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Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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The Challenge of WYSIWYG Printing

WYSIWYG (pronounced “wiz-e-wig”) is an acronym for “What you see is what you get.” For image-editing buffs, it describes the elusive goal of getting prints to match what’s onscreen. When you think about the different ways colors are produced by monitors versus printers, the problem starts to make sense.

A monitor’s surface is made from glass or some other transparent material, and, as you learned in Chapter 6, it produces colors with phosphors, LCD elements, or other light-emitting doodads. In contrast, printers use a combination of paper, reflected light, and cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks. To add even more excitement, some printers use additional colors like light cyan, light magenta, several varieties of black, and so on. Given these two completely different approaches to creating colors, it’s a miracle that the images on your monitor look remotely similar to the ones you print. And because there are a bazillion different monitors and printers on the market—each using different technologies—you’ll see a big difference in how your images look depending on the monitor or printer you use. Heck, even changing the paper in your printer makes a big difference in how your images print.

The only way to achieve consistent printing results is to have a calibrated and profiled monitor of decent quality (you’ll learn about that stuff shortly), to know which printer your image is headed for, which color mode that printer wants the image to be in, which ...

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