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The goal of this book is to help you successfully implement color management on Windows XP. There are numerous books that describe color management from a theoretical or technical point of view, but they fail to help you solve the basic problem of color management, which is how to make it work. This book is a step-by-step guide to setting up practical color-management workflows that actually work, using popular graphics and imaging applications and real-world scenarios.

Each exercise in this book is designed to help you learn how to implement color management from start to finish, beginning with creating profiles and configuring Adobe Photoshop, QuarkXPress, and other applications and moving on to producing final color using a full-fledged color management system.

If you are new to color management, it will be helpful to start at the beginning of the book and progress through each chapter sequentially, since each chapter builds on information learned in previous ones. If you are already familiar with the basics of color management, you can start with any section and focus on that topic.

Regardless of your skill level, this book illustrates how to make color management work, from profile creation and setup of key applications to printing and proofing images and documents.

Chapter Overview

This book is designed to be a tutorial on color management and is not meant for those who have a great deal of experience with color management. Digital photographers, designers, and production professionals looking to implement color management will have the most to gain by reading this book.

This doesn't mean that the exercises in each chapter are basic in nature. Color management is complicated, and the exercises cover some of the more detailed nuances of managing color in various applications. The book is organized into sections that reflect the ways that color management is applied at different stages of the production process:

Color Management Fundamentals and Windows XP Image Color Management

Chapters 1 and 2 lay the groundwork by introducing you to color management in Mac OS X and ColorSync and illustrating some of the fundamentals of color management. Chapter 1 provides an overview of color management, including the fundamental concepts, the various pieces of a color management system, and how they work together. Chapter 2 shows you how to set up ColorSync on your computer and integrate it into your workflow based on the applications you use. Chapter 2 also provides an overview of Microsoft's Image Color Management, how to setup Windows XP for color management, and the importance of system-level color management.

Creating Profiles

Chapters 3 and 4 illustrate the profile-creation process and present different choices for creating profiles.

Working with Images

Chapters 5 and 6 demonstrate how to use color management in Adobe Photoshop, the application in which you will probably spend most of your time while you're working with color management.

Chapter 5 breaks down the complex Photoshop Color Settings dialog box and demonstrates how to apply color management to images.

Chapter 6 covers soft-proofing and printing from Photoshop with color management, which are the most common color-management tasks that users struggle with. These exercises will explain how to use each of the various color management functions in Photoshop. It also covers the process of saving images with color management data for use in other applications.

Using the Adobe Common Color Architecture

Adobe has created a common color management system, called the Adobe Common Color Architecture, which is shared among the Adobe Creative Suite applications. Chapter 7 explains how the architecture works and demonstrates how to set it up. Exercises also cover how to apply color management to illustrations and designs within Adobe Illustrator.

Using QuarkXPress for a Color-Managed Page Layout Workflow

Chapter 8 reveals how to create color-managed pages in QuarkXPress, including how to create a document comprising different color elements and how to soft proof the document to simulate various output devices.

Printing with Color Management

Perhaps the most confusing part of working with color management is printing. There are overlapping color management functions in applications, the operating system, and the printer software. Chapter 9 reveals the best techniques for outputting, viewing, and proofing color images, artwork, and documents, including PDF files.

Sharing and Archiving Files with Color Management

In Chapter 10, you'll learn to soft proof and color manage images for the Web, share color data with color management, and manage and organize images with color management.

Color Printer RIP Workflows

Raster image processors (RIPs) provide an alternative way to output files to color printers. This chapter explains how to configure the color management settings of ImagePrint RIP software and print images from ImagePrint using a color-managed output workflow.

System Requirements

This book assumes you have a working knowledge of Windows XP. Make sure that you know how to use the mouse and standard menus and commands and that you can open, save, and close files. If you need to review these techniques, see the printed or online documentation included with your system.

The following are basic system requirements:

  • Windows XP, Service Pack 2 recommended

  • 512 MB of RAM

  • 1 GB of available disk space, required for application and content installation

  • Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 2

  • A color printer

Trial Software

Many of the applications covered in this book are available as free trial versions that expire after a period of time. Check the manufacturers' Web sites for more information.

Project Files

Each chapter in this book has a set of corresponding project files that you will need to complete each chapter. The project files are located on the Peachpit Press Web site, with a corresponding folder for each chapter. These files need to be copied to your computer before you begin the coursework.

Installing the Project Files

Create a folder on your hard drive called Windows XP Color Management Book Files.

Download the project files from www.peachpit.com/xpcolor to that folder.

At the beginning of each chapter, open the corresponding folder in the project files folder.

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