There are lots of moving parts when dealing with Photoshop’s color management protocols and at first glance appears to be Photoshop voodoo. The Color Settings command is the initial step in making everything work effectively. Before beginning any work in Photoshop, you’ll need to setup how to handle the color of your images. Let’s take a look at how to start.
First, to access Color Settings, you’ll go to the Edit menu, and then down to Color Settings. When the dialog box opens, the default settings are set to North American General Purposes by default. You’re going to begin your customization by first going to the Working RGB section. By default, this is set to the sRGB color space. The sRGB color space is designed for use on the web or on screen image delivery. It’s a narrow color space, which means it doesn’t support or handle a lot of colors. So, when working in this color space, you can be relatively sure that the color you see on your calibrated monitor, will be the color seen by others, with little variation or shift in image color. The sRGB color space basically provides the lowest common denominator for working with color.
Yet, we really want a color space that’s more robust than the lowest common denominator. So, choose Adobe RGB 1998. It is much wider and deeper color space than sRGB and this will give you more colors within your images. For now, consider Adobe RGB 1998 a “safe bet” from the choices provided in this drop down menu. Also most modern digital cameras will allow you to set the camera’s color space to Adobe RGB. If your camera offers this option, set it to Adobe RGB.
Next, in the Color Management Polices section, Photoshop offers you choices on how to handle the color profiles of images you’ll bring into the program. Since I’m giving a basic setup for now, simply choose, ”Preserve the Embedded Profile” for the image. The color and tone of an image is defined by its color channel’s numbers. By preserving the embedded profile, these numbers will be left untouched by Photoshop when entering the software. Also, leave all of the “When Opening…” checkboxes unchecked. This just lets Photoshop be less annoying when opening images.
Next, click on the “Show More Option”, if it available. In the Color Conversion section, set or leave Engine at Adobe ACE. For Rendering Intent, if you are working with photographs, you may want to set this to “Perceptual”. If you are designing art or you are “pushing” photographic images artistically, set to “Relative Colorimetric”. I use Relative Colorimetric because I’m printing my own images and Photoshop will maintain the Brightness values allowing me to control color saturation. In the Advanced Controls section, uncheck both of its boxes.
Finally, go back to the Settings section. It should now be set to “Customized”. Save your settings so Photoshop and the other Adobe Creative Cloud programs you have can be synchronized. Now click the Save button and give your new color settings a name. Save this setting in the default location Photoshop offers you, and then click OK. If you use the Creative Cloud or an older version of the Creative Suite, open Adobe Bridge and go to the Edit menu and select, Color Settings. When the dialog opens, in the upper left hand corner, there’s an icon that should indicate the Color Setting are Un-Synchronized. Simply choose the Color setting that you saved in Photoshop from the list, and click Apply. Now, reopen the Color Settings in Bridge and Photoshop. Your color settings should now be synchronized. You’re done, and the first steps of creating consistent color are now completed.
To help get a handle on what color management is, check out John Paul Caponigro’s web site for more useful info.