Traditional color management,
with a focus on the reproduction of printed imagery,
has concerned itself with a restricted dynamic range;
constrained by the deepest multi-ink black, on the one hand,
and paper white
seen under a not especially bright illuminant
(2000 lux for critical viewing, per [ISO 3664:2009]
on the other.
For example, the deepest black in the [FOGRA51] characterisation data
(CMYK 100 100 100 100) has an Lab value of 12.71 0.53 4.89,
giving a dynamic range of 65.95.
For on-screen presentation,
developments in Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) display technology
increased this dynamic range,
but it was still bounded by display flare (at the dark end)
and modest peak luminances of 200 cd/m² or so at the high end,
giving a linear dynamic range of 1000:1 or so.
For example, the lowest conformance level
of the VESA [DisplayHDR] specification
gives a minimum luminance for peak white of 400 cd/m²
and a maximum luminance for black (at maximum scene luminance,
i.e. no backlight dimming) of 0.4 cd/m²;
the simultaneous contrast is thus 1000:1.
Fairchild has experimentaly extended CIE Lightness
to a level of 400
(corresponding to a luminance of 46x media white)
with HDR-Lab and HDR-IPT
Meanwhile the TV and movie industry,
and the related field of 3D computer graphics,
has advanced and is generating,
and distributing to consumers,
HDR content with dynamic ranges of 4000:1
HDR luminance levels
Current HDR video broadcasts conform to [BT.2100]
which supports two transfer functions:
one is scene referred,
with relative luminance and suitable for variable viewing conditions
(Hybrid Log Gamma, HLG),
originally published as [ARIB_STD-B67]
and the other
with absolute luminance and suitable for fixed, dark viewing conditions
(Perceptual Quantizer, PQ),
originally published as [SMPTE-ST-2084];
the latter requires re-rendering for other viewing environments
Rec.2100 supports (peak, small-area) luminances up to 12x media white (HLG)
or 71.4x media white (PQ).
Dark colors significantly below
those suported by Standard Dynamic Range (SDR)
once viewing flare is taken into account,
are also supported.
The various conformance levels of the VESA
Certified DisplayHDR conformance specification
require Minimum Peak Luminance
ranging from 500 to 1400 cd/m²,
and corresponding Maximum Black luminance
ranging from 0.1 to 0.02 cd/m²;
the simultaneous dynamic range is thus greater than 70,000.
Meanwhile the highest “True Black” conformance levels
require a Maximum Black Level Luminance
of 0.0005 cd/m² (although so far, only with a minimum peak of 500).
diffuse white is placed at a code value of 0.75
which allocates three quarters of the code space
for commonly occuring, SDR colors;
and leaves 3.5 stops (12x diffuse white)
The absolute luminance of the diffuse white in HLG
thus varies with display brightness,
which can be adapted to suit viewing conditions.
For PQ, diffuse white depends on the absolute luminance and varies,
although recommendations are emerging for indoor and outdoor scenes
Around 5.5 stops are reserved for specular highlights
(calculations vary depending on the assumptions made).
The difference beweeen the live-broadcast focussed HLG
and the movie oriented PQ has been summed up
[Borer & Cotton]
Brighter displays for brighter environments
Brighter displays for more highlights
Transcoding of PQ to HLG is possible,
for a given set of viewing conditions
and a given peak luminance
Besides HDR video, there is interest
in distributing HDR still-image content,
either stills from video content,
or HDR graphic arts content.
Neflix are using the AVIF format for HDR imagery
(Note: Unlike traditional photograhic images
used for gamut mapping studies, these images
combine HDR still photograhic content with
hard-edged graphic arts and typography).
Netflix are using an ICC workflow for these still images
but note problems with much ICC software ignoring
absolute luminance value.
They also point out that
the effect of alpha blending in a non linear-light colorspace
is even worse for PQ than for SDR, where it is unfortunately common.
The ICC Profile Connection Space
ICC (4.3 and Max) currently allows either CIE XYZ or CIE Lab
as Profile Connection Space.
CIE XYZ is unbounded, and used for HDR by ACES and OpenEXR (see appendix);
CIE Lab is bounded to L=100 at media white
(perfect diffuse reflector).
Arbitrarily placing the HDR peak intensity white at L=100
grossly distorts the Lightness curve,
and would not
be a good Lightness predictor.
Fairchild has shown that L can be extended to 400,
but this would constitute an additional PCS
rather than a revision of the existing one.
The idea of adding an additional ICC PCS is not new;
Tastl et al have explored using CIECAM02 as an ICC PCS
Safdar et al have proposed Jzazbz, an HDR-capable uniform colorspace [Safdar-PUCS].
Jzazbz uses (a modified) PQ transfer function,
claims to correct the CIE Lab hue non-linearity,
is computationally less complex than CIECAM02 or CIECAM16,
and has an associated deltaE metric
which is (compared to deltaE 2000) computationally simple
and could be used for gamut mapping operations.
Unlike CIECAM02 [ICC CIECAM02], it is invertible.
This paper therefore examines Jzazbz as a potential HDR ICC PCS.
