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Reviewing the Color Modes

As you learned in Chapter 2, when you create a new image in Photoshop, you can choose the color mode that it should use. When you’re creating an image for onscreen use, you can typically stick with the default mode, RGB color. However, you may want to choose another of the color modes for special situations. Alternatively, you can convert an image to a particular color mode later, after you’ve created or scanned it. Table 15-1 details the available color modes in Photoshop, so you can understand color basics while working with color choices in this chapter.

Table Table 15-1. Image Color Modes
Mode Description
Bitmap This mode enables you to create a black-and-white image only. Because it provides for only two tones, you can’t convert a full-color image to this mode, because too much image information would need to be discarded.
Grayscale This mode provides for 256 shades of gray in the image, offering enough variation to facilitate clear detail in the image.
RGB This mode mimics visual light—composing images of red, green, and blue— and works best for images to be viewed onscreen, such as those ultimately to be saved for use in a presentation.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK) This mode optimizes images to be printed, because cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are the ink colors used for color printing. This mode tries to compensate for the fact that paper absorbs some of the ink, affecting the appearance of colors.
Lab This mode uses luminance and brightness settings to help balance the image for all types of devices—printers, monitors, and scanners.
Multichannel This mode allows you to convert color images for special printing situations. This mode converts the various color channels to channels with 256 colors of gray, with each channel having variations in the distribution of gray tones, according to the original colors.
Indexed Color This mode converts an image to a more limited palette of 256 colors, using the matching or lookup system that you specify. You may want to convert to indexed color, for example, for images to be used on a Web page or in a presentation, because this mode dramatically decreases the file size while maintaining image appearance. (In fact, this is the preferred setting for Web graphics.)
Duotone This mode prepares an image for traditional duotone printing, which uses two solid ink colors such as a dark gray and a blue, yielding a nicely tinted image. You also can construct images with three ink colors (tritones) and four ink colors (quadtones).



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