5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 22, 2010 5:10 PM by Rick McCleary

    Looking for clear documentation on color variables

    psidcs4

      The other day I came across a web site for an open source video processing program that clearly explained what each variable setting did so that someone unfamiliar with the technology and the industry jargon could understand enough of each option (listed in the same order as in the program) that they began to learn how the program worked, and achieve good results. Where a particular variable interacted with another variable (such as "if your setting is X in field 1, then choosing A in this option will do the following, whereas choosing B will have the following effect..."), the help text explained this. Sadly I did not bookmark the site, which would have been useful to illustrate this question.

       

      InDesign has a wide number of settings that affect color output (the paper copy). Reading the extensive number of queries about color, it is apparent that the process of going from a digital camera sensor, to the printing company's final paper, via Photoshop and InDesign and Acrobat is a bit like an unmarked minefield. For example, under Destination on Export Adobe PDF there are about 20 options that presume a certain amount of knowledge, but lacking an explanation of what each of those settings actually does (more ink/less ink/more saturation/color shift to blacker by x%, etc).

       

      Reading many of the replies to legitimate cries for help about color settings on this forum, I find many are unhelpful, in essence saying "it took me thirty years to master this stuff, go hire a professional." or "It's a black art, with knowledge learned only through trial and error. Go hire a professional."*

       

      If you are one of those people, please do not answer this question, instead please hit the "Back" button now. Thank you.

       

      For the rest of you still reading, is there a place where someone reasonably intelligent but lacking thirty years experience with PS/ID/AA/etc can go to get a screen/field step by step explanation of the real-world effects of the Adobe products that are required to bridge the gap between the sensor and the book/magazine/brochure?

       

      I am looking for a very simple compound answer:

       

      1)

      YES [  ] 

        NO [  ] (I am an expert, and assure you the documentation you seek does not exist)

        NO [  ] (not to my knowledge anyway) Note: unless you actually know that such a resource does NOT exist, please do not answer this query, but hit the back button instead*)

       

      2)

      If yes, where can one find it?   http://________________

       

      * I am not trying to be rude, but I find it maddening when people feel the compulsion to answer a question to which they do not know the answer, or to make a broad, sweeping statement to which they lack supporting facts, or to raise other extraneous issues that do not actually help. I have spent hours on this forum, trawling through such unhelpful answers to find the gems buried in the muck. Rather than contribute to more of the same, I am hoping by framing the question this way I can avoid further cluttering of this forum with muck answers. Thank you

        • 1. Re: Looking for clear documentation on color variables
          Rick McCleary Level 3

          I understand your frustration; it's all very well-founded. There's a lot of wrong information flying around out there.

           

          That said, successfully and predictably taking an image from camera sensor to printed sheet requires a good understanding of the entire process, a context within which you do your part, rigorous adherence to best practices, and a good collaborative relationship with others in the workflow (like the printer).

           

          It doesn't take 30 years of experience to find the golden key, but there's way more to it than can be set down in a forum post.

           

          There are two books I'd recommend:

          Real World Color Management by Bruce Fraser

           

          and (forgive me, I'm the author...)

          CMYK 2.0: A Collaborative Workflow for Photographers, Designers, and Printers by Rick McCleary

           

          HTH, Rick

           

          _________________________________

           

          Rick McCleary

          author, CMYK 2.0: A Cooperative Workflow for Photographers, Designers, and Printers

          Peachpit Press

          • 2. Re: Looking for clear documentation on color variables
            psidcs4 Level 1

            So your answer is NO? And if so, which one?:

             

             

            YES [  ]

              NO [  ] (I am an expert, and assure you the documentation you seek does not exist)

              NO [  ] (not to my knowledge anyway) Note: unless you actually know that such a resource does NOT exist, please do not answer this query, but hit the back button instead*)

             

            PS: I was not looking for a forum post, I was looking for a link. I simply want to know if anyone has provided for Adobe what is provided by the open source folks on line, instant and available to all

            • 3. Re: Looking for clear documentation on color variables
              Rick McCleary Level 3

              I'm unclear as to what you're looking for. In your original post, you ask:

              For the rest of you still reading, is there a place where someone reasonably intelligent but lacking thirty years experience with PS/ID/AA/etc can go to get a screen/field step by step explanation of the real-world effects of the Adobe products that are required to bridge the gap between the sensor and the book/magazine/brochure?

               

              I directly answered your question, mentioning two sources for learning this stuff.

               

              Then, in your second post, you say:

              I simply want to know if anyone has provided for Adobe what is provided by the open source folks on line, instant and available to all

               

              All I've got to say about the open source folks on line, instant and available to all is caveat emptor. You get what you pay for.

               

              If you're looking for good on-line resources, a reliable one is www.lynda.com. Check them out. They start at $25/mo. Well worth it.

               

              Good luck.

              Rick

               

              _________________________________

               

              Rick McCleary

              author, CMYK 2.0: A Cooperative Workflow for Photographers, Designers, and Printers

              Peachpit Press

              • 4. Re: Looking for clear documentation on color variables
                psidcs4 Level 1

                Thanks Rick for putting in the effort to address my question.

