Updating Color Management in ANTETYPE

This article deals with some of the upcoming changes to ANTETYPE with regard to Color Management, the rationale behind them and the consequences of these changes.

United colours of India by Marco Bellucci, on Flickr

A new version of ANTETYPE will soon be released that supports consistent displaying of colors across devices, displays and Operating System. The core of the changes are that all images and colors are only stored with values in the sRGB color space and it will only be possible to export assets in the sRGB color space.

Why have we updated the color management?

When ANTETYPE was first built we decided we would allow our users to specify the color space with each color when selected using the standard OS X Color Picker. This seemed a way to give users the greatest flexibility, but this had lead to problems matching colors as atype files are moved from computer to computer and also when the output images are rendered on different devices and web browsers. We have realized that in order to create the best and simplest user experience we would need to store all color information in a single consistent color space so that colors would be guaranteed to match.

For an application such as ANTETYPE, which is not primarily used to author printed assets or photographic images, using the Adobe RGB color space does not make sense as this is not the color space that is used by mobile devices and web browsers currently. The major web browsers interpret a CSS or inline hex color using the sRGB color space and will assume that images that have no color space data are in the sRGB color space. Mobile devices using Android, iOS and Windows Mobile do not have the processing power to convert between color spaces and on these devices the expected color space of images is sRGB. For more reading on this topic read: Web browser color management tutorial

It is for these reasons that we have chosen sRGB as the only color space that is used within ANTETYPE. All color data that is passed to ANTETYPE is immediately converted to the sRGB color space: imported images, picked colors etc. All data that is exported from ANTETYPE is exported in the sRGB color space: CSS snippets, screen images, web viewer data etc.

When images and colors are rendered within ANTETYPE then OS X converts all colors to the color space used by the user’s display.

What has changed in version 1.1.8 so that all colors are stored in the sRGB color space?

What have we had to change to get this all to work? A lot of areas have been affected by the changes to color management here are the larger changes:

  • A slightly altered file format that assumes all colors are in the sRGB colorspace and therefore colors do not require as much storage space.
  • Upgrading existing atype files to new format and converting all color data to sRGB color space upon first load. N.B. Colors & images with associated color space information are converted to the sRGB color space- those with out any color space information are not converted, values are assumed to be sRGB and the color space is attached to the color.
  • Upgrading shared library to new format and upgrading color data to sRGB color space.
  • All Color defaults are in sRGB Color space.
  • Exporting of images always in sRGB color space.
  • Option to strip the color space information from exported image to reduce file sizes.
  • CSS Export for elements now uses the sRGB color space.
  • Force OS X Color Picker to always provide sRGB colors – you will notice that when you use any standard Color Picker in OS X that a message is displayed to highlight that the color chosen has been converted into sRGB.
  • Force OS X Color Picker to accurately provide sRGB colors when using the magnifying glass to sample colors within ANTETYPE (only works with OS X 10.8+).
  • When the OS X Color Picker is used to sample a color from another application (or ANTETYPE in OS X 10.7) the conversion to sRGB has been updated to assist consistency. N.B. On some displays there are still conversion issues for some sampled colors, this is an issue related to OS X and outside of our control. We recommend using OS X 10.8+ and sampling colors from within ANTETYPE for the best accuracy.
  • We have recently released a new version of the ANTETYPE Color Picker for OS X this can now be installed and uninstalled using the Preferences Pane.
  • Existing users of the older ANTETYPE Color Picker will find that
    ANTETYPE will automatically update the older version. N.B. you will need to restart ANTETYPE to see the change to the Color Picker.

Version 1.1.8 is undergoing final internal testing before a public release in the next weeks,  look out for a blog post and email to notify once 1.1.8 is released.

Feedback always welcome

We have tested these changes extensively and believe that you should not find any issues with the automatic conversion of your files and the updated processes for importing images, picking colors or exporting assets. As ever though please contact us if you do find an issue.

Have we missed any issues relating to Color Management? Will the new version of ANTETYPE (1.1.8) meet your Color Management needs?

2 Responses to Updating Color Management in ANTETYPE

  • David O'Donnell says on January 10, 2013 at 16:31

    I downloaded and installed the 1.1.8b color picker and noticed that there is no opacity support. Is opacity planned for the final 1.1.8, or a feature limited only to the ANTETYPE application?

    Thanks for your consideration and reply.

    • Thanks for your feedback David and glad to hear that you have installed the Color Picker.

      The standard OS X Color Panel has a built in opacity slider that the calling application can request to display or not. In ANTETYPE we request to display opacity but I can only assume that the application you are calling the OS X color picker from has not requested the opacity slider.

      Which application is it that you are using the ANTETYPE color picker in?

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