Make Windows Color Management System Usable and Documented

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Wide-gamut monitors are becoming even more popular, but Microsoft has not made Windows operating system easy to use with wide-gamut monitors and wide-gamut color spaces. sRGB is no longer a given, so this needs to be remedied.

The current Windows Color Management System is miserable. The Windows Color Management system is completely missing documentation and has multiple separate settings that all describe the same aspect of the color-managed workflow, creating ambiguity and making it impossible to understand what setting affects what. Also, the link to "Understanding color management settings" in the Color management dialog box links to a completely off-topic web page. Further research into locating the documentation leads to the developer portal with hit and miss information and no concise answers or tutorials.

This incompetent handling of color management exists in spite of a decade's worth of advances in display technology and media profession workflows. 4K movies and Youtube have necessitated an industry shift in paying attention to video specifications and the experience of video. Compared to the recency of computer graphics advances, the cinema and home media industries have had a competent range of colors beginning with the advent of HDTV broadcasting and Blu-ray, which use the Rec. 709 standard. Furthermore, the DCI-P3 color space was introduced in 2010 (Wikipedia) for digital cinema recordings. It has been seven years since this advancement. Now, it is time to bring this positive momentum over from the media and cinema industries to the photography and creative industries. Monitors and their operating systems are in dire need to advance to a modern standard. The color space of computer monitors has not changed since the birth of sRGB in 1996 (standardized in 1999). It is no stretch of the imagination to see that display technology and professional and consumer expectations of graphical qualities have changed since 21 years ago.

This paradigm shift is also being pioneered by Apple and none other than Microsoft, themselves. Many Apple products have transitioned to using Display-P3 capable displays, which is a form of the DCI-P3 Color space adapted for use on LCD and OLED displays, or any display that emits its own light, rather than reflecting it (the gamma was adapted from the DCI-P3 standard of 2.4 to the sRGB standard of 2.2). In October 2016, Microsoft's Surface Studio desktop computer was unveiled, featuring P3 wide color. [Wikipedia]

So, this raises a question: if Microsoft isn’t able to document their own color management system, and nobody truly understands how it functions, how are they diving head-first into releasing devices with wide-gamut displays? Are these devices simply using distorted colors? Conversely, if they know how the color management system works, then where is the documentation?

 


PROPOSED SOLUTION:

Documentation. No excuse.

Revamp the Windows Color Management GUI (and service if necessary) to intuitively reflect the color-managed workflow. The current setting names are ambiguous and do not describe the role of the setting accurately. Also, integrate the System Defaults GUI into the main GUI. It is senselessly buried in the back of the settings, but is just as necessary.



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