Aug 14, 2009

Photoshop: proof colors


Here’s a quickie tutorial. Well, tutorial is really a big word for this one. Jut giving you a tip for a tool (sounds like a low-budget tv show), in case you didn’t know about this feature yet.

If you work with photoshop you probably noticed that the colors (and even the light), tend to look very different in photoshop than they do on the web. Photoshop seems to make everything look fresher, more colorful and even brighter. It’s irritating at best to see the photo you’ve edited that looked so awesome on your desktop, looking bland and desaturated as soon as you’ve uploaded it to the web. Highly annoying, I know, but the good news is; there’s a built-in tool to help you with that.



Why & How?

What makes your photos look different outside of photoshop is something called a color profile. Think of color profiles as files that contain all the information about the color range (gamut) of a device such as your camera, monitor, scanner, printer etc. Each device needs its own color profile and as you can tell, they don’t always match. Now there are many tutorials on changing your color profile for the web, but there’s also a built-in feature that’s often overlooked and ignored. It’s called Proof Colors. Before making any drastic changes to your color profile, give this one a try, and let me know if it works for you, okay?


Proof Colors:

Open an image and in your top menu bar choose View >> Proof Setup. It’s probably set to Windows RGB now and I want you to change that to Monitor RGB.


Right below there is this magic trick called Proof Colors. You can use the top bar menu to get there, but just pressing Ctrl+Y is obviously easier. It will give you a proof simulation of what your photo will look like on the web. Pressing Ctrl+Y again will toggle between the proof and photoshop view.



You’ll immediately see a big change in your photo. It’s probably a little darker and slightly more desaturated. Now edit it as you normally would and the outcome will be pretty close to what you see as soon as you’ve uploaded the photo.


Note: keep in mind that the Proof Colors feature is not switched on by deafult, so you’ll have to turn it on every time you openup  a new photo. I’ve embedded the proof colors in my basic workflow actions so I don’t even have to think about it. This is a quick and easy way to edit a photo and see it (almost) exactly what it looks like online.