Color management

Print color profiling targets with no color management

Adobe Color Printing Utility 1.0

Adobe Color Printer Utility 1.0 released

If you print color target images because you build printer profiles, and you’ve been frustrated that the No Color Management option is missing from the Print dialog box in Adobe Photoshop CS5, you can breathe a little easier now. No, make that a lot easier. Adobe has released the Adobe Color Printer Utility, specifically designed to print RGB TIFF color profiling targets without the risk of having the test swatch colors distorted by a color management system.


Photoshop titles now available in Apple iBookstore

Reading my book on an iPhone

If you’ve always wanted to read a Photoshop book on a tiny iPhone screen, your life is now complete: I just got word that my recent books, such as Real World Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, are now available in the Apple iBookstore on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. An easy way to find them in the iBookstore is to search for my name, Conrad Chavez.

The books are formatted for easy reading in the iBooks app on iOS devices, and if you want to see what that looks and feels like, there’s a “Get Sample” button you can click to download a free excerpt. Or just look at the pictures here.

Real World Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: now available

So now you’ve got Adobe Photoshop CS5, and you need to know which new features can bring the highest return to your photography and your studio’s workflow. Lucky you…just grab my book Real World Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, which is now available.

Real World Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers book coverI concentrate on the needs of professional digital photographers so that you don’t have to wade through explanations of 3D, HTML, or cheesy special effects just to get good, solid images out the door. This book is about Photoshop for pure photography: How to get the image from the camera into editing and then produce the best possible version for the diverse forms of output that your clients demand today, such as CMYK printing, RGB inkjet printing, online photo galleries and sharing websites such as Facebook and Flickr.

Going well beyond a mere description of what’s in the menus and tools, Real World Photoshop still includes the time-tested, fundamental guidance about color correction, color management, and efficient workflow that has made edition after edition a perennial best-seller. You’ll also find valuable tips on almost every page in the book and advice on how to put together a killer Photoshop computer.

Here are some of the new features I cover in this CS5 edition:

  • Mask difficult edges, such as hair, more quickly using improved Refine Edge
  • Extend and optimize image dynamic range with Merge to HDR Pro and HDR Toning
  • Retouch faster with Content Aware Fill and Content Aware Heal
  • Correct lens distortions with new Lens Profiles
  • Select and specify colors faster with the new HUD Color Picker
  • Convert images and upload directly to Facebook, Flickr, and other destinations in one step, using the new Output panel in Adobe Bridge
  • Make the most of the rewritten raw processing engine, dramatically improved noise reduction, and new lens corrections in Adobe Camera Raw 6

How to get yours

Get Real World Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers at your favorite bookseller, at, or at Want it as an e-book? Check out Safari Books Online. If you’re a Creative Edge subscriber, you can even start reading Rough Cuts drafts of this and other Peachpit Press books online before they come off the press.

Color Management without the Jargon video: now available!

[Note: I now have a newer video, Color Management for Photographers and Designers (2014), that updates what I covered in Color Management without the Jargon (2009). Color Management for Photographers and Designers includes more current information about color-managing Photoshop, Lightroom, and Adobe Creative Suite applications as well as demonstrations of profiling a display, a printer, and a camera.]

Are you a photographer or designer and still not quite sure how color management works? Confused about how to use color profiles? Have you tried to read books and articles about color management, but are overwhelmed by the terminology?

Color Management without the Jargon cover

Now you can better understand color management with my DVD and online video, Color Management without the Jargon: A Simple Approach for Designers and Photographers Using the Adobe Creative Suite. I created this video as an approachable introduction to the ideas behind color management and the basics of a good color management workflow. While there’s a lot of good material about color management out there, I feel that much of it jumps into jargon and abstract concepts too quickly. I saw an opportunity to explain color management in the simplest possible terms. I intend Color Management without the Jargon to prepare you for and to complement the deeper, more comprehensive, but also far more challenging material out there.

