ColorNews Issue #8

Input Profiles & Working Spaces

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

Issue #8
July 15th, 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:

** Check out CHROMiX ColorGear July SPECIAL Deals!! See details below.

written by CHROMiX President Steve Upton that you'll want to read.

Table of Contents

1. CHROMiX News
2. Color & Product News
3. Industry News
3. Shows and Events
4. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is on when to use an input profile
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 ColorValet now officially does backlit and transparency profiles.
We've been building these for years and have brought this much requested
feature to the forefront. For more information, please call or email our
Color Sales Geek, Rick Hatmaker at hatmaker(at) or extension 7.

- It's true! CHROMiX now carries popular LaCie Electron monitors AND the
incredibly accurate SONY Artisan monitor!! CHROMiX has for many years
resisted promoting any NON Color Management focused products or any Color
Management products with low value. However, these two fine products have
withstood our test and definitely qualify as quality, Color Management
products. Actually, our customers have been demanding we carry these, so we
did. See our ad below for July monitor specials!

Color & Product News

- The GretagMacbeth Eye-One Beamer is FINALLY shipping!!! After the
initial announcement earlier this year, we've all been anxious to get this
product in hand. Now it's here! This cool device measures and calibrates
monitors AND Overhead Projectors, take spot measurements, measure ambient light and
comes with it's own convenient carrying case. And to color manage your PC
PowerPoint presentations - there's a software add-in called ColorPoint.
Without it, PowerPoint can't accept the great profiles you build with your
Eye-One! This product is a must for presenters!
click here

- ICS has dramatically reduced basICColor monitor calibration and
profiling software. All variations of the software with the Sequel Squid
have been reduced to become one of the best industry values. basICColor is
becoming the leader in innovative and quality monitor software products for
professionals. Check out the CHROMiX ColorGear deals:
a) basICColor v2.5 Display software only
click here
b) basICColor 2.5 Display & Squid device BUNDLE
click here

- GretagMacbeth has announced v2.0 EyeOne Match software (award
winning Eye-One Match color management software that comes with all of
Eye-One solutions). Here are the new features:
-New Easy mode for monitors and projectors
-Native White Point selection for monitors
-Print your test target direct from Eye-One Match - you no longer have to
open up another program
-Auto detection of network printers and we even assign the appropriate test
charts depending on the device (CMYK or RGB)
-Enhanced Zoom tool for cropping
-New Projector module
-New history section - know exactly where you are in the process
-New updated on-screen help - all in one convenient area
-And the best news, it's a FREE Upgrade to all registered owners of Eye-One!
Download at click here! (Log in at the Support Tab)

- Monaco Systems has announced that MonacoPROOF, MonacoPROFILER Gold
and Platinum Editions are now localized in 5 languages in addition to
English. There is now language support for German, French, Spanish and
Japanese versions of our professional ICC profiling products.
click here

- Pantone and ColorVision announced PrintFIX, an integrated
hardware/software solution that delivers accurate printer profiles for
outstanding photographic inkjet prints. PrintFIX is an affordable color
control solution for photo, design and prepress applications. As a plug-in
for Adobe® Photoshop® or Adobe Photoshop Elements, PrintFIX prints a
calibration chart - a series of color patches - that are read back into the
computer with the USB PrintFIX Patch Reader. Within minutes, the PrintFIX
software creates an ICC profile of the printer's color behavior on specific
inkjet paper, creating a high quality print that matches what is seen on the

- Camera Bits released Photo Mechanic 4.0.3 for Windows. The main
change in the latest update of the pro photo browser is support for the
embedding of ICC profiles into digital camera files, as well as optional
color-managed viewing of both thumbnails and previews. Camera Bits Home
Page is at click here

- Apple posted Mac OS X color management overview
A newly-posted seminar on the Apple web site entitled 'ColorSync in Mac OS X:
Technology Overview' This is full of interesting information on color
management and how it's implemented in the latest Mac OS.
click here

