ColorNews Issue #7

Evaluating Color Graphically

C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue #7
April 29th, 2003


Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on all things related to Color
Management. We are striving for a regular consistent newsletter of high
value to our customers. Please let us know what your interests are so we
can address these concerns in our coming issues.

This month we would like to draw particular attention to two items:

** ColorThink v2.1 for Windows is shipping!! See details below.

** 'DIGITAL CAMERA PROFILING: IS IT FOR ME?' seminar event by CHROMiX will
be May 6th in Portland, Oregon and May 7th in Seattle, Washington. If you're
in the area, don't miss this no-cost education event! See details below.

Table of Contents

1. CHROMiX News
2. Color News
3. Shows and Events
4. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is on Evaluating Color Graphically
5. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)


There have been several things happening at CHROMiX in the last few weeks
since our last newsletter that are worth mentioning here:

- CHROMiX will be hosting 'DIGITAL CAMERA PROFILING: IS IT FOR ME?' seminar
on May 6th in Portland, Oregon and May 7th in Seattle, Washington. See
details below in Shows and Events.

- !!!!ColorThink v2.1 for Windows is now shipping!!!! We are very excited
to see our powerful visualization tool running very well on Windows. It
takes full advantage of OpenGL graphics and will soon be everything all our
friends on Windows have been waiting for! Pricing for both the Windows
version 2.1 and Mac version 2.0 is now $149. ColorThink is still the best
deal in color management. Of course, we're biased, and we're confident you
will be too once you see the value of this amazing tool. To order, call
sales at 866-CHROMiX Extension #1, or email sales(at) or simply
order online at:

- Last month's release of our ColorValet Press Kit for profiling of printing
presses has been very well received and we appreciate your interest! These
high-quality sheet-averaged profiles are only $299 per paper stock. We have
been building press profiles onsite and in our lab for years now and are
excited to be offering this formalized ColorValet service. You run the
press, we build the profiles. here

- Customer Service Representative - Carolyn Boone (Extension #8) is our
beloved CSR and a very important aspect of keeping CHROMiX customers happy.
She has the relationships with manufacturers and the CHROMiX capacity to
solve non-technical problems. If you have a customer service need, don't
hesitate to contact her directly at 866-CHROMiX Extension 8 or email her at

- Training facility - because of the move to our larger Seattle facility
recently, we now offer individual or classroom training, customized to fit
your specific needs. We still offer our on-site and remote services, but
this adds a dimension that many customers have requested. Please call Rick
Hatmaker at 866-CHROMiX x7 or hatmaker(at) for more information.

Color News

ME?' seminar on May 6th in Portland, Oregon and May 7th in Seattle,
Washington. See details below in Shows and Events.

- April 15th is tax day in the U.S. A., but is also the day that
GretagMacbeth "officially" released their new products, which are very much
worth mentioning again: (actual shipping should start this week)

- Eye-One Display, a colorimeter-based unit for measuring and
profiling CRT's & LCD's. It comes with open-license software compatible with
Macintosh OS 9/X and Windows. The Eye-One Display replaces the Eye-One
Monitor. CHROMiX ColorGear price is $239.

- NOTE: GretagMacbeth is offering a $200.00 upgrade coupon from EyeOne
Display to either EyeOne Photo or Publish (below).

- Eye-One Photo, includes the popular EyeOne Pro device and software.
It will calibrate & profile monitors (Mac/PC and CRT/LCD), take spot
measurements, measure ambient light, measure other target charts and profile
RGB only output(most inkjets). CHROMiX ColorGear price is $1399, a great price for this
professional quality solution.

- Eye-One Publish (which replaces the Eye-One Pro+Match) does
everything Eye-One Photo does (above) plus CMYK output profiling and
reflective scanner profiling. ColorGear price is $2519.

- Eye-One Beamer (totally NEW!) This cool device measures and
calibrates monitors AND Projectors, take spot measurements, measure ambient
light and comes with it's own convenient carrying case. CHROMiX ColorGear
price is $1495. A must for presenters!

- LAST NOTE: There will be a free upgrade for all current Match 1.X
customers to version 2.0 match.


