Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating and assigning color management profiles , part of Scanning Techniques for Photography, Art, and Design.
Let's chat about color spaces, color conversions, and your color workflow. First, whenever you capture an image with a digital camera, a scanner you view them on your monitor or on a webpage, you're working in RGB color space and just like the RGB images that we've been capturing and working with so far that's the color space in which you work and when you capture and view colors. When you go to print on the other hand you're working entirely different color space in difference set of color and different substrates, papers and plastics and metals and so forth. So if you are a person of the monitor and the web as well as a person of printing, you really work in at least two different color spaces.
Need to be aware that you're working in different color spaces and also be aware that you need to facilitate the conversion from one color space to another. In this case we have up on screen we're converting from a scanning and viewing color space of RGB to say commercial printing color spaces, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. If you're printing to the inkjet world particularly the photo quality inkjet world, you're dealing with devices that have even more color, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black they have CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta and various versions of black and even other colors.
The question is, where do you want this conversion to occur? How long do you want to stay in RGB? Let's talk about those issues just a little bit. First of all little bit of history. Used to be way back in the dark ages during the 1980s, and partly during the early 90s when we would scan. Scans were done by professionals on big drum scanners and they actually did the conversions right during the scanning process. This was such a common practice that everyone thought the scanners actually captured CMYK. What was actually happening is that we were capturing in RGB just like we do today, but we were using things called palette color look-up tables to do the conversion to a specific paper in a specific press CMYK version right from the scanner.
As the digital age has progressed and evolved this RGB to print CMYK or other conversion has moved further and further down the workflow. Throughout most of the 90s and even in today much of the color conversion is occurred in Photoshop if you're doing commercial printing. Now that we're printing to these really wide-gamut inkjet devices that color conversion is so complicated we can't even do it in Photoshop, that is usually accomplished through the printer driver or through something called a Rip that's attached to the actual printing device. You need to decide and be aware of where this conversion is going to occur.
You can actually do it during the scanner. High-quality scanners and scanner softwares will actually allow you to do this and I'll show you how to do that in just a moment, but my suggestion to you is to stay in the RGB color space for all of your capture and for all of your editing, and here's the reason, why. First off all, RGB is a simpler color space, noticed there is only three colors, with cyan, magenta, yellow, and black you have to have four colors that you have to work with. When in you work in RGB a neutral color correction, like for 5% white highlighted 242, 242, 242. If you're working in CMYK, it may be 755 because of the impurities in inks.
And if you're editing, RGB is much easier to edit, and in fact Photoshop is really basically in RGB painting and image editing program, Although you can do some things in CMYK, it's much more difficult and some things you can't do it all. And CMYK is what we call a very device-specific color space. Conversions to CMYK or even other print spaces really need to be specifically for specific paper and a specific device. So I say stick with RGB and then do conversion to CMYK, if you do a conversion to CMYK through Photoshop such as for commercial printing I strongly recommend you work in a copy of the image, so you can save your original RGB file and always go back to it.
So let's assume that we're all going to stick in the RGB color world and we'll do the conversion later on. Understanding that you're probably going to start with your scanner and then move into Photoshop what you want to do is set up Photoshop and your scanner, so they have the same color profiles. If you remember from our earlier discussion we create profiles from targets and those profiles and targets help was characterized the color and grayscale or tonal capture capability and reproduction capability such as for monitors of individual devices. So let's go back to our scanning software.
In this case we will go to the SilverFast software and we're going to set up color profiles in SilverFast and then move over to Photoshop and make sure they are the same. The way you set up color profiles in SilveFast is you go into the Basic tool panel here and click Options and then you click on the Color Management System, by default General will come up first and you just click on Color Management Space. The most important profiles that you need to assign here, and I know this is a bit of an intimidating dialog box at first, but there is only a few that you really need to pay attention to here.
First, right here where it says Internal to Output, we're going to stick with RGB for the most part. If you are one of those people who really wants to scan into CMYK you can do it and this is where you would set it up, and we choose your P&P which is Plug-and-Play CMYK, which would allow you to capture in RGB and convert right to CMYK. If you want to do that you would choose that here and then you would come down here, you would choose the output profile and usually it's going to be something like a sheet fed, coated sheet fed, uncoated or web-coated. One of the specific paper and press combinations you would use for going to Prepress, and that kind of information we'd get from your printing company.
But for most of us who are working in the multiple color world, we're not just working in the print world, we're going to choose typically RGB as our internal color workspace that we are working with, and then importantly you want to choose the profile that was created with this version of the scanner. Here we're using an Epson Perfection in version 700 scanner. And this profile that you're looking at here it's an ICC profile. It's professional profile that was created by Epson for this particular scanner model, and then importantly you'll come down here and choose a specific RGB color space and a grayscale color space.
For most people I think we are taking this class you can have one of three choices. If you're really just a web person through and through and you never go to print then you'll choose one of these sRGB color spaces because that's a web-specific color space. If you're a multiple color space person web and print. My general recommendation is to go with the AdobeRGB1998. If you are a professional photographer and you're capturing in a wider color gamut, it is a wider range of colors you can capture with your camera and printing to very wide gamut devices like an Epson multicolor inkjet printer then you may want to use a ProPhoto and that's right down here.
So choose one of those three basically and if you're a professional photographer and you're capturing in ProPhoto then by all means capturing to ProPhoto in your scanner. I'm going to set this on AdobeRGB1998 because that's a more general color space that more people are going to use. Then underneath Gray, if you're doing grayscale scanning then I would recommend that you choose one of these two gamuts and we get into the actual scanning, we can talk about which one you would choose, but typically we'll be choosing a great gamut of 1.8. If you want things to be a little bit lighter than we can choose a 2.2, but typically we'll be using 1.8.
There we go and then you can apply this and these are the profiles that will be used during the scanning process and then click OK. Now we'll move back over to Photoshop and what we're going to be going to the color setups inside of Photoshop, going to Color Settings and then we're going to assign exactly the same color settings here underneath RGB. Here is the same one, there's the RGB, there is the ProPhoto and there is the Adobe RGB. So we're going to choose Adobe RGB here and we're going to choose the Epson Gray Gamma 1.8.
This way when we transfer our images from our scanner to Photoshop there is not going to be any adjustment to the colors or the display of the colors and the tonal ranges of grayscale. And of course those of you who want to learn about conversion to CMYK this is one of the places where you can set your output profile for CMYK. But having this setup you want the scanner and Photoshop to have the same color profile setups, and if you're a photographer you want to have the same setup in your camera as well. Most cameras by default have setup on SRGB just like Photoshop is, so if you care about having consistency of which your colors and tonal ranges look like from one device to the other, make sure they all have the same setup in terms of the color profiles.
Now there is one step beyond what we've done here. We've taken profiles that were created by somebody else, you see the scanner manufacturers and the camera manufacturers and at Adobe and we've applied them, which gets us pretty far down that road. If you're very, very critical about your color and your tonal ranges and your reproduction you can create your own color management profiles using targets like we talked about earlier. If you'd like to learn more about that I'd like to refer you to a lynda.com course called Color Management Essential training with Chris Murphy.
- Understanding grayscale values and channels
- Evaluating and correcting images with histograms
- Saving to different file formats
- Managing color
- Cleaning the scanner and images
- Reproducing versus assigning colors
- Recognizing contone versus dot pattern images
- Understanding bit depth
- Scanning logos and line art
- Scanning transparent film, positive or negative
- Capturing high dynamic range (HDR) scans