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I'm still in the midst of recording my Convert to CMYK action. The step that's missing, of course, is any form of conversion to the CMYK color space, and we're going to solve that oversight in this exercise. I'm still working inside this image, Pont Saint-Benezet.psd. Now I'm going to go up to the Image menu, choose Mode, and choose CMYK Color, which is the conventional method for converting an image from RGB to CMYK. Now, unless you've asked that Photoshop never show you this alert message again, the program's going to warn you that you're about to convert to the default color profile that you specified inside the Color Settings dialog box ages and ages ago, which here in the States is going to be U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2.
But then it also suggests, hey, if you want to specify a different color profile, you should choose the Covert to Profile command from the Edit menu. You know what? That's not a half bad idea, because if we had any notion of what our actual press conditions were, we wouldn't be using U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. We'd be using some press-specific profile. Possibly in the future we want to prepare for that eventuality, so we might as well create the most flexible action possible. So go ahead and click the Cancel button to cancel that operation.
Incidentally, if you're working along with me, you didn't see that alert message, so you just went up to the Image menu, chose Mode, chose CMYK Color, and effectively clicked OK in order to convert to CMYK, why then, go ahead and stop the action by clicking on the square Stop button and grab this Convert mode step. Notice if you twirl it open, it's telling you you're just converting to the CMYK color mode, nothing more. Go ahead and grab it and throw it in the trash, and now we'll record this step properly by, again, clicking on the Record button.
So incidentally, if you want to continue recording from the end of an action, you either click on the final operation, Image Size in our case, or you click on the action itself and then click on the Record button. If you want to insert some steps at a specific location inside of an action, then you click on that location. For example, if I clicked on Flatten Image and then clicked on the Record button, then I would add my CMYK step between Flatten Image and Image Size. Anyway, that's not what I want, so I'll click on Image Size to record from the end.
Click on the round Record button in order to continue recording my action. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Convert to Profile command, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+F3, Command+F3 on the Mac. Actually the profile is U.S. Web Coated (SWOP), so this image is already CMYK. There's no sense in converting it to CMYK if it's already CMYK. What did I do wrong? Well, I got rid of the action, but I didn't get rid of the operation. So I've still got problems here. I've got to cancel out of this dialog box.
If I move over to the History panel, I can see, looking there, I have converted this image to CMYK. So the effects of the command are still intact. That's a bad thing. So I'll go ahead and click on Image Size to back up, here inside the History panel, that is, I just undid the conversion to CMYK. Now, I'll go back to the Actions panel, and darn it. That got recorded. I was telling you, you can't take a history state and place it inside of an action; however, if you back step through History, that gets recorded.
Anytime that happens, just go ahead and click on the square Stop button, then grab that bad operation, throw it in the trash, because we don't want that guy in there, and then Image Size is selected, so I'm at the end of my action, click on the round Record button. I see that it's red, and I know that I'm recording my actions once again. Now then, I'll go up to the Image menu and choose the Convert to Profile command, or press that keyboard shortcut. This time I'm seeing that the Source Space is Adobe RGB (1998). Phew, that's the way it's going to be for all of these images, so that's good.
Even if I had differently profiled images, some of them were profiled sRGB, for example, so this would still work out fine. Now, this dialog box turns out to be easier to use, for this purpose anyway, if I click on the Advance button to expand it. And that way I can specify a Destination Space in addition to the Profile. So I'll select CMYK as my Destination Space. Then I'll change my profile to whatever I prefer. Now, you should be seeing whatever profile you specify in the Color Settings dialog box.
The default here in the States is U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. If you know your press conditions and you have a CMYK profile for them, then go ahead and click on this pop-up menu and choose your desired Profile. In my case, I'm going to stick with the Working Profile, however. That's just fine. Drop down to the Conversion Options. Engine should be Adobe (ACE). That is the Adobe Color Engine. Intent should be Perceptual. If you're converting digital photographs, or any form of continuous tone images, then Perceptual is the better way to go. If you're converting high contrast graphic art, then switch to Relative Colorimetric.
For our purposes though, Perceptual is best. You do want Use Black Point Compensation turned on. Flatten Image to Preserve Appearance should be dimmed, because we've already flattened this image. Use Dither is really up to you. I leave it turned off, because that way if I have big areas of flat color, it just makes the image a lot easier to edit later on, the CMYK image that is, as opposed to having a bunch of flecks of dithering in there in order to muck things up. However, if you don't have flat areas of color anywhere inside your image, then you may want to turn Use Dither on, because dithering edge pixels can make for smoother transitions, especially in big areas of sky or gradients or that kind of thing.
Anyway, I'm going to leave it turned off. Then I'll click OK in order to apply that operation. Sure enough, I have successfully converted the image to CMYK, because I can see that up here in the Title tab. I'll expand my Actions panel a little, so I can see the entire name of that recorded operation, which is called Convert to Profile current document. Photoshop sort of talks that way when it's recording actions. It tends to put the object of the sentence at the end of the action name, no matter what, and so Convert to Profile is pretty much the verb.
Current document is the object of the operation. Twirl it open, and you'll see that we went ahead and converted to the CMYK Color mode. The Intent was Perceptual, With Black Point Compensation and Without Dither, because that's what I specified inside that dialog box. So that's perfect! It's not saying anything else, so it's not going to mess up any other settings that might be inherent inside of that image. I'm now done. So I'll go ahead and click on the square Stop button in order to complete that action. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to play the action back to test the action and make sure it works.
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