June 19, 2008

Mo’ betta colors, from Firefox & HP

(Dang, now I have that Ice-T song "Colors" in my head)


  • HP’s new monitor eats your mere 16.7-million-color display for breakfast.  For $3,499, the 30-bit (10 bits per RGB channel) DreamColor LP2480zx promises up to a billion colors per pixel.  The display is aimed especially at people doing cinema post production & was produced in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG.
  • Firefox 3 is the latest web browser to support the colour managed display of photos with embedded ICC profiles, points out Rob Galbraith.  "That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s turned off by default. Here’s how to turn it on."  (For why all this matters, see previous.)

PS–The topic of color also makes me think of some cute profanity.

Posted by John Nack at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2008


  • Brandon — 12:02 PM on June 19, 2008

    So enabling Firefox’s Color Management is a bad idea. Pages look butt ugly. Whites are yellow, Firefox itself changes colors too.

  • Brandon — 12:06 PM on June 19, 2008

    Just to reiterate my point on the color profiles, look at Firefox’s start page. This blog is also kinda yellow as well.
    [Something bizarre is going on there. Color management should, as far as I know, have no effect on non-image parts of the UI. In particular it shouldn’t be turning white into yellow. I would simply expect that it would change the drawing of images that contain color profile tags, so that those images look more like they did in the imaging program that created them. –J.]

  • Chris Cox — 4:51 PM on June 19, 2008

    From the looks of it, either you have an incorrect display profile OR Firefox is incorrectly using absolute colorimetric intent when converting colors.

  • Mark — 5:09 PM on June 19, 2008

    Heres an explanation of the above behaviour from Mike Shaver of Mozilla:
    “Yeah, we apply colour management to all colours, including CSS ones, when you enable it. We’ll likely revisit that decision (not to say that we’ll necessarily change it) before turning it on by default, which many of us would like to do for the major release after Firefox 3. It would also mitigate the performance impact somewhat, I suspect.”
    [Okay, thanks. –J.]

  • Andrew Smith — 6:30 PM on June 19, 2008

    Works fine for me without changing the whites to yellow. Test image now displays correctly in FF3 for me. Overall, really impressed with FF3.

  • Brandon — 8:09 PM on June 19, 2008

    You would think it wouldn’t have effect anything else, but it does. Perhaps this is why it is disabled by default, as opposed to having every Firefox release become…funky?

  • Joe Decker — 7:44 AM on June 20, 2008

    I’m getting great results from this, but I also profile/calibrate my monitor with a profiling gadget. I doubt very much that this will be of much help to folks who haven’t generated a profile *somehow* specific to their systems, at least on PCs.
    I gotta disagree with Brandon, though, I *do* think that non-image content should be rendered through the profile, as is done now. If I can get an image and text to match on a web page, I’d like them to stay roughly matched, thanks.
    If a white web page is showing up yellow on his monitor, I’d think (absent a bug) that the problem is his profile.

  • Nathaniel — 1:27 PM on June 20, 2008

    Turning on the color profile support in FF3 doesn’t have any effect on the chrome or non-profiled areas of a page. Only page elements with embedded profiles change.
    If you’re seeing more changes than that, you may have some strange color setup on your system, monitor, or a Firefox theme with crazy embedded profiles (very unlikely).
    I’m disappointed that profile support isn’t turned on by default, though. I simply can’t fathom many decisions that come down from the FF devs sometimes, especially when they’re usually such ardent supporters of standards and frequently criticize the IE team for making IE more standards-compliant, but then defaulting to rendering pages with the old technique. It just seems like they’re doing more of the same.

  • Chris Cox — 11:28 AM on June 21, 2008

    Joe – most systems will use the default sRGB profile, or get the profile information directly from the connected display.
    The only people who seem to have trouble with FF3 color management are those with grossly incorrect display profiles. But we have seen cases in the past where a major display manufacturer shipped a lot of incorrect (and corrupt) profiles for their displays. If people aren’t using color management in any other application, this may be their first clue that their display profiles aren’t correct.

  • Mark — 10:57 AM on June 24, 2008

    You’ve missed another large reason why Firefox has color management disabled by default: Flash (and other plugins). Because differences in coloring between Flash and embedded images, it was decided that color management shouldn’t be enabled by default (in addition to the problem of slower image processing).
    Example of Flash with color management:
    Blog post with more details:

  • quarkdoll — 6:52 AM on July 08, 2008

    for 2 cents, i’m seeing the white as yellow as well. as an added data point, i had a quadro fx 1500 video card installed when i originally made the change in firefox; at that point white was white. i uninstalled the drivers, swapped in a geforce 8800 gtx and installed the latest drivers for that card. at that point, in firefox, white was yellow.
    i turned off the color management and white turned back to white; i had a brief idea that maybe firefox just needed to grab the current color profile so i then turned color management back on – only to find white as yellow again.

  • quarkdoll — 10:29 AM on July 14, 2008

    and as a solution: redefining the color profile for my monitor via the Adobe Gamma control panel has returned my firefox managed white to white and no longer yellow.

  • William Daniels — 3:42 PM on May 15, 2009

    i find that i cannot read all of the page when at an adobe site then if i resize to fullsize so maybe it will be ‘all there’ then the screen turns white what’s up with that???

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