Let’s not mince words: Presenting your images through Flash is now the best way to preserve the fidelity of their color online.
Support for color management is in Web browsers is rare (only Safari supports it by default, and the IE team is apparently missing in action). Color management thus can’t be counted on from browsers, and images display differently in different browsers. Flash Player, on the other hand, is ubiquitous, consistent, and reliable–and now in Flash Player 10 it offers basic color management support. It’ll take a little while for the new FP10 to proliferate, but this is a huge step forward. Color mgmt. in Flash will finally put an end to colors shifting when you move from PS to Flash.
I’ve asked Adobe color management expert Peter Constable to provide further details. For those, read on. For my take on why Web designers should give a damn about this stuff, see previous.
Ever scratched your head when viewing your images on the web? They just don’t look the way you thought they would or the way they looked when you viewed them in Photoshop? Well, there’s a reason for that. The colors you view on screen in Photoshop (or most other apps in the Design Suite) take advantage of a Color Management System (CMS). This CMS adjusts colors to take into account the unique characteristics of your imaging devices. In the case of viewing colors on your monitor, Photoshop uses Adobe’s CMS to adjust colors that are sent to your monitor. Most web browsers do not do this.
So what do you do if you want to use a CMS to provide accurate colors on a monitor display? Luckily, we now have a solution with the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player. Flash Player 10 can use Color Management to draw colors to screen. The only hitch is that it needs to be enable when the SWF or FLV is created. How do you do this?
You just need to put a small snippet of ActionScript 3 code in the Flash file.
- Chose or create an ActionScript 3 Flash file.
- Open the Actions window (Window/Actions).
- Type "stage.colorCorrection = ColorCorrection.ON;" in the Script window.
- Save the file.
You’re all set.
Note: Using this ActionScript enables an sRGB –> monitor color transform in the Flash Player. You should convert image files to the sRGB color space in Photoshop before publishing to Flash.
Now you are in a better position to ensure the images you post on the web will appear the way you want them to!
For more information on Color Management, see the sections on Color Management in the Adobe Help files.
[Update: Sorry if you’re hitting an error when trying to comment on this post. A weird double-entry thing happened when I published it last night, and I’m presently trying to determine what’s up. Update 2: Okay, seems to be working now. –J.]