Creating Device Profiles

We do most of our image processing work on a monitor, so profiling the monitor is one of the most important steps when setting up a color-managed workflow. In this section, we turn our attention to building device profiles. The process usually involves two steps:

1. Calibration The aim of calibration is to define a highly accurate, standardized state for the device. For example, when calibrating a monitor, you manually set the controls of your monitor to achieve a certain luminance (or brightness) in the whites on the screen while setting a white point that conforms to an industry standard, such as D50 or D65 (color temperatures of 5,000 or 6,500 Kelvin respectively). Whites on a monitor are produced using a mix of red, green, and blue tones.

2. Characterization When characterizing a device, a target is recorded by the input device or sent to an output device. A target (or test chart) is a set of colored patches with known color values. The profiling program then calculates the device's color profile by comparing the color values recorded by the input device to the known color values of the target. The profile is essentially a translation table of device-dependent color values to device-independent color values (for input devices), or vice versa (for output devices).

To perform either step (especially when calibrating a monitor) it is advisable to use a specialized hardware device such as a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer to measure your colors.

The discussion of profiling techniques in this book will concentrate on monitor and printer profiling.

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