color introduction
whats color
color accuracy
color perception
color temperature
color models
icc workflow
color tools

Color Management and Adobe Photoshop

Module Objective: At completion of this module you will be able to set-up and use Adobe Photoshop for managing color. You will also be able to use profiles in an ICC color managed workflow within Adobe Photoshop.

OK, so now you know how to calibrate and profile your monitor, calibrate and profile your scanner and create a custom profile for your printer. It's time to put this all together. How do we use these profiles to manage color? Adobe Photoshop is the image editing and processing application of choice for just about anyone that is serious about working with digital images. This module will cover a suggested starting point for color settings in Adobe Photoshop, something called soft proofing and printing to an inkjet printer via Photoshop.


  • Apple G5 Computer OS 10.4.2
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2

Photoshop Color Settings

The screen capture to the left outlines recommended settings for Photoshop. The Photoshop color settings dialog box is found under the Photoshop main menu. The settings shown here are set simply by changing the Settings pull down menu (first red arrow in image at right) from the Default settings to U.S. Prepress Defaults.

This changes the all important working space to Adobe RGB 1998 and sets the Color Management Policies in the next box as shown here. You always want to know what color space your image is currently in and have the ability to control where it goes. These settings allow that control.






Soft Proofing

Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop

The goal of this module is to make a print that closely matches your monitor. That being the case you should assign your image a profile, in this case our working color space. We set our working color space to Adobe 1998 under Photoshop's Color Settings preferences already. Click on the Assign working RGB button here and proceed by clicking on OK.




Step 2: Confirm that the correct profile is embedded in your file.

The small pull down menu at the bottom left of your image has an option to display the current embedded profile (the default option here is document size). Click on the black arrow here and select Document Profile, it should match your color working space or the profile you opened the image with. It should never be labeled "Untagged".



Step 3: Open the Proof Setup (Soft Proof) dialog box.

In Photoshop go to View > Proof Setup >Custom from the pull down menus. The Proof Setup dialog box will pop onto the screen as shown. The pull down menus,indicated with a red arrow here can be changed as shown to select the profile and the rendering intent you would like to preview on your monitor. In this example we have chosen an Epson 2400 profile with Photo Black Ink and Epson Photo Luster paper. You can change profiles and rendering intents and click ON the Preview button as shown to emulate on your monitor what your image will look like when printed.

This Soft Proofing method gives you a good idea of what your image will look like when printed. If it changes dramatically when you click on the Preview button then you may have a poor profile or have selected the wrong Rendering Intent for your image. In this example we have selected Relative Colorimetric as our rendering intent. The Paper White and Ink Black buttons should be left on as shown.









This screen shot is an example of the selection of a different rendering intent. In this example we have selected Absolute Colorimetric as the rendering intent. The use of Absolute Colormetric as the rendering intent in this example is not objectionable, the image is a little lighter but does not have a color cast.

When the other rendering intents were selected and previewed there was very little change on the monitor. We could assume then that all of the rendering intents would produce acceptable color prints with this profile and printer/ink/paper combination.












How to print an image from Photoshop to an Inkjet printer utilizing an ICC color managed workflow:


Step 1: Open image in Photoshop.

Assign working RGB color space as shown in this screen shot.









Step 2: Go to File > Print with Preview from the Photoshop menu.












Step 2 cont.: Here's a screen shot that shows the default Print Preview dialog box. You do not want to leave the settings as default.. see next step.









Step 3: Select Color Management from the pull down menu as shown here, then select the appropriate profile and intent from the pull down menus under Print Space, again as shown.










Step 4: Click on the Print button in the Print with Preview dialog box.

Doing so brings up the following Print dialog box. The screen shot here shows the default settings.










Step 5: Go to the 3rd pull down menu in this dialog box and select Print Settings.

Select the media (paper) type you are using from the Media Type pull down menu and Color from the Color pull down menu.

Click on the Advanced Settings button to activate it. Select the Best Photo setting for optimum print quality.

Click Off the High Speed button, again for optimum (best) quality.









Step 6: Go to the pull down menu that currently reads Print Settings and change it to Color Management as shown.

Click on the Off (No Color Adjustment) button, doing so will turn off any color management color conversions the driver might perform behind the scenes. Photoshop does the color conversion for us, we do not want to apply a second driver controlled color conversion here.










Step 7: Go to the 3rd pull down menu again and select Summary.

A summary of all of your print driver selections will now be listed in the dialog box. This serves as a checklist to verify you have the right settings selected. If you find anything wrong, go back and correct it.

If everything looks OK, click on the Print button to send the print job to your printer.






Review Questions: click on the correct answer


1) When printing it is best to set your print driver to "Auto Color" control so that the printer profile is used to correctly convert your images colors?


2) If everything is done correctly, the "Soft Proof" of your image on the monitor should exactly match the printed image?


3) It is a good idea to convert your images to a device-independent working color space like "Adobe 1998" before printing.


4) If you do not have access to software and hardware to create a custom printer profile it is best to set all of the color controls in the print driver to automatic.







Sect. I| ColorIntro.| WhatsColor|ColorAccuracy| ColorPercept.| ColorTemp.| ColorModels| ICCWorkfl| ColorTools|

Sect. II| Monitors| Scanners| Printers| Photoshop|

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