Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Loading the CS4 color settings in Photoshop and Bridge CS4, part of Photoshop Smart Objects.
All right gang, now that we've all installed Best Workflow CS4.csf to the proper location on our hard drives, it's time to go ahead and open that file inside of Photoshop or the Bridge, and here's how it works. If you bought Photoshop alone as a standalone application, you're going to have to open your Color Settings inside of Photoshop. Even though it will seem like you can do it inside the Bridge, you can't. It won't work. You have to own Creative Suite 4, one of the many variations of Creative Suite 4. In which case, you'd want to go to the Bridge to open up Best Workflow CS4 because that way you'll synchronize all of your Adobe applications, which of course is a good thing, and I'm going to cover both scenarios inside of this exercise.
So we're going to start inside Photoshop. So we're assuming that you only own Photoshop and nothing more. And actually even if you own the entire Creative Suite, you can follow along with me inside of the first portion of this exercise and you'll get a sense of how things work. So go to the Edit menu, choose Color Settings or you can press Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on the Mac, to bring up the Color Setting dialog box. Now by default, I already have my machine set up for Best Workflow CS4. But by default, here in the states, you'll see North America General Purpose 2 right there, which means that your RGB workspace is set to sRGB.
Now sRGB is a great consumer space, I have nothing against it for consumers because the idea is it's trying to find a happy medium between the many low-end monitors that are out there, the many low-end devices. It was really designed to accommodate old CRT tubes. So old cheap big monitors as opposed to the LCDs that most of us use these days. Still the industry has really glommed onto sRGB, which means that Inkjet printers assume that you're working in an sRGB space.
Most Windows based PCs ship with their monitors calibrated to sRGB and so on. However, Photoshop is smart enough to accommodate that automatically. But what every industry expert recommends is that you go ahead and switch, for professional level work, you switch your RGB working space over to Adobe RGB 1998. It offers a wider dynamic range, better colors in general. You're just going to get a more accurate preview of what your image look likes in print and so on. And you can take advantage of a wider array of colors as well.
Now, the only reason you wouldn't work in Adobe RGB 1998 is if most of the images that you open up inside of Photoshop are 16-bit per-channel images. Now you're typical everyday average image that you open in Photoshop, even if it's coming from Camera Raw is 8 bits per-channel. So a total of 24 bits, meaning 16.8 million colors. But if you tend to work in 16-bit per channel, I'm going to tell you two things. First of all, Smart Objects are going to make your work fairly ponderous, because they're pretty darn demanding and once you start getting into 16-bit per channel, you're really making Photoshop work very, very hard.
I don't actually think 16-bit per channel inside of Photoshop does you all that much good on a regular basis. So I don't actually recommend you work that way. But if you're bound and determined, then you would click on More Options right there, so that you can see more RGB spaces available to you. Then you would click this down pointing arrowhead and you would switch to this guy right there. ProPhoto RGB gives you even a wider array of colors to work with, great for 16-bit per channel, not so great for 8-bit per channel. It's overkill. And it actually will clip colors quite frequently.
It's just not advised. Anyway, I digress because what I really want you to do is I want you to go up to Settings, I want you to click the down pointing arrowhead and I want you to choose Best Workflow CS4 and that's going to take care of everything for you. It's going to set your RGB working space to Adobe RGB 1998. It's going to make sure all of your color management policies are set to Preserve Embedded Profiles, which is a great thing, so that Photoshop is always working with the embedded profile no matter what. So that way you can get in sRGB image from somebody else.
You'll open inside of Photoshop, Photoshop will respect that sRGB profile and you'll see on your screen what somebody else on their screen assuming that both screens are calibrated. You don't want to be told about all the mismatches and missing profiles. That's a pain in the neck. You want to make sure you're working with the Adobe (ACE) color engine, that's great. Intent is better set to Perceptual. Now, this is the one thing you might want to change. If most of your work is image work, photographic image work then you want Perceptual. But if you bring a lot of artwork over from Illustrator and you're doing a lot of rendering of Illustrator graphics for example, then you might want to switch over to Relative Colorimetric.
But even then, if you work with a lot of gradients from Illustrator, you might want to stick with Perceptual because that's going to give you less banding, less stair stepping. Anyway, I prefer Perceptual. It is not the default setting. It's another thing that's brought over by Best Workflow CS4. Otherwise, we're good to go. Then you click OK and you're done. Now, you may see at this point, you may see the word 'Unsynchronized' appear in the upper left hand corner of the dialog box along with a kind of broken looking icon here. That generally indicates that you have the full Creative Suite and you need to switch over to the Bridge to synchronize things.
Now, I'll go ahead and click on the OK button, in order to accept that "modification" because I didn't really modify anything. All right. I'm going to go up to the File menu and choose Browse in Bridge, Ctrl+Alt+O, Command+Option+O on the Mac, to switch to the Bridge here and we're trained on this lovely graphic right there. Now, here is the deal and I want to stress this. This is only going to work for you folks who own some version of the Creative Suite. This does not work if you own Photoshop by itself. If it does not work, that's an indication that you own Photoshop by itself or that you need to run some sort of reinstall, because the Bridge is not aware that you have the full Creative Suite.
Now, if you hear some impatience in my voice I wish Adobe would not do this. I do not know why they make this such a pain in the neck, but they do. So here's what you do if you want to synchronize all the applications across the Creative Suite, you go to the Edit menu and you choose this command right there Ctrl+Shift+K and Command+Shift+K on the Mac. If you get a warning, I can't help you. That means that something is wrong with the way that the Creative Suite got installed or it means you only own the standalone version of Photoshop and you just need to open the Settings from inside Photoshop.
And that should work great for you, by the way, especially for this series. Anyway, for those of you who are seeing this dialog box come up successfully, you will scroll down the list, as I say, by default, you'll see North American General Purpose2 selected. You'll scroll down the list to Best Workflow CS4. You should see this little description here that I recommend this for Photoshop Illustrator and InDesign in my CS4 One-on-One Series for these various publishers. Great! If you don't see it, then click on this check box for Show Expanded List of Color Settings Files and you should find it somewhere.
Once you find it, click on it and then click on the Apply button and you're good to go and you're back to being synchronized and you should now be able to switch back to Photoshop just to make sure things are synced. Click on the Edit menu, click on Color Settings and you should see this nicely synced icon and the word Synchronized thereby showing you that all of your applications are set to work harmoniously and that my friends is the end of the setup, the end of the introduction. We are now ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. Are you excited? You ought to be.
They are so amazingly powerful.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
- Preparing a composition for masking
- Manually adjusting problematic edges in a composition
- Combining layer effects and adjustment layers
- Roughing in a polygonal mask
- Cloning a super-massive Smart Object
- Applying Variations as a Smart Filter