As a hobbyist photographer, prior to my present gig, I’ve always wondered why there was a difference between the colours of an object (or scenery), when I saw it through my camera, on my monitor, and finally, on print!
If it is the same object, with the surroundings remaining unchanged, shouldn’t the image be the same through any medium?
It was only when I met a professional photographer, by chance, and asked him of this occurrence that I was enlightened.
Here’s what I learned, minus the tech-speak.
The camera captures the photograph at 10-12 bits, thus gives an image that is the closest to what you see with your bare eyes. The computer (including the monitor), however, processes the same image using 6-10 bits. As a result, the colour combination of the photograph is compromised resulting in lower quality output. The process of evening out this imbalance is called Colour Management. For those caught up in the technical definition (here’s where I show off my technical competencies) - Colour Management is a system that increases work efficiency by matching the colours between devices (i.e. camera computer and printer). You can match colours throughout the workplace or between subcontractors, ultimately improving the pipeline and material database. Working with colour-correct data greatly improves efficiency when sharing data between staff as well as when reusing past data.
So, what can you do with Colour Management?
- Create a material database with accurate colours
- Match the colour between multiple monitors
- Match the colour settings between different software
- Reduce production time
Regardless of you being a hobbyist (like me), or a creative professional involved in entertainment, architecture, graphic design, product design, post-production, digital photography or the fine arts, you’ll find the colour management process to greatly improve your output.
- Reduce the number of colour corrections needed between multiple parties
- Compile an accurate database of materials and colour samples
- Reproduce correct colours during render for performing colour and lighting simulations
- Create while simultaneously referring to the final display device
- Confirm accurate colours within the workplace without actual materials or mock-ups
Brimming with my newfound knowledge, I played around with Colour Management, picked the brains of professionals and I’m a believer!
What has your experience with Colour Management been like?
Felipe Rojas - Territory Manager ANZ