Chapter 16. Photoshop and Print

Getting your prints to match what you see onscreen is one of the biggest challenges you'll face when dealing with digital images. As you learned in the box on There Is No Color, 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 out there, 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, but 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 can make it through this chapter (an energy drink might help), you'll know how to create consistent, predictable high-quality prints.

The Challenge of WYSIWYG Printing

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, and, ...

Get Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.