iccMAX – new color management system

Posted: December 5, 2016 in Color

iccMAX

ICC color management meets the goal of creating, promoting and encouraging the standardization of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components. While the current architecture works well in many areas, new potential applications are emerging and it is believed that tomorrow’s color comunication will require a more flexible and extensible system. ICC has developed a new specification, iccMAX, that will address many of these new requirements.

It is important to note that iccMAX is not intended as a replacement for ICC v4, the existing architecture, but as an extension or alternative where requirements cannot be fully met by v4.

What is iccMAX?

iccMAX is a new color management system that goes beyond D50 colorimetry. This new specification has been approved by the ICC Steering Committee.

iccMAX profiles show v5 in the header to distinguish them from v4 and v2. iccMAX profiles also have class, sub-class, versioning and header information that differs from v4.

Users and developers are encouraged to make comments on the specification.

Backwards compatibility

iccMAX provides a significant enhancement to the functionality of the current v4 specification. It is recognised that in many industries, v4 (and even v2) meets existing color management needs and in these industries there will be no drive to move to adopt the new specification.

An iccMAX CMM will be completely backward-compatible and will recognise and correctly process v2 and v4 profiles. However, iccMAX profiles are not expected to be compatible with v4 CMMs. ICC has provided a reference implementation to help with iccMAX adoption (see below).

How will iccMAX profiles be different?

The main changes you can see are:

Profile Connection Space

The ICC v4 PCS has fixed D50 colorimetry, considered necessary until now to ensure interoperability and prevent ambiguity in colour transforms. iccMAX allows flexibility in the selection of illuminant and color matching functions. It supports spectral communication of colour information through an optional spectral PCS, and also supports the use of color appearance processing in the PCS, with the facility to store appearance attributes in a v5 profile.

Support for extended CMM functionality

A variety of new types of information can be stored in an iccMAX profile to support run-time transform creation of a smart or dynamic CMM. Examples include:

  • a new gamut boundary description (GBD)
  • support for spectral data
  • measurement data using the CxF format
  • a new encoding of Named colors to support tints

Programmable transforms (e.g. direct encoding of device models) are supported through Multi-processing Calc elements, with functional operators, conditional evaluation, persistent variables and vectorized operations for improved performance.

Future extendability is also provided through support for hierarchical data encoding, allowing optional data to be added later without requiring changes to the tag parser.

Abbreviated profiles

CMMs are able to select or define a suitable transform by referencing the color encoding standard (such as those listed in the ICC Three-component Registry) which can be specified in a v5 profile in place of a complete transform.

Source: www.color.org

The iccMAX specification is now available to download on the Specifications page.

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