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Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop

In this movie I'll show you how to adjust your color settings to achieve what is generally the optimal experience inside Photoshop. Now, conceptually this is a challenging topic, however, the change itself is very easy to apply. Inside of a lesser application Photoshop would just go ahead and send off this RGB data to your monitor and your monitor would display it according to its factory default settings, which means that the image would vary from one monitor to the next. And you have probably seen this experience if you've ever gone into an electronic store and seen a bunch of televisions right next to each other, and you have noticed for example how the grass in the sport scene, let's say, up here is greenish or even yellowish on one screen, and more bluish on another screen.

Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop

In this movie I'll show you how to adjust your color settings to achieve what is generally the optimal experience inside Photoshop. Now, conceptually this is a challenging topic, however, the change itself is very easy to apply. Inside of a lesser application Photoshop would just go ahead and send off this RGB data to your monitor and your monitor would display it according to its factory default settings, which means that the image would vary from one monitor to the next. And you have probably seen this experience if you've ever gone into an electronic store and seen a bunch of televisions right next to each other, and you have noticed for example how the grass in the sport scene, let's say, up here is greenish or even yellowish on one screen, and more bluish on another screen.

And that's what happens if there's no color management. Photoshop, however, goes ahead and manages the color experience by assigning a profile to your RGB space. Now if you take a look at this Title Bar up here at the top of the screen, you'll notice in parentheses it says (Background) that's because the background is selected here inside the Layers panel. We are working with an RGB image, so Red, Green, and Blue. The /8 tells us that the bit-depth is 8 bits per pixel per channel and that defines how much distinction we have in the luminance range.

And then finally we are seeing an Asterisk (*). Now an asterisk outside the parentheses tells us that we have unsaved changes, but if it's inside the parentheses, that tells us that this image subscribes to a color profile that is different than the one that Photoshop is using by default, which is not a problem, by the way, that's perfectly okay, it's not going to cause you any problems whatsoever, and in fact, it's a good thing that there is a profile assigned to this image. So again, it doesn't vary from one screen to the next. The problem is that the profile that's assigned by default to Photoshop is not the ideal RGB profile, so here's what you do to change it.

You go out to the Edit menu and you choose the Color Settings command, or you press Ctrl+Shift+K or Cmd+Shift+K on the Mac. And then notice right here, by default here in the States, Settings is set to North American General Purpose 2, which means that the RGB working space is sRGB. Now well, sRGB is not a terrible space, I don't want to over-characterize this, it's not an ideal space, it's a very old profile definition and it's based pretty much on a worst case scenario computer monitor, the kind of thing you might have used on a PC back in the 1990s.

Now, it's considered the ideal color space for the Web and I'll come back to that in a moment, but I recommend you change it, whether you're creating Web graphics or print graphics to a better space, which is this one right here, Adobe RGB (1998). Now the only reason to use some other space such as ProPhoto RGB, is if you're typically working with 16-bit per channel images, and if you are, you know who you are, but otherwise for day-to-day work inside Photoshop, Adobe RGB (1998) is the best way to go.

And that's really the only change you need to make. Now if you are working with a specific commercial printer, you may be able to get a CMYK profile from them, so that you can achieve the best commercial printing results. But you need to talk to your commercial printer about that, if you don't have such a profile, I recommend you leave this option alone. Make sure that these color management policies are all set to preserve embedded profiles, that's very important, and that all of these checkboxes are off. Then what I recommend you do is go and save off your settings by clicking on the Save button and what I've been calling these settings for years now, is Best workflow.

So I will go ahead and enter that as my settings name. And then you have the option of entering some comments if you like. And I have gone ahead and copied some text to my Clipboard. So I will just press Ctrl+V or Cmd+V on the Mac to paste it in. And for one it's where the text reads: These are the settings that Deke recommends in his CS6 One-on-One courses for lynda.com. They ensure consistent color and printing across all CS6 applications, and we'll come to that in just a moment. Then I will click OK in order to save those settings and I will click OK again in order to accept my change.

And now notice up here in the Title tab, we're no longer seeing the Asterisk (*), because this image was already set to Adobe RGB in the first place. Now the only time you're going to see the image shift on screen is if it's not profiled in the first place, and if you run into that by the way, if you end up opening an image and it looks peculiar, looks different than you anticipated, then what you want to do is go up to the Edit menu and choose Assign Profile or if you've loaded dekeKeys, I have given you a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+F2 or Cmd+F2 on the Mac.

If you get an alert message, just say OK. And then what you want to do is go ahead and switch the profile for that image back to sRGB and it will look the same way it did in the first place. In my case, my image is changing on screen and that's because it was already set to Adobe RGB and that's the way I want to leave it. All right, so I am going to cancel out. Now one of the questions I frequently get from Web folks is shouldn't I be working in sRGB, isn't it a mistake to use Adobe RGB? And the answer is no, Adobe RGB is going to serve you better over time, because sometimes you are going to be printing your images and sometimes you want the best colors you can possibly achieve, and that's what Adobe RGB is going to do for you.

And also know, when you go to the File menu and choose the Save for Web command, that one of the options that Photoshop goes ahead and applies by default here is a conversion to sRGB, leave that checkbox on and everything is going go great. Your image will look exactly the way it's supposed to look inside of a Web browser. All right, I am going to go ahead and cancel out of here. Now there is just one more change that you need to make if you own the entire Creative Suite, this doesn't apply to those of you who own Photoshop by itself, but if you have one of the many variations on the Creative Suite, then you want to go up to the File menu and choose Browse in Bridge or press Ctrl+Alt+O or Cmd+Opt+O on the Mac and then here inside Bridge, you go up to the Edit menu and choose Creative Suite Color Settings.

Now if you do not see this command, or it does not work for you, it means that for whatever reason, Bridge is not recognizing that you own the entire Creative Suite. I am going to go ahead and choose the command, because it's going to work fine for me and then you want to select those settings you just saved, in my case Best workflow and then go ahead and click on the Apply button and that's going to apply those changes across all the other Creative Suite applications. Now note by the way, if you go up to the Edit menu and choose the command again, you are going to see the word Synchronized at the top of the dialog box, which tells you that all the Creative Suite applications are now set the same way, and that's very important, because that way you won't have any color shifting when you're switching images back and forth between say Photoshop and Illustrator or Photoshop and InDesign and so forth.

Anyway, my deed is done, so I am going to click the Cancel button in order to cancel out of that dialog box and that wraps up our look at advanced shortcuts and settings, here inside Photoshop and Bridge.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

124 video lessons · 19352 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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