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Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Controlling the Colors You See

You want your photos to look as good as possible and to have beautiful, breathtaking color, right? That's probably why you bought Elements. But now that you've got the program, you're having a little trouble getting things to look the way you want. Does this sound familiar?

  • Your photos look great onscreen but your prints are washed out, too dark, or the colors are all a little wrong.

  • Your photos look just fine in other programs like Word or Windows Explorer, but they look just awful in Elements.

What's going on? The answer has to do with the fact that Elements is a color-managed program. That means that Elements uses your monitor for guidance when deciding how to display images. Color management is the science of making sure that the color in your images is always exactly the same, no matter who opens your file or what kind of hardware they're viewing it on or printing it from. If you think of all the different monitor and printer models out there, you get an idea of what a big job this is.

Graphics pros spend their whole lives grappling with color management, and you can find plenty of books about the finer points of color management. On the most sophisticated level, color management is complicated enough to make you curl up, whimpering, into the fetal position and swear never to create another picture.

Luckily for you, Elements makes color management a whole lot easier. Most of the time, you have only two things to deal with: your monitor calibration ...

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