Our technology has yet to be able to capture all the colors in the real world. Equipment like projector, monitor, printer and TV have their own limits when it comes to reproducing colors. In this article, we are going to talk about the types of the measurement for color performance, and how to read the measurements when you are looking for a new monitor. Also, why the DCI-P3 is slowly becoming the most used color measurement for products.
To talk about color quantification, we should first look into the CIE 1931 color space. CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram is composed of all the visible colors for human. The quantification process involved complicated calculation between the sensitivity of cells in human eyes to different wavelength, and convert the result onto a coordinate system. We will not step too deep into the details here. All you need to know is that, because of the process of quantification, a graph that demonstrates all the visible colors was created, just like the graphic above. Nowadays, when describing the products capability of reproducing colors, companies often use the graph or systems that are derived from it as the reference. Following are the common systems companies use.
sRGB color space is the color measuring standard introduced by Microsoft, HP and other brands in 1996. It's the standard for monitors (CRT monitors), printer and the internet at that time. Today, it is still the most used standard for all the contents, covering the default windows system color and most of the websites on the internet.
If we put the color space on CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram, it will look like the picture above. It covers the color range within the triangle.
NTSC is the color standard designed by National Television System Committee in the USA in 1953. It is based on the color performance of CRT TV, and has a wide color range due to the phosphors used for CRT TV. In fact, the color space for nowadays TVs hasn’t surpassed NTSC much. However, the old CRT TVs are incredibly unstable and inaccurate when it comes to color reproduction, which leaded to the readjusting of NTSC In 1976 by the European Broadcasting Union. The new NTSC, called 72%NTSC is based on the more advanced and stable TV technology, and, as its name implies, covers 72% of the color space from the original NTSC from 1953. Ever since the 72% NTSC was introduced, it has become the baseline for color TV.
CMYK is the color model designed for color printing. Its name comes from the four fundamental ink colors used for printing, including Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. CMYK is a subtractive color mode, as opposed to other color model like RGB being the additive color mode. This means that the inks absorb every color from the light except the color of their own, reflecting a color-subtracted version of the light. And monitors on the other hand, projects colorful rays in the same time and creates different color by adding different rays together. For anyone who wishes to print files, it is always recommended to adjust the browsing or designing software to certain CMYK mode instead of sRGB mode to preview the result of the print.
Take CMYK SWOP for example, Notice that certain parts of CMYK SWOP and sRGB color space are not overlapping each other, which is why the printed materials may look different if users only viewed them in sRGB mode on their devices.
Adobe RGB is introduced by Adobe to cover up the lack of color space in sRGB, which technically is better when converted to a CMYK color spacet. It covers 52.1% of CIE 1931 color space. Many professionals process their works with Adobe RGB due to its wider color space. But just like what we mentioned before, sRGB is still the prevailing color standard for many devices and software. To successfully process materials in Adobe RGB color space, you will need a viewing or editing software that support Adobe RGB (which is relatively simple), a monitor that support Adobe RGB (which is usually pricey), and if it's a photo you want to upload to the internet, you will also need the website to support Adobe RGB, and whoever is viewing the photo should also uses a browser that support Adobe RGB on a monitor that also support Adobe RGB. So overall, Adobe RGB’s best asset is in material printing, as it converts well to color space in CMYK. Photographers often take photos in Adobe RGB for more vibrant photos and printing compared to the ones in sRGB.
Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), is a the association of cinema production companies including giants like Warner Bros, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Studios and SONY Pictures Entertainment. DCI-P3, introduced by DCI to cover the color range of cinema, covers 45.5% color space of CIE 1931. It has 25% more color space than sRGB and only 4% less than NTSC. As people started watching movies on different platforms such as smartphones, tablet or computer, as opposed to going to the traditional cinema, companies started to introduce DCI-P3 into their devices to achieve better color reproduction than using sRGB. Many products from Apple, Sony, Samsung and Google have extraordinary color display than old electronic devices thanks to the DCI-P3 standard these companies are using. In the near future, we will see DCI-P3 becoming the new standard of devices, websites and software and replacing the sRGB.
Monitors with great color gamut
MSI's monitors have achieved great color performance. Model name MPG27C, MPG27CQ, MAG241C, MAG271C, MAG241CR, MAG271CR, MAG271CQR and MAG321CQR all have more than 110% sRGB, 100% NTSC color space and 90% DCI-P3. They are capable of capturing the most vibrant colors possible. With more and more games support the DCI-P3 color space, it means that gamers will be able to fully enjoy the arts of the games and acquire a better gaming experience. Also for movie watchers, DCI-P3 provides closer to life cinematic experience. For designers, it will be the best weapon for them to create stunning artworks. For more information, please check out the monitor page on our MSI official websites.