Search: for:

CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #14 - Color Management Myths 16-20

SmartNote: 1112
Type: ColorNews
ColorGeek factor:

Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on 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.


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

Issue #14
August 16th, 2004


There is a lot going on this month, so we would like to draw particular attention to these items:

** There are TWO AUGUST ONLY SPECIALS from GretagMacbeth to note:
1) An August only exclusive bundle: The NEW Eye-One Proof (CMYK),
2) Get ProfileMaker v5 Editor at 1/2 off during August only when you purchase either Eye-One Photo or Eye-One Publish. See below ads for more details.

** Monaco's $50-$75 Rebate for Optix XR and Optix XR Pro ends at the end of August. If you've thought about pulling the trigger on this fine monitor calibration product, now is the time. Se ad below.

** For a limited time, CHROMiX is launching our new "Buy it Back" trade-in program. CHROMiX will buy your old competitive monitor calibration device when purchasing Eye-One profiling solutions. We'll pay you $80 when you buy an Eye-One Display and $200 when you buy an Eye-One Photo, Publish or Beamer. Contact Sales for more information.

** The transition of ProfileCity into CHROMiX is continuing to prove to be a success. However, some of you have had questions about the difference between the two services. Please read below for the answers to this question.

** 'Five more Color Management Myths', an article written by CHROMiX President Steve Upton that you'll want to read.


Table of Contents


1. CHROMiX News
2. Color, Product & Industry News
3. Tech Notes:
4. Shows and Events
5. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is 'Five more Color Management Myths'
6. CHROMiX USED items for sale
7. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




Since our last ColorNews Issue #13 (June 15, 2004) many things have happened at CHROMiX that are worth mentioning:

We are continuing the WebEx training series. By popular request, the next session will be "Color Management in Photoshop" conducted by Anne Taylor and will be held September 9th. When you register, please specify your time preference (11:00am or 1:30PM P.S.T). The cost is $129 each for up to 4 people plus $50 for the WebEx session.
A diverse range of topics for courses will be covered in upcoming months. WebEx allows us to bring you the expertise of people like Anne Taylor, Steve Upton and others at a fraction of the cost of having them come to you. If you are interested in this training or have any questions, please contact Rick Hatmaker in sales for more details.
or 866-CHROMiX x1 or 206-985-6837 x1

CHROMiX has been chosen as a reseller of GATF products. Now you can buy any GATF testforms, books, videos, CDs, process controls and more from the CHROMiX store. We're excited to be able to offer these great products at our typically low prices. Naturally, partners linking customers to us for these forms will share in the revenue. We'll integrate these items soon, but if you have any special request for GATF products, please let us know.

CHROMiX's integration of ICS's ProfileCity custom profiling operations has gone very well. However, some people have had questions about the differences in profiles made from either ColorValet or ProfileCity. Here are some answers: 1) CHROMiX personnel make ALL profiles. 2) The $99 profile from either is a one-step process (you print the target, we make the profile from the target). 3) The $199 ProfileCity profile is a two-step process (you print a linearization target and send it to us. From this we make and send you a custom profiling target that is optimized for your specific printer. You then print this and send to us). Does that help?
Never forget.... We are obsessed with making the highest quality profiles available. Don't hesitate to call if you have any questions or if we can help.

If you're an organization, association, manufacturer or large end user, give us a call to discuss how we can customize a profiling program to meet your company's and your customers' needs.
Call Rick Hatmaker at (866) CHROMiX or (866) 247-6649 extension 7.

We get unsolicited positive reviews from our customers frequently. Most often we smile internally and pat ourselves on the back. In this case, we feel obligated to share this particular review, well, because it hit's the mark so well (and it was posted by some of our esteemed colleagues on an independent forum).

Thank you John, Edmund and Ethan for your support! We value our customers and partners tremendously.

Have you ever thought about providing color management solutions but the opportunity was never quite right? Partner with CHROMiX! And we have a program just for your situation.
If you're not already in the Partner Program, get on board now to enhance your revenues with this opportunity. Simply go to
to find out how to 'get with the program', or check out Steve Upton's article focusing on the Partner Program in ColorNews issue #9 at

** Steve Upton will be speaking at the following events:

A bit of international travel for Steve this time around.

