Recommended Settings for a Web and Print Workflow
In my own situation, neither of the two previous settings is appropriate for me because I am usually working on a variety of projects at any given time, including Web development and CMYK print jobs, as well as art prints from my own photographs. If I used the Web Graphics Default or Color Management Off settings, I would be seriously limiting my options as far as preparing images for press or high-end output devices such as film recorders or LightJet photographic printers.
I use a variation of the U.S. Prepress Defaults setting that I have customized for my own needs. (See Figure 6.)
Figure 6 The customized settings that I use for my daily work. Adobe RGB is the working space, Preserve Embedded Profiles is selected, and I have it set to notify me about any color setting choices when opening files.
The most important component in this setup is that my RGB working space is specified as Adobe RGB (1998). If your workflow includes projects that will be printed, this is the best working space to use because it has the largest color gamut of the four standard choices in Photoshop. I also have the Color Management Policies section set to Preserve Embedded Profiles, and all of the check boxes are checked so that I'll be notified and asked if I want to preserve a profile, convert to my working space (Adobe RGB), or discard the embedded profile and not color-manage the document. I like to know what's happening with the color in my files.
If I am working on a print project that may be later repurposed for the Web, I know that I am using a working space that is not clipping any of the colors in my image. I can edit the image in my wide gamut space and make a custom conversion to a specific CMYK space when the time comes to place the file in a page layout document. Later, I can create a copy of the master file and edit it specifically for the Web.
When I am working on a Web project, I simply make use of the soft-proofing features in Photoshop 6 to preview how my image or design will look in either my monitor's RGB or standard Windows RGB (my main design platform is a Mac). I can even choose View, New View to open an additional document window so that I can have two views of the same file. In the secondary window, I use the soft-proofing options to keep track of how the image will look in monitor RGB or Windows RGB. This allows me the best of both worlds and doesn't prevent me from accessing a wider-gamut working space that is more suited to printed output.
As you can see, the settings that are right for you will depend largely on the type of work you're doing. If your workflow is strictly for the Web or multimedia, you may want to use either the Web Graphics Defaults or Color Management Off. But if you are also preparing designs for print, then using a larger-gamut RGB working space such as Adobe RGB makes more sense.