- May 6 & May 7, CHROMiX and Integrated Color Corporation will be hosting
'DIGITAL CAMERA PROFILING: IS IT FOR ME?'. Photographers, Photo Studios,
Photo Labs and Digital Artists will learn what it takes, what it costs and
what are the business and quality benefits to a color managed workflow using
custom profiles for digital cameras. ColorEyes 2020, Phase One Capture One
software and Adobe Photoshop will be highlighted to illustrate practical
applications. The first event is May 6th at 6:00pm at Scardina & Wilson
Photo Studio, 2246 NE Oregon St. (entrance on NE 23rd) in Portland, OR
97232. The second event will be May 7th at 6:00pm at Darrell Peterson
Photography Studio, 217 West Galer Street in Seattle, WA 98119.
If you're in the area, don't miss this valuable and educational session.
This is a no-cost event.
RSVP, email Rick Hatmaker at hatmaker(at) Seating is limited.

- May 1-3, Gutenberg Festival, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach,
California. This Western U.S.A. show covers the prepress, publishing,
printing, converting and digital equipment markets.

- May 6 & May 8, The Pacific Printing and Imaging Association (PPI) is
hosting the ANNUAL PRINT BUYERS CONFERENCE to be held May 6 at the Red Lion
Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Seattle and May 8 at the Doubletree Hotel
Portland–Lloyd Center. For the 12-page event flyer go to:

- May 22, the Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group
( will be having their upcoming User meeting in Portland,
Oregon. In a live simulcast from Cupertino, CA, John Zimmerer of Apple
Computer will discuss the current state of color and imaging on Mac OS X,
but will focus primarily on where the related technologies are headed.
Topics will include PDF and related standards (e.g., PDF/X-3),
under-appreciated parts of the ICC specification (e.g., abstract and device
link profiles), and the reasons why Apple chose CUPS as the print spooling
architecture for Mac OS X.
For more details go to: here or to and search on Portland, OR. Please RSVP as seating is

- June 23-27, Apple will have the Worldwide Developers Conference 2003 in
San Francisco. 'Panther', the next major release of Mac OS X, will be
highlighted. Also, this is the definitive conference for Apple OS X
developers with comprehensive technical sessions covering Apple Developer
Tools, Application Frameworks, Core OS, and many other valuable sessions and
activities. here

- September 28 - October 1, Graph Expo will be held at McCormick Place
South, Chicago, Illinois. Graph Expo is the Nation’s most comprehensive
trade show and conference for graphic design, digital prepress, printing,
publishing converting and digital equipment professionals.

| A D V E R T I S E M E N T
| OFFER #1 NEW Bundle value! CHROMiX will be selling the new EYE-ONE
| DISPLAY ($239) plus a ColorValet Print Profile ($99), for a special
| low price of $299, until May 15th and only to ColorNews recipients.
| After that the price goes up to $314 (still a great value).
| here
| OFFER #2 We're extending the EYE-ONE PHOTO 'Pre-Order' price of $1349
| until May 15th (shipping extra).
| here
| Remember NO state taxes are charged outside of Washington state!!
| Call ColorGear Sales 866-CHROMiX x1 or sales(at) for more.
New Releases

GretagMacbeth has just released version 2.0 of Eye-One Match. This is a free upgrade for any and all Eye-One users


Each month, our President Steve Upton will take time to answer questions
we receive on a regular basis. If you have specific questions or
comments, please see below for how to make submissions.

This Month - Evaluating Color Graphically

ICC profiles contain a remarkable amount of information that is often overlooked. The color transformations performed by profiles allow colors to move through our workflows - say from scanner to press - unaltered... or at least that's what we hope.

It turns out that each device in your workflow has its own capabilities and that each successive device in your workflow tends to have less and less color reproduction ability. Once we accept this fact of physics we realize that color image reproduction may not be about the most accurate color attainable, but instead is about getting us the most pleasing image we can as the gamut of our image gets squished onto the final output device.

Color as a 3D representation

Whether it's human nature or mathematical necessity, color is typically reduced to three dimensions. XYZ, Lab, LCH, Yxy, Luv and many other 3D color spaces exist to help compare, convert and edit colors.

The classic shoe-heel-shaped Yxy chromaticity diagram is ubiquitous in color management 101 presentations as it quickly describes how the triangle-shaped gamut of a monitor compares with the blob-shaped gamut of a printing device. It doesn't take long however before we realize that white and black and all of the highlight and shadow colors near them are missing from the 2D graph. Those of us who slave over images spend a lot of time stressing over highlight and shadow reproduction and to have them left out of visualization tools limits our ability to evaluate what's going on in our workflows.