The input to Jzazbz is absolute CIE XYZ, with a D65 whitepoint.
Since ICC uses CIE XYZ as a PCS,
and since ICCMax allows non-D50 whitepoints,
it seems feasible that a future version of the ICC specification
could add Jzazbz as an additional PCS for processing of HDR data.
The present author
Jzazbz and JzCzhz as part of a
The implementation was checked against published Matlab code,
but is as yet unreleased as it needs more testing to be certain of correctness.
The Jz component, termed Brightness,
is the perceptually uniform correlate of Luminance
in the Jzazbz model.
The transfer curve is strongly influenced by,
but not identical to,
the Dolby PQ curve used in Rec.2100;
like PQ, the luminance range is absolute and ranges from
0 to 10,000 cd/m².
The authors of Jzazbz
do not specifically address
where in this range
the media white should be placed,
although this is a critical item both for viewer comfort
and for the integration of SDR and HDR content in a single program.
Dolby conducted a histogram analysis of
HDR and SDR graded indoor scenes from cinematic content for home distribution.
Their Reference Level Guidelines for PQ [Dolby-PQ-levels]
give the encoded PQ values of
0.34 for an 18% gray card (17 cd/m²)
and go on to deduce the corresponding level of 0.54
for a media 'diffuse white' (100% reflectance) illuminated at 140 cd/m².
Their analysis found outdoor scenes to be 1.7 stops higher in exposure,
placing an 18% grey card at 57 cd/m² and a PQ value of 0.45,
with diffuse white at 425 cd/m² and a PQ value of 0.66.
In contrast, [BT.2048] lists higher “nominal” values,
placing an 18% grey card at a luminance of 26 cd/m²
(PQ 0.38, HLG 0.38)
and diffuse white at 203 cd/m²
(PQ 0.58, HLG 0.75).
They caution that:
However, for both types of content
the spread around this mean value is significant,
indicating that in practice the measured white levels
can be expected to vary significantly around this target value
The implementation by the present author therefore places the media whitepoint
for all SDR RGB colorspaces at PQ of 0.58, corresponding to 203 cd/m².
Chroma and Hue
Like the equations for deltaE2000,
Jzazbz introduces a correction term for
the deep blue to purple non-linearity of Lab and CIECAM02
After transformation to an LMS cone domain,
PQ compression is used for the chromatic axes, as well as for the lightness axis.
A shift in hue angle of the blue primaries
(relative to cyan and magenta)
is readily apparent.
There are altered hue angle relationships between the sRGB and Rec.2020 values.
Coordinate values are very small:
for example, Rec.2020 yellow
has a CIE LCH Chroma of 132 but a JzCzhz Chroma of 0.156.
Because many of the limitations of CIE Lab are claimed to be corrected
in the computation of Jzazbz,
then unlike the relatively complicated ΔE2000 metric,
the ΔEJz metric uses a simple root sum of squares in
ΔEJz = √(ΔJz² + ΔCz² + ΔHz²)
where, as with CIE LCH, ΔHz is the length of the chord:
ΔHz = 2 × √(Cz1 × Cz2) × sin(Δh), Δh in radians
This metric was
against ΔE76, ΔECMC(2:1) and ΔE2000.
In the table below,
after range-setting pairs of sRGB white
against white and black respectively,
the next four rows
are the “large color difference” color pairs from
and the final three rows
are published results with small ΔECMC(2:1) for “Brilliant Yellow” pairs
by BYK-Gardner GmbH.
The Lab input data for ΔEJz
was adapted from D50 to D65 with a linear Bradford CAT.
The final column is simply the ΔEJz multiplied by 400,
to allow easier comparison.
||ΔEJz × 400
|lab(50 2.5 0)
||lab(73 25 -18)
|lab(50 2.5 0)
||lab(61 -5 29)
|lab(50 2.5 0)
||lab(56 -27 -3)
|lab(50 2.5 0)
||lab(58 24 15)
|lab(84.25 5.74 96.00)
||lab(84.46 8.88 96.49)
|lab(84.25 5.74 96.00)
||lab(84.52 5.75 93.09)
Comparison of ΔE metrics
|lab(84.25 5.74 96.00)
||lab(84.37 5.86 99.42)
It is immediately apparent that the ΔEJz metric has a very different range.
As expected, ΔE76 over-estimates for high-chroma pairs,
while ΔECMC(2:1) and ΔE2000 are at least comparable in magnitude.
The scaled values, however, are at least broadly comparable with ΔE2000
While not necessarily an issue for automated tasks such as gamut mapping,
the very small values for the ΔEJz distance metric might prove a barrier to
acceptability or perceptibility use, or to client-vendor communication.
Input data: colors and images
Rousselot et. al.
[Quality Assesment HDR]
examined HDR image quality metrics
using ICtCp, Jzazbz, and HDR-Lab.
12 SDR metrics were extended to HDR,
and two new HDR metrics were proposed.
Among their conclusions,
they cited lack of clarity in the white point used for color grading
and suggested use of the HLG transfer function.
