View Full Version : Setting Firefox to "better" colormanagement

11-09-2014, 03:37 AM
I read a thread some days ago where a member (I think it was prometheus) wrote about images made in VUE. During the discussion people noted that the images look somehow oversaturated. While I was now browsing the galleries on Cornucopia3D (http://www.cornucopia3d.com/galleries), I also had that impression. I thought that in some cases it might be by intention but especially in the "Architecture & Urban" part of the gallery I had expected that the renders look a bit more, how to say, toned down (I don't want to say "realistic" as I can't judge what is realistic and what not).
Under the assumption that at least some of the artists did not intend to make highly saturated images I had a look into my current Firefox colormanagement settings.

I have a wide gamut display (NEC SpectraView). That means if it is told to show deeply saturated colors, it does exactly that. A fat pink (255 red, 128 blue, 0 green) nearly burns in my eyes.

I assumed that color values like the above can be present in an image file shown in Firefox (e.g. if the VUE artist said "make a pink flower and green (255) grass").

I assumed that those images do not include information about how the color values should be interpreted. That means if they are saved as a file there is no tag saying "the colors are to be interpreted as e.g. sRGB". In sRGB a pink (255 red, 128 blue, 0 green) is not burning like it does on my NEC.

Under those assumptions I checked the Firefox settings:

In the URL I typed:
That brought me to the configuration page.

In the search field I entered gfx:
There it was - the colormanagement.


If this path is empty, Firefox takes whatever is set in the operating system as monitor profile. If there is none or a wrong one, the colormanagement will likely create wrong results. So to be on the save side I put my super-duper high end profile ;-) there. It must be the path plus the file name:

Because I normally create version 4 profiles I switched the default value "false" to "true" (double click the entry). If I would use a V4 profile without doing this, Firefox would not use the profile without telling me.

This is the bad one. It is set to 2 by default. And that means "only color manage images that have an ICC tag". But as one of my assumptions was, that a lot of images in the web don't have this tag, there is no colormanagement at all.
This guy should be set to 1. That means color manage everything. If there is no tag, then assume it is sRGB.

Another tricky one, but fortunately the default "0" is already the one of choice:

Honor the rendering intent specified in the image file.

Perceptual (Default)

Relative colorimetric


Absolute colorimetric

After those changes I restarted Firefox and browsed the Cornucopia3D gallery again. And guess what, the oversaturated colors were gone. Of course all images are now interpreted as sRGB images. That means also those ones which were highly saturated by intention got toned down.

In general I think it is nearly impossible to judge colors in Firefox (and maybe other browsers as well). You just don't know what was the intention of the artist, what color gamut was used, what output device the image was made for (sRGB display, adobe RGB display, medical display, US coated printing machine, snap 200 offset press etc.). But with the settings above we at least have something to play with :-)

11-09-2014, 03:42 PM
itīs weird though, real life images, lightwave renders and terragen renders..all viewed in firefox, looks as you suspect the real thing should look like in terms of color, and no matter if you save the images from vue artists, they still look the same in different viewing programs, but this isnīt always the case, some renders and artists showcase much better renders....so itīs not completly vueīs fault, and same goes if you have worked with vue, the base colors or textured maps and many defaults are to saturated, then thereīs a clearly distinct to much translucancy flowing all over so many vue images.

I donīt believe it has to do with changing color management in firefox, if a natural photo looks good in firefox and also terragen renders, why on earth would you like to change color management to adapt and compensate vue renders? in such case you might also not get proper color display for natural photos and other renders that will be affected by that color management.

I know I could get better color renders from vue ple stuff, than many vue renders displayed on their galleries...so I guess you should start with getting the correct color profile out of vue, and view it with default color management in firefox before changing anything.

I could just as easy download the images for vue gallery, and tweak them in post to get better natural results, thatīs sort of what changing color management is fixing...you shouldnīt have too..the renders should be set up more properly in vue from starter...a few artists does that...many many artists donīt, and there are som many cloud presets that they use those..ergo, some lousy cloud puffs are floating around in many renders even though vue itself
can produce much better results, heck even in defiance(lightwave and vue,or ozone) the round cloud puff syndrome is to prominent...since I donīt think they had time to work on their own cloud shapes and mostly used prests.


11-09-2014, 03:50 PM
compare these two...one has way to much translucency..and too saturated...the other more how it should look like, the thing is that so many seem to think it looks cool or how it should be, when it just is to much of it.

Same gallery..same color management.

http://static1.cornucopia3d.net/galleries/albums/userpics/1318790/normal_Pinus%20sylvestris%20scots%20pine%20ilex%20 aquifolium%20holly%203d%20plant%20model%20the%20pl ant%20factory%20vue%20infinite%20landscape.jpg


11-10-2014, 02:40 AM
Hi prometheus,

sorry if my post sounded like I wanted to "rescue" Vue. Like you I also think many gallery images look a liittle overdone. There is often a so high contrast. Even in misty environments the lights are often artificially glowing. Or the bark textures. I don't know, but they often look unnatural to me. And yes, in a lot of the images there is a lot of color. My observation was just that viewing those images on my wide gammut display made it even worse. I should have not taken Vue as an example.

See the attached image. Left and right side are the same regading the initial color values. But on the left side the colors are as I put them and on the right side they were converted to sRGB. This is similar to setting gfx.color_management.mode to either 2 (default) or 1 (color mange everyting). The difference is most obvious if you cover the image with e.g. a cardboard and then reveal either side alternately.

The effect is most prominent if a wide gamut display is used. If it is a sRGB display it anyway can't show those super intense colors.


Just for fun here is the same concept but this time with your avatar icon. Left side is with "only color manage if there is a colorspace tag", right side with "color manage eveything".


And here is an example out of the LW gallery. By the way I love the saturated one and the not so saturated one.



But what settings to use is just a personal decision. There is no wrong or right under this circumstances because we don't know what intention the artist had. If he/she would tell us that the image was made in adobe RGB or even ProPhoto RGB then it would be clear that the higly saturared colors are correct. In that case it would be wrong to tell Firefox to compress all colors into the limited sRGB colorspace.

Last Info:
If you set the gfx.color_management.mode to 1 (color mange everyting) then the right hand part of the images get double converted. I made the conversion already when I did the screenshots, if Firefox is set to 1 it will convert them a second time. This could lead to washed out colors.

11-10-2014, 05:43 AM
Hi prometheus,

sorry if my post sounded like I wanted to "rescue" Vue. Like you I also think many gallery images look a liittle overdone. .

That you donīt have to be sorry about, good to hear findings, just not sure what I think about it.

11-12-2014, 11:35 PM
On my colour calibrated system the jpg versions without the sRGB tagging look less saturated than the ones tagged with an sRGB profile.

I also think it is a really bad idea to turn on colour management for untagged images in Firefox if you design for web pages, mobile, etc. There are too many problems with that workflow, in my experience. For one, no-one, but for the odd FF user, will have turned on automatic tagging for all images. With colour management turned on or by tagging all your images as srgb things often run completely out of your control for web graphics/design.

By circumventing colour management completely for web and mobile development at least the design becomes self-contained, and therefore it becomes much easier to get everything colour coherent.

For mobile it is far worse, actually. Unless there is a controlled colour management workflow from start till end (as with print), one is better off deactivating colour management completely.