Photoshop Color Settings

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Chipotles088, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Chipotles088

    Chipotles088 TPF Noob!

    Nov 16, 2007
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    Hi guys, I've seen a lot of threads here about color and color space, but I haven't seen much on the 'Color Settings', specifically. What should my 'Color Settings' or 'Proof Set-up' sections look like, generally?

    Big, old bonus 'thank you' for anyone who uses Miller's Lab, because that's the new lab I think I've decided to try out. Unfortunately, I can't make sense out of the forums on their site, otherwise I would've posted this right over there.

    There's just so much to learn about color management, and I know so little ...

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    The colour settings are not at all important because 99% of the time they are overwritten when you open the file anyway. For instance when I click "edit in photoshop" from lightroom, regardless of how my colour settings are set in Photoshop the working space changes to AdobeRGB.

    So here's a quick rundown:
    1. The important thing is when you click to select the colour spaces is that "Monitor RGB" exists and shows your current monitor profile. Don't select it for any, it just has to exist for photoshop colour management to work correctly. This is often set in the display properties for whatever OS you are using.

    2. The working spaces are basically the default for your workflow. If you don't intend on ever actually using a professional lab (not your standard run of the mill 36 prints for $15 lab), then I suggest you leave working RGB at sRGB, because not using extended colour gamut preserves the colour in your hair and reduces dependencies on painkillers. If you do use a pro lab, or have a wide gamut screen like the Dell 2007WFP then I suggest setting this to AdobeRGB and no further.

    3. The important other option is that colour management policies should "preserve embedded profiles". Colour conversion is a lossy and approximate process at best, the less you do it the higher your chances of having an image free of colour branding and posterisation.

    Onto soft proofing. This depends quite heavily on what you intend to do. Often the softproofing should be set to your printer profile with black point compensation ticked. If you intend them to show on the web and you use a wide gamut monitor and a wide gamut image then you may wish to softproof to "Windows RGB" to get an idea of how others will see the image. That way when you hit ctrl Y you get a rough idea of what the image may look like on the intended target (keyword: rough), and Ctrl Shift Y will give you a gamut warning to show what colours will be shifted when the image is converted.

    *note It's a good idea for all people who sware black and blue that using wide gamuts is necessary for photography to try and bring up a gamut warning for sRGB to see how little if any difference it actually makes. Given the extra care many i've shone this to just sware off it.

    Also softproofing is no magic bullet. The screen has characteristics, the paper has characteristics, the lighting in the room affects these both. Expect softproofing to work well IF and only IF you have a well calibrated screen with the white balance at D65, a dark viewing environment at a warm colour temperature, and lightbox to view your final print with a calibrated white point of D50, given a certain type of inkjet paper.

    There are many variables that fight against soft proofing. Hope this is a good start.

    Softproofing isn't

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