Enter 3D viewing

Plotting the gamut of a printer in 3 dimensions shows us a volume with curves, slopes, points and edges. We can quickly see the brightness and color cast of the paper, how deep the shadows can be and how clear and bright the printer can render saturated colors. Overlay a monitor or scanner profile and limitations in the printing system that were invisible before, become clear. Perhaps clear enough to motivate you to try a different paper type or ink set.

Comparing Gamuts

Several years ago I was struggling in my attempt to have a client's Epson 1270 simulate a Matchprint proof. All the 2D diagrams and manufacturer claims I had seen suggested that the gamut of these new inkjets was big and beautiful and could certainly reproduce anything a press could. If an inkjet printer can reproduce all the colors of a press, then with high-quality profiles you should be able to achieves an acceptable simulation of the press on the inkjet; a proof.

Problem was my test image contained a man's neck tie with a deep dark red that shifted to a grayish brick-red when printed on the 1270. I rebuilt profiles, tried multiple rendering intents and even went so far as to edit both the press and inkjet profiles in an attempt to get them to match. Finally I threw up my hands and I left with my tail between my legs... not a happy day for a color management professional.

Some weeks later I wrote a small piece of code that would later evolve into the ColorThink Grapher. It was wire-frame only and low resolution but it allowed me to overlay the gamut volume of the actual Epson 1270 and Matchprint profiles and I was quickly struck with the newly obvious truth. When the gamut comparison of the 1270 and Matchprint are seen in 2D, the 1270 seems to engulf the Matchprint gamut. But bring in 3D graphing and suddenly it becomes apparent that there were whole groups of dark, saturated colors that the Matchprint gamut contained but were not in the gamut of the Epson 1270! A little more graph fiddling and I could see that the reds in my client's image fell in this color contention zone.

So! Finally an answer. No wonder I couldn't get that bloody red to match, the 1270 was simply not able to print it! Did that solve my printing problem? No. The gamut limitations are a real part of the ink and paper combination of the 1270. Still, I would have loved to know that I was dealing with a physical printing limitation before I spent so much time and effort on a fruitless pursuit. The ColorThink Grapher has evolved a long way since those first graphs but the basic technique remains the same. All it takes is a couple of profiles and a good grapher to see whether or not one printer can possibly match another.

Device capability rather than profile behavior

Does this mean that once you have the graph showing one gamut engulfed by another that they'll match? No. The 3D profile gamuts in ColorThink are showing more of what the printer is able to reproduce rather than the ability of the profile when used with real images. In order to see the behavior of profiles themselves, actual image data should be used.

Choosing a representative data set

A good place to start when graphing image colors is an image containing a reasonably wide distribution of colors. Bright and dark, saturated and near-neutral, in gamut and out of gamut (for the printer) colors all help produce a visualization of how your profile affects the colors in your images. Drag an image onto the Grapher in ColorThink and the image's embedded color profile converts the RGB data to Lab.

Graphed in 3D along-side a print profile and it's apparent which colors are printable and which are going to need to undergo "gamut compression" in order to print.

ColorThink can also show how the colors will shift when the print profile is applied. Displayed as vectors, each image color is transformed into an arrow showing the direction and amount of color shift that will occur in your workflow. Finally you can see what is happening to those blues that got clobbered in your great sky shot!

Synthetic data

There are also many different synthetic test data sets available for when you want to isolate the effects to neutrals, certain color ranges, etc. If you can create the file in Photoshop or calculate the color numbers in Excel there is no end to the testing that can be performed. A common use of this technique is to create a small palette of corporate logo colors and then see how well they reproduce (or don't) on different devices: inkjets, monitors, presses, overhead displays, and so forth.

Rendering intents

As you probably learned in your color management 101 class, profiles contain different rendering intents so you can control how the color mapping occurs. Viewing the effects of different rendering intents can help you understand their purpose as well as when one intent is more appropriate than another. You can also compare the rendering intents of profiles from different manufacturers. This level of analysis is the sort of thing that makes same profile manufacturers nervous. It can expose bugs and mis-mappings that will appear unpredictably on your images.

Do these visualization tools solve all the problems you will encounter in your workflow? No, but they will definitely help you understand what is going on. Once you know more about how your color management system works you can start to methodically weed out the problem inks, papers, devices, profiles, applications and so forth. Only by breaking open the "black box" profiles can you begin to see their true capabilities and start to achieve the imaging quality that you are striving for.

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2003 CHROMiX Inc.
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CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX
customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors
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