The Newsletter for Elements Users------------------------------------------------
In this issue:
Long Answers (7)
Lots of questions on Color Management this month!
1. How To Embed Printer Profiles
2. Why Use Elements OR Photoshop?
3. Using No Color Management
4. Book Recommendation for Beginners?
5. How do I make a drop shadow?
6. I Don't Get Better Color with Color Management?
7. How Do I Match Color On Screen?
Using Photoshop books with Elements? Get the scoop.
Other info on scaling/transforming selections, levels and curve corrections, editing paths, getting a PS6 demo for your action writing, and what unzip utility to use.
The Hidden Power website:
The Hidden Power forum:
The Hidden Power newsletter archive:
Free Hidden Power Tools:
Or from Adobe:
Get the Hidden Power book:
Still working on the new book The Hidden Power of Photoshop CS, but winding it down.
See the book here:
(full license) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000DBOAX/newwriting/
This book in no way changes my interest in Elements, in fact it suggests to me that people using Elements are the ones who really are in need of the most assistance, guidance and tools! I'll be dedicating some time to a Hidden Power update in November.
I again ran out of month to finalize the Healing tool. It is done, tested, works...I just need to make an installer and send it off to a few more trusted testers. I hate to promise November, but will be surprised myself if it doesn't get done! Thanks to those who have even offered help. Apologies to those I have not gotten back to personally. It is such a hectic time...
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS: please either go to the forum and ask them, reply to this newsletter, or send them to me directly. It is easiest to get things in the newsletter if you just reply! The forum will get you quicker answers most of the time.
Feel free to let me know about tool, action and other Elements enhancement requests!
1. How To Embed Printer Profiles
I am not big on embedded profiles, but you can do it if you want. I'd be glad for some feedback if you try the technique. Let me know what happens when you test this out.
You can assign profiles using Print Preview.
"*Choose Same As Source if you want the printer to print the color of the image's color profile without converting it. This option will not take any printer profiles into account.
*Choose Printer Color Management or PostScript Color Management if you want to manage color conversions using the print driver. PostScript Color Management is only available when printing to a PostScript device.
*If available, choose a predefined color profile for your printer. These profiles are installed with graphics applications and print drivers. Choosing a predefined profile will result in an automatic color conversion when printing."
It would seem the last one is the one you want.
The profile will be saved with the PDF, which should be able to be transported to the desired printer. You may need to install a postscript driver in order to access the profiles you want to use--if you are embedding a profile for use with a service. You can download Adobe's postscript print drivers from their site. If you need to change the format of the resulting PDF file, you need to change color management to retain the embedded profile while doing a conversion of file types.
Of course, many will claim this is impossible...though it seems to be built right into the program--and may be considered somewhat hidden, and mostly unadvertised.
Do let me know if you have trouble with this. There are other possible solutions.
If you aren't using image editing, you aren't getting the most out of your digital images.
Elements has fewer features than Photoshop, but that doesn't mean it is an amateur or subordinate editing program. Photoshop has a lot of bells and whistles that people who are not professional graphics people (designers, pre-press) may never need. If you are editing digital images, it is a great package without a lot of the bulk that can actually get in the way or be daunting. many of the features commonly believed not to be in the package are really there--either in hiding or other forms. My book and tools can help you get to them. The functions include Curves, channels, vector editing, playing actions and creating CMYK files. Most people will tell you you can't do any of these with Elements. It just isn't true. See the website for more info, and some free tools for elements users: http://hiddenelements.com . I use elements at my regular job as a professional, by CHOICE. I used the extra money in the budget that would have gone to Photoshop for a system upgrade.
In contrast to your stance on image editing, I use image editing ALL THE TIME. I don't know if there is an image that I print which is not in some way adjusted for color or sharpness. Image editing is not just transposing heads, but getting the most of the images you take -- every day. It would be a rare case that the images you take are perfect. You might want to do some simple adjustment, remove some dust or debris, or even just crop an image...With the opportunities offered to improve images (without chemicals and bother like one has in a darkroom), I am not sure why you would want to forgo the opportunity. The digital darkroom is just a superior means of enhancing your results, and once you get the hang of it, it is a great way to enhance even casual shots quickly. There is nothing along these lines that Elements CAN'T do.
I use both Photoshop (at home) and Elements (at work) daily. If you don't need to do volume CMYK, 16-bit editing, heavy web design and action recording, you probably don't need to spend the additional money on Photoshop and the costly upgrades that go with it (the Photoshop CS upgrade is 3 times the cost of a new Elements license).
