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Color Management in Adobe InDesign CS3

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This chapter covers only the most basic steps for managing color in Adobe InDesign CS3.

I remember when my family got our first color television set. Back then, there weren’t many programs broadcast in color, so a color television was a strange and mysterious thing.

No one in the family knew how to make the pictures look realistic. We jumped up to adjust the image whenever we changed channels. My sister and I spent more time fiddling with the TV controls than watching the shows.

Well, not many people understand how color is managed in desktop publishing. They don’t know how to make colors look better or how to control images from different applications. They spend most of their time fiddling with the knobs.

Color management is a very complex subject—far too deep for the scope of this book. This chapter covers only the most basic steps for managing color in InDesign. Fortunately, the controls are similar to those in other Adobe products. So if you’ve set your color management in Photoshop, you will find the same settings in InDesign.

If you are interested in learning more about color, I suggest Real World Color Management, by Bruce Fraser, Fred Bunting, and Chris Murphy, published by Peachpit Press.

Choosing Color Settings

The first step for color management is to set up the color system. Fortunately, Adobe provides predefined color settings that are suitable for many users.

To turn on color management:
  1. Choose Edit > Color Settings. This opens the Color Settings dialog box square1.gif.
  2. Check Enable Color Management. This opens the color settings controls.
  3. Choose one of the predefined settings from the Settings menu square2.gif:
    • Choose General Purpose if you are printing to an office printer.
    • Choose Prepress if you are sending files out to a high-end service provider.
    • Choose Web/Internet if you will be outputting to the Web.
    • Choose CMS Off to minimize the effects of color management. (Color management is never really completely off.)
  4. Click OK to apply the color settings. In many cases, this is all you need to do to set color management in InDesign.

The working space applies the default color profiles for RGB and cmyk colors (see Chapter 5, “Working in Color”).

To set the RGB working space:
  • Use the RGB menu to choose one of the following RGB display settings square3.gif:
    • Adobe RGB (1998) has a large color gamut. Use it if you do print work with a broad range of colors.
    • Apple RGB reflects the characteristics of the Apple Standard 13-inch monitor. Use for files displayed on Mac os monitors or for working with older desktop publishing files.
    • ColorMatch RGB matches the color space of Radius PressView monitors.
    • srgb IEC61966-2.1 reflects the characteristics of the average pc monitor. It is recommended for Web work, but is too limited for prepress.
    • Monitor RGB sets the working space to the color profile of your monitor. Use this if your other applications do not support color management.
    • ColorSync RGB (Mac) matches the RGB space specified in the control panel for Apple ColorSync 3.0 or later.
To set the CMYK working space:

You can also set what happens when placed images contain different color profiles than the current working spaces.

To set the Color Management Policies:
  1. Choose a setting in the RGB and cmyk Color Management Policy menus square5.gif and square6.gif as follows:
    • Off turns off color management for imported images or documents.
    • Preserve Embedded Profiles maintains the profile in the imported image or document.
    • Preserve Numbers maintains the actual color values without applying any profiles.
    • Convert to Working Space converts placed images and documents to the working spaces you set for the InDesign document.
  2. Check Ask When Opening (under Profile Mismatches) to give a choice when opening documents with different profiles square7.gif.
  3. Check Ask When Pasting (under Profile Mismatches) to give a choice when pasting information from documents with different profiles.
  4. Check Ask When Opening (under Missing Profiles) to give a choice when pasting information from documents that have no color profiles.

The Conversion Options, in the Advanced Mode, control how objects and color data are converted square8.gif.

To set the conversion options:
  1. Choose one of the settings in the Engine menu square9.gif and square10.gif:
    • Adobe (ACE) uses the Adobe color management system and color engine. This is the default setting for most preset color configurations.
    • Apple ColorSync (Mac) or Apple CMM (Mac) uses the color management system provided for Mac OS computers. Unless you have an optional color module installed, there is no difference between the two settings.
    • Microsoft ICM (Win) uses the color management system provided for Windows computers.
  2. Choose one of the settings in the Intent menu square11.gif:
    • Perceptual preserves the relationships between colors in a way that is perceived as natural by the human eye.
    • Saturation is suitable for business graphics, where the exact relationship between colors is not as important as having vivid colors.
    • Relative Colorimetric is the default rendering intent used by all predefined color management configurations.
    • Absolute Colorimetric maintains color accuracy at the expense of preserving relationships between colors.
  3. Check Use Black Point Compensation to adjust for differences in black points.
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