Yet More Books on Color

The following books have been added to the bibliographies page.

“Real World Color Management” by Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting..
“The Reproduction of Colour” by Hunt.
Giorgianni and Madden’s “Digital Color Management: Encoding Solutions”.

Since I am not an expert in either color theory or color reproduction, I encourage you to read other reviews of these three books. Heck, you should be doing that anyway, for all my reviews – color and everything else.

Several years ago, I overheard someone complaining that they designed their artwork on a computer, but wanted to sell prints of it. Unfortunately, they had no idea how to match the hard copy to the computer screen.

I would still hate to have to do that — but that afternoon, I bought my first book on color management: “Real World Color Management” by Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting..

I didn’t get much out of it until I picked it up again in response to non-linearity. This time – because I had some, admittedly vague, questions – I understood what it was telling me, and I figured out what ColorSync on my Macintosh was telling me.

I am still not ready to get my hands dirty with ICC profiles, but now I know where to look.

Nevertheless, there were, and are still, large gaps in my understanding of color reproduction. So I finally broke down and ordered the classic reference, “The Reproduction of Colour” by Hunt.

I’m not sure that it is keeping up with technological changes, but I more than suspect that the book is worth having anyway, for its discussion of fundamentals.

I’m a little disappointed that although it uses the Bradford Transform for “chromatic adaptation”, it doesn’t explain it.

I will not hold it against it that it didn’t answer any of my vague questions. I’m glad I now own it.

But as for the third book – I love it!

Giorgianni and Madden’s “Digital Color Management: Encoding Solutions” is beautifully illustrated, very clearly written, and seems to cut to the heart of the matter.

Let me put it this way. It strikes me as “the Bible according to Kodak”. Well, if they aren’t qualified to write the bible on color, who is? (Yes, I understand there is some risk that this is not a mainstream book; gee, Hunt is probably just what I need for assessing that.)

Its chapter 5 is basically an extended computation, getting from digital camera to CRT – with all the attendant issues; its chapter 15 is “myths and misconceptions”.

Oh, and their appendix H does another example of the algorithm that I found in Glassner; perhaps I should call it a “color-primary conversion”, as they do, or just a change-of-basis (primaries).

Giorgianni and Madden only spend three pages on ICC device profiles. That’s okay — that’s what the other color management book is for.

All that being said, the books that move me most are the ones that speak to me the clearest — and those are the books that answer my questions, especially questions I didn’t know I had.

As things stand, Hunt and Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting. seem like good books to have bought; Giorgianni and Madden seems like a real find, an exceptional book, even one of “the” books.

(By contrast with Giorgianni and Madden, sadly, this edition, the 6th, of Hunt is not particularly well illustrated. Some of its figures remind me of panels from comic books.)

Anyway, here they are:

Fraser, Bruce; Murphy, Chris; & Bunting, Fred. Real World Color Management. Peachpit Press, 2003. There is a 2nd edition, 2004.
ISBN 0 201 77340 6.
[color reproduction, 24 Feb 2010]
Everything you ever wanted to know about ICC profiles. Both Mac and Windows. In fact, the 1st edition includes OS 9; one hopes it has more recent OS X material in the 2nd edition.

Giorgianni, Edward J.& Madden, Thomas E. Digital Color Management: Encoding Solutions. Wiley, 2008 (2nd Ed.).
ISBN 978 0 470 51244 9.
[color reproduction, 24 Feb 2010]
This is a marvelous book: clearly written and beautifully illustrated. It’s probably too soon to say it, but I already think this is one of “the” books. If ICC profiles don’t do it for you, the clear and detailed explanations here may help you figure out what’s wrong. And even if ICC profiles do what you need, this book may deepen your understanding of color management.

Hunt, R.W.G. The Reproduction of Colour. Wiley, 2004. 6th Edition.
ISBN 0 470 02425 9.
[color reproduction, 24 Feb 2010]
Latest edition of the classic encyclopedic reference.


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