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Color Management: The Guru List

(April 2010) posted on Tue May 04, 2010

More than 20 tips and tricks on wide-format color management from seasoned experts

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4. Sample Viewing Size and Color
When it comes to large-/grand-format output, it’s not uncommon for small-scale prints to be used as a proof of larger output. Color-management calculations take into consideration the size of the image on the retina of the eye because it can make a considerable difference in the color you see. If one view of a color is a small part of a larger image (as on a proof) and another view is dominated by only a section of a larger image (like a vehicle wrap), then any comparisons drawn will be unwise. For a proof-to-final-output comparison to be valid, they should be placed in such a manner so that the elements on the proof appear the same size to the eye as the elements on the final job.
Steve Upton, Chromix

5. Opening Files in Photoshop
You may have seen the following screens when opening an image in Adobe Photoshop:
• Opening an image with an embedded profile that is different than the workspace (embedded profile mismatch);
• Opening an image with no embedded profile (missing profile).
Note that there is only one common choice in both cases: “Don’t Color Manage.” Many people select this option for fear of doing something wrong (“don’t do anything” seems like a safe bet, given such options). Unfortunately, this is typically a bad choice. At the very least, this option is misleading. There is no such thing as “Don’t color manage.” Even when you select this option, Photoshop still uses your workspace profile to display the color you see. At the very worst, this option implies that you don’t need to think about your color space. The fact is, you do. Avoiding the issue usually results in a mismatch of color and expectations. The best choice in the case of a profile mismatch is, “Use the embedded profile.” This will ensure that your copy of Photoshop will pick up the same color table that was used to display the image when it was created.


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