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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
As we have discovered, color management is a really important topic, but sometimes it can be a little bit confusing or a little bit disorienting. So what I want to do in this movie is add some more clarity to this topic of color management. In order to do so, I want to step back for a moment and revisit the topic of color space and then take a look at how that fits into this overall color managed workflow, in regards to working on our images on our monitor and then sending them to print. Well, one of the things that we have already discussed is that we need to define our color space via our color settings inside of Photoshop.
You can do so by navigating to your Edit pulldown menu and choosing Color Settings. Now, when we do so, we have a couple of different options. We can either choose the Adobe sRGB color space. One of the things that we have said about this space is it's very limiting. A lot of times people draw the analogy between colors, like with colors and crayons. Say that this color space is like a very limited small box of crayons. On the other hand, we can choose one of the better color spaces, like Adobe RGB (1998).
This is like this bigger box of crayons. You know the one with the built-in sharpener that never really works. In this case, we have more color. We have more color potential. Then of course there is one more color space, which is ProPhoto. In this case, it's like the bucket of 200 crayons. Again, we have this huge wide gamut. It's actually so wide that 15% of this color space can't even be seen by the human eye. But what this color space does for us is it gives us a lot of options so that we have the best potential for our photographs.
While the crayon box example was kind of helpful, let's take another look at these different types of color spaces. Here you can see I have a 3D model of two different color spaces: Adobe RGB in the middle and then ProPhoto RGB in the outside. And here you can see that in Adobe RGB (1998), we can create many different colors, yet we can't create these deeper, bright, saturated greens or these bright reds over here. So again, the gamut or the range of color that we have access to in these different color spaces defines how we can actually work with color.
How then does all of this relate to working in Photoshop? Well, in Photoshop we will have an image and ideally the image will be tagged with a color space. It will be tagged with a color space because we will always work in a color space. We will do so by defining this in our Color Settings. We will say, hey, in Photoshop I am going to set my color space to ProPhoto or to Adobe RGB (1998), whatever it is. The image will then be tagged with this color space. Now, one of the interesting things though is that while this is tagged with this color space, the color is going to shift a little bit, depending on how we are working with this image or how we are viewing it.
For example, we have already mentioned that on monitors, color is created via light. It's created in this RGB color space, whereas in printers, color is created via ink in this CMYK color space. Now, one of the things that's kind of interesting between these two different color spaces is that the RGB space, and the CMYK spaces are different. One is additive and one is subtractive. For example, in the RGB color space, if we were to overlap our colors, what happens is ultimately it leads to white.
And you can see that here, when I have overlapped these different colors. Now, on the other hand the, CMYK color space when we overlap color, it goes to black. So we have something very unique and very distinct that's happening. Again, this adds to a bit of the complexity of working with color. What we have to do is layer this thought on top of how we are working. How then does that really play into working with these images? Well, what can happen is we can have an image which is tagged with a good color space, but then we can open this image up on one particular monitor.
Well, let's say that this particular monitor maybe allows us to view this image in a different way. It's a wide gamut monitor, and all of a sudden the image looks brighter. It looks more saturated. This monitor has distinct characteristics which display this image in a unique way. Well, what we then need to do is to calibrate the monitor, so that we can tag this image with yet one more profile, and in this case it's called the Monitor Profile. This is something that we would create with an external device like the ColorMunki, which is put out by the folks at X-Rite.
Now, once we have this Monitor Profile, we can then send this image to the printer. And you notice that as it's being sent to the printer, what's going to happen is that both of these tags, the color space of the file as well as the Monitor Profile, are then going to be sent over to the printer, which will ensure that the image is printed most accurately. Now, because we have calibrated our monitor, what's happening here is there is a clear translation of all of this information from the monitor all the way over to the printer.
So in conclusion, color space matters and we need to define that inside of Photoshop. But it also is really important that we calibrate our monitor, so that we can ensure the highest level of color accuracy between multiple devices.
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