What is color management system?
A color management system (CMS) is a collection of software tools that ensure that colors stay the same regardless of the medium or device on which the colors are displayed. Because colors are device dependent and different devices use different technologies to produce color, color consistency in media is a major challenge. A color management system is used in devices such as scanners, monitors, image setters, and printers.
The focus of any color management system is to ensure that different applications, devices, or operating systems display colors consistently. The color you see on a device depends on the device producing the color. In other words, the color is device dependent. A scanner could interpret an image with certain RGB values, which can be different from the color interpretation of a monitor with RGB colors. Different values need to be sent to the different devices to get consistent results. This requires transformations that are carried out with the help of equations, tables or similar tools. Indeed, the quality of producing colors of many products is judged by the ability to perform these color transformations.
One of the techniques used by color management systems to accomplish these transformations is to use color profiles. A color profile is a mathematical representation of a color space in a device. This color space is then translated in another device and, if necessary, converted into the required color. However, a single color translation method has not been found to be ideal for all types of graphics and therefore each color management system is given a choice of translation methods for specific graphic elements. A color management system is not required when a single medium is used for color representation. Color management is used when color graphics are reused for online or print media and different devices are used.
Color management systems have many related advantages. They help in achieving consistent and predictable color output in different devices and help in sending color documents to different devices without manually adjusting the original graphics or settings on the device they are being sent to.