Mexico - Sept 4th, 2004 - ColorCorrecto is a color management conference which started in 2003 and is similar to the comprehensive GATF Color Management Conference held every December in Phoenix. Steve Upton, Don Hutcheson, Dave Hunter, Lou Prestia and others will be presenting during the conference which is help 2 hours North of Mexico City on Sept 2-5th 2004. Steve will be presenting three times on Sept 4 on Workflow, Myths and Realities of Color Management (big surprise!) and Spot color issues. Contact us at CHROMiX for more details.

London, England - Sept 28, 2004 - Steve finally gets to return to England after much too long an absence. Neil Barstow (Neil Barstow Consulting, UK) and Steve will be presenting at Apple London (near Heathrow). Called "Great Prints and Accurate Proofs: Gaining a better understanding of colour workflow" the seminar is approx 1/2 day in length and will include a valuable Print Reference Kit. We are working on a registration link, in the meantime please send an email to
and we'll add you to the announcement list. Also, if any UK colleagues, manufacturers or customers want to get together while Steve is there, let us know and we'll see what we can setup.


Color, Product & Industry News


- Last issue we mentioned the possibility of an upcoming new product from X-Rite, the Pulse ColorElite. It's official: X-Rite has officially announced it! The New Pulse Color Elite Color Management System For Professional Photographers is designed form the ground up to offer professional photographers a color management solution that's easy to use, yet sophisticated and completely adaptive to any workflow.
The new system contains an all new hand-help spectrophotometer that can be used tethered or un-tethered, New Pulse Color elite software to profile Monitors, Printers, Scanners and Digital Cameras, and the award winning Optix XR colorimeter.
Here's the press release:

and, pricing will range from $1100 (pulse w/o Optix) to $1800 (Pulse Premier/CMYK w/ Optix). These are estimated CHROMiX site prices. Watch our site for up to date pricing and ship dates.

- Canto Releases Cumulus Photo Suite August 1st, 2004. Version 6.0.3 has new options which offers efficient management of RAW image formats and improved IPTC support with IPTC editor. The IPTC editor lets users manage RAW image files from a wide array of digital cameras. Cumulus Photo Suite comprises the Cumulus Digital Camera RAW Filter and features the IPTC Information Window. When cataloging RAW image files, the Cumulus Digital Camera RAW Filter reads and interprets metadata from these images. The RAW Filter can capture metadata from different RAW image formats defined by the nine leading camera manufacturers, namely, Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Sigma, Sinar and Sony. Photo Suite also supports Canon THM files with the Canon RAW Metadata Support module. Other information captured when cataloging include EXIF information (camera settings, shutter speed etc.) and, depending on the camera model, annotations and GPS as well. Users can also get excellent previews of cataloged RAW images easily. The user can select previews of stored thumbnails or RAW files. The filter settings for Color Interpolation can be set to obtain previews of varying quality and clarity.
Photo Suite is currently available in English, French, German and Japanese language versions on Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris* and Linux* platforms. A fully functional demo version is available for download from Canto's website.Photo Suite is currently available for Cumulus 6.0.3 Single User for EUR/USD 49.00, and $325 for up to 3 users.

- ColorVision is offering a $30 customer mail-in rebate for SpyderPRO until September 30, 2004. See details at

- Good news folks!
According to a new study just released by TrendWatch Graphic Arts, demand for color management offering is now at five-year high. Reportedly, 17% of design and production firms plan to invest in color management software in the next 12 months. This is the highest rate of demand since the Winter of 1998. Rock on!!!

New orders for manufactured goods in June increased $2.7 billion or 0.7 percent to $363.2 billion, the Department of Commerce, Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.4 percent May increase.

