Artists and designers are taught the conventional wisdom that design for digital displays should be in RGB color, and design for print should be in CMYK color. While that’s generally true, there’s a gray area that causes some confusion for some, especially beginners. I explain the difference between these workflows in my article on CreativePro.com.
Adobe Color Printer Utility 1.0 released
If you print color target images because you build printer profiles, and you’ve been frustrated that the No Color Management option is missing from the Print dialog box in Adobe Photoshop CS5, you can breathe a little easier now. No, make that a lot easier. Adobe has released the Adobe Color Printer Utility, specifically designed to print RGB TIFF color profiling targets without the risk of having the test swatch colors distorted by a color management system.
[Note: I now have a newer video, Color Management for Photographers and Designers (2014), that updates what I covered in Color Management without the Jargon (2009). Color Management for Photographers and Designers includes more current information about color-managing Photoshop, Lightroom, and Adobe Creative Suite applications as well as demonstrations of profiling a display, a printer, and a camera.]
Are you a photographer or designer and still not quite sure how color management works? Confused about how to use color profiles? Have you tried to read books and articles about color management, but are overwhelmed by the terminology?
Now you can better understand color management with my DVD and online video, Color Management without the Jargon: A Simple Approach for Designers and Photographers Using the Adobe Creative Suite. I created this video as an approachable introduction to the ideas behind color management and the basics of a good color management workflow. While there’s a lot of good material about color management out there, I feel that much of it jumps into jargon and abstract concepts too quickly. I saw an opportunity to explain color management in the simplest possible terms. I intend Color Management without the Jargon to prepare you for and to complement the deeper, more comprehensive, but also far more challenging material out there.
What you’ll learn
This 1½ hour training video helps beginning and intermediate Photoshop, Bridge, InDesign, and Illustrator users understand the basics of color management, including how to profile monitors and create consistent color in a production workflow. This video provides technical background without being overwhelming, and presents concepts and steps that are easy to follow.
How to watch
You can order Color Management without the Jargon as a DVD from your favorite bookseller or store, or you can watch it online as a streaming video from Peachpit Video. Here are some links to get you started:
DVD on Amazon.com
DVD on Peachpit.com
Watch online at Peachpit.com
Below is the publisher’s marketing copy if you want to learn a bit more…
Every digital photographer or graphic designer knows that color management is important, but many still do not calibrate their computer monitors or understand how color works in different spaces. This 90-minute DVD will help beginning and intermediate Photoshop, Bridge, InDesign, and Illustrator users understand the basics of color management and how to create consistent color in their workflow.
Highlights of this accessible and easy-to-follow DVD video include:
- Calibrating your monitor and digital SLR camera
- Tackling color profile detective work in Photoshop and InDesign
- Assigning, converting, and embedding profiles
- Managing color output for print and the Web
- Integrating raw files and Lightroom into your workflow
- Handling color conversions between video-editing software and Photoshop
The supporting 48-page printed reference guide provides additional links and content.
If you use an Epson Stylus Photo/Epson Stylus Pro printer in Mac OS X and you save printer settings as printer presets (a recommended practice), there may be times when you choose a preset and realize that some of the settings mysteriously deviate from the way you saved them. For example, you might swear that you saved the Printer Color Management setting as No Color Management, but it somehow turns itself back on when you apply a preset. Other symptoms are finding the wrong paper type or color settings selected. And even more mysteriously, you might notice that sometimes it does remember the same settings that it forgot on another occasion.
I don’t know if this applies to all printers in OS X, but presets for Epson photo printers are quite sensitive to the conditions under which they were created—and unexpectedly, this can include the state of settings that are outside the Print dialog itself. Pay particular attention to the settings in the Page Setup dialog box.
For example, I once discovered that reason my Epson 3800 printer presets would not remember my color settings was that the current paper source did not match the paper source that was in effect when I created the preset! I’ve had to make two versions of my favorite presets: One preset for when I’m using the automatic paper feeder, and another for when I’m using the manual feed slot. The settings saved in each preset are exactly the same; the only difference is which paper feed is selected when I save each preset. Of course, I have to mention the paper source in each preset’s name, so that I know which one to select.
I have not yet tested if this behavior is the same in Windows.
This interaction between paper source and printer presets is yet another reason to make sure you always check the Page Setup dialog box before you print, and especially before you print a Photoshop document for the first time. In Page Setup, the selected printer, paper size, and paper source affect what you get to do in the Print dialog box. If you don’t get Page Setup right from the beginning, you’re setting yourself up for confusion when you print.
Lightroom. If you’re trying to get Epson printer driver settings to stick in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on Mac OS X when you save a Lightroom printer preset, the trick is to not use the Epson printer driver presets. Instead, leave the printer preset set to Standard, make the printer driver settings, and then save the Lightroom printer preset.
If paper doesn’t feed through your Epson printer, look out for the following:
Leading edge problems. If there’s anything wrong with the leading edge of the paper (the edge that goes in first), the printer may not be able to load it. Check for creases, folds, tears, or other damage. Proper loading depends on the leading edge being perfectly even, so that it goes straight into the rollers. If the leading edge is damaged, try turning the paper around and loading the edge on the opposite side instead. If for some reason that’s not practical, do your best to smooth out the edge. This problem is more likely to happen with paper that was reused or damaged.
Paper curl. If the paper curls the wrong way (outward compared to the rollers), the printer rollers might not be able to grab it. Remove the paper and see if it has a curl at the edge. If it’s printable on both sides you can try printing on the other side so that the curl goes the other way. If it’s coated on only one side, you’ll have to carefully try to de-curl it. If it’s expensive fine-art paper, use great care to avoid creasing it or leaving fingerprints when you try to remove the curl. The expensive solution is to use a deroller; this is typically used by people who buy paper in rolls since those tend to make the curl quite persistent.
Friction with other sheets. If you’re loading multiple sheets at a time, the frontmost sheet might not drop into the rollers if it sticks a little to the next sheet in the stack. Try jostling and fanning the paper stack to loosen them up. This is more of a problem with papers with some types of coatings and textures.
Dirty rollers. House dust or dust from matte or rough fine art papers can build up on the rubber rollers, reducing their grip and making it harder for them to grab the paper. If a cleaning sheet is available for your printer you can try that. If you don’t have a cleaning sheet, try picking up the dust off the rollers by pressing a piece of moderately sticky paper on them. (Don’t use something that’s so sticky it might ruin the rollers, like packing tape, address labels, or duct tape.)
If the printer continues to have trouble grabbing the paper, as the print job starts try holding the paper and give it a slight nudge in as it loads.
Narrow paper. On the Epson Stylus Pro 3800, the manual feed slot doesn’t like paper that’s much narrower than a US Letter sheet. You’ll have to feed it through the automatic feeder. But the automatic feeder may have trouble with paper smaller than 4 x 6 inches; you may have to keep it straight with your hands as it drops into the slot.
Black area of paper. On the Epson Stylus Pro 3800, there’s an odd issue where the Epson 3800 may not sense the paper correctly if part of the paper is already covered with black. Read about that in this article: Epson 3800 error: Incorrect paper size or Paper error.
I’ve only used Epson printers, but those tips may also apply to other brands of inkjet printers.