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2.3 Setting Your Color Profile and Soft Proofing Options

In this lesson you'll learn about some of the most common Color Profile settings in Photoshop, and then how to select your Color Profile settings. We also set up some simple soft proofing options for our image.

2.3 Setting Your Color Profile and Soft Proofing Options

In this lesson, we're going to set our color settings so that we get the best color profile every time we open an image. We're gonna do this so that Photoshop knows how to handle all of our files as we work on them. In most cases, you will want to work with your file in RGB mode because it gives you the most flexibility and a whole lot more options in Photoshop. If you've ever worked in a CMYK file in Photoshop, you know that many of the software functions have been grayed out. Let's check out our color settings. You can head up to Edit, and then down to Color Settings. Now, the first thing we're gonna do is make sure that we have the Preview checkbox checked. We'll be able to see the changes reflected in our image. Let's take a look at the Working Spaces section. First, you'll see RGB listed. Let's talk about these settings. The default setting is going to be sRGB. Now SRGB doesn't give you a very wide color range, it's decent for the web. This is especially pertinent for photographers to take into consideration because total range is so important to what we do. Therefore, we're going to change this from sRGB to a better setting and we have two main options for that. Adobe RGB1998 gives you a wider color range or gamut, and it's recommended for print work that will be converted to CMYK. It's a very good setting to use. The other one is the ProPhoto RGB setting, which gives you an even wider tonal range than Adobe RGB. Most times, Adobe RGB 1998 is the recommended setting. We'll go ahead and select that and so that's the working space that we will be working in with our image. Now let's head down to the Color Management Policies. If you look at the drop down menu next to RGB, you'll see that it's set on Convert to Working RGB. This option is helpful if you know you're going to consistently need files to be in the same color mode for a specific output device. In which case, when you open a file, it'll be automatically converted to the working RGB, which in this case is the Adobe RGB 1998 working space. However, the Preserved Embedded Profiles option is handy in certain cases. This option leaves incoming files as they are, which can be helpful if you're using them for different purposes or different output devices. For the purposes of this course, we'll leave it on Preserved Embedded Profiles. Below that, you'll see a series of three check boxes, make sure they're all checked. This way, when you open a file, if it has a different color space than what you've set for your working space, you will be notified and it'll ask you how you want to handle that. If you're pasting an image from one file to another, if the profiles don't match, you'll also be asked how you want that to be handled as well, when you have the check box checked for ask when pasting. If you open a file that does not have a profile, you will be asked how you want to handle that too, in which case you can assign a specific profile to it. Now this is a matter of personal preference and how confident you feel in the files that you're opening in Photoshop. In my case, I'll check all of the boxes. Also, you'll wanna consider saving these settings. If you go to the Save button and select it, it'll allow you to save your settings under a specific name. I would recommend that you give that a descriptive name so that you know exactly what it is for future use. This is useful if you know that you're gonna be using the same settings over and over again for your photos. Also, you could have different settings for specific printers that you'll be using, that will definitely save you time. We'll go ahead and select Cancel and you may notice a warning in the top of this dialog box and it says Unsynchronized, Your Creative Suite applications are not synchronized for consistent color. If you're seeing this, you would need to go into Adobe Bridge and set its color settings. Just to show you what that looks like very quickly, here I am in Adobe Bridge, if you go to Edit and then Creative Suite Color Settings. Here's where you can synchronize your settings across your Adobe software and this helps you get consistent color management across your Creative Suite. Now, back in Photoshop, we'll go ahead and select OK. Now a few more things I wanna show you. Let's head back to that Edit menu and let's head down to Assign Profile. Now if you wanted to change the profile in an image, the Assign Profile dialog box is handy. Now with this setting, you can potentially change your color relationships, meaning that it will correct the colors for that specific color space. For example, if we wanted to change this image to sRGB, this is where we would do it and it does give you a preview check box so that you can see how you're affecting that image. Now if you use this option, you will most likely notice a change in the appearance of your image. We'll select Cancel. Now the other option that's handy, let's go to Edit and then Convert to Profile. This option is similar but there is a difference in that you would be shifting your entire image into a new color space but you'd be maintaining those color relationships. With this setting, it tries to keep your colors looking the same. You're converting it to a different profile but you won't notice as much of a visual change in your image. We'll select cancel for that, as well. In addition, if you'd like to work in RGB but simulate working in CMYK without actually changing your color space to CMYK, there's a very easy way to do that. Head up to View and then Proof Setup. Make sure you have Working CMYK selected, and then you will select Proof Colors. What it's doing is it's giving you a CMYK preview but your image is still in RGB. Now if you'd like to preview your image for how it will look on a machine for which you have a specific color profile, you would head up to View > Proof Setup, and select Custom. Here is where you would select the device that you'd want to simulate. If you knew the color profile, you would select that here and you can also simulate the paper color that you're using. You would make sure to leave Black Point Compensation checkmarked, so that your dark areas will be rendered properly and then you would select OK. In this case, we'll select Cancel. That brings us to the end of this lesson. In this lesson, we set up our color settings and we also implemented an easy way to simulate working in CMYK while actually working in RGB. That also brings us to the end of this chapter. In this chapter, we made some preparations to view our image and in our upcoming chapter, we're going to prepare our image for print.

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