- Worth a look!! Erik Koldenhof and his crew put together an
excellent study of their color experiences with the Apple LCD displays in
combination with GretagMacbeth's EyeOne System for monitor calibration at:
click here
Erik Koldenhof is CEO of Koldenhof Grafimedia Expertise, Rijswijk, the

- The web browser wars continue, but here's the unofficial color
management perspective:

- Netscape released v7.1 at the end of June. It is not ICC-aware.
- MicroSoft has v5.2.3 of Explorer. The Mac version is ICC-aware.
- Apple released Safari v1.0 for OSX, which shows great promise. It is
ICC-aware, but has experienced some difficulties loading JPEG images within
HTML pages, but color manages isolated JPEG files just fine.
- OmniGroups OmniWeb 4.2 is ICC-aware, but has some document formatting
problems with pages that otherwise work fine on Netscape, Explorer, etc.

Think your browser is ICC-savvy? Check it out here.
click here


- July 24, the Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group
( will be having a SUMMER SOCIAL at Madison's at 1109 SE
Madison from 6:30pm to 9:00pm in Portland, Oregon. For more details or to
RSVP go to: click here

- July 14-19, MacWorld Expo New York. Apple will be showcasing the new G5
with 64-bit power. Steve Upton of CHROMiX will be a highlighted speaker, so
be sure to attend. For more information: click 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.
click here

- October 30 - November 1, PhotoPlus Expo in New York, NY. There are more
than 100 photography and design seminars and hands-on workshops taught by
world-renowned experts with a focus on cutting-edge innovations in digital
imaging products and techniques. Also there is over 200 manufacturers and
suppliers of photographic capture, storage, output and display equipment and
services, learn and get inspired in the Photography + Design For more
information: click here

- November 13-15, Graphics Canada will be in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For
more information: click here

Industry News

The Amazys Group/GretagMacbeth has completed the acquisition of Sequel
Imaging of Londonderry, New Hampshire. Since its formation in 1989, Sequel
Imaging has focused strictly on the problem of measuring color and light
from displays. With their extensive color-science expertise, they have
created unique approaches to manage color on CRT, LCD and other types of
luminescent displays. Sequel products target three major market segments,
including desktop imaging, medical display applications and home
entertainment. Major customers include Sony, NEC-Mitsubishi, Barco, Monaco
and LaCie.

- X-Rite, Incorporated (NASDAQ:XRIT) announced that it has acquired
the assets of Monaco Systems, a Massachusetts-based company that develops
and distributes color management software to the graphic arts and photo
markets. This $10.6 million asset purchase funded by a combination of cash
and stock, some of which is subject to certain vesting requirements,
includes the entire Monaco line of color management products, all
intellectual property and operating assets.
This is X-Rite's third acquisition in 2003, affirming its position
as a global leader in the color business. Earlier this year, in an agreement
with Benjamin Moore & Co., X-Rite acquired the ColoRx® product line and
related assets from Thermo Electron Corporation, Benjamin Moore's former
supplier. More recently, X-Rite acquired the ccDot meter product line of
Centurfax Ltd., a London-based company that develops and distributes
products serving the pre-press and printing industries.

- Apple announced the first desktop Macs to utilize the PowerPC 970
processor from IBM. The processor, dubbed the G5, is at the heart of three
new desktop configurations running at 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz and dual 2.0GHz,
respectively. The new models will be shown, discussed and debated at
MacWorld New York and are to ship in August 2003. For more information: and


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 issue's article is on the subtle but important issue of bringing files
into your workflow.

Let's say you have a great scanner profile that you took time to create with
an accurate target and it is delivering results that you love AND it saves
you tons of time.

When you bring files from your scanner into Photoshop you diligently assign
the scanner profile. Once Photoshop opens them, your scanner profile links
up with your display profile and the image you see on your display is
bright, accurate and wonderful.

Should you convert it into your working space or not? or when? or... why?

First, the similarities... let's compare an original scan file and its
embedded scanner profile to the same file after you have converted it to a
working space, say Adobe RGB (1998). Both files will have their embedded
profiles used when displaying on your screen, creating soft proofs and
printing. Even though the files contain different RGB values for each
respective pixel, the included profiles convert them to approximately the
same color so they both look good. This is all fine and dandy and the
way things should work normally.

