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Noel Carboni 23,479 posts
Dec 23, 2006
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Web Developers - Does IE9 Change the Balance?

Feb 15, 2011 2:59 PM

I was looking over the Internet Exlporer 9.0 RC beta version.  It's looking pretty good.

 

With this version comes long-awaited color management in Microsoft's browser.  After IE9 is released and is adopted widely, virtually all the web browsers (IE, FireFox, Safari, Chrome) will provide color management.  The balance will have tipped decisively.

 

Okay, so maybe IE9 won't be adopted instantly, but I predict it may well be adopted fairly quickly.  It really does seem to work well, and even in public beta it already is on a few percent of the computers out there.  And who knows, Microsoft could roll it out as a Windows Update.

 

Another given is that wide gamut displays are becoming more and more common.

 

What does this mean?

 

1.  People who have wide gamut monitors and calibrated systems (or a monitor-specific profile other than the default sRGB profile) will see Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB images with more vivid colors than they will see in sRGB images.

 

2.  Images that have already been posted with a color space other than sRGB will of course become livelier, as their dull, lifeless color will be accurate, and they'll look more consistent across virtually all the browsers.  Finally.

 

In general, if we subscribe to the notion that livelier, more saturated colors catch attention better, you could say that publishing wide gamut images is becoming more attractive in the brave new world of ubiquitous color managed browsing.

 

So... Should we start publishing in wider gamut color spaces?  If not now, when?

 

Of course, some people will still be running old web browsers.  A few percent of my site visitors still run IE6 or older today.  Include IE7 and it goes up to 10%.  But these may not be the people with money to spend.

 

Publishing images as sRGB will probably remain the most consistent way to go for a little while longer.  But we chance sRGB looking plain, dull, and lifeless next to more brightly colored images on the competition's web site.

 

Maybe the trend will be to move toward publishing without a color profile.  At first blush that sounds like a bad idea, but wait:  Some browsers just put such images on screen without doing any color transforms...  IE9 does this and the image will use the full gamut of whatever display it's shown on. You might ask, "won't it look garish on a wide gamut monitor?"  Sure, but isn't that kind of the goal with advertising?  "Garish, in your face" sells more than "accurate".  Use as much of each user's display as possible.

 

But maybe the better way to do that would be to publish images tagged with the widest possible gamut - ProPhoto RGB.  With proper color management, surely an image could use all of the color gamut any conceivable monitor could give.  But there might be weirdities with the way things outside the monitor gamut look.

 

Okay, perhaps Adobe RGB could be the right middle ground.  More gamut than sRGB, not so much that it lays bare the differences between adjacent colors in 8 bit format, and it can carry pretty much all the colors that modern monitors can show.

 

None of this is new.  I just figured with a major new entry into the color managed browser stable just around the corner, perhaps it's a good time to think about it again.

 

Your thoughts?

 

-Noel

 
Replies 1 2 Previous Next
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 15, 2011 4:36 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    sRGB, done. Even with color managed browsers; without calibration and wide gamut displays the whole issue of color accuracy on the web is a moot point. I still have to meet my first client who doesn't need to see my printed portfolio.

    People in the industry (your clients) know how to set up their displays, so I wouldn't worry too much about them not seeing your images as you intended them to be.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2011 8:23 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    I was also thrilled to learn that Microsoft IE 9 RC  supports some aspects of color management, e.g. images with attached  color profiles (like Adobe RGB) will be converted to sRGB before being  displayed.

    Sadly though, if you have a wide-gamut monitor as  many photo professionals do, the color calibration of your monitor is  ignored. This is strange since even the rather basic Windows 7 Photo Viewer supports color management.

     

    If you want to see a comparison image have a look at my blog:

    http://blog.harald-muehlhoff.de/post/2011/02/12/Microsoft-Internet-Exp lorer-9-Release-Candidate-still-doesnt-properly-support-color-manageme nt.aspx

     
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    Mar 12, 2011 10:06 AM   in reply to Harald Mühlhoff

    This is incredible and hugely disappointing. Why did Microsoft even bother? Ignoring the monitor profile means IE is still not color managed, simple as that.

