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PDF 2.0 Application Note 001: Black Point Compensation

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Black point compensation is already widely used in production printing, especially in situations where the combination of the substrate, colourants (e.g. inks) and printing process cannot achieve a very high density for blacks. Turning on BPC will often increase the perceived quality of graphical elements such as natural photographic images because they may achieve a higher contrast and more ‘punch’.


Author: PDF Association
Date: September 17, 2018

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PDF 2.0 Application Note 001: Black Point Compensation

The PDF 2.0 Application Note 001: Black Point Compensation is the first PDF 2.0 Application Note to be published by the PDF Association.

Black point compensation (BPC) is a technique used in colour management. It adjusts the colour transformation that will be applied, especially towards the shadow end of the tone scale, by aligning the darkest colour that could be described by the colour space of the data to be displayed with the darkest colour that the output profile for the display device (screen or print) can produce. 

Black point compensation as used in PDF is formally defined in ISO 18619:2015. This document is intended to supplement both ISO 18619 and ISO 32000-2., and assumes that readers are familiar with both documents.

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