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Whenever someone discovers Lightroom and starts to use it, invariably a question surfaces about color and color space. The reason this question surfaces is because color is a little bit vague and ambiguous inside of Lightroom. Let me explain. Well, if you're used to working in Photoshop, you know that color profiles and color spaces really matter, and you know about the sRGB color space, which is small, the RGB 1998 space, which is a bit bigger, and then ProPhoto, which is really huge--this huge, wide gamut space.
What happens in Lightroom say, for example, with an image like this, when we make changes to it--maybe warming it up, adding some contrast or some clarity? How is that color change taking place and inside of what color space? Well, you can think of Lightroom as a program which is internally color managed. In other words, the color space doesn't matter until you export, or until you pass a file off, say to a program like Photoshop. And you and I already know about this a little bit, right? If you navigate to your Lightroom pulldown menu and go to Preferences and then External Editing, you know that you can pass off a file to Photoshop as a TIFF file in this ProPhoto RGB color space. And this is typically what you want to do, so that you can take advantage of the Lightroom RGB color space, which is internally managed.
So that internal management is then sent to this ProPhoto Space, which passes off to Photoshop, so Photoshop can handle and make sense of that file. Well, occasionally though, we'll run into issues where you may open up an image from Lightroom into Photoshop, and it doesn't look right. Now, why is that? Well, the first thing to check is your External Editing Preferences. So you want to double-check those. The next thing that you need to do is to actually go to Photoshop, and in Photoshop, navigate to your Edit pulldown menu and then choose Color Settings.
Now, the default Photoshop color settings will not cut it. For example, the default color space of sRGB will be much too small. You want to change this to ProPhoto RGB. Next, what we need to do is to turn on our warnings. Let us know what's going to happen if we have a profile mismatch, so that we can decide how to manage that color between Lightroom and Photoshop. Now, if you have this ProPhoto space turned on, you won't have an issue, yet you also just want to know in case there is some kind of a mismatch, you can control that. A little warning dialog will open.
Well, once you've dialed in those settings, you go ahead and click OK, when you go back to Lightroom and then choose Photo > Edit In > Edit in Photoshop CS5--here I'm going to edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments-- what you should see here between these two images is identical color and contrast, et cetera, et cetera. Because we've matched those color spaces up, there isn't a mismatch. It's passing off ProPhoto to ProPhoto, so the color looks great. Now, the last thing that you need to look into is your monitor profile.
Because Lightroom is internally color managed, as long as you have a good monitor color profile, you'll be in good shape as you work in Lightroom. Now, that being said, if you haven't calibrated your monitor, if you haven't created a good monitor profile, then your work in Lightroom may be a little bit off. So the next thing we're going to take a look at is how we can create monitor profiles in order to really tighten up our overall color-managed workflow, and we'll explore how we can do that in the next movie.
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