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Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

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  • Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

    What is the "professional standard" way to go about making sure your monitor is calibrated and setting up Photoshop so that things appear the way they are.

    I am having problems working on photos in Photoshop and having it come out different when printed as well as when saving it to the web.

    After a monitor is calibrated what settings do you want to work in Photoshop? I know there are different color profiles and such but I am confused as to what is the standard.

    I use an Apple Cinema screen.

  • #2
    Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

    that's not exactly something you can answer in a few sentences...


    • #3
      Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

      .... thanks.

      I just don't understand why I do a perfect retouch in Photoshop and then go to Save for Web and it looks like crap.


      • #4
        Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

        describe what you are doing and define "crap" could also post the original and the saved version of the file to imageshack, maybe we could help you out better...


        • #5
          Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

          The image is desaturated and lightened. Should I save it out as an sRGB... right now I'm using the color profile for my monitor called Adobe RGB....


          • #6
            Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

            you should be making your own monitor profile for starters...


            • #7
              Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

              Damn right! Go out and order a monitor calibrator right now!

              And until it arrives, use sRGB not Adobe RGB - no way is your monitor close to Adobe RGB.


              • #8
                Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                Pixelzombie is correct, color management principles are a bit large to talk about in this forum. However, I've included a few links below that are very good reading, and short enough not to bore you. The first two are very good. I would read them in the order presented here.

                Once you have read these, come back and ask us some specific questions about color management in Photoshop. That will make it much easier to zero in on what the remaining issues are.

                Here are a few links to color management principles:
                CambridgeInColour color management overview
                Dry Creek Photo color management basics
                International Color Consortium color management links


                • #9
                  Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                  Not to mention, aside from proper calibration, "save for web" will reduce the total color gamut of your images to a maximum of 256 colors.


                  • #10
                    Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                    I don't think that's relevant - all 8-bit images are 256 colours per channel anyway.


                    • #11
                      Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                      OK - here's the deal. I understand color calibrating and that different devices have different languages and that they interpret color differently.

                      I am wondering if I can depend on the calibrating wizard that is in System Preferences or if I should purchase a 3rd party. If so, what is recommended then?

                      Then I need to know what I should change my settings to in Photoshop?

                      I understand this may be a complex subject overall, but I just need a shove in the right direction.

                      Tommy - thanks for the links but as I said I understand the fundamentals of color and how its interpreted, I just need to know "what do I do now with this info".


                      • #12
                        Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                        Let me try again then.

                        What color space you work in within Photoshop (under Edit>Color Settings) is unrelated to any calibration you do to your monitor, scanner or printers. The only other Photoshop information you need to worry about is in the Print dialog.

                        Color Settings determine the color space your image is edited in, and the profile embedded into the saved image. Conversions will take place later when you print or convert to another profile. Choose your color space based upon the intent for the image, and your personal preference as to how large a color gamut you prefer. Many photographers prefer a large gamut (i.e. Prophoto RGB) so that they retain all the color information for future software applications. Web editors don't care as much and prefer smaller images, often electing to convert to sRGB and not embed a profile at all.

                        So, your workflow normally remains in your selected color space until the very end. At the end, you have a few choices:
                        1. You can convert to a specific color space defined by your output device (printer), and save that file with a new name. This allows you to make final tweaks to color based upon how the image will print. If you do convert here, you do not need to do any color management within the print dialog. Doing so is simply redundant and could yield unexpected results.
                        2. You can soft proof the image, by defining your printer under View>Proof Setup>Custom. This allows you to see how your image will print without having to convert the image. If you soft proof, you must still do color management in the print dialog, and allow PS to convert the image to the printer profile.

                        Within the print dialog, you may not be using any calibration data. You will likely obtain your printer profiles from your lab. They should have all the profiles for the particular printer and paper you request. The online help is very good and provides a useful description of each field in case you need it.
                        Color Handling > enter Photoshop Handles Colors;
                        Printer Profile > enter the profile name you obtained for the printer;
                        Rendering Intent > most leave it on Relative Colorimetric;
                        Black Point Compensation > most leave it on.

                        Again, check your labs' website. They usually describe the best settings for their printers. If they don't, call them. If they can't tell you, choose another lab.

                        Hopefully this is close to what you're looking for. My fingers are tired.


                        • #13
                          Re: Color Calibration, Monitor Setup and Photoshop

                          When you say "printed" I assume you mean offset, and not a desktop printer. In that case, the "professional standard" is to run a SWOP standard proof. Since the process of displaying information on a monitor is so completely different than printing of ink on paper, in my opinion all you can hope for is an approximation.

                          I've bought calibration hardware and software, and found them no better than manually calibrating by eye with a printed proof. I also use a CRT monitor, not an LCD, for my critical color work. At this point in technology, I think they are still superior.

                          What I tell people is: Never trust a monitor, or your desktop printer. Eventually, you'll have seen enough printed results that you'll know your monitor's color casts, but that takes years and monitors do change over time. Another good habit to get into is using Photoshop's densitometer (eyedropper) to check values, instead of taking what you see on the screen as gospel.

                          Colorspace-wise, if you have a profile from a printer, use it. If you have no other information to go on, use US Prepress Defaults. Printers are used to working with files from many different sources, and any printer worth his salt can match your proof on press.

                          Avoid sRGB for print. Too many problems. When I get images that have sRGB profiles I immediately convert them, usually to Adobe RGB (1998). Most, though not all, profiles I've received from printers use this as their RGB workspace.

                          For web, use sRGB or Color Management Off and save your files with ImageReady (the profile will be stripped out anyway). You'll be much happier.
                          Last edited by SEP Studios; 11-09-2008, 02:15 PM. Reason: Edit


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