sierra on the same 2018 mbp and with an older mid 2012 non-retina MacBook Pro (Nvidia GPU).
I hope someone suggests a solution, or that the cause is finally identified and solved, once and for all.
Thank you. Peace. Guido