Gamut

A colour gamut identifies a specific range of colours from a larger range of colours identifiable by the human eye.

  • When reproducing colours on a digital display or print, gamut refers to a complete subset of colours that is less smaller than those that can be distinguished by an observer. The subset relates to the colours that can be accurately reproduced by the technology at hand.
  • Gamut is also sometimes used to refer to the complete set of colours found within an image at a given time. In this context, digitizing a photograph, converting a digitized image to a different colour space, or outputting it to a given medium using a certain output device generally alters its gamut, in the sense that some of the colours in the original are lost in the process.
  • The range of perceived colours (visible to a human observer) is always greater than the range that can be reproduced by any digital process, or display device (screen, monitor, projector).
  • Digital cameras, scanners, monitors, and printers are all limited to the range of colours they can sense, store and reproduce.
  • A colour gamut is established to make these differences clear and to reconcile the colours that can be used in common between devices.
  • A device that can reproduce the entire visible colour space corresponding with human perception is an unrealized goal within the engineering of display devices and printing processes.
  • When colours within a colour space cannot be reproduced using a specific colour space or display device those colours are said to be out of gamut.

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