Understanding Color

Peruse the computer graphics section of your local bookstore, and you're bound to see several books on the topic of color — I'm talking, big, thick, expensive books on color. The array of books may lead you to the logical conclusion that color must be a big deal in the world of digital imaging. It is.

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Why? Well, sometimes you might hear a friend, colleague (or yourself) say, "Geez, the oranges in my photo of the sunset are so vibrant." Of course, the comment may be worded a little more like, "#$%&*, what in heck happened to the print of my sunset? The orange is much more vibrant on-screen!"

If you find yourself getting serious about digital photography and digital imaging, I recommend plunking down some cash for a good book that tackles the sole topic of color in depth. Because this book is primarily about Photoshop Album, I'm just going to provide you with the short version of color theory.

Album allows you to import images that possess RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, Indexed Color, or Bitmap color modes (you may also hear image mode or just mode).

You'll come across other color modes, such as Duotone, Lab, and Multichannel, if you do any editing in programs such as Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. But if you stick with just Album, I've covered all the modes you need to be familiar with.

Color modes define the color values used to display an image and affect the number of colors shown, the size of the files, and other characteristics. For the lowdown on each type of color, read on.

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