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A Quick Guide For Managing Colour Space In Print Files

Colour management can be a complex topic but is a critical part of achieving consistent, measurably accurate colours from screen to print. The many articles and guides in our Knowledge Base provide a grounding on the subject, as does our eBook The Digital Fine Print for those wishing to go even deeper.

This article is a simple 'how to' for making sure you are creating/saving/exporting your image files with the correct colour profiles attached using popular imaging software.



Adobe

Photoshop 2021

When creating a new file from scratch in Photoshop be sure to select the most appropriate colour profile for your image. This is done via a drop down menu under 'Advanced Options.' We typically recommend sRGB if you're making a true black and white image, or Adobe RGB (1998) for colour print files.

A useful feature of Adobe Photoshop is that you can also set the default working space for your files in the 'color settings' dialogue in the edit menu. This will then apply as the default setting when creating new files.

Note also that you can trigger Photoshop to give you a warning whenever you open or paste from a file that is assigned with a different colour profile than your default working space (or if it doesn't have one at all).

If opening a pre-existing file you can check what colour profile is attached by checking the info panel on the bottom left of screen OR by opening 'convert to profile' in the edit menu and looking at the 'source space' (though be sure to cancel out of this dialogue if you don't wish to make a conversion.

Camera Raw

When opening a file in Adobe Camera Raw you can select what colour profile you'd like your image to be converted to for editing and export. You can see your colour profile at the bottom of the Camera Raw panel and click on it to edit.

Lightroom

In Adobe Lightroom you set the colour space for your export images in the export menu under 'file settings'.

Alternately if exporting using the printing module, be sure to select the correct colour settings under the 'Color Management' header in the 'Print Job' panel on the right of screen.

Affinity

Photo & Designer

In both Affinity Photo & Designer software programs you can select the colour profile in the colour panel when creating a new document. 

When exporting from Affinity Photo click on the 'More...' button where you can confirm/adjust the embedded ICC profile before exporting your image file.

ProCreate

When making a new document in Procreate on an Apple iPad you can either choose a pre-set canvas type or make a custom canvas.

The colour profile on the preset canvases can vary, and can be seen in the column between the canvas name and the dimensions column. We always recommend using an RGB profile and canvas pixel dimensions as large as your device can support.

When making a custom canvas click on colour profile and be sure to select an RGB colour profile, we'd recommend Display P3, though sRGB is typically fine too.

Note also to take care when exporting your file from Procreate. Sharing directly via email for instance can strip the colour profile from the image depending on how it's done. Best bet here is to save the file to a cloud storage service like Googe Drive or Dropbox, so you can then open the file on a computer with the colour profile intact (and don't forget it's always a good idea to double check your process is embedding the profiles correctly before you send them to print).