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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the color management options inside the Print dialog box. Now rather than take a deep dive into the world of color management, I am going to keep things very simple here, we are going to do the whole thing in one exercise and I will show you two different approaches you can take. I advise that you go ahead and compare the results. And stick with the way that works, just to tidy things up, I've restored the original version of The joy of color. psd file found inside the 11_printing folder I did that by choosing the Revert command from the File menu.
Now I will go up to the File menu and choose the Print command or press Ctrl+P Command+P on the Mac. Since I have reverted the image I'm seeing an upright page once again so I'll flop it on its side by clicking the sideways guy. And then I'll change the Scale value to 120% and that's it that's a good place to start. Now let's switch from Output to Color Management. And by default Color Handling is going to be set to Printer Manages Colors. That means that the printer driver is in charge of converting the images sensibly from Adobe RGB (1998), to its equivalent inks and toner combinations.
Now notice that you'll see a little warning here that says remember to enable the printers color management in the print settings dialog box, that is the dialog box that will come up after you click on the Print button. You'll see another dialog box and you'll search through there for the color management options and you'll turn them on. If you don't see another dialog box after you click Print then you may be able get to that same dialog box by clicking on Print Settings or page set up whichever button you see underneath the word Copies. Now I can't show you have that option works because it varies from printer to printer.
And even inside the same company, Epson sometimes varies its drivers, HP sometimes does as well Cannon and so forth, so it's something of a moving target you are going to have to console your documentation, or go to your print manufacturer's Web site. But chances are it's turned on by default so you don't have to worry about it but any way there it is. The printer is in charge of color management. Print Profile is not something that you can modify at this point so leave that alone. Then we have Rendering Intent. Now the idea here is we are switching it from a big gamut color space with a lot of intermediate color variations.
That's associated with Adobe RGB and we are down sampling to a small gamut print space. And just to give you an idea inside of a standard 8 bit/channel image we have as many as 16.8 million colors, it's unlikely you're taking advantage of all those colors of course. You might be using 1 million or 2 million colors inside of a highly colorful image. But when you print that image you are down sampling those colors to something like 10,000, so you are losing a ton of color information. Now what you want is for those colors not to be missed which is why you have this Rendering Intent how are you going to lose the colors.
By default, this is set relative colorimetric which means that Photoshop and the print driver are going to do their best to find equivalent colors and then other colors in-between might end up having slightly jagged transitions. But it's nothing you probably see especially in high contrast artwork. So in our case we've got this big field of blue we've got some natural transitions inside the sweater and volumetric forms inside the face and a bunch of these more or less flat color swatches. So Relative Colorimetric would be a great choice because it really excels where high contrast imagery is concerned.
Your other options by the way are Absolute Colorimetric, I don't recommend it but it can be sometimes slightly useful in extremely high contrast artwork. If it contains a lot of text and shape layers and that kind of thing, I would never use Saturation that's for PowerPoint graphics and pie charts. And then Perceptual this is a really good one. Perceptual is good when you're working with continuous tone photographic images that have very smooth, soft, organic transitions. So when you're working with strictly photographic artwork I say Perceptual.
If you have high contrast graphic artwork like this here then you might want to go with Relative Colorimetric instead ignore the other two options. All right so I am going to switch to Relative Colorimetric and then that's it, now I would click on the Print button and I would print the image and I would actually write on that printed image. I would get a pen and I would write in the margin Printer Manages Colors, so I can keep track of that image because now I'm going to compare it to a different approach having already printed one test. This time around I want you switch to Photoshop Manages Colors and that puts Photoshop in charge of the conversion of the RGB colors into something else.
Now the Photoshop tells you at this point remember to disable the printers color management in the print settings dialog box. I don't recommend you do that, now I recommend you leave your printers color management turned on just as you had it turned on before. This means that you're going to double color manage your image which is something that for example engineers tell you not to do the guys who wrote Photoshop are not very fond of this advice on my part. But I don't care what I care about is that it gets the desired results.
And when you tell Photoshop to do a little upfront color management and then you have the printer do the rest of the chore. It often ends up working out quite nicely. So it's just something to try if it ends up giving you worse results then obviously go back to the original approach. But anyway, for now go ahead and try this so set Color Handling to Photoshop Manages Colors. Now notice that you have access to a Printer Profile option this is the thing I want you to change here. I want you to switch from Adobe RGB (1998 ) to the color space that most printers expect which is sRGB.
This guy right there sRGB IE 61966-2.1, go ahead and click on it select it, leave Rendering Intent set to whatever you had it before Perceptual, if you're working with a continuous tone photographic image. If it's high contrast then Relative Colorimetric instead. And then that's it now notice that you do have available to you some check boxes down here at the bottom left area of the dialog box. So you can turn Match Print Colors if you want to try to match the CMYK equivalents, because you are trying to predict how your image will commercially reproduce.
I don't put much stake in it but it is an option. Then you can turn on Gamut Warning to cover in gray, any colors that are completely out of gamut, and are going to have to be clipped to other colors. They will not print gray of course that's just a warning onscreen. And you could try to simulate paper white but I'm telling you I have not had my success with any of these three check boxes I would just leave them turned off. And then you'd probably want to turn on Black Point Compensation that is generally turned on by default it just happens be turned off for this specific image. And then click on the Print button.
Now after the image gets down printing, I want you to write on it Photoshop Manages Colors. I want you to hold the two side-by-side up to each other inspect them closely. If they don't look any different don't worry about it. I've had that happen incidentally where the two images pretty just look the same. However you may find that one image is noticeably more accurate than the other. Now you can expect some variation, they may both be a little off. However if one is noticeably more accurate than the other then you want to go with that approach in the future.
And you can of course tweak things over time but this is a really great, simple place to start. And that is my one exercise summary of the Color Management options inside the print dialog box.
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