Part of

The Photographer's Digital Workshop





What is Color Management?
A Color Management System (CMS) is the calibration of your input devices with your output devices to produce consistent, predictable color. Examples of input devices are scanners and digital cameras. Output devices include your monitor, desktop printer, film recorder, and even the printed page.

The monitor is a significant importance in this calibration process as it serves as a preview of your finished piece. The promise of color management is WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get).

Scanner/digital camera characterization is accomplished by scanning a color target into the computer. The color values of the scan are compared to known values and a translation table is produced. These tables are called ICC (International Color Consortium) Device Profiles. Similar profiles are produced from every device in the system. Device profiles can be obtained from the manufacturers hardware devices or produced by you using specialized software.

To calibrate your monitor, requires a color measuring device that attaches to the screen to measure color (colorimeter). These devices come bundled with software packages or can be obtained separately. The new inexpensive versions (under $1,000) of these devices are responsible for the availability of color management to the individual or small business. Previously, such devices were over $10,000.

Color Management involves specialized software that communicates the calibration of each device to the computer which makes adjustments to match the color gamut (palette or range of colors a device can produce) of one device to another.

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 This page was last updated on Mon, May 19, 1997 at 1:29:47 AM

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