[poppler] Color Management

Albert Astals Cid aacid at kde.org
Sun Aug 24 07:35:00 PDT 2008

A Divendres 22 Agost 2008, Hal V. Engel va escriure:
> On Thursday 07 August 2008 06:58:13 pm Leonard Rosenthol wrote:
> > Correct.  You'd need to make MAJOR changes to the rendering
> > architecture of Poppler to do proper color management - especially
> > where transparency is involved.
> >
> > But it would be a very good thing...
> >
> > Leonard
> (This is kind of long please bear with me).
> I have been looking at the PDF spec. and at the poppler code.  Leonard is
> correct that the code in it's present form is not designed to support color
> management and it will require major changes.
> Some exmples:
> The PDF spec calls for all CIE based colorspaces (Lab, calRGB, calCMYK and
> ICCBased) to undergo the following transformations:
> original color space -> XYZ -> output color space
> This implies that there is clear separation between the first conversion
> and the second conversion and that one set of routines can handle the
> second conversion for all CIE based color transforms.
> It also implies that there is some way for calling applications to specifiy
> a CIE based output color space such as an ICC profile and related
> information (rendering intents, black point comp. and output channel
> depth).  This is currently not possible.
> The code as it exists only does a direct conversion to XYZ in one location
> GfxLabColorSpace::getRGB() and then does a second conversion to an
> arbitrary RGB** color space in the same function.  None of the other CIE
> based color space conversions produce an intermeadiate XYZ conversion and
> of course there are no generic XYZ to output color space routines.
> The gray and cmyk code for Lab conversions uses the getRGB() function and
> then does some kind of generic conversion using the RGB values.  Since
> these RGB values are in an arbitrary RGB** color space the conversion to
> gray and CMYK is also arbitrary.
> CalGray does not do gamma compensation in getGray() as called for in the
> PDF spec.  In addition the CalGray functions only support 8 bit depth. 
> What happens if there is a 16bit/channel gray image in a PDF file or if a
> user wants 16 bit/channel output for his/her printer?
> CalRGB passes RGB values directly through to the output and makes no
> attempt to convert these into an intermeadiate XYZ color space or into the
> actual output colorspace.  It also does not apply a gamma correction to the
> data as per the PDF spec.
> End examples:
> I don't think that I am pointing out anything new to most on this list. 
> When I first started to look at the code I was hoping that it would not be
> too difficult to find the places where CM hooks could be put in place and
> that perhaps I could spend a few days putting together a set of patches
> that would provide a starting place.  But it appears that the code needs
> significant restructuring in order to even start doing the actaul color
> management specific work.  Fortunately the PDF specification has enough
> detail that it should be possible for the poppler team to do much of the
> restructuring work without too much involvement from someone with color
> management expertise.
> Mostly what is needed is:
> 1. An API for applications to specify the output color space, rendering
> intent, black point compensation and channel depth for a document.  These
> are needed to correctly setup the XYZ to output color space transform.
> 2. The CIE related code (calRGB, calGray, Lab and ICCBased) needs to be
> restructured so that it has a clean division between producing the
> intermeadeate XYZ values and the code that does the XYZ to output color
> space conversion.  See the diagram on pages 238 and 239 of the version 1.7
> PDF Reference.
> Initially the ICCBased code could be left alone and calRGB, calGray and Lab
> would be setup to convert to XYZ but would still do the current simplistic
> conversions to the output color space (IE. these would all look some what
> like GfxLabColorSpace::getRGB() & friends) .
> Then the XYZ to output color space routines would be added and the calRGB,
> calGray and Lab routines would call them to handle the output conversion in
> a more correct way.  It is at this point where the code would start making
> use of a CMS like LCMS as well as the API that was created in #1.  This
> functionality is documented in the diagram on page 239 of the PDF version
> 1.7 spec as "Conversion from CIE-based to device color space (not specified
> by PDF)".
> 3. At this point setting up the ICCBased routines to create XYZ
> intermeadiate results would be added.  Once this is in place poppler would
> have a functioning color managed system for all of the CIE based color
> space types.
> I have not looked at the PDF specs for "Special color spaces" such as
> Separation, DeviceN, Indexed and Pattern so I do not know what implications
> there are for these in a color managed system.  I have also not looked at
> transparancy issues but I didn't see much in the spec that related to
> ICCBased objects other than that it was nessassary to have to AtoB and BtoA
> tables in the profiles to support this and that all blending must be either
> in device space or in CIE space and that the spec advises that CIE is
> prefered.
> Many of you are probably asking "Why should we give a rats behind about
> this?" The reason I am looking at this is that the printing community is in
> the process of converting from PostScript to PDF as the standard document
> type for printing for *nix systems.  Because of this they are in the
> process of writing a new pdftoraster filter for CUPS as well as putting
> together a PDF based "Common Printing Dialog" (this is a Google Summer of
> Code project).  I asked on the printing email lists about color management
> in the new printing workflow.  Specifcally did the new pdftoraster filter
> have CM support?  I didn't get an answer and so I found the code and had a
> look.  Guess what (most of you probably know this) it is using poppler and
> as a result it does not support color management.
> Printing is an important piece of the infastructure in general and
> particularly for anyone doing color critical work.  It is currently badly
> broken with respect to color managemnt and it appears that until poppler
> has CM support or another similar library with CM support becomes available
> it will remain broken.  So now you know what the story is and why this is
> important.
> I have color management expertise (I am the maintainer of LProf) and I have
> connections to the open source color management community where there are
> many others with CM expertise some of them with way more expertise than I
> have.  As a community we have been working with the printing community,
> Xorg and the DE's trying to get the missing CM components in place.
> There has been major progress with color management on monitors and we now
> have calibration and profiling software for these devices as well as
> support in XOrg (with more on the way) and work is underway to extend this
> to include better user tools in KDE and GNOME.  We also have good open
> source tools for profiling input devices like cameras and scanners and
> these profiles are now well supported by things like XSane, UFRAW and other
> software in this area.
> We also have high quality profiling software for output devices like
> printers. One of the major things that is missing is a viable color managed
> path for printing.  That is I can create very high quality profiles for my
> printers but using them with the existing printing tools is at best
> difficult even for someone who really understands CM and nearly imposible
> for a normal user.   If the CUPS pdftoraster filter had CM support much of
> the printing part of this would start falling in place and would become
> accessable to a much wider audiance.  So from the point of view of the CM
> community poppler is now a very important piece of software.

Woa that was long, eh ;-?

Summary from my side: I don't have knowledge and more important, i don't have 
time to work on Color Management support for poppler, and i think noone else 
of the people you can consider "poppler developers" has either, so if you 
could drag someone from the CM community to work on poppler I would be more 
than happy trying to help.


> Hal
> PS For those interested this web page from the ICC has a link to a PDF file
> from Adobe that demonstrates CM or a lack of CM as the case may be:
>   http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter
> **It looks like it might end up being sort of sRGB since it uses a matrix
> conversion and then a gamma conversion that is too simple to give actual
> sRGB results since sRGB has a compound gamma curve.

More information about the poppler mailing list