Colour management enters a new dimension thanks to a new test suite launched by the Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication (VIGC). The VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite comprises 50 photos for testing ICC profiles, colour conversions and colour management workflows. Using the VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite, the VIGC identified some major differences, for example, between the Coated FOGRA39 (Adobe) and the ISO Coated v2 (ECI), despite both being based on the same data set.
Eddy Hagen, director and trend watcher at the VIGC, says: "We developed the test suite after noticing irregularities with colour conversions that we did not see with other, known test pictures. The VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite comprises 50 very interesting pictures that are ideal for testing and ensuring effective colour management."
Selected from ten thousand pictures, including 16 bits
The photos in the VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite were taken from a library of around 100,000 high-resolution photos that Hagen has taken with different digital cameras during the past six years, including 8 and 16-bit versions.
“The VIGC50 images are all outside shots of very different settings – events, landscapes, flowers and the most varied skin tones,” explains Hagen. “There are no well-balanced studio shots such as, for example, the Roman16, which is a very good test suite of medium pictures. With the VIGC50, we wanted ‘extreme’ images, so that people can use it to complement existing colour test suites."
Profile evaluations reveal major differences between the same type of profiles
As part of the testing in creating the VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite, the VIGC converted all pictures from RGB to CMYK with three coated profiles and two newspaper profiles. During the testing, the organization identified major differences despite the profiles being based on the same 'characterization data set' – on the one hand FOGRA 39 for the coated profiles and on the other FOGRA26 for newspaper profiles.
Hagen adds: "From the dozens of photos we converted, we have picked the pictures where we saw significant differences – for example, in an area of colour, or in skin tones. Clear differences were seen in the coated profiles, while in the newspaper profiles the differences were even more extreme."
The VIGC50 eXtreme Color Suite reveals the following differences between the profiles:
· Blue regularly becomes purple
· Yellow sometimes acquires a green tone, colour inversion with specific light-yellow tones
· Red sometimes becomes magenta, and sometimes orange
· Skin tones sometimes become more yellow
· Black sometimes acquires a blue tone
In the test suite there is also a summary of the test pictures, including information on which elements must be considered in each picture, and for which type of profiles and type of conversions (rendering intents) are interesting. This also makes the VIGC50 a very good educational tool.
Free taster – VIGC3: red, green and blue
As a taster, VIGC is offering a free version that contains three typical pictures. The VIGC3 can be downloaded from the VIGC website, where you can also order the whole test suite.
"The VIGC3 gives users a good idea of the differences that can exist between different profiles,” concludes Hagen. “The VIGC50 is a must-have for companies that are serious about achieving top-quality colour management."