Applying Photoshop color settings

In this section, I explain how to specify each setting in the Photoshop Color Settings window. This is one of the most overlooked steps in color management — and it makes a huge difference when used properly. Additionally, I explain when and how to assign a color profile to an image.

If most of your work involves preparing images for the Web, for printing, or for publishing, each of those tasks will need a different monitor setting. The first step after calibrating your monitor (which I show you how to do in the later section, "Getting Calibrated") is to set up your default color settings in Photoshop. Here's how:

1. Choose EditOColor Settings or press Ctrl+Shift+K (^+Shift+K on the Mac) to bring up the Color Settings dialog box.

2. Click the More Options button.

This expands the Color Settings dialog box so that you can see all the options, as shown in Figure 3-3.

3. From the Settings drop-down list at the top, choose North America Prepress 2.

The default for Settings is the North America General Purpose 2, which isn't very good for photographers. Select North America Prepress 2 (as shown in Figure 3-4); this setting works best for photographers.

4. Set the Working Spaces.

Change the Photoshop default for the RGB working space to Adobe RGB (1998), as shown in Figure 3-5. Adobe RGB (1998) is the best working space for photographers, providing the widest color gamut for color saturation. Make sure to leave the CMYK, Gray, and Spot selections set at the defaults.

For most of your image editing, use Adobe RGB (1998) to edit your master images. If you need to, you can convert to the sRGB working space for the final output of Web images.

Figure 3-3: The Photoshop Color Settings dialog box.
Figure 3-4: Changing the Settings to North America Prepress 2.
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