It’s now 25 years since the International Color Consortium (ICC) was formed and the ICC colour management technology introduced. The ICC started as a joint effort between Adobe, Agfa, Apple, Kodak and Microsoft.Their idea was that colour management should be done starting at the computer operating system level, and that all applications should do it in the same way. This would add both consistency and ease of use. The ICC invented a standard file format for colour conversions: profiles.
The ICC’s colour scientists also decided that colours should be defined neither in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black, called K because it’s the Key colour) nor RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour spaces, because doing so limits what can be done with the colour data. Instead the ICC technology is based on the CIE Lab and CIE XYZ colour spaces which are much larger. These colour spaces are collections of mathematical definitions of all the colours humans can perceive, which is way more than either CMYK or RGB can represent.
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