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Chapter 6. Rendering > Transfer Functions

6.3. Transfer Functions

In PDF 1.2, a transfer function adjusts the values of color components to compensate for nonlinear response in an output device and in the human eye. Each component of a device color space—for example, the red component of the DeviceRGB space—is intended to represent the perceived lightness or intensity of that color component in proportion to the component's numeric value. Many devices do not actually behave this way, however; the purpose of a transfer function is to compensate for the device's actual behavior. This operation is sometimes called gamma correction (not to be confused with the CIE-based gamut mapping function performed as part of CIE-based color rendering).

In the sequence of steps for processing colors, the consumer application applies the transfer function after performing any needed conversions between color spaces, but before applying a halftone function, if necessary. Each color component has its own separate transfer function; there is no interaction between components.


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