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Chapter 23. Preferences > What is color management?

What is color management?

Every device, whether it's a monitor or a printer, defines color within its own unique color range (called its “gamut”) when it represents or reproduces color. The purpose of color management is to ensure consistent color by coordinating and matching color among various device gamuts—from monitor color (RGB) to final print output color (CMYK). If a color on a source device (monitor or scanner) is within the gamut of the destination device (printer), then color matching is straightforward. If a color on a source device is outside the gamut of the destination device, then the color management system adjusts the color (alters its hue, lightness, or saturation) to match the color between the source and destination devices. A monitor can't display, nor can a printing device output, all the colors in the visible spectrum.

Today's computers use color matching systems (CMS) to maintain color consistency between input and output devices. A CMS is built into the latest versions of both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems. In Mac OS X it's called ColorSync; in Windows it's called Image Color Management, or ICM.


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