Why You Need to Understand Color Management

If you post a photo on the Web and ask different people to discuss its color quality, the colors reproduced on everyone's monitors will be slightly different if they are not all color-managed. Some monitors may not even render some RGB values at all but clip them to a different (hopefully similar) color. Color management exists to significantly reduce this type of problem.

The challenge is how to get a monitor to display a correct rendition of how a certain image will print on a specific color printer. The latest inkjet printers produce amazing results, but without proper color management, color printing remains a largely trial-and-error process. Changing a printer's color settings for every print is not a satisfactory solution.

The solution involves determining the basic color characteristics of a device and using them as a reference when reading colors from an input device or when sending color to an output device. Essentially, you put a "tag" on color images that precisely defines how the color values of the image are to be interpreted.

Note: Because most people use their monitor as their soft-proofing device, the first step toward complete color management is to profile your monitor.

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