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. Unless you prepare your monitor and files properly, it’s impossible to make them match. As you learned in the box on There Is No Color, 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 can be a nightmare.

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. These are heady topics, 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 will help), you’ll know how to create consistent, predictable high-quality prints.

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 5, it produces colors with phosphors, LCD elements, or other light-emitting doodads. ...

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