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May 2007 Graphic Arts SIG:

Color Management Fundamentals, Part I

By Hal Cauthen

The GASIG met Saturday, May 12, at Mac Business Solutions, Gaithersburg, Md.
Michael Giagola continued his series of presentations with “Color Management Fundaments, Part I.” In essence, what he wanted to get across was an understanding of the concepts of how to get printed images to look like the images on the monitor. To do this, he talked about digital color reproduction, color space, ICC profiles, and color-managed workflow.

Michael Giagola and Kermit

Michael Giagola talks about color space, aided by Jim Henson and Kermit. Photo by Richard Sanderson, taken with a Nikon D-200 digital camera.

Although many factors are involved in individual color perception, Michael demonstrated that it always has a large “subjective” component. He then compared color imagery using film with “digital” film, pointing out that a variety of devices can capture digital images, and that each tends to display that image in its own way!  For that reason, maintaining consistent color appearance in the translation between different devices and color spaces is no easy task.  He concluded by saying that while color management provides a reasonably sane and practical solution, it's not a panacea; it's always an approximation. Slides from Michael's talk are available in PDF format. (Note: if you have problems downloading the slides, right-click or Command-click on the link.)

Michael continues this series in June, with Color Management Part II.