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Chapter 5. Color Settings: Configuring P... > Photoshop and the Monitor

Photoshop and the Monitor

To display color accurately, Photoshop needs to know how your monitor behaves—what color white it produces, what sort of tonal response it has, and what actual colors it produces when it's fed pure R, G, or B. Photoshop gets all its information about the monitor from an ICC profile. If you want the color on your monitor to be accurate, that means you must have a customized ICC profile that accurately describes the behavior of your monitor. (Making a profile for your monitor is called characterizing it.) And since monitors drift over time, you also have to calibrate them to make sure that the profile still describes them accurately. In theory, calibration and characterization are two distinct processes—calibration actually changes a device's behavior, while characterization simply measures and describes—but in practice, monitor calibration and profiling packages combine the two processes.

In ancient versions of Photoshop, you always had the option to make Photoshop send the values in RGB files directly to the monitor. The actual color that came out depended on the quirks of your particular monitor, which was almost certainly a bit different from anyone else's. You still have the option of doing this (though we wouldn't recommend it) by loading your monitor profile as your RGB working space, but even to do that, you need a monitor profile; and if you want the color to display correctly, it needs to be an accurate one.


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