They suggest the blue hue deviation correction
makes the Jzazbz color space more sensitive
to gamut mismatch distortions.
They also cite [BT.2408] for a
diffuse white point luminance
of 203 cd/m² for ICTCP
suggest a white point for
of 997 cd/m², and repeatedly stress
the diffuse white luminance values used in image preparation
as a critical foctor in determining which of the tested UCS will perform best.
Kuang et.al. have proposed
a "refined image appearance model" for HDR image rendering
Extended SDR metrics tend to suffer from only considering
the luminance aspect
(Rousselot describes these as “color blind” metrics).
Many existing test images are contained within the BT.709 gamut,
and even those using BT.2020 or BT.2100
are lacking in non-neutral, let alone high-chroma
samples above media white.
Similar limitations apply to the experiments leading to
HDR-Lab and HDR-IPT [HDR-Lab];
the data were obtained
from observer evaluation of monochrome patches
with a diffuse white of 997 cd/m²
and luminance levels up to 2x diffuse white.
The transfer function matches CIE L up to 1x diffuse white,
and uses the Michaelis-Menten equation
up to 4x diffuse white.
For evaluation of Chroma, hue linearity, and hue spacing
the Munsell Renotation values were used,
which clearly are an SDR data set.
A set of HDR images is publicly available
for the investigation of HDR image rendering
[HDR Photo Survey]
although existing gamut mapping studies
mostly concentrate on more established and widely published
WCG SDR images such as the Kodak PhotoCD images.
Gamut compression from an SDR, WCG display
to a SCG display
has been investigated by Xu et al
who compared CIE Lab, CAM02-UCS and Jzazbz.
Six global and two local (spatial) GMAs were tested.
Their algorithms included Vividness Preserving
(distance from the blackpoint)
and Depth Preserving (distance from media white);
the latter did not perform well.
Their conclusions included the statement that
Jzazbz is a promising UCS for gamut mapping.
However, only the WCG aspect of Jzazbz was investigated, not the HDR aspect.
Masaoka et.al. have claimed
[UHDTV Gamut Mapping]
that the CIE Lab
hue non-linearity has minimal effect on UHDTV to HDTV
(BT.2020 to BT.709) gamut mapping
because the blue hues of the two systems are closely aligned.
Their GMA, operating in CIE Lab because of the computational difficulties of CIECAM02,
preserves metric hues except for yellow and cyan highlights,
whose hue is altered to preserve lightness.
To simulate a constant-lightness, hue preserving GMA,
the present author implemented Jzazbz, JzCzhz, and the Jz distance metric;
then plotted the progressive Chroma reduction
of two blues (sRGB primary blue and Rec.2020 primary blue)
in two UCS: CIE LCH and Jzazbz.
Blue was chosen to investigate the hue linearity,
which is known to be problematic for CIE Lab.
For the LCH chroma reduction,
a shift towards purple is easily seen
and the RGB levels clearly indicate that
the red component is rising faster than the green.
For the JzCzhz chroma reduction,
the objectionable purple shift
is replaced by a worrying cyan shift,
and the green component is rising faster than the red.
In addition, the three components do not fully converge to the neutral axis.
Having examined a SCG mapping, as a WCG colorspace Rec.2020 blue was tested.
The color ramps are converted to sRGB for display; salmon indicates out-of-gamut colors.
The same tendencies
(an excess of red in LCH,
and of green in JzCzhz)
although only a portion of the generated color ramp
could be visualized due to display gamut limitations.
It is hypothesized that the shift from blue to purple,
which crosses a color name boundary,
is visualy more noticeable than
the shift from deep blue to cyan blue,
which does not.
Tentative Conclusions, & Further Work
Tastl et. al. concluded [ICC CIECAM02]:
Trying to use CIECAM02 within an ICC framework is not as
simple as switching from XYZ to CIELAB. It requires careful
thought about the goals that one hopes to achieve, careful
selection of the CIECAM02 input parameters and management of
the expectations. It is not the answer to all the problems and it
also produces new problems that have to be dealt with in an
The same caveats apply to the use of
within an ICC framework.
Having said which:
The PQ transfer curve is specific to a reference display
in a dim viewing environment.
The positioning of diffuse, media white is subject to debate
and the re-rendering required for non-dim viewing environments is poorly defined.
It is possible that a UCS with the HLG transfer curve might
be more widely applicable to a range of viewing environments
and allocate more of the code space to commonly occurring colors.
The hue linearity of Jzazbz needs to be further investigated.
Performance of Jzazbzwith non-neutral, high chroma colors is inadequately explored.
The values for JzCzhz brightness and chroma,
and the values for deltaE,
are too small for easy comprehension
or comparison with other systems.
Beyond that, no conclusions are presented at this stage.
Much further work remains to be done
to even understand the goals of HDR-capable ICC manipulation of color.
In addition to merely progressing from colorimetry to color appearance models:
spatial effects and image appearance models,
tone mapping/color re-rendering,
user expectations and
applicability to a range of viewing environments
are increasingly important for satisfactory rendering of still,
let alone moving,