In photography, the main goal of colour management is to control the accurate capture of original colours and ensure consistent reproduction of specific colours or entire gamuts throughout the creative process.
When producing a photo, colour management is used to ensure consistent output across various devices, including digital cameras, scanners, monitors, TV screens, computer printers, and offset printing presses.
Colour management compensates for the differences in technologies, devices, and media all of which may have distinct capacities for reproducing gamuts and intensities of colour, potentially leading to unintended shifts in appearance.
At the consumer level, all operating systems include built-in colour management by default.
Most hardware and software related to visual design and image reproduction offer colour management options that can be set by default or require configuration based on specific purposes.
The International Colour Consortium’s (ICC) colour management system serves as a comprehensive industrial standard for cross-platform colour management.
The principal components of a colour management system include:
A typical colour management workflow starts by ensuring that colours seen through a camera viewfinder are captured and digitally recorded. Editing software such as Adobe CC allows extensive choices to be made about the appearance of images. When the workflow demands it, the calibration of monitors ensures information is accurately reproduced when viewed on screen. A successful outcome is one where all the decisions made during the editing process are accurately rendered in the resulting image.
A. Image capture B. Image editing C. Monitoring images D. Image output
Monitor calibration tools ensure accurate colour across the visible spectrum and fine tonal adjustment. Professional monitor calibration packages include:
Wacom Colour Manager
D. Image Output
Colour management systems use output device profiles to prepare and translate the data in edited documents to match the capabilities of an output device and ensure the best possible match.
To ensure consistency across applications, Adobe CC provides options to be selected in the Colour Settings dialogue box that ensures all applications are synchronized to use the same device-independent colour space.
RGB Colour Settings options include:
Adobe RGB (1998)
An extensive range of CMYK colour space options are also available.
A. Lab colour space (entire visible spectrum) B. Documents (working space) C. Devices
This diagram illustrates the generic colour gamuts of different types of devices and documents.
A colour theory is a set of principles and concepts used to understand how colour works, how colours relate to each other, and how they are perceived or interpreted by the human eye. A colour theory allows us to predict in advance how colour behaves in practice.
A colour model is a practical application of colour theory. In both industrial and design contexts a colour model is and mathematical representation or system for creating a full range of colours using a set of primary colours. Examples include the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) model for light-based colours and the CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) model for pigment-based colours. The choice of a colour model depends on the medium (light, paint, ink, etc.) and the application (canvas, monitor, printer, etc.).
A colour space is a specific organization of colours derived from a colour model. It can be used to define a gamut or subset of colours that can then be successfully applied within a particular context or for a specific purpose. Examples of colour spaces used in digital design include sRGB and Adobe RGB within the RGB model, each of which encompasses a different range of colours.
Colour Management System
These are systems or protocols designed to ensure consistent and accurate colour reproduction across different devices, media, and lighting conditions. They consider the specifications of the devices used to capture, edit, or display colour, as well as the lighting conditions in which colours are viewed.
In summary, a colour theory provides the underlying concepts, a colour model provides a framework to represent these concepts, a colour space defines a specific range of colours that can be generated within the parameters of the model, and a colour management system ensures consistency and accuracy in reproducing colours across different contexts and devices.