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How did IT accelerate color management?

Broad customer base for high-quality color demanded a solution for color consistency. Achieving the right color resulted in a never-ending development process, consuming time and resources. The solution: introducing color management, a process where the color characteristics for every device in the imaging chain is known precisely and utilized to better predict and control color reproduction.

Why Color Matters?

Several industries demonstrate that color consistency standards are pivotal in marketing & sales and in shaping brand identity.

Colors that sell are a crucial commercial tool for the automotive, textile & apparel, paint & coating, printing & publishing, digital imaging, food, fashion and many other industries. Because most end users can’t precisely articulate their preferences, understanding of what is required at the technical level to reproduce consistent color on a day-to-day basis is a challenge.

How Can Color Be Reproduced?

As color is a result of interactions between light sources, physical objects, and the human visual system, color management challenge begins with modeling the complex and variable nature of these physical and psychological effects.

Reproducing color is constrained by differences between capabilities and closed-source technologies in devices, device drivers, applications, operating systems, and networks. In fact, until color proliferated in the consumer electronics market, this was the interior problem of the high-end printing and publishing industries.

To obtain predictable color reproduction a set of software packages, color comparison applications and spectrophotometers need to efficiently interact. Computers perform color management based on personalized table, or “color profile,” for every device which associates each number with a measured color.

The process is simple: when the computer communicates colors with another device, it does not merely send numbers, but also specifies how those numbers are intended to appear. Color-managed software can then take this profile into account and adjust the numbers sent to the device accordingly.

These profiles have to be presented in a standardized way to be read by all programs. The International Color Consortium (ICC) was established in 1993 to create an open, standardized color management system which is now used in most computers.

This system determined three key concepts: color profiles, color spaces, and translation between color spaces. A color space relates numbers to actual colors and contains all realizable color combinations. Upon color reproduction on another device, color spaces can show whether you will be able to retain shadow/highlight detail, color saturation, and by how much either will be compromised.

How Did Software Development Change Color Management?

The two principle color management techniques are colorimetry and spectrophotometry.

Colorimetry quantifies color by measuring three primary color components of light seen by the human eye, specifically, red, green and blue.

Spectrophotometry is a precise and accurate technique for the measurement, formulation and quality control of desired colors: it measures the spectral reflectance or transmittance of an object across the full spectrum of human visible light wavelengths, 400 nm to 700 nm (nanometers), enabling precise specification of any desired color.

Software applications used in colorimetry and spectrophotometry made the essential processes with color – measurement, matching, formulating, quality control – easily reproducible. In addition to this, software solutions in color management have assured shorter lead time, have cut production costs by reducing the amount of dye utilized and significantly reduced manufacturing pollutants by discarding dyes that don’t match specifications.

As a conclusion, getting involved with the set of software packages and procedures called color management:

– will result in efficient manufacturing costs;
– will boost sales in general;
– will stimulate online retail.

As software applications calibrating the monitor enable users to see the virtual color result of their print product, they may be more willing to do their shopping online, since the image they see better reflects the actual appearance of the product.

Codespring expertise in color management

Client profile:

Datacolor Inc. –  a global leader in color management solutions and color communication technology

Technical competences in the process:

– software development for spectrophotometer driver;

– software applications for paint calibration for retail;

– software solutions for paint communication for the automobile industry;

– full life-cycle software testing with Mercury Quality Center.