[Digikam-users] A few thoughts about color management

sleepless sleeplessregulus at hetnet.nl
Sat Oct 1 18:17:33 BST 2011

Hi All,

A few thoughts about color management to share. Moving from windows to 
Ubuntu brings enough changes to workflow to need a lot of adjustments 
and a heap of dimes for tests prints.

Why color management is doomed to fail:
Every surrounding has its own light quality and if we talk about outdoor 
photography the light changes continuously. Your lens does some little 
tricks with the light before it is projected on your sensor, which does 
its own tricks on the light. The camera manufacturer applies some 
profile to make the best of it. Then you export it to your computer, 
which displays your picture according the ideas of your your screen 
cards manufacturer and the profiles used at that stage and then forwards 
it to the screen which displays it in his own particular way after using 
another  profile. The image you see highly influenced by the light 
conditions of your room.
Now you start to optimize it with your photo manipulation software, 
which might apply another  profile as well. After that it goes to the 
printerdriver, another profile comes in before sending it to the 
printer, and again some profile comes in, and of course you selected 
your paper which is again a profile.
Now you have a picture, and if in all those mentioned steps and in the 
steps I forgot to mention everything went well, and you would look at it 
at the same light conditions as you shot your photo, it should at least 
look a bit like reality, although not perfect because the paper can not 
reflect the colors and contrast of reality.

This is the goal of colormangement, but we realy need a lot of help of 
the lord, to have the output look like the input. Besides of that, in 
most occasions we would not be to happy if the pictures looked like 
reality. Out of the context, people will say, ¨oh no that sky can never 
be that red¨, or ¨the water can never be that blue¨. If you shoot indoor 
with usual light, and it has been reproduced very well we will 
experience the pictures as much to yellowish and so on and so further.

A better way:
Try to set everywhere in your workflow same color profile. This is hard, 
settings pop up or hide in so many places!
Make a room where the light conditions are optima forma according final 
exposing conditions.
Compose a test print from different pictures, all colors, shadows, 
highlights should be represented as much as possible. Print and view. 
Make all needed adjustments in your photo management software and print 
again and view. And so on until you have your best possible print.

After this calibrate your monitor so that it relects your print in the 
best possible way.

 From now on trust your eyes and WYSIWYG.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.
Best regards,

More information about the Digikam-users mailing list