I think it holds true anyhow. I didn't say you wouldn't use color management (at some level you have to, but it is thankfully a transparent one), what i said was turn it off (No Color Management is Adobe's selection). This means to me: don't embed a profile. My suggestion is to not do it until you want to learn about it.
What you do in your printer driver is not the same as damning your image with a profile (ok, that's a little strong)...you don't key the image to a specific printer, you tell the driver where you are going. That same image won't need to be confused if going to another printer (or paper, or ink), the driver should take it there. Putting the profile in the image is making it a backseat driver -- as far as I am concerned. It seems the manufacturer and the device should be better geared toward getting a result than some profile I create, unless I do it with some very good print calibration package. Not everyone is interested in that (barring people who get paid a lot of money for it -- and they'll be the first to tell you I am wrong). To me, it is about getting results. Most people solve initial problems by REMOVING the complexity of profiling in the image.
First thing, the manual. I know that may sound hokey, but there is enough there to get you started using the tools and understanding how they behave. Make a list of the tools you think you need to learn and tackle 3 or so a week -- just to get familiar with them.
Once you have a good bunch of tools under your belt, make a list of projects you want to complete. This might start with some simple things like removing red-eye from a few photos or doing some basic color correction. You can make these projects up from things you actually want to do. Don't start with really hard stuff like "Make my husband/wife look like Robert Redford/Holly Berry", try to pick some realistic, simple corrections...use the internet to search out some tutorials, and employ the tools you've got in your belt to make the corrections.
Once you've gotten this far, ask questions about more interesting projects, and get a good book (I'd say "you have one" but have to leave that to you to decide). Many books are written so that you will outgrow them, some are not. I wouldn't waste money on the former.
I guess starting out warrants it's own tutorial...I'll hopefully have some time around December to take that on in some fashion. If anyone wants to contribute questions for ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS, please send them to me: email@example.com.
5. How do I make a drop shadow?
> I am just looking to make a drop shadow, but don't see how to do it.
> Can you give me a hint as to where to start?
There are actually several ways to do this, both using Hidden Power tools and not. The idea in any case would be to get whatever you want to create a drop shadow behind separated from the rest of the image by selection, and then apply a Layer Style or the Hidden Power Drop Shadow tool.
Customizing drop shadows is a bit more involved. My free tools (Hidden Power Actions III) can help you create these more complicated effects quickly. The tools create the shadow in a different layer so you can manipulate it separately, rather than depending on the static Layer Style to do it for you.
Get the tools from the Adobe site here, if you don't already have them:
First, I've been getting results with images since before there was such a to-do about color management (or Photoshop), having worked with digital images since about 1984 (really 1981, but not in a professional setting, or with professional graphics equipment). Not all authors have had the same opportunity.
The hope, idea, and theory of color management is that it will produce better color, but the relative complexity of getting it to work correctly is a hurdle. Some jump it easily, and most do not. The FACT is: If you have done great correction to your image, the difference in results with color management between devices should be fine tuning (the difference between the CMYK ink color from one device or manufacturer to the other, and paper types and qualities from one to the next are keys for these adjustments -- effectively changing what you've corrected in your image behind the scenes). If you are getting wildly wrong results, you need to correct a more fundamental problem before achieving better results. You can get great prints with AND WITHOUT color management playing magician behind the scenes.
The problem is, defining color management incorrectly is worse than not using it at all, and defining it will USUALLY require understanding why you are using it and exactly what you want to accomplish. Just turning it on doesn't make it work. It needs the right settings and the right profiles, which means you need to be able to set it up right. and, regretfully, that part isn't easy.
There is all sorts of conflicting information about color management and what it does. I think you'll find a sensible approach will get you further with less groans and wasted paper. When you are ready to graduate to using a complete color-managed workflow, there will be time to set one up later to help improve your results when you have time to study up and implement it correctly. However, even that may not improve much if you know all your options.
In a way, if you don't know what color management is doing, working with it can be like leaving a scalpel in reach of an infant. It is a fine tool, as long as you know what to do with it. The kid may grow up to be a great surgeon, but right now they will possibly cause more damage than good.
7 . How Do I Match Color On Screen?
> My output colors don't match my screen.
> Do you have any idea of how to
> correct this problem with the color?
> A friend of mine has been telling me to use
> Color Management, and sort-a making fun
> of me that i don't.
One of the hardest (perhaps impossible) things to do is consistently match your RGB view on screen to what you see in print. RGB is a different color set than CMYK, based on similar but reversed theory. RGB being based on light rather than absorption is more efficient. In short, there is not a 100% accurate conversion between RGB and CMYK NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. You can get better results (and worse ones), but you need to have a system.