     

    Microsoft is really hitting the brakes here, on a development that finally seemed to gain some momentum (not the least because of wide gamut monitors). Of course most people never bother to profile their monitors anyway, so nothing new there. But with IE on board, that would have been a massive force in pushing color management forward, to what would begin to look suspiciously like a standard.

     

    Let's just hope for the secret switch, and that they plan to unveil it in due course.

     
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    Mar 12, 2011 10:11 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    *rant on* At least IE9 is displaying the wrong colors very fast ...

     
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    Mar 12, 2011 11:20 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    BTW, since I'm in a picky mood today :

     

    It's not "not all monitors are sRGB", it's "no monitors are sRGB". The wide gamuts just made it more obvious.

     

    I assume you meant that, just tying up loose ends for the general audience.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2011 12:18 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Yes, of course a calibrator has tolerances, but it quickly gets you closer than anything else. Not everybody will need that level of accuracy. As I think I said in another thread, it's like a carpenter's level.

     

    But more important, I think, is the cognitive brick wall many people run into when their colors are off. Not having a monitor profile, other than the default sRGB, they simply can't wrap their heads around the simple "source profile -> destination profile" equation that color management revolves around. With that in mind, troubleshooting is often a lot easier.

     
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    Mar 12, 2011 2:52 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel, same behavior regardless of rendering setting!

     

    Kind regards,

    Harald

     
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    Mar 12, 2011 2:39 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel Carboni wrote:

     

    Mine are, within tolerances I consider quite workable.

    I won't argue that, if it fills your requirements.

     

    But - maybe I'm splitting hairs - I'm curious about one thing: how can you know they are, if you don't measure them with a colorimeter? Gamma varies, positions of the three primaries vary (as with the wide gamuts), it's not just the overall color balance. Those things can't be reliably judged by eye.

     

    And since I sort of started this "sub-discussion", I should make my point clear so people don't get confused:

     

    When  you calibrate a monitor, it's not really the calibrating part that's  important in a color management context. You can even skip that (if the  software allows it, and the monitor is a good one). The really important part is the profiling. This is where the  software, after the calibration is finished, builds a profile which is a  full description of the monitor's color space in three dimensions. This is what a true color managed application will use, and convert from the source profile into.

     

    Just wanted to make that clear since it's often misunderstood.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2011 12:47 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel Carboni wrote:

     

    (...) the response as sRGB-like as possible.  It's actually very close.

    OK. But how can you know, without measuring? I'd take the advertised bit with a grain of salt.

    sRGB as reference monitor profiles

    Reference to what, exactly? What you're effectively doing is to take color management out of the equation. The reference becomes no color management at all (like IE). Of course sRGB is the default in Windows, but beyond that every monitor is different. People do see different colors on the web (using IE), even though it's all sRGB.

     

    A color managed application like Photoshop will behave exactly like IE if you use a monitor profile that is the same as the document profile. You could even take an sRGB file, assign (not convert) Adobe RGB in Photoshop, and then use Adobe RGB as the monitor profile. Both are clearly wrong, and yet it would look the same. Inversely, you could use the monitor profile both places, same result. Each profile needs to correctly describe its corresponding color space.

    manually adjusting the curves in the video card

    A calibrator will do that (making a video LUT), among other things. So why go to all that trouble, when a device will do it for you, and better, in five minutes?

     

    The reason this is important is for file  exchangeability. If you get a good match from your print house, you're  lucky. But if one day you don't (and it will happen), who do you blame?  Of course, if you make your own prints and never have to send anything  out, this doesn't apply. But imagine a big press run involving a lot of money...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2011 6:13 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    There's a very simple test for all this: With a properly profiled monitor, open an sRGB image in Photoshop. Then pull up the same image in IE, and put them side by side. Do you see a difference? That is how much your monitor differs from sRGB.

