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Differences between software used to view digital images
The post is not specifically about GIMP but rather about the general concept of rendering digital images for display on a computer monitor.  It is provoked by an observation triggered by Windows Photo Viewer (WPV) and pertains to the problem of obtaining a consistent result when viewing a digital image which I think is the main objective of GIMP.  In that, GIMP is producing something that needs to be useful with all manner of hardware and software.

In this case we're specifically talking about viewing a digital image on a computer display monitor but I would think the same problem exists with all manner of other devices used to display graphical images.  My recent interest in learning about digital image editing has lead me to learn that color management is a pretty complex subject and that differences exist between all of the devices involved in the process (i.e., work flow) of creating an image.  I also recognize that there is an inherent problem in trying to produce an image whose only purpose is to be viewed but that we don't have any control over what devices our audience might want to use when viewing that image.  However, it is really troubling when a fully developed image looks dramatically different when viewed on the same device using different software.

I offer as an example a photograph in the form of a jpg image developed by a camera.  Since I also realize that you will be viewing anything I can try and show you with equipment and software unknown to me, the only way I could think to accomplish my objective was to photograph my own monitor while displaying an image.  Keep in mind that image quality is irrelevant in this case the only thing I'm wanting to demonstrate is difference, which I'm thinking should be apparent no matter how you are viewing this image.

Here is a photograph of a photograph being display on my monitor with 2 different image viewers.  In that, the exact same file has been opened by each viewer.  The one on the left is the WPV that is part of Windows 7 and the one on the right is GIMP.  It looks to me like WPV is the outlier.  In that, whatever differences might exist between other viewers (i.e., other than these 2) are subtle enough that they are not so apparent, at least to me, from what GIMP shows.  However, I'm inclined to think that whatever explanation might exist for the difference demonstrated here could also apply to any software and that all such software may in fact be different in the same respect even if those differences are not sufficiently dramatic to be apparent to me or maybe even to you.  It would be much more comforting to learn that WPV is an anomaly and that by simply not using it this apparent problem is solved.

Can anyone explain what is happening here?
What is the color of the car in your various applications?


(click on the image for a surprise)

See also:

PS; In your image above, Gimp is possibly OK but assuming a wrong gamma for your monitor.
Very similar to a recent post comparing Gimp with M$Paint.

Turn off the Gimp color management and compare again: Edit -> Preferences -> Color Management

A comparison,

maybe not as extreme as OP because I have monitor brightness way down along the lines of simple calibration as described
and more reading
Turning off GIMP color management doesn't seem to have much effect.

My monitor, which is high_def and fairly good but not professional grade, is calibrated using xRite i1 Display Pro.  However, I'm no expert at exactly how color profiles are used.  My assumption at present is the the calibration program produced profiles (ICC I believe) that are used by the driver for my GPU which is an Intel integrated adapter (i.e., nothing special there either).

With that said, my thinking has been that when using the same display on the same computer and OS the result would be the same irrespective of display calibration.  In that the same calibration or absence thereof would apply in each case.  In this case, WPV offers no settings and even though GIMP does it is producing a similar result to every other viewer I have available which includes MS Paint, Windows Media Player, Google Picasa, Rawtherapee, Canon DPP4, and XnViewMP.  If GIMP were the outlier, I'd have been looking at color management options as the cause.

Is it possible that WPV, the outlier, is some how bypassing color management which is being used by all of the others?

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