- Further GOOD news!
This just in... “Magazines’ third month of sustained growth can be attributed to overall improvement in the economy, as well as consistently strong performances by a number of major ad categories,” commented Ellen Oppenheim, Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer, Magazine Publishers of America. “Financial, Insurance & Real Estate in particular, up for the fifth month, benefited from ads for banks and investment services. Public Transportation, Hotels & Resorts, also an economically sensitive category, saw increases across a range of sectors, including hotel, airlines, cruises and destinations.”
Expanded PIB information is available at

- And according to Dr. Joe Webb, a writer and commentator for 'What They Think':
"Finally, increased magazine ad pages, retail advertising, and better corporate performance have started to show up in printing shipments data. The unadjusted June 2004 shipments were up +$421 million compared to last year. The seasonally adjusted shipments were up +$335 million. Just a couple of months ago, the industry was running at a rate of -2.9% compared to 2003, and now it is -1.4%, obviously picking up ground. Shipments for the first six months are still -$642 million compared to last year. This is the first month with an increase in quite a while. It's too early to say that we are turning the corner for good, but this is the first move in the right direction. This means that second quarter profits were probably very strong, and implies a better capital investment environment going into October's GraphExpo."




RE: ColorEyes Digital Camera Profiling Solution

Some ColorEyes users were experiencing clipped and or blue shifted highlights in values from 240-255. In particular, wedding photographers were finding the clipping a problem. Since the target white is a luminance of 92, the software has to establish how to handle any values the camera captures above 92 without any data. Integrated Color did extensive testing to retool how ColorEyes handles tonal values above 240. The new version of ColorEyes which is a free upgrade for all existing users, now maintains the exact values the camera captures from 240-255 without any clipping or color shifts.
Contact CHROMiX or Integrated Color if you require this free update.


CHROMiX ColorNews articles are a useful resource for technical information. In every issue are Tech Notes (above) and an article (below FAQ) that usually covers a technical topic of merit to users. ColorNews articles are archived and available for your FREE access at




August 16-19 , Seybold San Francisco, 'From Concept to Reality', Moscone West, San Francisco, CA. Seybold SF introduces a newly reformatted conference program that focuses on continuing education for professionals in the four key aspects of content creation and publishing: Creating content, Publishing content, Marketing content and Managing content.

September 1-3, Photoshop World Conference and Expo, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. This event is the annual convention of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and is aimed at graphic designers, photographers, Web designers, educators, print shops, ad agencies, publications, multi-media designers, service bureaus, art directors, motion graphics designers, and anyone who wants to stay on top of all the latest Photoshop techniques and technology.

October 10 - 13, 2004 GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO at McCormick Place
South, Chicago, IL. This is the largest, most comprehensive prepress, printing, converting and digital equipment trade show and conference in the Americas. *** CHROMiX will bet at GraphExpo in the Color Management Group booth. Stop by and say hi or phone and setup an appointment so we can link up!

October 24 28, 2004, XPLOR 2004, 25th Global Electronic Document Systems Conference & Exhibition at Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX.

December 5-7, 2004, the GATF 6th Annual Color Management Conference has been announced and will be held at the Hilton Pointe Mountain Tapatio Cliffs Resort. Steve Upton has been asked to serve on the board of directors this year and will be speaking in several sessions and Labs. More details to come.
(domain not yet active, bookmark it for future use)

January 10 - 14, MacWorld San Francisco, CA. Everything for the Mac devoted. West Coast style.

March 17-19, 2005 Graphic Arts 2005. Charlotte Convention Center, NC. This recent trade show and conference brought in thousands of industry professionals from the Southern USA. View the many highlights of the 2003 show edition and sign up to be reminded of the next show in Charlotte, NC.

September 9-15, 2005 PRINT '05 at McCormick Place Complex, Chicago, IL Because of its mammoth size and international presence, PRINT occurs only every four years and will take the place of GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO in 2005.


ColorFAQ - Five more Color Management Myths

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.

ColorMyths 16-20 - again, there seems to be no end to these.

Myth #16: Two 5000K bulbs will match

First let's talk about 5000K, D50, D65, etc, how they are specified and what they describe.

