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Chapter 13. Color > rendering-intent Property

13.4. rendering-intent Property

Reproducing color values across different media is not easy, as anybody who has tried to do professional color matching between print and onscreen colors will tell you. The International Color Consortium (ICC) set up a color-profile format that tries to deal with these issues, and in particular, what to do with out-of-gamut colors, which are colors that fall outside the range of a particular color profile for a given device. For example, it is very hard to exactly reproduce the bright, onscreen color generated by the hexadecimal value 255,0,0 (color name: red) into print, and it is equally difficult to get an exact match for a printed magenta onscreen. Rendering intent rules have been created to cope with color equivalency between different devices. The rendering-intent property comes with six properties, each with its own unique set of rules for handling color: auto, perceptual, relative-colorimetric, saturation and absolute-colorimetric as well as inherit.

The auto value is the default, and corresponds to the default behavior for the individual browser. The perceptual value renders the full range of color to match the color output of the device, either compressing or expanding the actual color values. It is called perceptual because the intent is to try and shift the color values so that they all match each other even if the match is not exact — a red may become a pink, but it is still red after a fashion. Under this value, the gray balance is preserved. The relative-colorimetric value takes the white value of the original and maps it to the white value of the destination device, shifting all of the other color values along with it in the process. The saturation value is meant to retain the vividness of color values — it preserves the original saturation rather than hue levels, so while a color may shift towards green or red, its “neon-iness” is retained. The absolute-colorimetric value reproduces colors exactly, and converts out-of-gamut colors to the nearest possible hue. The inherit value takes on whatever parent colorimetric value may be present.


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