ICC Profiles and Saving for Web

It has been the bain of my brief photography life that I take a photo, enhance it in Photoshop and basically make it look spiffy as all getout and then want to publish to the web for all the world to glory over, only once it hits the web it looses all its vibrancy and looks down right flat and boring. Why?

In my mornings research I have been able to unearth several reasons for this and ways and means to get around the problem. The most annoying of all the problems and thus far unsolvable is with Mozilla Firefox. I love Firefox as a browser. It’s fantastic, but it doesn’t do imbedded ICC profiles at all. It is being worked on and more info can be found here: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/colorsync/

So moving on from Firefox, what is ICC? ICC stands for International Color Consortium established to create a universal color management system for ALL operating systems (OS) and software packages. This means that you should be able to look at your images in any program, on any computer and see the same colours in the image (providing the monitor is calibrated correctly). It also means that what you see on your screen is what you see in the printed result. Now, this isn’t an exact science (which makes my mind boggle ’cause I thought it would be just a matter of telling everything to use the same bunch of numbers, but I’m not a geek so what do I know really), I was saying, this isn’t an exact science, and so even though the ICC define the format precisely, they don’t actually define the algorithms or processing details (or so says wikipedia.org). This means that there is still room for variation between different applications and OS’s even though they all might use the ICC profiles. *sigh*

Does your browser use ICC? To find out you can visit these sights:
http://www.color.org/version4html.html
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/web-browser-color-management.html

Further information on all of this can be found through:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/webphotos.html
(that’s where I got my best leads from this morning)

One thing they seem to be telling us to do is make sure you convert your images to sRGB for best results on the web.

Also, while pocking around in the Adobe Photoshop CS2 “save for web” tool I discovered this little gem which solved a huge bunch of my problems (web browsers aside), it brings back all the information and vibrancy in the original pic (accessed from that little arrow to the left of the save button)

Saving for web

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