Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Assigning color settings, part of Photoshop CS4: Color Correction.
In this section on setting up Photoshop, we are going to cover setting up Color Settings inside of Photoshop, and in fact, this is something you really ought to do before you even open up an image. We have kind of put the cart before the horse here, because setting up your Color Settings is something you do want to do before you even start inside of Photoshop. So where do we get to our Color Settings? To come down underneath the Edit menu and choose Color Settings, and for those of you who like keyboard shortcuts, if you remember the keyboard shortcuts for accessing Preferences, it's Command+K or Ctrl+K on the Mac and Windows, just add a Shift key to that.
Command+Shift+K or Ctrl+Shift+K. It brings up Color Settings. So when you are setting up Photoshop it's all about the Ks. The Command+K and the Command+ Shift+K for setting up Photoshop. Now, if you have ever seen this dialog box before and ever looked at it, and went holy smokes, close that before I hurt myself. It's a pretty complicated looking dialog box. Well, the first thing that you can do is just click on Fewer Options. There, see that's better already. There is only two important things that you want to set up here. We could spend all sorts of time talking about how to set up all the details of this entire dialog box, but for our purposes, for working inside of Photoshop, for color correction, the two things you really want to pay attention to are the RGB and the CMYK Working Spaces.
This first setting here, the RGB Working Space, this is what you will choose to determine which color space into which you will open an image inside of Photoshop. And notice that there is several default color spaces built in here. Now, before we choose one, let me just go back over to More Options here for a second, and turn that on, and show you what happens to this menu. Oh my gosh, look at how many different settings you have got here. Most of those you won't need, which is another reason why you could just turn-off the More Settings and go to Fewer Settings. Now, if you are one of the lucky ones who are actually working in a fully color managed workflow, you will probably have your own custom color profile, but if you are like most people and you don't have your own custom color profile, you are going to choose from one of these here.
When we're working in color there are three things that we want to really think about, the three core topics or items to think about in your head are, what color space are you working in, what's the gamut of that color space, and then what color profile am I using for opening or saving or working on my images. Well, in this one menu here, we see RGB color spaces, and that's typically the color space into which we capture and open and edit images. The color space is determined by the colorants, in this case red, green, and blue colorants.
Then the gamut refers to range of reproducible colors. Profile, the third term in concept, are the files that we use for describing the color space and the color gamut. Well, these are all general or generic color profiles. Notice that the default inside of Photoshop is SRGB, which is fine if you are a web maven and you focus on creating web images, but if you are creating images for the web and for commercial printing and for expanded gamut printing on an inkjet printer, you are really going to be better off choosing one of the other color spaces.
My general recommendation is to choose Adobe RGB (1998). If you are a professional photographer and you are using a high-end camera that allows you to capture and edit in the ProPhoto RGB, go ahead and choose that. But for everybody else, if you don't have a ProPhoto option, go ahead and choose Adobe RGB (1998), and then whenever you open up an image inside of Photoshop, that's going to be the preferred color space. By the way, if you are a photographer, you should set this color space on your camera as well. Most digital cameras have SRGB, which is the web color space, which is a smaller color space than the Adobe RGB (1998).
So be sure to set this on your digital camera as well as here in Photoshop. Okay. Then what we want to choose here on the CMYK is what's going to happen to our RGB color space files when we convert them into CMYK, specifically for commercial printing. Now, again, if you are a professional photographer and/or your final output device is a wide gamut inkjet printer, which is printing with cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, plus maybe light cyan and light magenta inks, you are not going to convert it to CMYK. That's going to occur on the fly during the printing process.
But if you are sending your files for commercial print, then you probably are going to convert to CMYK in Photoshop. What you want to do here is choose one of these color profiles. Remember a color profile is the description of the color gamut and the color space of the device that you are going to be outputting to, in this case a printing device. Choose the kind of press and the general kind of paper in which you are going to be printing. So if you are going to send your files, or you would tend to send your files to a commercial printing press, that's going to be printed on coated stock, then you might choose U.S. Sheetfed Coated.
If you are going to uncoated stock, then you might choose U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated, or if you are going to a SWOP v2, this is U.S. Web Coated, if it's going on web based press, and there is a web based uncoated. Now, some printing companies now are supporting the new standards called the GRACoL standard, which is generally on a sheetfed press, on coated stock, and it's just a refinement really of the earlier SWOP standards. And this is if you are printing in the U.S. Of course if you are printing in Japan, then they have got Japanese colors here. Choose the one that matches the country, the printing press, and the paper in which you are going to be printing.
We are going to go with the standard U. S. Sheetfed Coated here, and basically this doesn't do anything to our image until we convert it into CMYK. Although when we get to talking about the Info panel, the CMYK values that you see in your Info panel will be controlled by whichever color profile you choose here. Well, there we go. There's setting up our working spaces, Adobe RGB, unless you are a professional photographer, then go to ProPhoto, and then choose the printing press and the general paper in which you are going to be printing, and then click OK. Boom! You are done setting up your color spaces, and now you are consistently opening and saving your images into the two working color spaces of RGB and CMYK.
- Fundamentals of digital color: Understanding bit depth, channels, resolution, grey scale and color
- Exploring the difference between color correction and image adjustment
- Choosing and using the best tools for color correction
- Exploring RGB vs. CMYK corrections
- Evaluating the histogram’s display of color
- Using Adjustment layers to affect editable corrections
- Saving time using keyboard shortcuts
- Preparing color images for output on various devices