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Choosing color settings


Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Choosing color settings

Photoshop has a number of color management features whose goal is to make the colors you see on your screen match the colors in your prints or the colors on other people's screens, if you are making images for the Web. That's a challenge, because every printer and every computer monitor takes the raw numerical values that make up color and interprets them in slightly ways. You've probably seen that if you've ever been in a store that sells television sets, and they have the television sets lined up on the wall, all showing the same program, but the color looks slightly different on each set.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
7h 55m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
  • Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
  • Working with Adobe Camera Raw
  • Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
  • Creating Photomerge panoramas
  • Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Jan Kabili

Choosing color settings

Photoshop has a number of color management features whose goal is to make the colors you see on your screen match the colors in your prints or the colors on other people's screens, if you are making images for the Web. That's a challenge, because every printer and every computer monitor takes the raw numerical values that make up color and interprets them in slightly ways. You've probably seen that if you've ever been in a store that sells television sets, and they have the television sets lined up on the wall, all showing the same program, but the color looks slightly different on each set.

There are several things that you can do to help Photoshop try to keep color consistent for you. One of those things is to set up Photoshop's color settings properly, but even before you do that, I urge you to go out and buy or beg or borrow, however you can get one, get yourself a hardware device called a color remitter. A color remitter is a fancy name for a device that looks somewhat like a mouse or a hockey puck. It comes with software and together the software and hardware measure the way that your particular monitor reproduces color at this point in time.

It may set you back a couple of hundred dollars or so for a good color remitter, but it's well worth it, if you want your output to match what you see on your screen in Photoshop in terms of color. Now let me show you how to set up Photoshop's Color Settings. I am going to open the Color Settings dialog box from the Edit menu in Photoshop. This dialog box is one that some people find daunting. There are a lot of settings here, and the explanations are difficult. Color management is a really big subject, but the good news is you don't have to deal with every single setting here separately.

This field at the top that says Settings offers some presets that control all the settings below. So my advice is this. If you are primarily working to prepare images for print, then set this bundle of presets to North America Prepress 2, and if you are working primarily for the Web, set it to North America Web/Internet. Let me show you what happens when you choose the print settings, North America Prepress 2. That sets the RGB Working Space, or the color environment for editing RGB color files to Adobe RGB (1998).

That working space is particularly good for the purpose of printing files, because it offers a wide range of colors. Choosing North America Prepress 2 also changed some of the Color Management Policies down here, which are basically rules for how to handle color in any file that you open or in a new file. Rather than try to describe to you how this work, let me show you by opening some files now that we've made this change. I am going to click OK to accept these settings. And from Photoshop, I am going to jump over to Bridge, by clicking the Bridge icon in the Application Bar at the top of the screen.

If your Application Bar isn't showing, you can get to Bridge from the File menu and choosing Browse in Bridge. In Bridge, I have navigated to the Exercise Files on my Desktop and the Chapter03 Basics folder. And I am going to double click this thumbnail, flatirons_adobergb.psd, to open it in Photoshop. So the lesson to take from that is that when you open a file that was created in and has been stamped with, or tagged with the same color profile as your working space.

You get no special messages. You don't have to take any special actions when you open the file. If you look at the bottom of this particular image, you'll see this indication that this file has indeed been tagged with an Adobe RGB color profile. If you don't see that here, click the arrow to the left of this information field. Choose Show and choose Document Profile. I'm going to close this file without saving it by clicking the X here on the tab. And I'm going to go back to Bridge and open another file.

This one here, Orchid_srgb.psd. This particular file has attached to it a color profile that is different than the Adobe RGB working space that we have set up in Photoshop. This particular file has a sRGB color profile. I'll double-click this thumbnail and back in Photoshop I get this message. It's telling me that there is a mismatch between the color profile embedded in the file, which is an sRGB profile, and the color profile that is our working environment.

And it asks what I want to do. The answer depends on where the image came from. Let's say that this image came out of my camera. Many cameras automatically embed the sRGB profile in photographs. But it's not necessarily the space that you want to work in, because photographers love to have more colors available to them. So if you're working with a file that comes directly from the camera, you may want to convert its colors to your Adobe RGB working space by clicking here. However, if you got this file from another photographer who consciously attached to it the sRGB color profile, then you may want to accept that choice so that the colors on your screen look as close as possible to that photographer's colors on his screen.

But I'll leave this at Convert colors to working space for now, and I'll click OK and the image of the orchid opens. If I look at the document information field down at the bottom of the window, I see that it really has been converted into an Adobe RGB image. Let's close this one from the tab at the top of the screen here and let's open one more image. This is the third situation you may find yourself in. When you have an image like this one in Bridge that is untagged, that has no color profile attached to it.

I'll double-click door_untagged.psd, and this time I get a message that this file is missing a profile. It just doesn't have any embedded RGB profile. What would I like to do? Well, I would like to choose visually which profile I want on this particular photo. To make that happen, I am going to choose Leave as is (don't color manage) and then I'm going to go into Photoshop to choose the profile. So I click OK here, and the photo opens in Photoshop. And if you look at the bottom of the document window, you see that it really is untagged.

Now I am going to go to the Edit menu at the top of the screen, and I am going down to Assign Profile. That's the best choice when you have an untagged image, and you need to add a profile to it. I'll click OK at this warning and here in the Assign Profile dialog, I'll click the Profile choice. Then I'll use this dropdown menu to choose the color profile that I want to attach to this particular file. I am only interested in the profiles above this faint line here at the top.

And so I am going to go through those one by one, and see the results in my mage. So here is how it would look with an Adobe RGB profile. That's pretty much the way I saw the scene, so I like that one. Let's try Apple RGB. In this case I get a little bit duller result. sRGB, even duller, because sRGB is a narrower color range offering fewer colors. ProPhoto is another possible choice for photographs, but in this case I think it makes the image look too saturated.

And ColorMatch also doesn't look bad. In this case, I am going to stick with Adobe RGB and say OK. So that's how I recommend that you deal with the Color Settings dialog box and then how to handle files that match or don't match the working space that that you set up in Photoshop's Color Settings. One more thing, if you are using the Exercise Files to follow along with me in this course, you may want to go back into your Color Settings, from Edit > Color Settings, and change the preset to the default, which is North America General Purpose 2, and click OK.

And that way you won't get any warnings when you open most of the files used in this course. What we learned here is not all there is to color management. You'll have some more color management tasks to do when you save and print your images. And I'll cover those subjects in later movies on printing and saving.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 Essential Training .

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Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.) 

In Illustrator, select File > Open, and select the PSD file. In Photoshop Import dialog box, select Convert Layers to Objects.

Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes.  But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you  before saving it as JPEG.
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