Quarter Life Crisis

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Colour Management

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Colour management has always been a mystery to me. Sure, there are all the different colour spaces and moving from one to the other is mathematically simple in case it is possible. But the problem seems to be having an accurate profile for the devices you are using. Putting photos that look brilliant on the Mac on a web site and then seeing them on a Windows computer with different (without?) colour management can be quite a bad experience: What used to be subtle gradients of colour may have become ugly bright blobs.

But at least within the Mac world we should be fine, shouldn't we? After all we have a single company 'crafting' both the software and the hardware it runs on. And they know the screens they are using and can provide colour profiles which may not be good enough for professional graphics work but will ensure that things look reasonably similar on the different machines. Sure, there may be ageing phenomena in screens, but generally the colours should be similar by default (as long as you don't use Fast User Switching, anyway, which kills your colour management).

That's what I though at least... until playing with some images and transferring them from a friend's shiny new 20" iMac to my iBook. His screen is just much more yellow than mine. What is a subtle shade of yellow on his screen will appear as white on mine. What looks like a nice dark shade of brown on mine will look like baby poo on his.

That's just very bad. And which of the screens is 'right'?

April 13, 2006, 12:15

Tagged as Mac OS X.


Comment by d.w.: User icon

Curious — had he calibrated his screen at all?

April 14, 2006, 8:13

Comment by ssp: User icon

He hadn’t calibrated it before but we went for the ColorSync assistant right away (on both his an my computers) as we noted the problem. That didn’t change anything, though.

April 14, 2006, 10:55

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