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An important step in working with soft proofing, and in evaluating and correcting your photograph so that you can create a nice high quality print, is choosing your Rendering Intent. You can find those Rendering Intents in the Soft Proofing panel. And in order to see how they work, we need to click on this out-of-gamut indicator here, so we can turn that warning off. And then if you click on one of these options, you'll notice a shift in the image. Here it's a bit more saturated, here it's a little bit less, yet it's kind of hard to identify what exactly is happening.
And in my own experience, in working with photographers and students, many people don't really know what to choose. They can't make sense of these different Rendering Intents. What do these actually mean and how and why do we use a Rendering Intent? Well even more, what we're going to find is that we're going to choose a Rendering Intent here in Soft Proofing and also over in the Print module. And because Rendering Intent can really make or break the quality of our print, what I want to do is step outside of Lightroom for a minute and walk through a few slides to see if we can't get a good handle on this whole topic of working with Rendering Intents.
Well rendering Intents have to do with this whole issue of color, and how on a monitor we see color which is created via light. When we send a photograph from a monitor to a printer, we have to render that color to a different space, because on a printer, well, that color, it's created via ink. And Rendering Intents, they're really important. We're going to find this in Lightroom in a few different places. We'll find them in the Develop module when it comes to our Soft Proof preview, and this just helps us evaluate the image and perhaps make some changes to the picture.
We'll also find the Rendering Intents in the Print module in the Print Job panel. And this is really important because here in the Print module, this is where we are committing to our Rendering Intent. And making a choice here, well, it can really make or break the quality of the print. So let's then explore how we can work with these different Rendering Intents. Let's say we have a photograph like this here. One of the things that we can do, say with our Soft Proof view, is we can turn on this view, which will show things in red, it will show areas or colors of our image which are out of gamut.
In other words, colors which aren't reproducible. And if we turn on that view, we can see that with this image, we have a lot of colors which are out of gamut. Well let's explore how our two Rendering Intents deal with situations like this, and let's start off with the Relative Colormetric. In Lightroom, this is shortened or abbreviated to Relative. What relative does is something really fascinating. It looks at these colors and first, it says, I'm going to divide this up. I'm going to look at my in-gamut colors and deal with those differently, then I'm going to deal with the out-of-gamut colors.
Here in this view, you can see that I've deleted or whited out all of those out-of-gamut colors. So what then happens to these colors which are in-gamut? Well it reproduces these colors. In other words, it reproduces what is reproducible. It leaves the in-gamut colors simply as is. All right, how then does it deal with these out-of-gamut colors? Here you can see I've deleted everything except for these out-of-gamut colors, and let's focus in on say this green. What is it going to do with this really bright, beautiful, saturated green? Well what Relative Colormetric is going to do is it's going to move this green to the nearest in-gamut color.
It's going to take this out-of-gamut color and move it to the nearest color by desaturating it. There's going to be some sort of a color shift with this color. Now this is great because it helps us to make this picture reproducible. To make this picture so that we can actually print it. Yet the downside is that the color will be, of course, a bit desaturated and sometimes what you'll see are artifacts like banding, like you can see here in this close-up view of this color. All right, well let's review. Relative, what does it do? Well it reproduces what is reproducible, and it also then takes the out-of-gamut colors and it moves those to the nearest in-gamut color.
All right, well, why then would we want to use Relative? Well you might want to use Relative if accuracy is paramount. If you really want your in-gamut colors to stay as is, Relative is going to be a great choice. Another situation when Relative Color might be a great option, is when there's just a narrow gamut of colors. In other words, perhaps you have an image which doesn't have any color, which is out of gamut. Most of our images are like that. Well if there is a narrow or a smaller gamut, well then, this is going to be a great option.
Okay well, now that we've talked a bit about Relative, let's then compare this to Perceptual. How is Perceptual going to deal with an image like this where we have these colors and we have all of these out-of-gamut colors? What Perceptual does is something quite different. Where Relative divided it up into in- gamut or out-of-gamut and it dealt with those colors differently, Perceptual is a bit more cohesive in its approach. It takes the entire image and it says I'm going to take this entire image and I'm going to kind of squish this down.
And this graphic here is just kind of an over-dramatization, but it takes all of those colors and squishes them down so that they now all fit inside of the gamut. What this does then is it changes almost each and every color. What you'll see is that it can slightly desaturate almost everything. Now why is it doing this or what's this all about? What Perceptual is really about is preserving visual color relationships. It preserves the way that the eye sees color.
So as it moves color, it kind of moves it all together. Now the benefit of using this, of course, is that it keeps the image looking the way that it should look to the eye, because the way that we see color isn't by seeing color in a correct or incorrect way, rather, it's all about color relationships. Perceptual does a great job preserving these visual color relationships. A couple of other things about Perceptual is that it works well with photos with lots of saturated out-of-gamut colors.
One of the downsides of this is that it can cause gamut colors to shift. And we'll take a look at this in one of the subsequent movies. So what we can see here is that our in- gamut colors, well, they're just going to change a little bit. Sometimes that change can be undesirable. Another thing to consider with Perceptual on the positive side, is that it reduces artifacts like banding. In other words, if you use Relative and you create a print and all of a sudden you see banding, say, in the sky or in a part of the area where you have a gradient or color transition, well then, just go ahead and choose Perceptual and most likely Perceptual, well it will save the day.
All right, well now that we've seen or talked about both of these different options, let's go back to our Print Job panel because this is where we need to make the decision. Do we decide Relative or Perceptual? Well relative, as you remember, is useful when accuracy is paramount. When you want your colors, which are in-gamut to stay the same. Perhaps you are photographing a garment for a catalog and you need that garment color to be accurate. You can't afford to have any kind of color shift with that.
Well relative may be a good choice in that situation. Or perhaps you have a narrow gamut of colors, well again, Relative will be great. Or maybe you're not too concerned about those really highly saturated colors that are out-of-gamut and a little bit of clipping or changing of those colors or bringing those into gamut, well that's going to be fine or Relative will work really well in those situations. In comparison, Perceptual, you want to choose that to preserve visual color relationships. This one it works well if you have photos with lots of saturated out-of-gamut colors, and you just want to preserve the way that the eye sees all of those colors in relationship to each other.
This can, of course, cause in-gamut colors to shift. You want to look out for that and watch for that. And then on the positive side, one of the benefits is that this reduces artifacts like banding. If you see banding in your image, well Perceptual may be a good option. Well my hope is that by having this conversation about Rendering Intent, that this has given you some valuable information, and that you can then use this information in order to make a more educated decision when it comes time to decide which Rendering Intent you're going to choose when printing your photographs.
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