[scribus] explanation of previous query & LittleCMS

Hal V. Engel hvengel at astound.net
Tue Sep 8 21:45:47 CEST 2009

On Tuesday 08 September 2009 05:29:49 am Peter Nermander wrote:
> > ? While I?ve got your attention, I wanted to ask one more question if I
> > may:? What about LittleCMS in Scribus?? Will I be able to achieve a
> > decent color balance for my photos [and possibly other graphic images]
> > using this utility, without having to concern myself with externally
> > applied profiles, 

You will need a basic understanding of color management and will need to 
have/create images with the correct embedded profiles.  You will also need to 
have correct profiles for your input and output devices.  The learning curve is 
fairly steep but if done correctly color management will give you excellent 
results with reduced effort once you are past the learning curve.  Keep in mind 
that all of this is VERY device specific and that you will need good profiles 
for each of your devices.  For many of these devices you will need to create 
custom profiles to do this correctly.  For input devices you will need certain 
equipment to do this (profiling target and color meter).  For printers you are 
probably better off using a profiling service unless you can find profiles on-line 
from your media vendor since the equipment is fairly costly.  

> > even if it involves a little trial and error?? 

Trial and error will not do it.  It requires that you measure your devices and 
use those measurements to create the profiles.

> > Anyway,
> > thanks again.
> LittleCMS is the library used by Scribus to handle profiles. Without
> profiles LittleCMS can do nothing.

To add more detail you need at least two profiles for color management to do 
anything.  This is a source profile (many times this is specific to a piece of 
hardware and sometimes it is what is called a working color space profile) and 
a destination profile (which is normally for an output device like a printer or 
a monitor but it can also be some generic or working color space profile). 

If you don't care about color correctness then...
> The way to avoid having to mess with profiles is to turn color
> management in Scribus off (which esentially means turning LittleCMS
> off). Then you don't have to even think about profiles, but you should
> not be surprised if pictures come out looking "wrong".

This of course depends on your use case.  If color matters then you probably 
should learn about and start using color management.  Since you are asking 
about achieving a decent color balance this indicates to me that you care 
about color reproduction so you should probably spend some time to learn about 
and start using color management.

> But I think most people today are used to "bad" quality pictures (if
> you print straight from your camera to an inkjet printer, like many
> people do today, you get what you get without being able to adjust
> anything). If they get a print that looks wrong they consider it to be
> a "bad picture" and wouldn't know that it could be adjusted to look
> good.

But I don't think this is your typical Scribus user.  There are use cases all 
the way from I don't care at all about color correctness to the colors and 
tonality must be correct every time and, of course, everything in between 
those extremes.  Whether using color management makes sense for you depends on 
where you fall on that continuum. 


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