Steam Deck integrated display: saturation boosting or reduction?

Joshua Ashton joshua at
Sat Nov 4 13:11:02 UTC 2023


The existing behaviour before any of our colour work was that the native 
display's primaries were being used for SDR content. (Ie. just scanning 
out game's buffer directly)

Games are not submitting us any primaries for the buffers they are sending.
I mean they are saying they are sRGB so "technically 709", but 
colorimetry for SDR content (outside of mastering) is very wishy-washy.

Deck Display Info:
static constexpr displaycolorimetry_t displaycolorimetry_steamdeck_spec
	.primaries = { { 0.602f, 0.355f }, { 0.340f, 0.574f }, { 0.164f, 0.121f 
} },
	.white = { 0.3070f, 0.3220f },  // not D65

static constexpr displaycolorimetry_t displaycolorimetry_steamdeck_measured
	.primaries = { { 0.603f, 0.349f }, { 0.335f, 0.571f }, { 0.163f, 0.115f 
} },
	.white = { 0.296f, 0.307f }, // not D65

For the rest of this, consider displaycolorimetry_steamdeck_measured to 
be what we use for the internal display.

To improve the rendering of content on the Deck's internal display with 
the modest gamut, we go from the display's native primaries (sub 709) to 
somewhere between the native primaries (0.0) and a hypothetical wider 
gamut display (1.0) that we made up.

The hypothetical display's primaries were decided based by making 
content look appealing:
static constexpr displaycolorimetry_t displaycolorimetry_widegamutgeneric
	.primaries = { { 0.6825f, 0.3165f }, { 0.241f, 0.719f }, { 0.138f, 
0.050f } },
	.white = { 0.3127f, 0.3290f },  // D65

We have a single knob for this in the UI, in code it's "SDR Gamut 
Wideness", but known in the UI as "Color Vibrance". It's the knob that 
picks the target color gamut that gets mapped to the native display.

This is how that single value interacts to pick the target primaries:

We then use the result there to do a simple saturation fit based on the 
kob and some additional parameters that control how we interpolate.
(blendEnableMinSat, blendEnableMaxSat, blendAmountMin, blendAmountMax)

Those parameters also change with the SDR Gamut Wideness value, based on 
things that "look nice". :P

We also do some other things like Bradford chromatic adaptation to fix 
the slightly-off whitepoint too.

We use all this to generate a 3D LUT with that saturation fit, chromatic 
adaptation and use Shaper + 3D LUT at scanout time to apply it.
(We also have a shader based fallback path)

The goal of all of this work is less 'color accuracy' and more 'making 
the display more inline with consumer expectations'.
We wanted to try and make the display appear much more 'vivid' and 
colourful without introducing horrible clipping.

We also use this same logic for wider gamut displays (where 0.0 = sRGB 
and 1.0 = native) and for SDR content on HDR.

Hope this helps!

- Joshie 🐸✨

On 11/3/23 13:00, Pekka Paalanen wrote:
> This is a continuation of
> because this is off-topic in that thread.
>> No, we did widening. The Deck's internal display has a modest gamut
>> that is < 71% sRGB.
> If games do wide (well, full sRGB or wider) gamut, then why would you
> need to make that gamut even wider to fit nicely into a significantly
> smaller gamut display?
> Here's what I think happened.
> You have a game that produces saturation up to P3, let's say. When you
> did the colorimetrically correct matrix conversion (CTM) from BT.2020
> to the "modest gamut", you found out that it is horribly clipping
> colors, right?
> If you then removed that CTM, it means that you are
> re-interpreting BT.2020 RGB encoding *as if* it was "modest gamut" RGB
> encoding. This happens if you simply apply the input image EOTF and
> then apply the display inverse-EOTF and do nothing to the color gamut
> in between. Adjusting dynamic range does not count here. This is an
> extreme case of saturation reduction.
> (Note: Doing nothing to numbers equals to applying a major semantic
> operation. Like telling someone something in cm and they take that
> number in mm instead. Or metric vs. imperial units. Color space
> primaries and white point define the units for RGB values, and if you
> have other RGB values, they are not comparable without the proper CTM
> conversion.)
> That does not look good either, so after that re-interpretation you
> added saturation boosting that nicely makes use of the capabilities of
> the integrated display's "modest gamut" so that the image looks more
> "vibrant" and less de-saturated. However, the total effect is still
> saturation reduction, because the re-interpretation of the game content
> RGB values is such a massive saturation reduction that your boosting
> does not overcome it.
> I could make up an analogue: Someone says they are making all sticks
> 50% longer than what you ask. You ask them to make a stick 100 long.
> They give you a stick that you measure to be 15 long, and they still
> claim it is 50% longer than what you asked. How is this possible? The
> length spaces are different: you were thinking and measuring in cm,
> they did mm. They did give you a stick of 150 mm, which is 50% longer
> than 100 mm. But from your perspective, the stick is 85% smaller than
> you asked. If one had started by converting to a mutual length space
> first (referring to the correct CTM), there would be an initial
> agreement of how long is 1.
> Thanks,
> pq

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