Summary – Profiles are a critical element in working with color. They allow cameras, scanners, monitors, and printers to communicate with one another – in a common language of color. This post presents the A, B. C’s of where profiles fit in your image processing workflow.
This post provides an overview of Profiles
What they do & where they’re used
Profiles are really!! important if you value your images
Even an overview is more than most people want to know
I could write reams on the topic – but to what end???
It’s the type of subject where blog readership falls off a cliff
Who needs color?
It’s highly over rated 😉
For a color space refresher to help understand the rest of the post
Go here a simplified background on color spaces
which are illustrated in figure 1
Here’s all that you need to know about the role of profiles 😉
A profile is a language translator – the language of color
The simplified example of figure 2 illustrates –
Where profiles fit in your image processing workflow
Figure 1 shows that the color spaces used by
Different devices (camera & printer here)
are very different
Figure 1 illustrates how different devices may
See (and not see) colors not seen by other devices
Look closely at the spaces in figure 1 shown for
sRGB (which is figure 2’s example camera space) &
the CMYK space shown for figure 2’s printer
They share colors AND have unique colors as well
and without profiles they lack a common language
to communicate their unique world of color
The camera’s colors would not be
Communicated correctly to the printer
(to say nothing of the likely intervening monitor)
That’s the end of this story about what profiles do
Future posts, e.g. monitor calibration, will say more
If you don’t deal explicitly with profiles
It is likely that your computer O/S and
A few industry standards will take care of you
“Sort of” 😦
Enter the ubiquitous sRGB color space
sRGB was developed in 1996
It is the standard default for low-end
Cameras, monitors, printers
This is what you rely upon (for the most part)
IF you don’t explicitly use Color Management
When you feel “Good is Good Enough“
If Good is Good Enough, sRGB explains why it’s so
But – the rest need a Color Managed Workflow
Take another look at figure 1
sRGB is the smallest color space (fewest colors)
Modern cameras, monitors, & printers
Are capable of generating far more colors
If you rely on sRGB (good enough) you are
Robbing your images of the colors that are
Vibrant & saturated
Left is Adobe RGB’s Green; right is sRGB’s
Is dull & drab really good enough?
If not, you’ve got to start using
Profiles that match your devices (device-specific)
NOT the 1996 least-common-denominator, sRGB
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