Precise Color Values

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Today’s Question: I have a client that hires me to do some product photography, where the colors of their products need to be very accurate based on specific RGB values. I know I can see the color values for a given area by opening the Info panel in Photoshop and moving my mouse over the area. But as soon as I move my mouse back to make changes to my adjustment, the Info panel numbers disappear. Is there a way to keep the numbers visible while I’m working on adjusting the color?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The solution to this issue is to place one or more color samplers on the image so that you can view the values for those samplers on the Info panel. Start by clicking and holding the mouse button down on the button for the Eyedropper tool on the toolbox to bring up a flyout menu, where you can choose the Color Sampler tool. Then click on the image in the areas you want to evaluate, adding up to ten color samplers (up to four with older versions of Photoshop. You can then view the value for each of those color samplers on the Info panel.

More Detail: When you are using color samplers on your image to adjust pixel values within the image, the values shown for each color sampler on the Info panel will have two values for each of the color channel when you are applying an adjustment. The value to the left is the “before” value, before your adjustments were applied. The value to the right is the “after” value. So you’ll want to pay attention to the values on the right for each color sampler shown on the Info panel as you apply your adjustments aimed at achieving specific color values.

Note that when you’re finished working with the color samplers you can remove them from the image. To do so, first make sure the Color Sampler tool is active. Then hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh, and click on the color sampler in the image to remove the color sampler. Note that the mouse pointer will show a pair of scissors when you are holding the Alt/Option key and hover the mouse over a color sampler.