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Color Your World

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Color Your World

In This Chapter

  • Choose color modes

  • Tap methods of picking colors

  • Learn about system color pickers

  • View black and white in color

Deliberately choosing certain colors for your images can evoke strong emotions in your audience. Warm colors, such as the colors of autumn trees, attract the audience; cool colors, such as a slate blue sky, tend to put them off. Grayscale images draw attention to shape and form in your art and can also be very powerful. Striking use of tones and colors in either color or grayscale makes people notice your images before they even recognize their content, so it's important that you know how to work with the painting tools and color features in Photoshop.

This chapter examines both Photoshop's and ImageReady's color options. Background Photoshop offers more choices than you'll ever need, which you might find a bit overwhelming. This chapter guides you toward the method of selecting color that best fits your working methods.

ICC Profiles: Ahead of Their Time and Beyond Your Needs

Let's begin by examining a feature found in Photoshop that radically effects how color is displayed on your system.

Adobe Systems became the pioneer in universal color consistency by adopting the International Color Consortium's (ICC) "profiles" convention in Photoshop 5. In theory, an image can be tagged with the device used to create or edit an image. ("Tagged" means to have a small amount of information written to the header of the file that's encoded so you can't see it.) In theory, a service bureau or commercial press house could use the same ICC color profile to open and render the image.

Okay, forget about theory. In practice, ICC profiles can mess up the work of a novice, and can be of little use to the skilled Photoshop user, because support for ICC profiles is still limited.

Another problem is that sticking a file with ICC profiles into other graphics programs that don't utilize these profiles (such as Adobe's own After Effects, or Premiere) makes the images look "wrong." However, there's no real penalty for not using the profiles, so let's go examine how to adjust Photoshop's settings so that ICC profiles have the least effect on your images.

In Windows, navigate to Edit, Color Settings..., and then choose Custom from the Settings drop-down list. In the Working Spaces box, choose Adobe RGB (1998) for RGB if it's not already chosen. For Gray, choose Gray Gamma 1.8. In Color Management Policies, make sure all three color modes are set to Off. This prevents Photoshop from writing any profile information to images you open, edit, and save. It also slows down the loading of images, because Photoshop has to internally read and convert the representation of color in each file. It's always better to let an application change the appearance of image data than it is to change the data itself. When you change pixel colors in an image, you can't go back after you've saved the image.

Figure 3.1 It's recommended that you adjust your working color space to match the shown settings.

On the Macintosh, follow the same procedures but select Gray Gamma 2.2. Again, you can expect that an image displayed in Photoshop has very close color consistency with the same image displayed in another application.

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