I was wondering, if I made an Illustrator artboard and colored the entire area red with the value ff0000 (for example's sake) and export it as an sRGB png, will it still retain the same color value ff0000 on different devices? I don't care if it looks different to the human eye due to displays having different color accuracy, I am just wondering if someone were to scan the png on different devices, would it still be recognized as ff0000?


  • 1
    The use of the word "scan" confuses me. Can you explain what you mean by that?
    – Wolff
    Sep 21 '21 at 15:46
  • The answer entirely depends on what happens to the image between now and any point in future.
    – joojaa
    Sep 21 '21 at 16:29

You don't have to scan a PNG, it's already a raster image. All someone would need to do is download the PNG, or transfer it in some way to their device, such as via email or a file sharing site like dropbox or similar. It's a digital image file format, and as long as the file itself is not changed it will be the exact same file with the exact same colour values.

However scanning a printed version of a digital file will NOT get you the same results. Also, uploading a PNG image to some image sharing websites might result in the file being converted to a JPEG, which again will change the file and add compression, so all bets are off.

If instead you mean to screenshot an image, it's also not the same as having the original image file. So again, not the same file, and not the same result. There's no telling what the results might be since it would depend on the device. And so, all bets are off again.

  • So if the unmodified png was on any device, the color value would be recognized as the same by the computer? (ignoring monitors)
    – Benicio
    Sep 21 '21 at 20:33
  • @Benicio - not sure what you mean TBH. There's nothing that needs to be "recognized". If a PNG is unmodified, or just a copy of the original file, then it's an exact copy and it will contain the same data.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 21 '21 at 22:58
  • I think I'm overanalyzing it. Sorry haha This makes sense now.
    – Benicio
    Sep 22 '21 at 5:18

The value would remain the same. Making a screenshot on any device would give would the same colour.

But of corse every screen works a bit different. For one part they can vary in luminosity, but also in the range of colours they can display. So a very bright colour may come out very different on an expensive new and a cheap old monitor. Also some screens may have a blue tint and some a yellowish tint, among other things depending on the monitor colour settings.

Also there are some effects that can trick the eye into perceiving a colour as different, that would not affect a camera or scan. So in a completely red room the monitor may seem to get a green tint, as your eyes try to adjust to the colour of the light.


"if someone were to scan the png on different devices, would it still be recognized as ff0000"

No. The data used to display the image will be the same, and a "screenshot" probably will be the same, since screenshots are duplicating data in memory.

However, even a well-calibrated monitor will depict the actual color value differently and a "scan" of the monitor as it appears to the scanner will be different in some small but measurable way. In addition, the scanner device will have a color bias in the resulting image that will result in changes to color.

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