At this point, I would try making LAYERED corrections to the image to best make it match the result in print. Optimally this will use curves, and perhaps multiple corrections.
When you get the screen looking like the proof, SAVE THE ADJUSTMENT LAYERS. These can be used on other images to give you an idea of what the printout of other images will look like. You can apply them by dragging to the image you are about to print. Shut them off before printing. Add adjustments with the print adjustment layers on to affect change in the output. If you add adjustments shut off ONLY the preview layers before printing.
Once you can get results this way, then I would start adding back any color management if you are so inclined. Color management and profile use is not necessary for getting better results.
Usually you can get back at a person using color management by asking them why they made a particular choice, or exactly why it is superior. Some will know, or at least have an explanation, but most won't. I learned technique before there was formal color management (or adjustment layers...um, or layers), and really HAD to do it without. Since, I have not been convinced that it is superior.
The weighted difference toward promoting color management strategy is more likely that there are a bunch of people making LOTS of money training people to use it and providing expensive equipment and profiles. The time they spend making not using color management as dispicable as dandruff (quite a marketing scheme there...) is well spent on return for their investment. They have reason to amke a clatter. I can't make much telling you color management isn't all they say, as there is nothing to sell...my trumpet can't play over the orchestra. I've helped more people cure problems by turning it off than stepping through how to use it.
This is not to say management is bad...it can potentially do good things. However one gets results with consistency is right. There are benefits to embedding and not. It is certainly nothing to take or dish out ridicule over. I am of the opinion that fundamentals work before enhancements. I consider increased levels of color management enhancement. Some enhancements you never really need, if you know the right technique.
> When doing levels corrections for color (page 95+)
> What am I looking for as you move the middle slider when
> adjusting levels for individual RGB channels? Or, is it best
> just to leave it alone?
Unless you know of a specific target you are trying to achieve, I would leave the middle slider on the separate channels alone and move the RGB composite middle slider to adjust the brightness -- AFTER correcting Red, Green and Blue black and white sliders. Other corrections of the middle sliders will just be guessing, and that is also something you are probably better off correcting with Curves (page 99+).
- 2 -
> I now use the HPE curves function for tweaking my images - great
> tool! One thing that would be excellent would be to include a drop-
> down box on the curves window to allow selection of the individual
> RGB channels, like in the levels window. I know that I can do an RGB
> separation and then apply curves to each layer separately, but a
> direct choice would be much more convenient. Any chance that this
> might be possible?
Everything that is convenient is not necessarily better. Learning to work the Hidden Power way actually gives you a leg up over people who use more automated tools as you have to really understand what you are doing. when you do, the tools become less important.
Do this (with the selection still active):
You need the layer content to allow you to use transform to resize...but you don't need to see it or keep it once you've made use of it.
If you mean a pen tool, that will be unlikely, unless Adobe adds some pen tool capabilities. However, I show how to edit paths in the book, and how to edit them using selections (see chapter 8)...I also show how to save and load alpha channels (which you already have if you have PE2...instructions on page 161-162). Paths to a selection (and type to a selection) are in the Hidden Power tools as well (see Chapter 8). I think I've got you covered!
- 5 -
> I've been using Katrin Eismann's book and yours together
> and I find it a powerful combo. One thing I can't seem to do is
> Transform a selection. How do I do that?
See short Answer #3!
I'd be glad to field any other questions having to do with using specific Photoshop books along with Hidden Power, if anyone has the time to ask. Personally the Eismann book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735713502/newwriting) coupled with mine is a pretty powerful combo for advanced Elements use. I've heard from many users that use them together.
> In your newsletter I read:
> PS6. This demo does not expire, is free, and will allow you to save
> actions which you can then play in Elements using the Hidden Power
> actions III interface.
> I searched for that free demo version of Ps6, but could't find it.
> Can you give the URL?
Regretfully there is no URL. Adobe removes older downloads. There is a possibility that you can find the download on freeware CDs, perhaps a shareware site, or other resource. I know other users have downloaded it and have it available. if some of those would come forward with where they got it, I'd be glad to list in the coming newsletter! Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All decompression utilities are not alike. Even if they say the 'unzip' they may unzip using differing technologies. Thanks for the info!
Keep asking good questions. That makes it easy!
Brought to you by Richard Lynch
in conjunction with The Hidden power of Photoshop Elements 2
Copyright © 2003 Richard Lynch