Friday, June 5, 2009

Yes, webbrowser bliss is here

Google has just released a Developer release of Chrome for Mac OS X and lo-and-behold, it still color manages. I was afraid that there was a chance that google would disable it in the final releases, so I am very happy to see this happening. Chrome manages exactly like Safari in that it doesn't manage untagged images nor CSS colors. Firefox has a mode that will color manage everything and the upcoming Firefox 3.5 will have Safari-like management turned on by default. This will cause the situation to soon be that 3 major browsers will be color managed and the dinky exception will be IE. Excellent! Now if somebody could check out if the latest developer builds for windows also color manage (use this simple page) that would be excellent. The current release on windows doesn't but it would be superb if they are changing that too.

Here is the proof: Three color managing browsers on my Mac with a wide gamut screen (screenshot converted back from my display profile to sRGB so you will see the right colors too). The colors in these images are rendered exactly the same as I found out by substracting them in Photoshop.


  1. Could you translate the last part of your post into English please? Ta.

  2. I am not sure what you mean, but I can write the last paragraph slightly less technical.

    To show how this works, I displayed the same webpage in three different browsers on my wide-gamut display and took a screenshot. I then converted this screenshot from the profile defining the monitor gamut to sRGB, the internet standard so that you will see something akin to what I see even in a non-managed browser. To learn more about color spaces and how browsers interact with them, you should read this excellent exposé by Jeffrey Friedl.
    As you can see, all three browsers render the colors in this image exactly the same. I even checked this by subtracting the color channels in Photoshop. If one of the browsers were not color managed, they would render the colors very differently and wrong, since this is a wide-gamut display that has a response very differently from sRGB. Nowadays very few computer displays still confirm to sRGB, mainly because of the prevalence of laptop displays (which are usually far narrower in gamut and have gamma curves that are usually completely different) and the rising popularity of wide gamut displays. Color management is needed on all such displays, even for sRGB source images. This is especially true for Macs, which come calibrated at gamma 1.8 from the factory making everything appear washed out in unmanaged browsers. Luckily this will change with Snow Leopard.

    Hope this clarifies it?

  3. > Now if somebody could check out if the latest developer builds for windows also color manage that would be excellent.

    Chrome 2 doesn't. But the latest v3 dev release ( does a bit, by supplying a command-line switch. It uses the display profile, but not the one embedded in the image. So, it sort of assumes all the images are untagged sRGB, and from this point on the color management "works".

    I hope they learn, or rather enable, support for embedded profiles by the time v3 gets released to the public.

    Here's the discussion.

  4. Thanks for checking Dorin. Weird that they bring rather useless and dumb management to the windows version. The Mac version is correctly color managed and respects embedded profiles! Why not enable that in windows too? Firefox does it by default. Safari does it by default.

  5. MSIE *is* capable of Color Management! Please read
    I have
    img {filter:ColorInfo(ColorSpace=sRGB, Intent=0);}
    in my CSS files.

  6. Rafal,

    that was for the now defunct Mac version of IE. It was well known that that actually color managed very well. However, it does not run on any current operating system. The windows version of IE is NOT capable of color management at all.

  7. Is there a way to get other browsers in 10.6 to do full color management like in Firefox (including untagged images and text)?

    10.6 seems much better color managed and Quicktime X supports color profiles.

  8. No unfortunately you cannot force color management of untagged images in other browsers than firefox.

  9. Jao

    It is pretty useless since if you can't force color management for untagged images, you are eliminating 99% of images on the internet. Slow, buggy, fat, crashing FF3.5 is the only stupid browser that works on my wide gamut monitor and mac. I regret purchasing a wide gamut monitor.

    Or I should probably move to a more advanced color managed and sensible operating system such as Windows 7 (sarcasm, but windows 7 does the right thing here).