How Color Settings Work in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How Color Settings Work in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

After you define your color profiles in the Color Settings dialog box in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 works, you may want to get a handle on how these newly established settings affect how Photoshop works. Although the settings typically affect only how Photoshop works in the background, you nevertheless might want to be aware of the following key changes:

  • By default, any new images you create use the color profile you selected in the Color Settings dialog box. Every file you create on your computer now uses the colors within the gamut of your color profiles (either RGB or CMYK, depending on your document color mode). Overall, this default setting should make managing color in Photoshop easier.

    For example, if you mostly work with multimedia or web images and have specified your color settings accordingly, you don’t need to worry about whether each color will display accurately because you’ve set the defaults to reflect that color mode. If you want to prep for printing, those defaults won’t work, and you need to change your individual working spaces to those that are print oriented or to a preset.

  • The color settings you select are used to display any untagged images (images that don’t have an embedded color). An example of an untagged image is a Photoshop file created before Photoshop 5.0 — that is, before Photoshop supported embedded color profiles.

  • Your settings define how Photoshop converts your images from one working space to another. For example, say you choose North America Prepress 2 from the Settings drop-down list in the Color Settings dialog box. In this case, the default for CMYK is U.S. web Coated (SWOP) v2, which is a specific CMYK setting for a web printing press and coated paper, among other things.

    When you convert an RGB image to CMYK (Image→Mode→CMYK) prior to sending it off to the printer, Photoshop automatically tags the image with the U.S. web Coated (SWOP) v2 color profile.

  • When you save a file, make sure that you select the ICC Profile (Embed Color Profile on the Mac) option in the Save or Save As dialog box, if it’s available. (Some file formats don’t support color profiles.) This selection ensures that Photoshop tags the file with the specified color profile and that its origins are always known.