color management system (CMS)

  

Definition

Computer hardware-software combination that ensures the color fidelity of an image whether seen on a monitor, or printed on a desktop printer or a commercial printing machine. The need for CMS arises because there is normally no 'What You See Is What You Get' (WYSIWYG) when it comes to colors due to the very different color capabilities of different devices. Human eye, for example, can differentiate between hundreds of colors, a photograph can show some of them, a monitor a fewer, and a printing machine the fewest. Moreover, all monitors use the RGB color model and the printing machines of all types use the CMYK color model. To complicate the matter further, every monitor and printing machine has its own level of quality and unique method of displaying or reproducing colors. In this situation a CMS works as an interpreter between the various color models and devices and helps in calibrating them to a uniform level of accuracy. See also color matching system.

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