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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the art and the craft of creating beautiful, archival-quality inkjet prints. The course looks at the anatomy of a print job: how a printer works, how to adjust and prepare your image to get the best results, and what happens to your photo in its journey from pixels to paper.
After a discussion of how to choose a printer, the course covers the process of preparing both black and white and color images using Adobe Photoshop. Ben describes how to take images from looking good onscreen to being properly adjusted for best results on paper, covering details such as sizing, sharpening, and color management.
With photographer and master framer Konrad Eek, Ben explores the creative decisions that photographers should address before printing. What size print? How does print size relate to the message of the photo and to the space where the photo will be displayed? What kinds of paper choices do you have, and how does your photo's content relate to the paper you choose?
The course also describes how to properly evaluate a print and how to handle common challenges that crop up during the printing process.
In the last movie you saw how I could graph the contents of a color space in 3D using this program called ColorThink to get a visualization of what colors that space can hold. I would like to show you now how a color space might compare to what a particular piece of paper can hold and how it might compare to what colors are contained in a specific image. Here is the gamut of the Adobe RGB color space--you saw this before--and here is the gamut of some Epson archival Matte paper. I am just going to pull that up right here, and they're going to be superimposed.
Now again, if I look at these two things down below, this inner circle is the color gamut of the Epson paper, this is the color gamut of the entire Adobe RGB color space. Let me turn down the opacity of Adobe RGB, and you can see that for the most part, the paper is contained completely within Adobe RGB. There's actually a little bit of yellow that the paper can handle that is outside the gamut of Adobe RGB. For the most part, the important thing to recognize here is that there are lots of colors in Adobe RGB that I simply cannot print on this particular type of paper.
When you're printing and a color falls outside of the gamut of your target paper, Photoshop or your printer driver will attempt to remap that out of gamut color in your image to the closest color that fits inside the paper's gamut. There are several different ways that it can choose to do this remapping, and we'll look at them later because you control of that once you get to the print dialog box. That remapping may cause a color shift in the remapped colors, most of the time it will, as Photoshop tries to find some kind of match that's within the paper's gamut.
Well, let's take a look at an actual image. I am going to ditch the Adobe RGB gamut here, and I am going to turn off the paper gamut, and I'm going to open up an image file in ColorThink, and what that's going to do is show me a scatter plot of all the colors within the image. This is going to be a little bit different than the space maps that we've seen before, because it's showing not a range of colors but distribution of very specific colors, and here it is. So you can see that this image has an assortment of colors, scattered around mostly in the reds.
So, if I now superimpose my paper's gamut over these colors, we see that there are a lot of colors that fall outside of the paper's gamut, all of these colors down in here, and there are a few up above here. Those actually cannot be held by the paper. Because they're out of gamut of the paper, Photoshop is going to try to remap them.
The good news is that the bulk of the colors in this particular image do fit inside the paper's gamut. Let me turn down the opacity here, and you can see that most of the colors are with inside the gamut of the paper, just some darker tones and some very light tones, so our out of gamut situation is not as bad as it seems. At other times, we might have an image with a lot of out of gamut colors. In those instances, we might want to consider switching to a different paper. Look what happens here, if I lose the Epson archival matte paper and switch to something called exhibition fiber paper, it's got a larger gamut.
Here is the gamut of the Epson archival matte paper, here's the exhibition fiber paper, so I pick up a lot of additional colors. It has just a slightly larger gamut, but still enough, it might make a difference just as a different paper choice can improve the blacks in the print switching to a paper with a wider gamut can improve color reproduction. Remember we haven't done anything wrong in shooting or editing. The camera and monitor will always have a wider gamut than any paper that you find. The trick is to minimize out of gamut colors, adapt if we need to, and be careful about how we control the remapping of colors that lie beyond the paper's gamut.
One last thing, I want to mention that ColorThink here is not actually graphing my images using an RGB color model. It's using a color model called LAB, which like RGB uses three coordinates to define a color. The axes, though, are quite a bit different. The L axis specifies lightness. In other words, we have an axis dedicated entirely to tone. The A and B axes specify two different color ranges. The reason ColorThink uses lab color is that lab's gamut includes all of the colors that can be perceived by the human eye.
That makes it larger than the RGB or CMYK color models. Therefore, it's big enough for me to look at all of the different color spaces that I might want to analyze. Don't worry right now about understanding too much about lab color. Yes, it can make some image edits easier, but for your everyday color work it's not a color model that you'll need to concern yourself with.
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