     

    If you do the same with sRGB as monitor profile, they will by necessity be identical.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2011 8:08 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    I'm not trying to talk you out of anything. My comments are not necessarily directed at you, but to all the other people reading this. This is a public discussion, and we have an audience here. Nothing personal.

     

    Anyway, that's about what I had to say.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2011 7:16 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    You've got to laugh, haven't you. It's taken them ages to implement colour management, and they've only done half the job.

     

    I could see the difference straight away, as I use a wide-gamut IPS monitor. The ICC v4 test passes ok, and it clearly supports tagged images now.

     

    I'd be interested to know if there's a secret setting in IE9 for enabling monitor profile support (much the mode setting in FF3). Googling hasn't turned anything up yet though. I won't hold my breath.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2011 7:25 AM   in reply to Yammer

    The IE developers acknowledged the issue (it was reported by quite a few people) but made absolutely no attempt to hint at a resolution or whether they even consider it a problem.

     

    Sometimes I take heat for running an sRGB reference system, but I seem to be Microsoft's poster child with this setup.  I don't know what I'll do when these monitors burn out and I have to embrace wide gamut models.  They're already over 6 years old.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2011 7:36 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni-4GNNts

    Noel Carboni-f3Xtgu wrote:

     

    The IE developers acknowledged the issue (it was reported by quite a few people) but made absolutely no attempt to hint at a resolution or whether they even consider it a problem.

    Thanks for letting me know, Noel. I'd have guessed as much.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 17, 2011 4:01 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni-4GNNts

    Noel Carboni-f3Xtgu wrote:

     

    an sRGB reference system

    Wait. Hold on.

     

    An sRGB reference system? Is that your name for not profiling your monitor?

     

    Now, it's none of my business how you choose to set up your system. But please call it by its right name, so we know what we're talking about.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2011 6:02 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Heckle? Heckle??? This is getting ridiculous.You just can't stand being corrected, can you?

     

    As I said, I don't care what you do. I care about accurate information, and throwing out a phrase like "sRGB reference system", which is frankly bs, is just wildly confusing.

     

    In my line of work, an "sRGB reference system" would be a fast ticket to unemployment. Right now I have 120 files to hand over to our design agency, who will in turn send the finished book to the printer next week. Believe me, we don't have time for niceties.

     
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    Mar 18, 2011 4:06 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    To everybody else (not Mr. Carboni) who might be reading this, and not  get anything out of this exchange: Terminology matters. It's a tool for  understanding.

     

    Lots of people struggle with the issue of colors on the web, and that is not limited to wide gamut monitors. These things are not complicated, but in order to understand the underlying concepts must be clear.

     

    That's what I'm getting at (but it doesn't seem to be worth the trouble).

     
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    Mar 18, 2011 11:20 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    Reference system means exactly what it says. Because it isn't yours and your client (you do have one that is agreed upon with them, right? Or at least, a reliable and consistent conversion) doesn't mean he is full of bs. Private reference systems are quite common in measurement and calibration labs, with the caveat that they be traceable to a general reference system which possesses greater accuracy and repeatability if the output of the lab has others dependent on it. (It's interesting to note that the first thing Tektronix wanted you to know upon hiring at least for the field was calibration and standards. Before I was allowed to sign off on anything, I was subjected to 6 months training, a large part of which was calibration.)

     

    If I view Noel's images, I'm going to confirm opening  them as sRGB.

     

    That being said, I am troubled by the plethora of references, and the multiplication of viewing problems associated with wide gamut and such.

     

    Digital Color has along way to go before I will be content with any proposed workflow as "standard".

     

    When is a standard not a standard? When there is more than one.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2011 7:01 PM   in reply to Hudechrome

    And I'll ask again: reference to what? A valid reference is an accurate description of the monitor, ie a profile. sRGB is also a description of a monitor, but a

    much less accurate one, and thus useless as a reference to anything.

