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The Critically Important Color and Gamma Calibration Article


This article will explain how to understand and work with Photoshop's Color Management System (CMS), including how to create a custom profile, how to create an ICC profile for a monitor, how to set Photoshop's CMS defaults, how to use the Color Settings dialog box, and much more. It is excerpted from Inside Photoshop CS, by Gary D. Bouton. (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672326442).

Author Info:
By: Sams Publishing
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 60
December 15, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · The Critically Important Color and Gamma Calibration Article
  2. · Understanding Photoshop's Color Management System (CMS)
  3. · International Color Consortium (ICC)
  4. · Translation, Please
  5. · Preparing to Create a Custom Profile
  6. · Install the Latest Drivers for Your Equipment
  7. · Setting Photoshop's Color Management Defaults
  8. · The Settings Drop-Down List
  9. · Choosing from the RGB Working Spaces Drop-Down List
  10. · Color Management Policies
  11. · Conversion Options: Which Engine to Use
  12. · Black Point Compensation
  13. · Assigned Profile
  14. · Color Management Policies in Action
  15. · Converting a Profile Means Changing the Data
  16. · Soft-Proofing, or Seeing Onscreen What an Image Will Look Like When It's Printed

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The Critically Important Color and Gamma Calibration Article - Setting Photoshop's Color Management Defaults
(Page 7 of 16 )

Setting Photoshop Color Setting defaults doesn't take much time, but it does require a little thought to make them work best with the kind of work you do most. These settings can be changed at any time. These are defaults; Photoshop will use these settings unless you tell Photoshop to do something else. You can always override default settings on a per-file basis; when you find that you frequently are overriding the default settings, just press Ctrl(Command)+Shift+K and set new defaults.

To make matters even simpler, Adobe has come up with different collections of settings that suit common needs of different types of work: printing to U.S., European, or Japanese printing presses; creating graphics for the Internet; working in the color spaces of Photoshop 4; or even turning off color management. If one of the default settings is good for your kind of work, your stay in this dialog box will be brief. But if the defaults don't cut it for you, or you just want greater control over things, there are lots of choices you can make. In the next sections you'll discover what all the choices are, and I'll offer some recommendations for what you should choose.

Most of my recommendations are based on the premise that you are looking for a good, general-purpose workspace profile—one that enables the monitor's color capability to show through, one that embraces most other color output spaces and gives a reasonably accurate view of images that come from different color spaces. Some images might be RGB, some might be LAB color, while others might have been saved in CMYK mode. It all depends on where you work!

A Word on Your "Out of the Box" Experience

You haven't ruined anything if you ran Photoshop for the first time, and you answered No to Photoshop's offer to help determine Custom color settings. You just need to press Ctrl(Command)+Shift+K and change one or two things in the Color Settings box to get a better color space than the default going in Photoshop. More importantly, we have selected the Adobe RGB 1998 color space when saving most of images on the companion CD. You will get annoying, confusing dialog boxes when you open every image on the CD if you do not go with our recommendations concerning color space.

In a nutshell, as of this writing, Adobe has chosen sRGB as the default color space in Photoshop (meant for the Web and inexpensive digital camera images), and we disagree. We feel you should be working most of the time in Adobe RGB 1998 color space. Read on!

The Color Settings Dialog Box, or Laying Down the Rules

This section takes you to color management central, the Color Settings dialog box. We won't cover this as an exercise with lots of numbered steps because we don't know what the best choices for you will be. That's up to you to decide. But we do want to explain what all the choices mean and translate the parlance of color management into more understandable and accessible terms. Here's what we'd like you to do, to make following along easier:

    Open Photoshop (you do not need an image to be open), and then choose Edit, Color Settings, or press Ctrl(Command)+Shift+K.

    The Color Settings dialog box pops up onscreen, where you can refer to it as you proceed through the following sections.

The Color Settings dialog box on your screen (and in Figure 2.7) has two major functions. It is used to define the default working color space that will be used when you create an image and to "tag" the image with the ICC profile of the workspace. The workspace tag is kind of like a short biography that tells what color space the file was born in and where it currently lives. The tag is also used to set the rules or Color Management Policies for what happens when you work with files that don't have workspace tags or have tags that don't match the default space you've set. Your work is not harnessed to the profile, however. When you choose File, Save As, you can uncheck the ICC profile box, and Photoshop will protest a little in the form of a warning, but this is cool.

Now, for most folks, the choices shown in Figure 2.7 should be perfect for getting right down to work in Photoshop. If your screen doesn't look like this figure, manually select the options so that your screen matches what you're reading here. As mentioned earlier, we cannot adopt Adobe's decision to make the default space the teensy, Web-friendly sRGB color space; we need more room if we're going to create something good.

Figure 2.7
You need to set five areas in the Color Settings dialog box to make the workspace foolproof and easy to work in.

This chapter is from Inside Photoshop CS,  by Gary D. Bouton. (Sams, 2004, ISBN:  0672326442). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.


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