Is color management for me?

The material in these guides is recommended for advanced users – such as creative professionals – who require the highest possible precision in rendering color. For most users, an understanding of the advanced concepts of color management is not necessary to produce a great-looking book with Blurb.

For more information, visit our Color Management Resource Center.

How to Prepare Images for InDesign or PDF to Book Using Adobe® Photoshop®

Once you’ve calibrated your monitor and installed the Blurb ICC Profile, you are ready to prepare your images for Adobe InDesign or PDF to Book. For information about image prep for Blurb BookSmart®, see How to Prepare Images for Blurb BookSmart using Adobe Photoshop.

For Adobe InDesign or Blurb’s PDF to Book workflow we recommend that final submitted images be placed into your page layout application in the CMYK color space. In addition to your images all graphics and page layout elements should be created in the CMYK color space to ensure greatest color accuracy of your printed book.

There are two options for working with images within a color-managed workflow:

Option 1: Working in RGB – Soft proofing, converting to CMYK, and saving.
Option 2: Working in CMYK – Soft proofing and saving.

  1. Editing and adjusting images in RGB

    Figure 1. Enabling Soft-Proof in Photoshop
    Figure 1. Enabling Soft-Proof in Photoshop

    If you prefer to work in RGB, open and edit your images in RGB, soft proofing the images as you work with the Blurb ICC Profile.

    Enabling Soft-Proof in Photoshop

    Figure 2. Customize Proof Condition
    Figure 2. Customize Proof Condition
    • Select View > Proof Setup > Custom
    • Select Blurb ICC Profile as the Device to Simulate.
    • Select Perceptual as the rendering intent in order to preserve subtle gradients.
    • Select Black Point Compensation to preserve shadow details.
    • Leave Simulate Paper Color unchecked (our recommendation). This optional setting can factor the paper stock Blurb uses into your preview, but only if your monitor’s brightness is set to a “print friendly” level.

      Images can look amazingly bright and vivid onscreen (particularly with LCD monitors) at a high brightness level, but print output can’t duplicate this same brightness no matter how “bright” the paper. Selecting Simulate Paper Color with an overly bright monitor can result in milky or hazy soft proof previews. We recommend leaving this option unchecked. You still get the benefit of seeing how your image’s colors will be reproduced in print but without the contrast changes that simulating paper introduces.

      If you still want to use the Simulate Paper Color Option two you will need to reduce your brightness to a more print-friendly level (between 90-120 cd/m2) when calibrating your monitor. The disadvantage of this is that your monitor will not be as vivid as you may like for other purposes. Leaving the Simulate Paper Color unchecked is the better choice for most users unless you focus primarily on print work.

    When Soft Proof is on, your image title bar will indicate “RGB/8/Blurb ICC Profile” You can toggle the soft proof on/off by using View > Proof Colors.

    Once your RGB images are edited and the soft proof is satisfactory, convert your image with Photoshop to CMYK using the Blurb ICC Profile:

    Figure 3. Convert to Profile
    Figure 3. Convert to Profile
    • Select Edit > Convert to Profile.
    • Select Blurb ICC Profile as the Destination Space.
    • Select Perceptual as the Intent and Adobe ACE as the Engine to achieve the best possible match between RGB and CMYK without losing subtle gradations and transitions. Select Black Point Compensation to preserve shadow detail. Select dither if you want to add a small amount of digital noise to break up gradients that are banding. You should always use dither if your image contains large areas of subtle gradations.

    Save the converted CMYK image as a TIFF or PSD file embedding the Blurb ICC Profile. The image is now ready to place into your Page Layout Application like Adobe InDesign®.

  2. Editing and adjusting images in CMYK

    If you prefer to work in the CMYK color space, open your image and convert it using the Blurb ICC Profile.

    Figure 4. Convert to Profile
    Figure 4. Convert to Profile
    • Select Edit > Convert to Profile.
    • Select Blurb ICC Profile as the Destination Space.
    • Select Perceptual and Adobe ACE to achieve the best possible match between RGB and CMYK without losing subtle gradations and transitions. Select Black Point Compensation to preserve shadow detail. Select dither if you want to add a small amount of digital noise to break up gradients that are banding. You should always use dither if your image contains large areas of subtle gradations.

    Enabling Soft-Proof in Photoshop

    Figure 5. Customize Proof Condition
    Figure 5. Customize Proof Condition
    • Select View > Proof Setup > Custom
    • Select Blurb ICC Profile as the Device to Simulate.
    • Select Perceptual as the rendering intent in order to preserve subtle gradients.
    • Select Black Point Compensation to preserve shadow details.
    • Leave Simulate Paper Color unchecked (our recommendation). This optional setting can factor the paper stock Blurb uses into your preview, but only if your monitor’s brightness is set to a “print friendly” level.

      Images can look amazingly bright and vivid onscreen (particularly with LCD monitors) at a high brightness level, but print output can’t duplicate this same brightness no matter how “bright” the paper. Selecting Simulate Paper Color with an overly bright monitor can result in milky or hazy soft proof previews. We recommend leaving this option unchecked. You still get the benefit of seeing how your image’s colors will be reproduced in print but without the contrast changes that simulating paper introduces.

      If you still want to use the Simulate Paper Color Option two you will need to reduce your brightness to a more print-friendly level (between 90-120 cd/m2) when calibrating your monitor. The disadvantage of this is that your monitor will not be as vivid as you may like for other purposes. Leaving the Simulate Paper Color unchecked is the better choice for most users unless you focus primarily on print work.

    When Soft Proof is on, your image title bar will indicate “CMYK/8/Blurb ICC Profile.” You can toggle the soft-proof on/off by using View > Proof Colors.

    Save the converted CMYK image as a TIFF or PSD file embedding the Blurb ICC Profile. The image is now ready to place into your page layout application like Adobe InDesign®.

This workflow assumes you have Adobe Photoshop® to edit and convert your images. At this time Adobe Photoshop® is the only application that we support, but if you are using another application that supports color management for image editing, it’s possible that this workflow will also work for you.