Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up and using the Info panel, part of Photoshop CS5: Prepress and Printing.
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In this section, I want to talk about setting up your Info panel. The Info panel is critical when you want to try to measure the RGB or the CMYK values in your image. And there is better ways to setup the Info panel so it would be most useful to you. First of all, let's go ahead and get the Info panel. Let's come underneath the Window menu and choose Info. Notice there is a built-in keyboard shortcut F8, which by the way works through out all of the Creative Suite. It'll always bring up the Info panel, no matter what application that you are in. So we choose F8 to bring up the Info panel.
And yours may look exactly like this or may look a little bit different, depending upon how your default values are currently setup. And this panel, once again as I mentioned, allows you to measure the RGB and CMYK values. Previously, we talked about what the difference was between an RGB and a CMYK image. Just to review, the RGB image has three grayscale channels, one for the red, one for the green, one for the blue. And then the RGB itself is a composite of the three in displacing color. Whereas the CMYK has four channels and four color values based upon in this case the four process colors that what be used in printing.
What the Info panel allows you to do is measure those values that you see here inside of your image. We are going to use this when we talk about setting highlights and shadows and doing brightness and contrast. This Info panel works directly with the Info tool as you see here. We are going to start off and just talk about the Eyedropper tool here. We'll come back and talk about the Color Sampler tool a little bit later. Notice the keyboard shortcut for accessing this tool is just i. By the way when I am working in Photoshop and I go into my General Preferences, which is just Command+K or Ctrl+K, I like to turn off this Use Shift Key for Tool Switch.
So I don't have to hold down my Shift key when I am actually accessing my tools. So I can just go i if I want to access the Eyedropper tool, or hit i again if I want to get to one of the other Eyedropper tools. All right so we are going to access the Eyedropper tool. And notice that as I move my Eyedropper around, my RGB and CMYK values that you have here measure the different values inside of an image. But you don't have to be in your Eyedropper tool. I might be in my Move tool like my V tool and it still measures those values. It's just when you select the Eyedropper tool, it's the direct tool that is used to work hand in hand with the Info tool.
And one of the reasons you might want to go to the Eyedropper tool for your initial setup is when you select the Eyedropper tool, i, you can come up here and choose your sample size in the Options panel. If you don't see this up here just choose Window and then come down here and then just choose your Options, to make sure that the options for that tool come up. And then my suggestion is to choose a 3 by 3 average for most images. Notice there are many other built-in sampling sizes. But you want to stay away from Point Sample, because then you are just measuring one pixel in each of these channels whether it's RGB, in RGB mode or CMYK in CMYK mode. 3 by 3 gives you a more representative sampling of images in a small area.
3 by 3 generally tends to be pretty good. So we'll go to the Eyedropper tool, we'll set our sample size to 3 by 3, and then over here you can control what is displayed inside of your Info panel. And when you click on the Info panel menu, it says Panel Options. And you can check on the Show Tool Hints. And what the Show Tool Hints shows you is what you see down here. If I turn this off like this and then click OK, then you don't get any more tool hints. If you like the tool hints and you are not quite sure what things are used for, then you can turn that on. Typically I'll turn mine off as you see here.
So there is lots of other things you can display here. But typically I like to keep mine small and pretty lean and mean. When I am working in a print workflow, I like to have my Info panel setup like this. Like I have RGB on one side, and notice that these are all the color spaces that we looked at, remember, underneath the Image and Mode, all the color spaces here. Any color space that you can choose here, you can also choose underneath the Info panel. Well the two most common color spaces that I work in are RGB for my import or image capture like a scanner or digital camera, and then CMYK on output.
So I put RGB on one side and CMYK on the other. Now noticed a curious thing happens is that here we have the Kenai Sunrise RGB. When we see by looking at the Channels panel there are three different channels. But when we move our tool over the image, not only you get the RGB but we get the CMYK values as well. Over here when you see CMYK. How is that possible? Well you might remember this Photoshop Color settings dialog box we accessed via the Edit menu that we worked within the section on concepts and setups and again in the section on color spaces, color modes and color conversion, where we set our working RGB and working CMYK profiles.
Let's zoom in to the top of this dialog box to the Working Spaces section. And this is where we assigned are Working Spaces RGB and Working Spaces CMYK profiles. And there is this Working Spaces CMYK profile that provides us with the on the fly conversion from the RGB values in our image to the CMYK values that would exist if and when the image is converted to CMYK. So Photoshop uses these two profiles working together to generate both the true RGB values in the image and the future CMYK values, if we were to convert the image to CMYK, both of which can display simultaneously in our Info panel.
- Understanding RGB and CMYK bit depth
- AM versus FM screening
- Working with device color gamuts and profiles
- Making image adjustments before printing
- Choosing the correct file format for output
- Assigning spot and process colors
- Comparing editable and raster type
- Sharpening for print
- Printing to grayscale
- Proofing images
- Recording actions to automate printing-related tasks