ColorSync is Mac OS X’s built-in color management technology. The goal of color management is to maintain accurate color along the entire imaging workflow, from the capture of images using devices like scanners or digital cameras, through the output of the images to press, printer, or computer display.

A complete and accurate color management system worthy of a professional design shop requires some additional expense, a bit of work, and a good deal of specialized knowledge. If you intend to go this route and are still new to the process, you should start by talking to a qualified color consultant.

If, on the other hand, you’ll be happy enough that your digital snapshots come out close to what you’d expect on an inkjet printer, you can get the job done by yourself. In fact, most of the work is done for you. To begin, it will help to have a basic understanding of why color management is necessary and how it works.

How ColorSync Works

No two color digital devices capture or reproduce the same color in exactly the same way. Too many variables exist in the devices’ manufacture, use, and maintenance to expect that one inkjet printer, for example, will put down the exact mixture of ink to produce that blue sky as will another printer, given the exact same data. Color management is necessary to rectify this, translating for one device what another really means by its digital expression of a certain color.

The first key component of color management, then, is the profile, which describes, ...

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