Screen colour gamut is nothing but indirectly shows the ability of screen to reproduce the colours. In this article, you are gonna see the 4 most important standards - SRGB, AdobeRGB, NTSC, and DCI-P3.

Article Content:

  1. What is screen colour reproduction?
  2. SRGB (Standard Red Green Blue)
  3. AdobeRGB (RGB by Adobe Systems)
  4. NTSC (National Television System Committee)
  5. DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative - P3)

What is screen colour reproduction?

The screen colour reproduction is governed by the standard colour gamut. The standard colour gamut that was first introduced by IEC in the year 1999 is SRGB.

SRGB consists of mainly three colours - Red, Green, and Blue. If you ever came into the contact with syntax like rgb(0,255,255) then you can identify that it's used commonly in the web design. For each parameter out of 3, the value ranges from 0 to 255. And, by making a combination, the screen reproduces the colour. And, that's known as the screen colour reproduction ability.

So, if you find a specification about display like 95% SRGB, then it means the screen is able to reproduce 95% of total colours available in the SRGB space.

Thus way other screen color gamuts like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, and NTSC are being used, but for different purposes. I will explain to you each standard in detail.

SRGB (Standard Red Green Blue)

This is the colour gamut standard developed for mostly output devices like printers, monitors, camera, and many more. It's supported by almost all devices which have a screen colour reproduction.

One question for you. How many colours are in the SRGB space?

It's 16.5 Millions. How it came?

It's very easy to understand. As I said earlier, it consists of three colours - Red, Green, and Blue. And the values for each changes from 0 to 255. So, it will be like 255 x 255 x 255 = 16.5 Millions.

So, if you read anywhere that any XYZ monitor has 60% SRGB colour gamut, it means it has 60% of 16.5M colours from SRGB space.

When you measure it using Spyder 5 PRO, the results will be displayed in the form of a 2D graph. I am going a bit in technical terms. The graph is shown below.

In the above graph generated by Spyder 5 PRO, all the points reflect the color that can be reproduced by the display.

Here, the colours may look same but they aren't. For example, n the above graph, Color A at (x,y) = (0.55,0.35) and Color B at (x,y) = (0.55, 0.36) aren't same.

Furthermore, SRGB is widely supported by media devices. Take note that SRGB is the only color gamut that is supported by modern web browsers.

Now, let's check AdobeRGB.

AdobeRGB (RGB by Adobe Systems)

AdobeRGB is the color gamut standard developed by Adobe Systems. In terms of size, It is 40% bigger in size when compared to SRGB.

Remember that display with colour gamut in size higher than SRGB is known as Wide colour gamut display. Now, let's discuss where it's used.

According to Thanalysis, AdobeRGB is mainly for photo editors. If photo editing is your profession and your final extract of work is on hard copy, then this standard is the great choice as it provides wider color spectrum than SRGB. A color spectrum is the range of color in a space, in layman term.

In addition to that, If you're a social media influencer, a digital marketer, or related to work where online image publishes comes in a picture, then you must go for AdobeRGB. In short, content creators (here photographers and photo-editors) must go for this color gamut standard.

But, the problem here for photo editors is that web browsers don't support AdobeRGB even nowadays. So, what to do then?

For that, you can edit the photo in AdobeRGB preset and then export it in the SRGB preset. This way, you can leverage the full advantage of AdobeRGB spectrum.

Keep in mind that having 100% AdobeRGB doesn't mean that the support applies to software level also. No, never. If your laptop's display support 100% AdobeRGB but the web browser supports only SRGB then the image exported in AdobeRGB preset will be devalued.

NTSC (National Television System Committee)

NTSC is the acronym of the National Television System Committee. It the color gamut standard designed very first. SRGB was developed later, and it became the standard for all devices. NTSC was originally-developed for black and white televisions but later dived into the color TVs.

The range of colors in the NTSC is the same as AdobeRGB. SRGB consists of 72% of NTSC color space.

Regarding NTSC, there is a misleading sentence you will always find on online e-Commerce stores like Amazon, Best Buy, and Flipkart. The sentence is "72% NTSC, SRGB equivalent".

The interpretation of above sentence is the 72% of NTSC colour gamut and equal to SRGB. But, that's not true.

If you calculate the area of the color gamut using the values from coordinates shown by the tool that you have used to measure, then you will find that the ratio of SRGB to NTSC will vary from 0.72 to 1.

What does that mean?

It means that the total number of colors you will find on 72% of the NTSC color spectrum will be only similar. I am talking about the numbers only, not the colors. Here, the colors that the device is going to reproduce are not necessarily the same.

Well, the NTSC colour gamut is a focus point for video editors.

DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative - P3)

DCI-P3 is 25% bigger than SRGB colour gamut. Many content provides like Apple, YouTube, Netflix have adopted it. In addition, modern movie theaters can also now fully reproduce the DCI-P3 colour gamut. It's very important for movies and online streaming services for highest possible content quality.

So, that's all for colour gamut. Keep in mind that higher colour gamut doesn't related to higher image quality.

Sources: BenQ, EIZO

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