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Put yourself in your audience's shoes and change your canvas color

Added on Wednesday 14th of December 2011 06:09 am EST
 

 by Matt Gebhardt

Application:

Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

 

All of your Lab color-correcting attempts will come up short if you don’t have a target. Images and colors look different, depending on the primary colors of the surrounding materials (the flyer, web page, poster, etc). Therefore, you need to think about the context in which your audience will view the final image.

Besides the obvious potential of egregious color-clashing, an image also simply looks brighter when placed on a dark background—and vice versa (a phenomenon known as brightness induction or chromatic induction). This is illustrated in Figure A by contrasting the same colored circle with two differently colored frames. As you can see, the dot appears much brighter on the dark background. What you may not have known is that you can customize the canvas background color in Photoshop to mimic your image’s target surroundings.