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Working with RGB images

From: InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Working with RGB images

I love importing RGB files into InDesign documents while I'm training at conferences or seminars because someone invariably asks, "you mean you can do that? Can you really import RGB images and they'll print okay?" I love looking them right in the eye and saying, "yes, it really works, and not just that, it works great!" There are so many people who spend hours and hours converting images from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop before importing them onto their pages, just because, well, that's what we've always done. Ah, feh! The only way people can become more efficient is if they're willing to change and changing to an RGB workflow is one of the best things you can do to become efficient. Let's see how it's done.

Working with RGB images

I love importing RGB files into InDesign documents while I'm training at conferences or seminars because someone invariably asks, "you mean you can do that? Can you really import RGB images and they'll print okay?" I love looking them right in the eye and saying, "yes, it really works, and not just that, it works great!" There are so many people who spend hours and hours converting images from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop before importing them onto their pages, just because, well, that's what we've always done. Ah, feh! The only way people can become more efficient is if they're willing to change and changing to an RGB workflow is one of the best things you can do to become efficient. Let's see how it's done.

I'm going to select this frame and zoom in to 200% with Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, and then I'll press Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows to open the Place dialog box. I'm going to choose this canister.psd file and I'm going to import it. I won't replace that. I don't want to put it inside that frame. I just want to place it. But I do want to Show Import Options, because this will give me some interesting options that I wouldn't ordinarily get. So click Open and the first thing I see is that I can change the layers that are being imported. We talked about this in the Essential Training title, the ability to turn on and off layers. For example, maybe I don't want that little piece of chocolate off on the side here, so I'll just turn that layer off. But here's what I really want to show you.

The Color tab of the Import Options dialog box lets me choose a profile for this image; I can see that this image has the Camera RGB Profile built into it. That must have come from the camera when somebody shot this. I can see that it's embedded because it's above Use Document Default. If there is anything above Use Document Default, then that's the one that's embedded in that RGB image. If I happen to know that this really should be, let's say, sRGB instead, of the built-in Camera RGB Profile, I can choose that here. For example, I'll just scroll down here and choose sRGB. I can also change the Rendering Intent for this image. Right now, it's set to Use Document Image Intent, which means the InDesign document, not the imported image.

The document itself has an image intent and the image intent has to do with what happens to out-of-gamut colors. That is, colors that are so, let's say oversaturated that they cannot fit into the CMYK space or whatever space you're going to be printing to. What do you want to happen to those colors? If you have a really bright red and you can't print a really bright red, how do you want InDesign to manage that, to squeeze it into the output profile? You have various options here. Generally, you'll just use the Document Image Intent. But if you do have particular needs for an image, you can change them here. For example, let's say you're importing an RGB image that has really wild oversaturated colors; a lot of detail is in those saturated colors.

Well, you might want to choose Perceptual (Images). Perceptual is a good intent for dealing with images that have a lot of out-of-gamut colors. Well, here is another example. Let's say you're importing an image which is from Excel, like an Excel bar chart or something, where it's all bright saturated reds and yellows and blues and so on. Well, Saturation then would be a better choice for that kind of image, but it's not so good for an image that's from a camera. Relative Colorimetric is a good choice if only a few colors are out-of-gamut, but I don't want to get too much into the details here. In general, I just wanted to point out Perceptual and Saturation for those special cases. For most images, 95% of the images you're going to be using just leave it set to Document Image Intent.

I'll go ahead and click OK and it loads the Place cursor and I'm going to click-and-drag here to make a new frame and place that image into it. You can see that little Chocolate Truffle on this side is not there, because we turned that off, and it's looking pretty good. It's also a good idea to turn on High Quality Display so everything looks a little bit cleaner. That's good. Now, let's look at the Links panel. Inside the Links panel, I can see that this image is selected, because it's also selected on the document page and I can see a lot of information about that Link down at the bottom. If you don't see Link Info, then you need to just click on this little triangle thing here, click on that triangle button and Link Info opens up and gives us all kinds of information like this is a Photoshop Image. It's in RGB Space, this is how big it is, this is the resolution of the image down here and so on.

It also tells me that the ICC Profile, that's the color profile that I chose, it says + sRGB, and then over in parenthesis it says, (override) that means I've specified my own ICC Profile, which is overriding the one that was built in. So this all looks great! I'm going to leave that image just the way it is. Now why am I so pro-RGB? Well, RGB images are smaller on disk, so they transfer over the network faster. But the best ways to use an RGB image is that it's flexible. One day you might be printing an ad with that image on newsprint, and the next day you have to print the same image on coated paper. The day after that you might have to put it up on a website, you could spend half your time just making multiple versions of that image, some in RGB, some in CMYK and so on, or you could just use the RGB version for everything.

Now, just because I think you should import RGB images, doesn't mean that I think you should make RGB swatches. For example, here in the Swatches panel, if I'm going to be making swatches for print, I want them to be in CMYK, I don't like making RGB swatches for print documents. If you're making an interactive PDF or a SWF file or something in InDesign, then RGB is just fine, something you're going to be seeing on screen. But if you're going to be printing your document, stick with CMYK swatches. But RGB images are a whole different matter. I like RGB images, but even when I'm using RGB images, it doesn't mean that I'm going to sending them to my output provider.

There are a number of printers who know how to handle RGB files just fine and print them into CMYK for you. But in most cases I tell InDesign to convert all my RGB images for me whenever I print or create PDF files. When InDesign does the conversion, people want to know, is it as good as doing it in Photoshop? Absolutely, because InDesign and Photoshop, both share exactly the same color management engine under the hood. So the results are identical. The only difference is that you may have saved yourself a boatload of time, by doing in InDesign. That said, I should point out that I don't push RGB images for all people all the time. There are limits.

