>> In PS CMYK color space looks great using laser printer. Printer and monitor are calibrated - so what you see is what you get
Photoshop (Ps) is apparently making a good Conversion to your Print Space-Profile (or you are getting lucky they are close).
>> When the images are imported to Indesign or or converted to a PDF the colors look awful
Be sure you embedd profiles and set up your Adobe Color Settings to use the embedded profiles.
>> What is the best way to preserve color when using images in different design software
Establish device-independent 'native' Color Spaces (Working RGB and CMYK) and CONVERT to your PROOFING (print/monitor/Web) ICC profiles as a last step in the printing process and/or Saving a production copy in the target color space.
>> Should color space be changed even though is all printed on same CMYK laser printer.
Your Source Spaces will typically be different than your Print Space and your Monitor Space and your Web Space — CMYK is different in that it may be also be both Source/Target spaces — I create/work/edit in high-bit, high-gamut RGB and CONVERT to CMYK in the Printer Utility or in a final production copy when I know the target CMYK profile.
I recommend reading up on how Adobe Color Management Systems use ICC profiles...
Here are two suggestions for Exporting PDFs from InDesign (because
I know the process is easy to screw up good files):
I create a 150MB .tif file with great pixel quality and desired sharpness, Adobe defaults compress my 150MB .tif file into a 4MB .jpg (this is not desired so I turn off Downsampling and Compression).
The .tifs in my InDesign file are all matching Color Spaces (I want to send my color straight through so I turn off Color Conversions):
The other scenario is my InDesign document contains multiple Color Spaces and I need to CONVERT them all to the Targe Space — in Ouput> Color> Color Conversion, I would pick the Target ICC Profile.
These approaches work for me, generally, your workflow may need other requirements...
Realize, all a COLOR MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) DOES is:
1) HONOR (apply) a SourceProfile/Space
2) CONVERT to a PROOFING SourceSpace/Profile (monitor or printer)
The monitor can PROOF the source file faithfully regardless of how wrong the printer setup.
The printer can PROOF the source file regardless of how wrong the monitor is set up.
Once you understand how ICC profiles work, the mystery unfolds pretty fast...
If the CMYK color space in Photoshop is correct:
1. Open the InDesign document.
2. Edit: Assign Profile. By CMYK, select the profile that corresponds with the Photoshop images. Note: when you do this, if you have any native CMYK InDesign swatches, the color appearance of them may change, but CMYK number values are preserved (usually the desired result for CMYK color builds).
3. Window: Output: Separations preview. The images should match the color you see in Photoshop.
4. File: Export: PDF. Use a PDF/X standard (such as PDF/X-4). By Output, the Output Intent profile should be document CMYK.
5. Open the PDF in Acrobat. Advanced: Print Production: Output Preview. The images should match the color you see in Photoshop.
EDIT: for step 1, the check the profile of the images, Edit: Assign Profile in Photoshop. But just to check, do not change.
Message was edited by: Printer_Rick
Many thanks everyone will try suggestions.
Can we see what you did or the outcome?