So, you are asking... I'm several paragraphs into this article and I still
don't understand why he brought it up...

Fair enough, now with the differences.

First, the advantages of leaving your file in "scanner-space". When ever you
convert a file, you lose accuracy. So the fewer times you convert on the way
to print, the better. It's easy to see that the scanner->print path is
shorter than the scanner-> working space->print path. Also, scanner gamuts
are typically larger than working space gamuts. If your primary destination
is print, then the important question is how many scanner colors will print
well on the printer and not be "clipped" or otherwise altered when printed.
If you move your file through a working space you run the risk of clipping
even more colors - those that were in the scan and can print but don't fit
through the "keyhole" of your working space. This may be a good time to
graph your scanner, working space, and print profile in ColorThink to see if
you should choose a different working space...

Now that you have your head around scanner-space advantages and it seems
like a great idea, I'm afraid I'm going to turn it all around....

Converting your scan file to your working space has a bunch of advantages as
well. First, scanner profiles are filled with 3D look-up-tables (LUTs) that
are fairly large, so embedding a scanner profile can add 300-600 KB to each
file. Working space profiles are typically matrix-based so they consist of
only a few bytes of color information and are often 3-4 K in length -
negligible. On large files this may not be a big difference but if have many
files in your workflow, adding 400 KB to each file can plug things up.

Second, scanner profiles are made to convert from scanner RGB to Lab. Only.
They are a one-way trip out of scanner-land and there are no tables in the
profile to convert back (at least according to the ICC spec). If you had a
scanner RGB file in Photoshop and you wanted to paste an image from another
color space into your file, you would be unable to. If you wanted to specify a
color using Lab in the color picker you could not.

Third, scanner space is non-uniform. For example. The RGB setting
100,100,100 coming from your scanner is probably not gray. That's OK as your
scanner profile has already figured out that your scanner is actually seeing
gray when it scans RGB = 100,105,92. When your scanner profile does its job
all is fine. But lets say you want to put a gray border around the edge of
your scanner RGB-based image. You click into the color picker and specify a
nice middle gray such as 125,125,125. But as soon as you start applying this
gray in your image it looks strange - and decidedly NOT gray. This is the
same problem in reverse. 125,125,125 in scanner RGB is NOT gray and trying
to figure out what is gray is not worth the effort. If you convert your file
to Adobe RGB then 125,125,125 is gray as expected and all is fine. This gray
example is only one case of this problem. This issue exists throughout the
color space and is even tougher to figure out in other colors.

The process of converting a file from a non-uniform device space to a
uniform working space is often called "normalizing" the file. It's a bit
like running a comb through your hair in the morning, a good idea.

So it is fair to say that a file in scanner RGB is not really in a working
space at all as much of the work you might want to do is impossible.

The final benefit of converting to a working space is when people mess up
your files. If you send a scanner RGB file to someone who views in in their
web browser or (gasp!) strips the profile off the file when opening in
Photoshop it is going to look bad. Scanner RGB mistreated as monitor RGB is
not pretty (see gray problems above). A file in Adobe RGB will not look
right as monitor RGB or sRGB but it won't look as bad. I know that's little
comfort but sometimes that's what happens to our carefully created files.

Now that I have fully confused you I should give you some tasty bit of
wisdom to help you venture out in the world with this new-found knowledge.
Unfortunately this issue is like many other issues in which answers like "it
depends" rule the land.

If you are concerned about the greatest fidelity possible and will perform
minimal editing on your file, leaving your file in scanner RGB is probably
the best choice.

If, like most of us, you want to hand the file off downstream in RGB digital
form, are going to perform more than the most cursory edits, are planning on
compositing multiple images together, or just want gray to be predictable,
then conversion to an appropriate working space is a good idea. For more
information about whether or not you are using the best working space for
your workflow, look into ColorThink. 2D and 3D graphs comparing scanner,
working space and print gamuts will quickly show you what you need to know.

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CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX
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