5000K is a color temperature. It's a color of white that is based on heating a "black body" object to 5000 Kelvin. When you get something this hot it glows a yellowish-white. This color is expressed as a colorimetric number, such as XYZ, Yxy or Lab and is then called a correlated color temperature. The lights that produce these colors of white are not actually burning at that temperature, they just make the same color of light as a black body that is - that's the correlation.

D50, D65, etc are daylight illuminant standards based on spectral curves.

Remember, spectral curves are the most detailed light information we can get. When we add human observer influence we get colorimetric numbers. An important thing to realize is that many different spectral curves can result in the same colorimetric number. Another way of putting this is to say that fluorescent, incandescent and sunlight can all have significantly different spectral output but still produce the same color of white for a human observer; the same colorimetric number.

This "match" is for an even white card that has no brighteners. As each of these light sources have a different spectral make-up they will affect papers containing brighteners and printed colors differently.

The net effect of this is that two bulbs that measure as 5000K can affect paper and printed color differently and that one print can look different under two 5000K bulbs.

There is another measurement that reflects how closely a light source matches the D50 daylight spectral curve. CRI, the Color Rendering Index is expressed as a value out of 100. 100 is a perfect match to a reference light source that is within 100K temperature (D50 in the case of standard viewing environments). Typical cool white fluorescent bulbs have a CRI of about 62. The CIE states that the color differences between sources that differ by 3 CRI units is not perceptible. You should aim for CRIs that are as high as possible (over 95) when shopping for lighting and viewing products - and the booth can affect it as well.

I suppose the summary point of this myth is that 5000K is not a guarantee that you have a good light source or that it will match another 5000K light source effectively.

Myth #17: D50 bulbs are available

D50, as mentioned above, is a standard daylight spectral curve.

This spectral information is defined very specifically using more than 30 curve points. It has a single colorimetric number and, unlike 5000K, it cannot be created by different light sources composed of different spectral output.

D50 is so specific in fact, that the only thing that can create it is the sun as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere.

Why choose a standard like D50 as an aim point if nothing man-made can achieve it? Well, because our visual system is based on millions of years of evolution under the sun. We are tuned to see objects illuminated by our star and filtered by our atmosphere.

The light source that I have seen to be the closest to D50 is the Solux lamp designed by Tailored Lighting. It is a Halogen light that can be easily mounted in track-lighting systems and is also quite inexpensive (around $9 US per bulb). The Solux CRI is 98, the industry's best. You can find out more information about these bulbs from .

If you are not interested in the more "do it yourself" side of lighting that track-lighting sometimes requires, consider GTI or Just Normlicht light boxes. They are fluorescent-based lighting systems which may not have as high a CRI but they are so widely used (especially GTI in the US) that they are de facto standards themselves. If you want to view things as many others view them, light booths will typically get you there.

So, if a company is calling their lighting D50 I'd love to hear about it because it's probably not true. If they are calling it 5000K then they've chosen the broad side of a barn as their target. And if they quote a CRI they may be closer. At least they're more savvy. Remember D50 is the aim-point and so far Solux is the closest.

Myth #18: The "Preserve Color Numbers" checkbox in Photoshop's proof setup doesn't matter much.

Photoshop does some amazing things. Not only will it carefully convert image colors into monitor colors on the fly it can also go through a press profile on the way.

This soft-proofing capability is what gives Photoshop the ability to simulate how colors will look if separated using a particular profile OR when sent to a particular device.

This may sound like the same thing but I assure you, it isn't. Let's walk through the soft proofing of two different files to illustrate my point.

First, an RGB file you want to simulate sending to press CMYK. In Photoshop, choose the View: Proof Setup: Custom. For Profile: choose the profile you would use when sending your file to press and for Intent: perceptual or relative colorimetric depending on image content. After clicking OK, Photoshop will soft proof your image to screen. The detailed path your image takes is: working space-> Lab-> press CMYK-> Lab-> monitor RGB. The Lab->CMYK->Lab transformation is what we often call a "round trip" and is responsible for compressing the image gamut and simulating press behavior.

