Introduction to Color Management Overview
This document provides a general introduction to the basics of color and color management. Read this document to learn about:
The values used to describe color
Color conversion and color matching
The role of color management systems
Color management is the process of maintaining consistent color among devices. Different imaging devices such as scanners, displays, and printers work in different color spaces, and each can have a different gamut (the range of colors a device can display). Color displays from different manufacturers all use RGB colors but may have different RGB gamuts as a result of the device type and its age. Printers and presses work in CMYK space and can vary drastically in their gamuts, especially if they use different printing technologies. Even a single printer’s gamut can vary significantly depending on the ink or type of paper in use. It’s easy to see that conversion from RGB colors on an individual display to CMYK colors on an individual printer using a specific ink and paper type can lead to unpredictable results.
Who Should Read This Document
This document provides the conceptual foundation developers need to understand ColorSync developer documentation. You should be familiar with the concepts in this document before you read ColorSync Manager Reference.
The information in this document is also useful for anyone who works with color and wants to understand the challenges of maintaining consistent color from input device (scanner, digital camera) to output device (monitor, printer, printing press).
Organization of This Document
This document is divided into these chapters:
Color: A Brief Overview discusses color perception and additive and subtractive color systems.
Color Spaces describes how different peripheral devices represent color and the values used to represent color.
Color Management Systems discusses the color matching problem and how color management systems maintain consistent color among devices.
For information on ColorSync, Apple’s standards-based solution for color management, see:
ColorSync Manager Reference, provides a complete reference for the ColorSync Manager application programming interface.
For more information on color theory and color spaces, see:
Bruce Fraser, Fred Bunting, and Chris Murphy. Real World Color Management, first edition. Peachpit Press, 2003.
Roy S. Berns. Billmeyer and Saltzman’s Principles of Color Technology, third edition. Wiley-Interscience, 2000.
James D. Foley, Andries van Dam, Steven K. Feiner, and John F. Hughes. Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice in C, second edition. Addison-Wesley, 1995.
Roy Hall. Illumination and Color in Computer Generated Imagery. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988.
R.W.G. Hunt. Measuring Colour, third edition. Fountain Pr LTD, 2001.
Günther Wyszecki and W.S. Stiles. Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, second edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2000.