Sorry for the geek-post, but this is something that’s been driving me nuts for years, and I’m psyched that a solution is finally here.
Some of you will remember my whining last year about browser color management. Given the massive amount of image sharing going on on today’s web, this seems like a moronic oversight on the part of Microsoft and the Mozilla crew. To learn more about why this matters, read this. This issue is especially frustrating for photographers and other visual artists who want to be able to present images on the web with consistency – that is, for the images to look the same on your screen as they did on their own. In the past, many of us have been forced to accept the fact that our images are likely to look washed out and shitty to many, or even most, web users.
Until now, Safari was the only color-managed browser with any considerable market penetration.
Whether you’re a fashion photographer or landscape shooter, it doesn’t matter – photographers and image-lovers, rejoice! Because with Firefox 3, that finally changes. Among lots of other improvements, it includes color management. Kudos to all the Mozilla developers for this important development.
For some reason, at least as of Release Candidate 2, color management is turned off by default. I really hope they turn it on in the final release – but if they don’t, here’s how you activate it (everyone should, and I mean everyone.)
First, be sure you have a good color profile for the monitor you’re using, and that you know the file path to that profile. The best way to create a color profile is using a calibration device such as a Spyder. But you can create them with your eyes, too. On a Mac, you can do that by going to “System Preferences”, then click “Displays”, “Color”, and “Calibrate.”
Here are the steps:
1. Get the latest version of Firefox. As of this writing, Release Candidate 2 is out. It’s very stable and ready for prime time.
2. Type about:config into your browser address bar.
3. In the “filter” box, type: color_management; you should see two results: gfx.color_management.enabled and gfx.color_management.display_profile.
4. Double-click on gfx.color_management.enabled to change it to “true.”
5. Double-click on gfx.color_management.display_profile and enter the file path to your monitor’s color profile. You can create one using the This should be in the format: file:///Library/ColorSync/Profiles/MyProfile.ICC on Mac or file:///c:/colors/MyProfile.ICC on Windows.
6. Restart Firefox.
7. To make sure it’s working, go here and make sure the top image looks normal. If it does, you’re color-managed, baby!
Now you can wander the web and enjoy photography with much more confidence that you’re seeing what the photographer intended. Of course, this assumes the photographer is using color management properly … but that’s another matter.