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How to Adjust Transparency and Gamut in Photoshop CS6

Photoshop uses colors and patterns to represent information about an image that’s normally invisible, such as areas that are transparent or parts of an image that contain colors that can’t be represented by your current display or printing system. The Transparency & Gamut Preferences pane enables you to tailor these displays to your own preferences.

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For example, transparency is typically shown onscreen by using a gray-and-white checkerboard pattern. You can change the pattern and colors if you prefer another type of display.

Here’s a rundown of the options you find in this pane:

  • Grid Size: You can choose small, medium, large, or no grid at all. You may want to switch from the default medium-sized grid to a large grid if you’re using a very high-resolution setting so that the grid is a little easier to see. Or you can switch to a smaller grid if you’re working at a lower resolution.

  • Grid Colors: The default light grid is the least obtrusive, but you can switch to a medium or dark grid, if you want. Also, you’re not limited to gray-and-white checkerboard squares. To select custom colors, click the white and gray squares below the Grid Colors list.

  • Gamut Warning: You can adjust the color used to represent out-of-gamut colors and to specify the transparency for the warning color. Double-click the Color box to set the hue and select the transparency with the Opacity slider. The gamut warning is generally used before converting RGB images to CMYK color settings to see which colors will be lost.

A gamut is the range of colors that can be displayed or printed. In Photoshop talk, out-of-gamut colors generally are those that can’t be represented by cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and, therefore, can’t be printed. To turn gamut warnings on or off, choose View→Gamut Warning. You should leave the gamut warning on. That way, you know what’s happening with your image’s colors.

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