                 

                I do want to differentiate between acknowledging people who do volunteer to put time into forums, without which we would all be in the dark, and the issue of securing clear answers which is another topic entirely. I acknowledge your volunteer efforts and thank you for them.

                 

                Your most recent reply encouraged me to seek out the open source reference to which I referred in the first post. Turns out it is called avidemux.

                 

                Have a look at the following web pages:

                 

                http://www.avidemux.org/admWiki/doku.php?id=tutorial:guide_to_encoding_types

                 

                and its main page:

                 

                http://www.avidemux.org/admWiki/doku.php.

                 

                If you look at the various web pages, you see the writers begin by using common English to introduce the user to the concepts. For example "Simply put, multithreading is splitting a computer process over multiple threads. If you happen to have several CPUs, the threads can then run in parallel, cutting down the processing time needed. In the case of many modern computer chips, they can have multiple internal cores, meaning they are in fact many CPUs in one chip. Avidemux supports various degrees of multithreading."

                 

                The only piece of jargon in the paragraph is "threads", and in the context, I can figure it out easily. So, now I understand what multi-threating is. If you then read on (http://www.avidemux.org/admWiki/doku.php?id=using:multithreading) it explains which selection to use, based on what computer one owns. So I not only understand the concept, I now know what to do with it based on what machine I use.

                 

                Have a look at http://www.avidemux.org/admWiki/doku.php?id=tutorial:h.264 which describes the new standard of h.264 encoding. It provides enough information to get someone started and is the sort of information I seek when I began my first post.

                 

                ------------------

                Now, my question did not ask about books that need to be purchased. At present I am writing from a far distant island in another country where getting a book is a three week mission involving ships, and a book is probably overkill for the simple information I seek.

                 

                Also, the kind of information that I seek is the sort that should have been provided by the vendor, Adobe, in this case and it is possible they have written such. If not, sometimes a user will fill the gap.

                 

                I have filled such gaps on numerous occasions with my hobbies. When I master something and I find people begin to ask me questions, I write everything I know, include photographs, and then I release it into the public domain through a third-party web site that is about that subject. They are thrilled to have it, and I have added to the universal knowledge base.

                 

                For example, a couple of years ago I needed some complex steel forms to be made. I spent about ten hours creating the specifications for bidding using CAD. After we had them built and tested them, I made modifications based on field experience. It took very little to update the CAD documents and provide supplementary text so a newbie could understand the reasons. Not wanting to be bothered with thousands of queries it would prompt, I gave it to a guy running a web site where he made a page for it. He was happy because it increases traffic to his site and makes his site more valuable. The other day I received an email from someone I knew decades ago in another country who was delighted to find the information and even more pleased when he found he knew the original author. The information spreads because it is free and easy to find.

                 

                Of course, I am not the only person doing this. The whole open source movement is based on such motivation, and contrary to your assertion that "you get what you pay for", I find in many cases the open source products to be superior to those for which I pay. Example: Joomla 1.5 for web pages. After wasting thousands of dollars (and countless angry phone calls and email exchanges) on commercial web writers (reputed to be some of the best), we ditched them and went open source. Brilliant results, instant access and we paid zero for it.

                 

                Actually, it's not free, because we then give back in the same spirit. It's sort of a karma bank... you make deposits, you make withdrawals, only unlike a real bank where the bank can run out if too many people make withdrawals, with the internet, it's just like the Fed. Need more money, no problem, we print it and give it to our friends for free (this is an attempt at humor).

                 

                Having been close to the industry since 1980 back in my Seattle days, I remember when Bill Gates and company were starting Microsoft. "caveat emptor" applies far more to the paid industry than the open source. Our windows machine with its new Win 7 has just brought the office to a halt as it crashed because a simple driver became corrupted. We now need to go to a store, buy a hard drive, duplicate the whole operating system and begin a long recovery process because the software Microsoft sells is not "rock solid" yet, to quote our Asus senior tech who now has become a close phone buddy. Lest the chorus then say "Buy Mac", our arts department just upgraded to a new 27" Mac system and has spent more time on the phone with Apple tech than working. In contrast, our open source stuff, running on-line just continues to tic away with no drama. The standard set by IBM back in the 1950's was reliable... nobody ever lost their job recommending IBM was the saying. But when the PC/Mac world came into being the standard was to make early adopters into Beta test sites. I would love to quantify the amount of business down time caused by paid products sold by commercial vendors. It would be a significant portion of GDP, I think.

                 

                But enough of the rant prompted by your view of open source.

                 

                My question remains open and unanswered:

                 

                Is there an internet location that begins with the letters http:// that provides a description of the fields and options when one begins with a digital image loaded into Photoshop, then goes to InDesign and then to Acrobat that describes the variable settings related to color?

                 

                If yes, please provide the http://

                If no, please answer authoritatively rather than I dunno.