Color management is all about linking different processes and creating independent workflows for color data. In order to establish a standard, rules and specifications have been defined. Especially the ICC profiles by the European Color Initiative (ECI) improved color management significantly. But sometimes standard is not good enough!
The team at Serum-Network is always eager to achieve the best possible results. Therefore we developed our own tools and profiles without ignoring the ICC specifications.
To give you an idea what difference profiles can make in a color transformation check out the following example: This is an eciRGB test image that is created to check the transformation smoothness of a color profile.
When you convert this images in Adobe Photoshop perceptive to standard ISOcoatedV2 (ECI) you get the following result:
The CMYK target color space is way smaller than the RGB source color space, therefore some color differences are normal effects due to different gamut size. The important point here is that throughout the conversion the smooth color gradations gets lost and even color shifts become visible. ECI profiles try to compensate lower saturation by manipulating the color transformation slightly. The colors are than higher saturated, however, some colors are drifting. Sometimes pure yellow turns out to be greenish and blue might drift into purple.
Dropouts in the color gradation and mainly color differences can be very ugly and minimize the quality of your color reproduction depending on your image. Now, when you do a perceptual color transformation with our CC_ISOcoatedV2 profile you will get this:
You can see that color gradation is smoother, there are less dropouts and color shiftings are minimized. Compare for instance the blue corner on the right: CC stays blue and does not drift into purple like in case of the ECI profile.
The CC profiles are written with a special software that uses optimized algorithms for the profil generation. The outcome profile focuses on smooth transformation without color manipulation for a higher "fake" saturation. What that means for color transformation can be seen above. You could even drive it further and combine these profiles with DeviceLink technology. The results using DeviceLink conversion are remarkable, but more about that in another blog.
What you should learn from this article is, that ECI profiles usually bring out good results and most people would be fine with it. However, for high value color reproduction you should use a software or work with color specialists that go beyond standard color management.
*NOTICE: to display the images correct, use Safari and a calibrated monitor, but you should get the point even without
(Blog post first published: Serum-Network)