Getting your prints to match what you see on screen is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when dealing with digital images. As you learned in the box on Working with Curves, your image files are actually filled with grayscale information—it’s the monitor and printer’s job to give them color. And with the sheer volume of monitors, printers, inks, and papers, producing consistent color is a nightmare. That’s why you hear so many folks screaming, “But my print doesn’t match what I see on my screen!” Unless you prepare your monitor and files properly, it’s impossible to make them match.
Thankfully, there’s a solution, though it lies in understanding why this stuff happens to begin with. Unfortunately that means learning about things like color modes, gamuts, and color profiles. It’s dense stuff, to be sure, but it’s not rocket science. The main concepts are (fairly) straightforward, and if you’ve got the strength to make it through this chapter (an energy drink might help), you can create consistent, predictable high-quality prints.
WYSIWYG, as you may know, is an acronym for “What You See Is What You Get.” For image-editing buffs, it describes that elusive goal of getting your prints to match what you see on your screen. 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, ...