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Interoperability Conformance Specifications

Interoperability Conformance Specifications (ICS) are a core part of iccMAX. They specify the requirements for an iccMAX profile sub-class for a particular use case, such as biomedical imaging, n-colour printing, etc. An ICS defines a sub-set of the iccMAX specification, but does not specify any additional elements already defined in iccMAX. An introduction to ICS documents can be found in ICC White Paper 54.

ICS requirements
An ICS shall define the contents of the header, any required elements, any optional elements, and the intended workflow including connections to colour space and other profiles (both v4 and iccMAX as applicable). Where multiProcessElements are present, the required content of such elements should be specified, as in the example ICS below.

CMM requirements
An iccMAX-compatible CMM shall support those iccMAX tags, types and structures defined by the ICS which it is designed to support. It is not required to support all iccMAX elements.

Use of an ICS
An ICS has three primary uses:

  1. As a guide for profile generators to determine how to build an iccMAX profile for a given use case
  2. As a guide for conformance tools designed to check the validity of an iccMAX profile (either in general or for a particular use case)
  3. As a guide for colour management users to aid selection of profile sub-classes and profiles for a particular workflow

Ideally all iccMAX profiles should be associated with an ICS. However, the iccMAX Reference Implementation will continue to support all conforming profiles.

ICS documents are approved by the ICC Steering Committee and registered in the ICS registry. Organisations wishing to register an ICS should download the ICS Template and after completion submit it to the ICC Technical Secretary.

Core ICS documents

ICC approved a core set of ICS documents on 19-02-2021, covering a wide range of use cases. These can be found below.

For an introduction to the core ICS specifications, see ICC White Paper 57. All of the core ICS documents have a profile associated with them.

Profile classes

ICC profiles support connections betweeen device encodings, colour spaces, named colours and a Profile Connection Space. Each profile class supports a different permutation of such connections.


Profiles with the profile class 'colorSpace' convert between a colour encoding and the Profile Connection Space. In ICC.2 the colour encoding can be defined either as colorimetry or as spectra, and the transform in the profile performs the conversion from this encoding to the PCS and vice versa.


ICC.1 output profiles always convert from a device encoding to a colorimetric PCS based on D50 illuminant and CIE 1931 standard observer. In some workflows it is desirable to convert instead to different illuminants or observers, or to a spectral PCS. This can be achieved with an ICC.2 Output class profile.


Display class profiles convert between the RGB encoding of a display and the ICC PCS. In ICC.1 there is no mechanism to support high dynamic range displays and the extended luminance above that used for standard dynamic range displays. Display class profiles created according to the Extended Range ICS can support connections between HDR devices and the colorimetric PCS.