The key to understanding the Maestro suite is a process known as ICC Profiling, a relatively young feature of digital colour management. ICC stands for International Color Consortium. ICC Profiles map the behaviour of devices (scanners, digital cameras, computer monitors, printers) used in the pre-press and publishing world. A computer’s colour management system then uses the profiles to moderate the transmission of digital data between devices and to produce consistency and predictability across the board.
ICC Profiling is slowly gaining acceptance among professionals, but is hampered by complexity. ICC-compliant applications currently on the market take a theoretical approach to colour that is alien to the wit and understanding of traditional practitioners of the industry for which is was designed.
In a typical colour workflow system, input devices range from digital cameras to scanners, output devices from four-colour process proofers and printing presses to the worldwide web and the Internet. In between sits a computer with its monitor display, operating system and software applications. Once all these displays and devices have been profiled, digital colour management is transparent and automatic to all users, wherever they may be in the colour publishing process.
In the background, the processes are complicated by other standards. For example, the output of scanners and the display of a colour monitor conform to the RGB Colour Space model (Red, Green, Blue). Printers and proofers utilise a four-colour process, which uses another Colour Space called CMYK corresponding to the ink colours – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These standards can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.