is color management?
way to define color management is to describe it as a process used
to manage color across a number of different devices to ensure consistent
and predictable color.
images demonstrate the need to understand and manage color.
was captured with a digital camera and optimized in Adobe Photoshop.
Both of these images were printed with a high quality ink jet printer
and photographic paper. One print was made with the print driver
set to automatic color, the other utilized a custom profile and
an ICC color workflow to maintain color accuracy. Which image do
you think was made with the auto color setting?
The first image
(left side) was made with the print driver set to automatic. It
has rendered the scenes color inaccurately and most people would
label it as unacceptable, yet this is what many people settle for.
Individuals new to digital photography that are unfamiliar with
color management or a color managed workflow, would most likely
use the color controls (often times color sliders) from their print
driver to change the color more to their liking. The resulting prints
are almost always unsatisfactory and never consistent or predictable.
This approach to managing color can be extremely frustrating and
time consuming and is completely unnecessary, because there is a
line here is that we
need to understand and control our process to ensure consistent
and predictable results.
With both b&w and color silver based photography, process control
was and still is critical. Time, temperature and agitation is critical
to obtaining quality negatives and prints as is properly mixed and
concentrated chemistry. Process control is still critically important
in managing digital color, but instead of monitoring chemicals,
time, temperature etc. our process is now computer driven. We must
correctly manage our files, software, hardware and workflow to obtain
consistent color results.
Here are a
few more images demonstrating the difference between automated color
printing and ICC color managed printing. Can you guess which method
was used with these images?
This last image
may be a little more subtle than the previous images, but it should
still be fairly obvious as to which image has better or more realistic
color. Please note that these images were opened and optimized with
a professional image editing application (Adobe Photoshop) on a
calibrated CRT monitor. The prints were all made on photographic
quality paper. Why the difference?... you'll soon find out.
Concepts and terminology...
good color managed system should offer consistent and predictable