Second, let's soft-proof a CMYK file. Where this CMYK came from doesn't matter too much, we'll soft proof to see how it'll look when sent to press. Open soft proofing the same way as above with View: Proof Setup: Custom. Note, however that this time the "preserve color numbers" checkbox is active. Check it and click OK. You will now see a soft proof simulating how your CMYK file will look when sent to press. The detailed path of the file is CMYK-> Lab-> monitor RGB.

Here's the important part. Had you not checked the "preserve color numbers" checkbox then Photoshop would CONVERT the CMYK file TO your CMYK press profile and then send it to the monitor. Its path would be: working space CMYK-> Lab-> press CMYK-> Lab-> monitor RGB. See the difference? Let's see it again.

PCN on: CMYK-> Lab-> monitor RGB
PCN off: CMYK-> Lab-> press CMYK-> Lab-> monitor RGB

That extra step is a big difference. In the first case you are asking "show me this CMYK file as if it were sent directly to press". In the second case you are asking "show me this CMYK file when it is converted to the press profile then sent to press". Unless you are specifically and explicitly wanting to reseparate the file, you want the first case, with preserve color numbers checked.

So, to review: Check "preserve color numbers" whenever you get the chance. Come back and reread this text if you get the urge to uncheck it.

Myth #19: You need a RIP for your printer if you want to proof.

First, what does a RIP do? Originally a RIP was required to rasterize any vector data you wanted to print. Rasterizing is the process of converting lines and curves into dots. All printing uses dots these days so somewhere along the print path the lines and curves in graphics and fonts need to be converted to dots that can actually be printed. Postscript has been a popular language for describing these lines and curves and Postscript RIPs will take complex page descriptions and ready them for dot-based output.

As RIPs evolved more features were added. Now RIPs give greater control over the printer and preprocess incoming files as well. For printer control you can measure density curves and linearize each channel, change ink limiting and so forth. For file preprocessing you can nest images to save time and paper, apply profiles for matching or proofing, manage print queues for multiple users and many other options.

These features are great. They can speed up your workflow, centralize your administration and increase the quality of your work. BUT, they are not required in order to proof.

Proofing, in the color management world, is the act of transforming your colors to your final output profile and then transforming them again to your printer. If you have sufficient control over your printer and you have good profiles, the match between your printer's output and the final destination can be very good.

We build many profiles for inkjet printers that are driven using the manufacturer's RGB-based printer driver. When you control a CMYK printer using RGB you give up the ability to have the profile manipulate the K channel. While this might cause problems in shadows and can make grays challenging, we have great results overall. Coupled with an accurate reference profile, these inkjet profiles can make great proofs. The most important thing in this workflow is the application. Photoshop and other Adobe applications are now smart enough to perform the "proofing transform" that's required for hard proofs. If you are outside of publishing applications then you may not have the ability to insert your reference profile into the print path and so proofing may be out of your grasp.

So a RIP, while a powerful tool that can add many capabilities to your printing system, is not absolutely required for proofing. Try it without a RIP first. All those features come at the price of complexity so if you can work without it you've simplified your life a bit. Gives you more time to figure out that new cell phone, camera, iPod, microwave oven...

Myth #20: Adobe Gamma is pretty close to what you can get from an instrument calibration.

Adobe Gamma is a small utility that has been around a long time and until recently was always installed with Photoshop. It is still installed with the Windows version of Photoshop but has been replaced by Apple's default calibrator under OS 9 and X so Adobe stopped distributing it with Photoshop for Mac. Both calibration utilities are "by eye" calibrator software that require no hardware.

So why bother with a hardware device? A few good reasons: white point, gamma, color and repeatability.

When you calibrate your display with a hardware device, a few important functions occur. First, the device measures the colors of the phosphors (CRT) or filters (LCD) of your display. Then it sets (often with your help) the maximum output for each RGB channel, balancing them to obtain the white point you requested (D50, D65, etc). Finally it "ramps" up in each RGB channel and sets the gamma in your graphics card. This fine-tunes the curves for each channel, ensuring that they have smooth color transitions from 0 to 255, compensating for any non-linearities in your graphics card or display, and makes sure that equal RGB values are gray all the way from black to white.

