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Chapter 8. Color Management > Implementing Color Management

Implementing Color Management

This is where things will become a little technical, but don't worry, I'll be here as your plain-English translator. First, let's see how all this relates to Photoshop's color-management features. When we measure the exact shade of RGB or CMY that a device uses, the end result will be an ICC profile. An ICC profile is just a small file that describes how something reproduces color. It's in a format that is approved by the International Color Consortium (ICC). That's the file you feed Photoshop so it can do the magic necessary to produce consistent color on each device. You'll end up with a profile for your monitor, your desktop printer, your scanner, and in rare cases your digital camera (the camera's white balance settings is often used as a substitute for having a custom camera profile), with each profile telling Photoshop which shades of RGB or CMY it uses to make color.

If you compare two printers and one has a more vivid set of CMY inks loaded, then that printer will be capable of reproducing a more vivid range of colors than the other one (just like different brands of markers). Each set of RGB colors (or CMY, for that matter) will reproduce color in a unique way. The range of colors you can reproduce on any given device is known as its gamut. That's not a completely foreign term; after all, haven't you heard someone say something like “it runs the gamut from low priced to high.” Let's say that you can reproduce a nice deep blue on your inkjet, but you can't on your friend's inkjet (maybe it comes out as a more muted blue). That just means the particular color was in gamut on your printer but was out of gamut on your friend's printer. And, as you might already know, more exotic colors like fluorescent orange are out of gamut on just about any desktop printer.


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