[Gimp-developer] GIMP and Adobe RGB (1998)

The other day there was an IRC discussion of the possibility of GIMP supporting RGB color spaces other than unbounded mode sRGB.

I was surprised to see in the transcript a statement that GIMP shouldn't support Adobe RGB (1998).

The rejection of Adobe RGB (1998) seemed to be based on the premise that the accidental nature of the creation of the Adobe RGB (1998) color space means that the Adobe RGB (1998) color space is somehow not useful for image editing.

Back in 1998 Adobe intended to create an entirely different color space (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobergb). Instead Adobe accidentally released a color space with the same red and blue chromaticities as sRGB, but with a more saturated green chromaticity.

Adobe tried to fix what they saw as their mistake. But photographers said, "No, we like the extra color gamut. Adobe RGB (1998) holds more of the printable greens, yellows and cyans than sRGB. We need to keep it."

sRGB is based on the display characteristics of consumer grade monitors from the late 1990s. Consequently the sRGB color gamut is far too small to hold all printable colors. So Adobe RGB (1998) was hailed as superior to sRGB, particularly when the task at hand was editing printable colors that exceed the very small sRGB color space.

The Adobe RGB (1998) color gamut is also too small to hold all printable colors. But for many editing tasks Adobe RGB (1998) was and still remains an improvement over sRGB.

Adobe RGB (1998) is almost certainly the second most widely used RGB color space, right behind sRGB.

Many commercial print shops only accept sRGB images. Of the shops that do accept images in another RGB color space, that color space is often Adobe RGB (1998).

Most digital cameras only save jpegs in the sRGB color space. Of the ones that do allow the saving of jpegs in another RGB color space, that color space is Adobe RGB (1998).

Adobe RGB (1998) is important for:

* People preparing images for printing

* People who save Adobe RGB (1998) camera jpegs

* People who want or need a small gamut color space that is nonetheless larger than the very small sRGB.

A summary rejection of Adobe RGB (1998) ignores the needs and accustomed workflows of the many, many photographers who work in the Adobe RGB (1998) color space.


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