Colour profile on my Macbook Air and Lion

Started Sep 12, 2011 | Discussions thread
noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,254
Another attempt to rephrase the above

If an image contains colours that are more saturated than what your monitor can display, colour management can either just clip colours, ie, all colours more saturated than most saturated red your monitor can show will be displayed with this maximum red OR it can try to compress these saturated reds into a very narrow range of reds just below the maximum red of your monitor. In either case these saturated reds will be much less differentiated (or not differentiated at all), simply because your monitor cannot display them.

That is the reason why everybody who cares about seeing images in their fullest colours will want to have a monitor with a wide as possible gamut. A monitor with a large gamut can always display less saturated colours correctly (although at the very high end, ie, very wide gamut, the 8 bit limitation of the current Mac graphic system, it can be for some few colours that it might display them with not fine enough steps in between).

With the image in defined in sRGB, as the OP's example is, if you select sRGB as the monitor profile, you tell the colour management that your monitor can display exactly the sRGB gamut, which means it does not have to do any translations, a value of 255 of red in the image will be matched to 255 (ie, full brightness) of the red pixel. In a sense you linearly (for a given hue) downscale (desaturate) the saturation of every colour in the image, so that it fits into the gamut of your monitor. While this might lead to more pleasing results for some images, it naturally has no anchoring in the actual colours your display can produce, ie, all colours will more less be displayed incorrectly (different then defined by whomever created the image).

If you want to have more control how out of gamuts colours are displayed on your computer, you can convert them into your monitor profile with a rendering intent of your choice (essentially trying to see if perceptual gives better results, as it compresses colours in a way that should somehow mimic how we perceive colours, compared to relative colorimetric which simply clips out of gamut colour in order to match in-gamut colour as truthfully as possible). Applications in which you can do this include Photoshop but also ColorSynk Utility which comes with every Mac.

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