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Monday, October 1, 2007

Adobe's Bridge CS3 and the Colour Managed Workflow

How many monitors do your have in your work area? Do you use an LCD monitor or a CRT? What type of lighting do you have in your office? Do you have incandescent or fluorescent lights? How much sunlight gets into your area? If you have a window, does it face north, south, east, or west? Colors in an image can appear different when you view them using different monitors or under differing lighting conditions. 

What about your printers? How much did you spend and what features did you receive for the money? If you have an Epson Stylus Photo R2400, you can manage colour quite effectively. You can even do some interesting things with black and white images using Jon Cone's Piezography inks. Never heard of Piezography? How many gray ink cartridges does your inkjet support? Many of the lower end printers just have a single black cartridge. The Piezography K7 inks support seven shades of gray, essentially replacing all of your inks in your R2400 with shades of grey. Talk about great black and white prints.

Our work in Photoshop requires the reproduction of consistent colour across different devices, thus managing color should be an essential part of our workflow. Adobe's Creative Suite 3 provides a group of built-in color management systems that are designed to help reproduce consistent colour. The necessity of colour management in a forensic workflow lies in its ability to reproduce consistent colours with a system that harmonizes differences between the colour spaces of each device. Forensic = reporducable or explainable ...

So, where do we start with colour management? Photoshop? You certainly can. Edit>Color Settings. You can do this from any application within the Creative Suite. But, there's a better way.

Colour management with Adobe's Bridge.

Like with Photoshop, choose Edit>Creative Suite Color Settings. Click on Show Expanded List of Color Settings Files. Managing colour from this point allows you to control the entire Creative Suite's colour management, not just Photoshop. Colour management is not just consistency across devices, but also across applications. Managing colour in Bridge allows you to do just that. If you are like me, and you use the entire Suite in your workflow, then this becomes a huge bonus. From your entry point in Bridge, to Camera Raw, to Photoshop ... going to print? InDesign and Acrobat ... going to video? Premier Pro, Encore, Flash, and After Effects ... going to the web or a mobile device? Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash ... see what I mean?

In the next installment, we'll look at profiles, gamuts, spaces, and rendering intents.

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