What you’ll learn

This 1½ hour training video helps beginning and intermediate Photoshop, Bridge, InDesign, and Illustrator users understand the basics of color management, including how to profile monitors and create consistent color in a production workflow. This video provides technical background without being overwhelming, and presents concepts and steps that are easy to follow.

How to watch

You can order Color Management without the Jargon as a DVD from your favorite bookseller or store, or you can watch it online as a streaming video from Peachpit Video. Here are some links to get you started:
DVD on
DVD on
Watch online at

More info

Below is the publisher’s marketing copy if you want to learn a bit more…

Every digital photographer or graphic designer knows that color management is important, but many still do not calibrate their computer monitors or understand how color works in different spaces. This 90-minute DVD will help beginning and intermediate Photoshop, Bridge, InDesign, and Illustrator users understand the basics of color management and how to create consistent color in their workflow.

Highlights of this accessible and easy-to-follow DVD video include:

  • Calibrating your monitor and digital SLR camera
  • Tackling color profile detective work in Photoshop and InDesign
  • Assigning, converting, and embedding profiles
  • Managing color output for print and the Web
  • Integrating raw files and Lightroom into your workflow
  • Handling color conversions between video-editing software and Photoshop

The supporting 48-page printed reference guide provides additional links and content.

Apple keyboards are now safe for calibrated Apple LCD monitors

If you’ve carefully calibrated your monitor and you use the white Apple keyboard that came with the iMacs and Mac Pros, you may have encountered that nasty surprise when accidentally pressing the F14 and F15 keys: They change the monitor brightness.

Changing the monitor brightness is obviously a big no-no if you’re maintaining a color-managed environment, because the monitor no longer represents the conditions under which it was profiled. Even worse, you may not notice that you’ve hit the key, or you may not know how far off you changed the brightness. All you can do is re-profile the monitor. The constant risk of accidentally hitting F14 or F15 and invalidating your monitor profile is an unusual misstep for Apple, which promotes color management as a Mac platform advantage.

There used to be no way to disable or remap the F14 and F15 keys on the Apple keyboard, but thanks to newer hardware, it looks like this problem can now slowly fade into history. If you use the new slim aluminum Apple keyboard, you can require that the Fn key has to also be pressed to set brightness with F1 or F1. If you have the older white Apple keyboard, you can take advantage of new keyboard shortcut editing options in Apple Keyboard Software Update 1.1 or later.

Changing keyboard brightness control with the slim aluminum Apple keyboard

The slim aluminum Apple keyboard introduced in 2007 puts the brightness keys on the function row along with the Exposé, Dashboard, and media keys. Why is this good? Because now you can bury the brightness function. To do this:
1. Open System Preferences.
2. Click Keyboard & Mouse.
3. Click the Keyboard tab.
4. Click to enable the box “Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features.”
5. Close System Preferences.

After enabling the “Use the F1-F12 keys…” option, you must press the Fn key (to the right of the Delete key) to use F1-F12 to use the alternate labels on the F1-F12 keys, such as brightness and the media keys. That means if you accidentally hit F1, you won’t throw your system out of its calibrated state.

If you still want single-key access to Dashboard and others, just redefine their shortcuts. You can do this in the System Preferences pane for each feature (such as Dashboard & Exposé), or in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard & Mouse preferences pane.

Changing or disabling keyboard brightness control with the white Apple keyboard

It turns out that Apple Keyboard Software Update 1.1 or later adds a keyboard shortcut option to disable or change keyboard brightness control for the older white Apple keyboard. To do this:

1. Open System Preferences.
2. Click Keyboard & Mouse.
3. Click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
4. Scroll all the way down to where it says Displays.
5. Disable the check box for “Display” Or, if you just want to change the shortcuts, click in the Shortcut column and press the new shortcut. For example, if you change Increase Display Brightness to Shift+F15, you prevent unintended brightness changes due to accidental key presses, but by adding Shift you can still control brightness with the keyboard when you really intend to.

OS X keyboard shortcuts after Keyboard Update 1.1

6. Close System Preferences.

Note: You won’t see the Display section if you’re using the slim Aluminum keyboard, only if you are using the older white Apple keyboard.