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This section of the report assumes a modest acquaintance with the principles of colour vision. For those without this background reference should be made to books such as those by Hunt [1], Travis [2] or Thorrell and Smith [3].

2.1 Colour Management Requirements

In the recent past there has been a rapid increase in the variety of input and output devices which can support colour: monitors, digital printers and cameras, photo-CDs, scanners, etc., etc.. There has been a parallel explosion in the use of networks and consequent shipping of coloured images between systems.

In the monochrome world of DTP, WYSIWYG has long been an expected feature of a system. This expectation is now being carried over into the exploitation of coloured images. In other words, for example, the colours scanned in from an original should be matched by the colours seen when the image is viewed on a monitor and subsequently output on a printer. It is to facilitate this colour matching that CMS have been developed. Much of the current product application development seems to be driven by demand in the graphics, imaging and print industry.

When coloured images are transmitted via computer networks the problems experienced in the DTP application are exacerbated, there may be no local control over the nature of the remote output device used to view the coloured image. The image itself may go through various stages of encoding and decoding before reproduction and for some applications the retention of faithful colour representation is a necessity. This is exemplified by interactive purchasing, where purchases may be made on the basis of images viewed over a network. Currently paper catalogue shoppers often make returns because of receiving items of the wrong colour. This problem is caused by the printed image of the catalogue not matching the colour of the original item. The difficulty of faithfully representing the colour of such items on the screen for interactive purchasing is likely to have serious commercial implications. More technical applications which may require accurate colour rendition of networked images are likely to arise in the medical imaging and remote sensing fields.

Computer Supported Co-operative Working (CSCW) is also likely to stimulate demand for CMS. Members of a geographically distributed design team can work on a shared application to design, e.g. a textile pattern. This co-operative design activity will only be truly practical if it can be guaranteed that all participants see the same colours on screen and their local hard-copy devices.

The demand is thus growing from many areas for a system whereby colour can be faithfully reproduced and transferred between diverse media and a variety of software packages. The essential element in such a system is a device independent colour specification system.

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