Adobe CMM released, ready for download

I’m pleased to announce that following a successful public beta period on Adobe Labs, the Adobe Color Management Module (CMM) has been completed & is now available as a free download.  In a nutshell, the CMM turns the color converter part of the Adobe Color Engine (ACE) into a library that can be used by non-Adobe apps. This means you can use a single color management engine across your workflow, enabling more consistent display and output of colors.

Props & thanks to Lars Borg, Peter Constable, Ken Kameda, Manish Kulkarni, Rick Wulff, Daniel Taborga, and everyone else who helped bring the CMM to the community.

0 thoughts on “Adobe CMM released, ready for download

  1. Let me get this straight. Now an image in MS Word or Publisher or Quark will look the same as in Photoshop?
    [Yep, as long as those apps let you select a color management module, or the CMM is selectable as the default CMM at the operating system level. –J.]
    WOW! This is one of those great things that I love to talk about. Responsibility and vision for the future of color quality. Excellent.
    [Cool. I like getting to play the messenger on news like this. 🙂 –J.]

  2. So, this means that Windows Users get something like ColorSync that Mac Users have been enjoying for, well, something like forever? Of course, I think they should all switch to a Mac, but I am all for everyone having consistent color – make the world a little nicer
    [It’s not a platform-war thing. On either OS, you can now choose to use the Adobe color management engine to do the color transforms, rather than relying on some other engine. Prior to this, if you wanted to use a consistent CMM across, say, Photoshop and Quark, you might end up picking something like the Apple CMM because it would be available to both apps. Now the Adobe CMM is avaialable in the same way, meaning you can get consistent, Adobe-managed color across a wide range of tools. –J.]

  3. Is this the case in windows vista as well?
    how’s it relate with WCS?
    [For those not in the know: Vista now has 2 color
    pipelines, Integrated Color Management (ICM) and the new Windows Color System (WCS). To answer your question: the Adobe CMM works with ICM. –J.]

  4. How much freedom do developers have in deploying applications that use the Adobe CMM library?
    I looked over the EULA, but couldn’t make any sense of it.
    Can developers include the library in their application distributions? Or do people need to get the library directly from the Adobe Labs site?
    [Peter Constable replies, “Developers who would like to distribute the Adobe CMM with their software can do so under the terms of a bundling license that will be available when the Adobe CMM is available on the site (most likely mid-to end of April). They can contact me directly if they would like to move forward before this date.” He’s pconstab at –J.]

  5. Hi,
    I’m deciding to perform via Photoshop CS3 A3+ printouts on Epson photographic papers.
    So, i will be glad to know if this possible to get the same results from print directly via photoshop ‘lets photoshop manage colors and turn off printer driver or use the new epson plug-in from photoshop with the ACE CMM selected in the preferences of that plug-in.
    Thanks in advance for some advise on this. Daniel

  6. Is there any way to shut off the Adobe Color Management ? Or to write a custom CMM that does nothing ?
    I want to see my pixel values for what they are . I want to be able to work in scene referred values(the proper calculation space) and simply toggle on a viewing LUT at the end .
    I want to be able to quickly toggle through different color spaces – linear , cineonLOG , rec709 , and our own custom film LUTs .
    I want to be able to open a file in Photoshop , AfterEffects , Shake , Nuke , Flame , DNG Color Profile Editor , Maya , etc. and have it all look the same . They do not now .
    The Adobe Color Management seems good for people going to print but we use it for film FX and it is a hassle for us that leads to artist mistakes .

    1. Shut off color management? No. But you can make Photoshop display images like a non color managed application (which is probably what you want).
      Adobe Color Management – no, it’s an ISO standard.
      A custom CMM that does nothing – um, sure, but that won’t do what you think and may hose color on the rest of your system.
      Photoshop is showing you your pixel values for what they are — taking your particular display’s quirks into account.
      You can use scene referred values if you wish, just use a scene referred profile.
      You could easily assign those colorspaces to proof settings. Though you shouldn’t see a difference among most of them unless you do a “preserve numbers” proof (aka seeing what happens when someone misinterprets the document).
      And seeing images the same in all those programs would require bug fixes in Shake, Nuke, Flame, and Maya. They currently ignore the display profile, or use hard coded transforms for the display and do not provide accurate color viewing.
      The color management in Photoshop (again, not Adobe’s, but a standard) works for many industries, including film and video. The only thing missing in photoshop is support for the many 3D LUT formats used in the film industry.
      But it sounds like you might want to learn a little more about color management, what is possible, how applications should be using it, and how to work with color unambiguously between applications.

  7. Short Answer :
    Yes I am looking to display images like a non colored managed application . 16bit and Float EXRs especially .
    Even better , be able to toggle between photoshops intelligent color management which account for our “display’s quirks” and the raw value display like “a non color managed application” . A proof setup would work just great .
    Please advise !
    Thank You
    Long Answer :
    I understand the motivation behind Photoshop’s color management and I think it is very thorough .
    Unfortunately , all major packages for FilmFX are using another paradigm . And other Adobe products – like AfterEffects at least give you the option to toggle it on and off .
    Some of these other applications are great and some are expenisive and riddled with bugs 🙂 and poor design decisions .
    But , I have to deal with about 120 artists who colloborate to put their work to film . Our color pipeline works well in that what we see on our monitors in Shake/Nuke/Inferno/Maya/MentalRay/Renderman/Gimp/ImageMagik/RVIO/Firefox/etc. looks like what we see on our daily’s digital projector , looks like what we expect when printed to film .
    These other packages may have taken a less thorough route but it is working for our industry and artists are not confused by it .
    I never have had an artist confused by the results in the other packages . But in Photoshop , I often do . They see the image in photoshop and it looks nothing like the image in the other packages . They eyedrop reference colors from a client document , start painting , and it does not match , they copy RGB values from 1 program and the color does not look the same , they cut and paste into another document and colors shifts .
    The FilmFX industry is largely focused on photorealistic imagery . In order to achieve this , it is essential to conform to the rules of physics and do “hdri linear compositing” . One necessity of this is separating alculation space vs display space . We have to do this because linear gamma images do not look proper to the eye on the standard monitor and because the full range of the HDRI requires exposure changes to see it all on a standard monitor .
    We composite in linear and use a bunch of hot key display toggles . It is an elegant setup . Some display toggles are intended to expose problems that an artist might have missed ( different gammas or isolating digital whites/blacks ) , some show things in standard spaces(rec709) , some show it in the client delivery space ( cineonLog , redLog , viperLog , panalog ,etc. ) some are 3dls which represent output luts for the different vendors that print our film , and some represent stylized grading we expect the director to put on ( ie. 300 the movie ) .
    The separation of calculation space and display space is very useful .I do not think this model precludes the more thorough Photoshop color management model . It would only require that photoshop can toggle it on/off a way that is similar to the Photoshop proofs model or an adjustment layer .
    Thank You

    1. > The separation of calculation space and display space is very useful
      That *is* the model that Photoshop is using. That is also the very thing that you are missing in some of the other software you mentioned. Most of your software is treating the document colorspace, calculation space and display as being the same — leading to inaccurate previews and results.
      You already can toggle, change, etc. in Photoshop — it’s all been there since Photoshop 6 (5 had most of it, but also some limitations).
      It sounds like you could benefit from sitting down with someone who knows all of the color theory, encodings, and applications involved.

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