     

    But the main point I'm trying to make is that this doesn't have to be  complicated. The simple equation applies: source profile ->  destination profile. As long as both profiles describe their respective  color spaces accurately, the colors will be reproducible across systems. Why is that? It's because all profiles relate directly to absolute values in Lab/XYZ. There's your standard.

     

    What I sense in this thread is a missing distinction between calibration and profiling. Calibration is what Noel Carboni does, in his own way. But calibration doesn't have to be accurate, and rarely is. Calibration affects everything you see on the monitor, and has nothing to do with color management as such.

     

    Profiling takes the state of the monitor, post calibration, in detail,  and makes a map. This value corresponds to that Lab/XYZ value. The profile is then used as destination profile in a perfectly standard color management chain. There is no uncertainty, within tolerances. But those tolerances are much narrower than those of the eye.

     

    If the profile does not describe the color space accurately, colors will be off. And that's what we're discussing here: is it possible to manipulate a given particular monitor to match sRGB? Thinking you can do that - by eye, no less! - is to put it mildly incredibly naive. It's more than adjusting a few sliders.

     

    And here's a catch - I'll repeat this for emphasis: Using the same profile as source and destination means no conversion is taking place. That's the definition of a non color managed application. People say you can't turn off color management in Photoshop, but you can and that's the way. It doesn't matter if your monitor is "calibrated" or not. Photoshop will behave exactly like Internet Explorer. All bets are off: it looks like this on my monitor, and like that on yours.

     

    I'm sure there's something I've forgotten, but I'm off to bed.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2011 7:56 PM   in reply to sisyphos

    And I'll ask again: reference to what?

     

    To himself, obviously. Re read my post, the part about a private reference system.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 2:58 AM   in reply to Hudechrome

    I think enough information is on the table here for people to judge for themselves. Everything I've said is easily verifiable.

     

    Why is this getting so personal? When something is wrong, I say so. That's how public forums work. If I say something wrong, others will let me know.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 3:26 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    sisyphos wrote:

     

    I think enough information is on the table here for people to judge for themselves. Everything I've said is easily verifiable.

     

    Why is this getting so personal? When something is wrong, I say so. That's how public forums work. If I say something wrong, others will let me know.

    Others have, or do you mean other than me? Or anyone else that doesn't agree with you?

     

    What's it to you if he wants to post his methodology here or anywhere else? I don't use it but at the same time, I don't use lots of methods others use. Does that make them or me wrong?

     

    You are the one taking it personally, imo. Looking at your stats, you seem to have arrived just to take up the cudgel left behind when we went this round before.Perhaps a re-incarnation of one or another who left in a huff.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 3:32 AM   in reply to Hudechrome

    Hudechrome wrote:

     

    Others have, or do you mean other than me?

    No, not you. Noel is getting personal, but at this point I don't think I should engage in any further discussion with him, as it seems pointless. Hence I adressed my reply to you. But it's general.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 9:49 AM   in reply to sisyphos

    Well, sisyphos, I suggest you finally let that boulder slide down the hill and go on to a more productive endeavor!

     
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    Mar 19, 2011 1:30 PM   in reply to Hudechrome
     
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    Mar 19, 2011 2:13 PM   in reply to sisyphos

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Mind

     

    This one's not a fairy tale!

    /s

     

    Message was edited by: Hudechrome

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 2:23 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    I installed IE9 yesterday and try it out on this webpage: http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

     

    The picture renders correctly indicating it does support ICC 4 profiles. so I'm certain this browser is  color managed.

     

    Any other test site recommendations?

     

    Passed the Acid2 test.

     

    I get 95/100 on the Acid3 test.

     
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    Mar 19, 2011 2:23 PM   in reply to gener7

    My system using the most recent FF only supports v2.

     
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    Mar 19, 2011 2:55 PM   in reply to Hudechrome

    Hudechrome wrote:

     

    My system using the most recent FF only supports v2.

    True,no v4 support: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/719755

    Same for Safari 5.0.4 Windows not Mac

     

    Which if they don't,is ICC v4 support important?

     
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