Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up the CS4 color settings, part of Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery.
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All right gang! Thanks for hanging with me here. I know it's a lot of busy work but Adobe just doesn't make this part easy. I think you'll be glad though that you've got these settings installed once we start getting into the fun creative stuff inside of Photoshop. All right, so I'm assuming that you've gone ahead and copied Best Workflow CS4.csf to one of these three locations depending on your operating system. Then you are going to do one of two things, depending on whether you own Photoshop by itself or whether you own one of the many skews of the Creative Suite whether it's the Design Premium version, the Master Collection, doesn't matter; any skew of the Creative suite will work differently.
Okay, so let's start by imagining you are working in Photoshop by itself and even those of you who have the Creative Suite, this isn't going to hurt you any. Go up to the Edit menu and choose the Color Settings command or press Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on the Mac and that will bring up the Color Settings dialog box. You'll probably see that your color settings are synchronized which might give you a lot of hope, make you think that's good. The problem is they are synchronized in North American General Purpose 2, which is designed for consumers, completely a consumer space, not a high-end color space. It's good for web graphics but it's only good for web graphics if you are only creating web graphics and there is better ways to work even if you are just making images for the web, because you can always output your images to sRGB by the Save for Web and Devices command that I explained in Chapter 12 at the end of my Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Fundamental series. So you can check that out.
If you are working with print at all ever, if you even use your desktop printer or your inkjet printer then you are better off changing these settings and here's what I suggest you do. I'm going to go ahead and click on the More Options button so that I can see some more options down here at the bottom of the screen. And notice, by the way, this is a pretty helpful dialog box. If you hover over any one of these options, you are going to see a description of what that option does down at the bottom of the dialog box. Now the descriptions aren't always easy to comprehend but they are there and they are accurate. Anyway, what I want you to do is go to the Settings pop-up menu here, I want you to click and I want you to choose Best Workflow CS4. You should see it right there, underneath the North American junk and this is, of course, assuming you are in the United States, you may see one of these other setup as the default space here.
Anyway, go ahead and switch over to Best Workflow CS4 and that does a couple of different things. It goes ahead and switches your default working space to Adobe RGB, which is a bigger RGB working space and it's better designed to accommodate print graphics. It's great for your big colorful vivid digital photographs. It's good for everything. In fact, as long as you are working in the 8-bit per channel RGB mode, it's a really great working space. And then you want all these checkboxes turned off and you want all these checkboxes turned on, as they are by default, but I'm also changing Intent to Perceptual because I'm assuming that you are using Photoshop more often than any other application that Photoshop is your main program. It's something like Illustrator or InDesign is your main program, then you'd want to go ahead and switch this over to Relative Colorimetric but even then Perceptual is going to work pretty well for you.
All right, one other thing I want to show you is CMYK. Now if you work with a commercial print house on a regular basis, you'll want to get a profile from them and you want to get that profile updated every so often and you want to go ahead and choose that profile for CMYK and you can do that, by the way, by clicking the Down arrowhead and then you can go ahead and load a CMYK profile right there. All right, anyway, this is good though, let's just assume for now, you are not going to change CMYK and you are not going to change Intent; you are just going to go ahead and accept Best Workflow CS4. You are going to see that your color settings are now unsynchronized.
Now those of you, who only own Photoshop, you don't own the rest of Creative Suite, don't worry about it; there is nothing to synchronize with. Those of you, who do own the Creative Suite, follow along with me now. We'll go ahead and click OK and now we are going to switch over to the Bridge by either clicking on this little Bridge icon or you can choose Browse in Bridge over here from the File menu. Ctrl+Alt+O or Command+Option+O on the Mac switches over to the Bridge. I happen to have it trained on these settings folder just for laughs, no reason. Then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Creative Suite Color Settings command or press Ctrl+Shift+K.
Now this should bring up this dialog box right here. If it brings up an error message telling you that you can't load this command because you need to launch CS4 application first or you don't own the entire Creative Suite, then you-don't-own-the-entire-Creative- Suite is most likely the culprit. So you can't synchronize from the Bridge. It's just the way it is. I don't understand why Adobe does it that way but they do. If you do own the Creative Suite and you are getting that error message, then you're probably going to have to reinstall the software or you may be able to relaunch the Bridge and when you relaunch the Bridge, you would press Ctrl+Shift+Alt or Command+Shift+Option all at the same time while launching the Bridge and then go ahead and reset the Bridge in the dialog box that follows.
Anyway, hopefully none of that happens and you'll just see this message right here saying Not Synchronized, because we just goofed things up in Photoshop. But there is Best Workflow right there and you can see I have even got this little message here, These are the settings that Deke recommends in his Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign CS4 One-on-One series for Deke Press, O'Reilly Media, and lynda.com. They ensure consistent color and printing across all three applications, and more, incidentally. Now if you don't see Best Workflow, if you see it, go ahead and click on it; if you don't, turn on the Show Expanded List of Color Settings Files, and you should get a much longer list right here and one of them should be my Best Workflow CS4 right there and then click Apply.
Now I'll go back, you don't need to do this. I'll go back to the Edit menu and choose Creative Suite Color Settings and you will see that things are now synchronized. It's so happy and now we have synchronized those color settings across all of the applications in the Creative Suite.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
- Defining the essentials of masking
- Resizing images with content-aware scaling
- Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
- Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
- Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images