For example, let's say, you have an image that you're going to be printing over and over again to the same output all the time. Well, that's the kind of thing you might want to covert to CMYK. Why? Well, converting from RGB to CMYK is calculation-intensive. It takes time. So if you're going to be printing the same image over and over again, and you want it to go to the same output device all the time. Well, it's probably better to do it once in Photoshop, than over and over again in InDesign. Here's another good example to covert to CMYK in Photoshop.

There are some image tweaks that are just simply better done in CMYK. For example, you might have an image of a fashion model and you want to remove a little bit of black from their face. Well, that's the kind of thing that's probably better done in CMYK. So convert it to CMYK in Photoshop, make your little tweaks, and then leave it in CMYK. In fact, in general, if anyone sends you a CMYK file or if you have a file already in CMYK, just leave it in CMYK. You don't want to convert it to RGB just to put in InDesign because David told you to. That's a bad idea. Leave it in CMYK if it's already in CMYK.

On the other hand, if you have RGB images to work with, it's a great workflow to keep them in RGB. Then convert to CMYK only when you print or export to PDF. I'll be talking about exactly how to do that conversion later on in this chapter.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics
InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

90 video lessons · 24515 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
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  1. 2m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 25m 16s
    1. Reviewing Control panel shortcuts
      8m 34s
    2. Managing panels
      6m 14s
    3. Letting InDesign do the math
      2m 52s
    4. Using Selection tool clicks
      1m 39s
    5. Using Quick Apply shortcuts
      3m 2s
    6. Setting up context shortcuts
      2m 55s
  3. 23m 51s
    1. Using column guides
      3m 42s
    2. Formatting and positioning guides
      5m 15s
    3. Setting first baseline options
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Document grid
      3m 13s
    5. Setting bleeds
      3m 3s
    6. Using slugs
      3m 8s
  4. 48m 2s
    1. Shuffling pages (or not)
      2m 47s
    2. Scaling objects to a specific size
      2m 32s
    3. Aligning objects to a page
      4m 41s
    4. Using advanced libraries
      4m 5s
    5. Using advanced anchored objects
      11m 21s
    6. Setting non-printing objects
      3m 10s
    7. Creating notes
      5m 23s
    8. Using Data Merge
      10m 41s
    9. Creating templates
      3m 22s
  5. 39m 32s
    1. Creating polygons and starbursts
      2m 35s
    2. Setting custom stroke styles
      5m 15s
    3. Using advanced effects
      8m 46s
    4. Making masks in InDesign
      4m 10s
    5. Integrating InDesign and Illustrator
      4m 59s
    6. Setting compound paths
      5m 4s
    7. Using advanced clipping paths
      6m 6s
    8. Using advanced image transparency
      2m 37s
  6. 55m 26s
    1. Using advanced text formatting
      5m 37s
    2. Using other languages
      4m 22s
    3. Setting advanced paragraph numbering
      3m 12s
    4. Using GREP to find/change
      6m 54s
    5. Managing glyphs
      5m 6s
    6. Finding and changing glyphs
      2m 39s
    7. Adding footnotes
      7m 57s
    8. Creating outlines
      3m 39s
    9. Setting conditional text
      9m 16s
    10. Creating cross-references
      6m 44s
  7. 33m 3s
    1. Advanced text importing
      7m 49s
    2. Using Apply Next Style
      5m 4s
    3. Advanced text styling
      6m 9s
    4. Setting load styles
      2m 58s
    5. Linking to text files on disk
      4m 1s
    6. Understanding GREP styles
      7m 2s
  8. 1h 4m
    1. Building a multi-document book
      4m 42s
    2. Setting page numbering across books
      7m 53s
    3. Setting chapter numbering
      6m 7s
    4. Using the Section Marker feature
      6m 53s
    5. Creating "Continued On..." numbers
      4m 44s
    6. Synchronizing documents in a book
      5m 41s
    7. Creating a table of contents
      11m 24s
    8. Indexing documents
      7m 24s
    9. Generating an index
      6m 47s
    10. Printing or exporting a book
      3m 10s
  9. 46m 4s
    1. Creating hyperlinks
      12m 53s
    2. Setting bookmarks
      6m 7s
    3. Creating buttons
      11m 16s
    4. Making movies
      8m 24s
    5. Creating sounds
      4m 51s
    6. Setting page transitions
      2m 33s
  10. 25m 59s
    1. Setting up swatch and style defaults
      3m 24s
    2. Using mixed ink colors
      6m 16s
    3. Working with duotones
      4m 23s
    4. Overprinting
      2m 10s
    5. Ink aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Using the Kuler panel
      4m 56s
  11. 50m 27s
    1. Creating the transparency blend space
      4m 6s
    2. Understanding InDesign color settings
      9m 8s
    3. Assign Profile and Convert to Profile
      3m 26s
    4. Working with RGB images
      7m 54s
    5. Working with CMYK images
      6m 28s
    6. Soft-proofing
      5m 18s
    7. Managing color at print time
      7m 25s
    8. Managing color in a PDF export
      6m 42s
  12. 42m 1s
    1. Embedding preflight profiles
      5m 1s
    2. Using the Transparency Flattener preview
      3m 23s
    3. Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings
      6m 30s
    4. Setting print presets
      3m 35s
    5. Setting PDF presets
      3m 21s
    6. Exporting to XHTML
      7m 42s
    7. Exporting to SWF
      6m 45s
    8. Exporting to XFL
      5m 44s
  13. 25m 58s
    1. Understanding XML and InDesign
      6m 51s
    2. Structuring InDesign content
      4m 17s
    3. Importing XML
      6m 57s
    4. Exporting to XML
      7m 53s
  14. 34s
    1. Goodbye
      34s

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