IE9 and colour management

Today I downloaded and installed the non-beta version of IE9 (version 9.0.8112.16421) and checked out Microsoft’s “Color Management” site at http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Graphics/ColorProfiles/Default.html. At first everything looked well with indications that this version of IE9 on my system had full ICC v2 and ICC v4 colour profile support. But then I compared the colours with Firefox 3.6.15 (which has had full colour management switched on). IE9’s colours were way too saturated compared to Firefox. I then checked the images on my website and immediately noticed that IE9 was, in fact, displaying colours with too much saturation.

And I think I know what is happening. IE9 was taking tagged images and converting to sRGB which are then displayed in the monitor’s colour profile space i.e. IE9 assumes that you have an sRGB monitor; I use a wide gamut monitor so the colours are “stretched” into saturation areas where they don’t belong. In other words, IE9’s colour management is not real colour management.

But what really gets my goat is this Microsoft statement at the “Color Management” site referenced above:

Does your browser display the colors in these images correctly? Internet Explorer 9 supports embedded ICC version 2 and version 4 color profiles in images, converting the colors in images to display correctly on your monitor.

The key thing from that statement is “converting the colors in images to display correctly on your monitor”. This is a complete lie! The images are not displayed correctly on my monitor but the kludge may work fine with non wide-gamut sRGB monitors. So those who have invested in colour systems are the ones who get screwed and lied to by Microsoft. Why Microsoft, why?

Further resources on monitor calibration and colour profiling can be found at http://www.metalvortex.com/chart/

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Published by

Kulvinder Matharu

"A traveller with a camera!" I was born in Tanzania but have lived here in the United Kingdom since the age of two. I've always liked science and engineering so, after graduating, I took up a career in telecommunications and datacoms, with an emphasis in systems engineering and assurance. I have various interests in programming, photography, and pedalling furiously on my mountain bike! I also enjoy travelling off the beaten path, seeing the natural world, and meeting different peoples in their varied cultures.