Color Managed Workflow:
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood Photoshop
concepts is that of working space. The selection
of a working space has a significant impact
on the quality of edits and ultimately on
the quality of the output, whether it is
to web or print.
Just as color devices can have device
profiles, images can be profiled with
image profiles. Photoshop translates the
color of individual pixels in all RGB,
CMYK, and Grayscale mode files using image
profiles, known as working spaces, prior
to sending that image to a monitor or other
output device. To put it a bit more technically,
management engine uses a working space
to convert the information in the image
into the reference
color space. From there, it can again
be converted by the color management engine
into the color space of any profiled device
such as a monitor or printer. This working
space can be either the one you set as
your preferred space in Photoshop's Color
Settings dialog, or one already embedded
in your image file.
From version 5 on, Photoshop has had the
ability to embed a working space profile
in a Photoshop file. These are known as tagged files.
Embedded working spaces insure that a Photoshop
file looks the same even when viewed on different
monitors (assuming a calibrated and
profiled monitor). This allows the shared
editing of files across two or more systems
or users. Adobe Illustrator from version
9 on and Adobe InDesign version 2 can also
embed working spaces and work with tagged
Version 6 of Photoshop supports document
specific color which allows you to open a
file with an embedded working space different
from your preferred working space selected
in Color Settings, and view that document
correctly with its embedded working space.
This is a welcome change from version 5 which
forced you to match the embedded working
space with the preferred working space for
a correct preview.
The rest of this tutorial will discuss working
spaces in terms of RGB images, but the same
general concepts apply to working spaces
in CMYK and Grayscale. Only the working spaces
themselves are different.
Selecting Your Working Space
In Photoshop 6, you set a preferred RGB
working space in the Color Settings dialog
box (Edit/Color Settings...) by selecting
one of the offered color spaces from the
drop down menu beside RGB Working Spaces.
This working space then becomes the default
working space through which you view all
new files created in Photoshop and all existing
untagged files that you open in Photoshop.
1: Color Settings dialog box.
There is no off button for working space.
Photoshop has to have some way to translate
the image into the reference color space
before converting the information for your
monitor. If the image does not have an embedded
working space, then Photoshop uses the working
space selected in Color Settings. If you
open an image in Photoshop with an embedded
working space different than your selected
working space, then you can choose which
working space to use in viewing the image.
Photoshop always translates your
image using some working space.
Copyright 2002 Michael W. Rollins