When you calibrate with a "by eye" system it asks you which monitor you have (to estimate the phosphor / filter colors), allows you to choose a white point (sometimes letting you fudge it by moving a slider) and also sets the requested gamma in the graphics card. Sometimes the system can obtain the phosphor/filter colors directly from your display through its cable. The problem is that each of these are an estimate and the errors introduced at each step can compound to greatly reduce the accuracy of the resulting profile.

Let's break these down:

- White Point. You asked for D65. A hardware calibrator will measure your display, adjust the maximum output of the graphics card, and ensure you get D65. "By eye" calibration will set the graphics card at some preset and then hope you get something close to D65. Your display's native white point will play a huge role in affecting the actual white you see and the software has no idea whether it's in the ball park or not. Not good.

- Phosphor / Filter Colors. A hardware calibrator measures these for use in the resulting profile. "By eye" calibration may obtain the numbers from the display or it may ask you for what type of screen you think it is and then substitute numbers it has from a table. This means the software is guessing. The results will range from "OK" to "poor" and will mean the more saturated colors on your display could show noticeable hue shifts (tomato reds , purple blues, etc).

- Gamma. If you want a gamma of 2.2 a hardware calibrator will give it to you. Software will show you a small graphic that requires moving a slider until two elements match in intensity. This software method is better than nothing but nowhere near what hardware can do. This also plays a role in neutrals...

- Gray Neutrals. A hardware calibrator measures each R=G=B combination from 0 to 255 to ensure that they create neutral gray all the way from black to white AND that the transition is as smooth as possible. Your display, graphics card, cables, system software and other pieces all conspire to make curves bumpy. Measuring carefully at each step helps smooth them out.

- Repeatability. No matter how good a job you do with "by eye" calibration, the next time will probably be noticeably different. If you calibrate regularly (you ARE calibrating regularly right!?), hardware calibration will keep your system stable. "By eye" calibration could introduce more fluctuation into your system than if you had left it alone! scary.

Should "by eye" calibration be avoided at all costs? Not necessarily. Sometimes you are out presenting somewhere and want the overhead system to look good. If you don't have a Beamer then a quick run through of software calibration can help. It always seems to improve things for me. But for a desktop system you want to believe, use a hardware device. The price of such devices has come down to the point where it is affordable and should really be the first dollars you spend on color management.

As always, send me email with questions, rants, raves you may have. I may not have time to answer them all but some of them may find there way into these articles.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Upton
August 2004

For the previous 15 myths, follow these links:

Please see ColorNews Issue #9 for the first 5 myths:

Please see ColorNews Issue #11 for myths 6-10:

Please see ColorNews Issue #13 for myths 11-15:


In a visit to or, you opted to receive this newsletter. You may have also heard Steve Upton speak and requested more information. If you have received this message in error, we apologize. We value our relationship with you and do not want to spam you. See below for details on how to provide feedback, how to unsubscribe, or how to become a sponsor.

USED PRODUCT FOR SALE - ColorNews newsletter-only specials
Occasionally we have demo or returned product that the manufacturer won't take back. We have tested these items and certify that they are in excellent working condition or near new. If you are interested, call Sales for more information.

3ea used Eye-One Displays (new $239) $209

2ea used Monaco Optix XR (New $269) $239

1ea X-Rite DTP-22 Digital Swatchbook (serial) $699

1ea used HutchColor 35mm Fuji Velvia Scanner target (New $149) $119

To submit questions or feedback to CHROMiX, email us at colornews(at) Please include your name and email address in all correspondence (email, phone, fax etc).

To unsubscribe from CHROMiX ColorNews, reply to this message with "unsubscribe" in the subject.
To subscribe, email colornews(at) with "subscribe" in the subject.

Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2004 CHROMiX Inc.
CHROMiX, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts and are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc.. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions.