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Photoshop in Focus

To see what effect profiles can have on an image, compare different profiles with a single image. However, instead of placing them side-by-side, let Photoshop's blending modes show you how they differ. Before you get started, pop into Photoshop's Color Settings and set the RGB color management policy to Off.

1.
Pick an RGB image, any photo, and open it in Photoshop. Flatten, if necessary.

2.
In the History palette, click twice on the New Document from Current History State button to make two copies of the image.

3.
Use Convert to Profile to assign sRGB to one copy and Adobe RGB to another copy, and strip any existing profile from the third image with Assign Profile.

4.
Position the images around the screen and take a look. Now open the Layers palette.

5.
Make the sRGB image active and Shift-drag the Background layer from the Layers palette to the untagged image's window. The Shift key ensures that the new layer will be perfectly centered. Rename the layer sRGB. Close, but don't save, the sRGB image.

6.
Shift-drag the Background layer from the Adobe RGB image's Layers palette to the untagged image's window. Name this layer Adobe RGB. Close, but don't save, the Adobe RGB image.

7.
In the last remaining window, you should have three layers, named Background (the original untagged image), sRGB, and Adobe RGB. Rename the Background layer Untagged, which also converts it to a regular layer.

8.
In the Layers palette, click the eyeball icons in the left column to show and hide the three layers. Watch the appearance of the image change as you view the different profiles.

9.
In the Layers palette, drag the Untagged layer to the New Layer button to duplicate it. Hide the sRGB and Adobe RGB layers. Change the Untagged Copy layer's blending mode to Difference. The image should turn flat black. The Layers palette should show two hidden layers and two visible layers, with the Difference (Untagged Copy) layer on top.

10.
Now that you've seen what the image looks like when two identical layers are overlaid with the Difference blending mode, it's time to compare profiles. Hide the Untagged Copy layer. Click on the sRGB layer to show it and make it the active layer, and then change that layer's blending mode to Difference.

11.
Hide the sRGB layer. Activate and show the Adobe RGB layer by clicking on it, and change its blending mode to Difference.

12.
Hide Untagged, switch sRGB to Normal, and put it under Adobe RGB (if it's not already there).

13.
Flip-flop both the stacking order and the blending modes of the sRGB and Adobe RGB images. Put Adobe RGB on the bottom, blending mode Normal. Put sRGB on top, blending mode Difference.


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