Investigating Color Management in CS2

When you open the color management section on the Adobe Bridge, there is a section on color. It states whether CS2 is synchronized or not. It is easy to synchronize CS2 by just choosing the desired setting and hitting Apply. One also has the ability to create a profile in any program and save it. It will appear on the Bridge as a choice. I named mine Paula.

There are some facets of color management in CS2 that need to be mentioned. Firstly, as I have stated elsewhere, I am working with a desktop printer. And I am looking at color management from four perspectives.

  1. How does the color look from program to program on my monitor.
  2. Do the colors on the screen match external hard copy ?
  3. Do the printed colors match those on the screen?
  4. Are the prints uniform across the programs?

I was concerned with examining the regular output from Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I initially created a montage in Photoshop in an RGB color space from Trumatch swatches and objects I had photographed in my house as well as art work. These items I could reference from the screen to the original image.

I also recreated this same montage in the same RGB color space in Illustrator and placed the graphics from Photoshop. In InDesign, I just placed montages from both Illustrator and the same one from Photoshop to make sure they looked the same on the monitor.

Keeping my space synchronized, they all looked alike. I, then went to print the pictures. Having used versions of all these programs, I didn't expect to find major changes in How To Print. However, CS2 has introduced some new methods. Now, using an ordinary inkjet printer could cause problems with output not matching the monitor or not looking the same in all programs. Fortunately, all of my output looked alike and were extremely close to the monitor and to the hard copy as well as to the actual objects. But here is where a problem could occur.

Adobe Creative Suite 2 has built in an override for a printer so that printer software does not have to manage the color. This idea in theory is great. In practice, it can cause problems. Below is a screen capture from the "Adobe Color Management" PDF. Notice the red arrow.

One needs a printer profile for the exact paper. A generic profile for the printer does not work. What one is supposed to do is disable color management in the printer software and use, in this case, Photoshop CS2 color management only. However, if your printer does not come with these profiles, and most home inkjets do not, you cannot use this system. I tried it, just plugging in the profile for my printer which is an Epson 1270 and the results are below. I tried this with the other two programs and got the same results.

However, Photoshop CS2, also has the option of using the printer software. My 1270 prints very well. I do not have to adjust any dials to have it match my monitor; so that was not a problem. Had I chosen to do it with my 1280, I would have been in trouble because it does not print as accurately no matter what I do.

When I went to print from Illustrator and InDesign, I found that I could not override the program's software. I had to print from the software and provide a profile that I did not have. I did not have the option of printing using the printer's software. The generic name of the printer did not work. I needed a specific profile as in the illustration above.

Also, Adobe stated that using the color management systems of both the printer and the CS2 program could result in improper printing. Fortunately, with my printer it did not, and all the prints came out the same and matched the monitor which matched the paper swatches. I think this is a weakness in the system for people who do not have more advanced printers.