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What does "open system" color management mean?

Answered by Eric Neumann, Assistant Product Manager, ColorPath

What does "open system" color management mean?

In today’s imaging workflows, an image that is scanned or a page that is designed in one facility may be proofed or printed elsewhere. It is not always possible to know the final output process at the time of creation. In workflows where the entire process cannot be pre-determined, it is necessary to attach device characteristics to an image that will be used for yet-to-be-determined color transformations. This is a requirement of "open system" color management.

There are several key advantages of "open system" color management workflows:

  • Last moment color decisions: The ability to decide the final output color space (prior to printing) is also referred to as "late-binding." The benefit of late-binding is that an image can be scanned or color-corrected long before the output process is determined. Images are scanned in a raw or virtual color gamut that is larger than any printing color gamut. Once the color gamut of the output process is determined, then a conversion, known as gamut compression, will mathematically compress the original color space into the printable color space.

  • Output to multiple devices: Since the images and design elements are stored in a aw color gamut and not converted into the printing process gamut until the last moment, it is simple to specify several different printing or proofing processes for conversion of the same image or elements. This is also referred to as Scan Once Output Many or SOOM.

  • Cross-Application/Platform Compatibility: In order to be identified as open-system color management, the workflow must conform to several specifications set forth by the International Color Consortium (ICC). The ICC specifies the manner in which a profile must be written, the acceptable methods for gamut compression (color management module or CMM). Because of these identified procedures, ICC profiles can be shared across ICC-compliant applications and colors will appear similar between applications and platforms.

Source: Enovation Graphic Systems, Inc. For more information, please contact Eric Neumann, Assistant Product Manager, ColorPath at (800) 877-0555.

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