Newbie Question about Printing, Color Spaces, Photoshop

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by magicrat, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. magicrat

    magicrat Guest

    Hello all,
    Let me start by asking: If this topic is not pertinent for this
    newsgroup - please advise and I will post elsewhere: suggestions as to
    where to post would be appreciated. Also, my description below will be
    quite long, but hopefully will provide enough information for someone to
    point me in the right direction.

    My wife recently surprised me with my first digital SLR after shooting
    film for about 3-4 years. My camera is a Pentax ist DL (35mm format).
    I also have a Canon Pixma ip6600D photo printer that is relatively new,
    and I am currently using Photoshop v7.0. Photography is strictly a
    hobby for me at this point, and I am only beginning to learn the role
    that monitor calibration, printer profiles and color spaces play in the
    digital photo workflow. I have made initial attempts to calibrate my
    monitor, although it has been srtictly with freely available software
    (Monitor Calibration Wizard 1.0 at and not an industry
    standard hardware device. I would like to think that my monitor is
    reasonably calibrated enough that it alone would not account for the
    drastic color issue I am experiencing below.

    Not long ago, I took my son on a little photo shoot around town. The
    sun/sky seemed to be playing nicely together on this particular day.
    These shots were taken about 5.00pm - 5.30pm in Arizona. One of the
    shots i was pleased with had my son wearing a red shirt, crawling on a
    brick surface with water/fountains in the frame. All shots were taken
    in RAW format. When I got home, I converted my RAW file to .tif using
    the Pentax software. I then opened my .tif in Photoshop and made some
    minor adjustments (levels, unsharp mask, contrast). I was working in
    the Adobe RGB color space in Photoshop. When I went to print the photo,
    the printed version came out a bit darker than expected. But more
    importantly, the red shirt that my son was wearing, and which looked
    quite vibrant on my screen, was printed out very faded or washed out,
    nowhere near the red color I was seeing on my screen - eliminating one
    of the primary points of color in my picture.

    Here is a url of my picture showing my problem (of course, if the
    monitor is solely responsible, then what I see will not be what you see!)

    I have spent the past week or so trying to understand why there was such
    a difference between what I saw on my screen and what printed out -
    particularly with regard to the red shirt. I have read many articles,
    newsgroup posts, etc. I believe I have learned a great deal from my
    quest, but I'm not sure I yet have a good handle on all of the aspects
    pertinent to my situation, which is why I am posting here. I began to
    read about the CMYK color space for printing and it's smaller color
    gamut compared to Adobe RGB. My first question is:

    #1 Does the traditional CMYK color space still apply to today's consumer
    level photo printers, such as the Canon Pixma ip6600d (which is
    comprised of the following ink tanks: CLI-8 Black, CLI-8 Cyan, CLI-8
    Magenta, CLI-8 Yellow, CLI-8 Photo Cyan, CLI-8 Photo Magenta)?

    I began to learn about how to let the printer manage the colors as well
    as how to allow photoshop to manage the colors (preventing the printer
    from doing so). Trying both approaches ( I believe i setup everything
    correctly), my printed results didnt change much - the red shirt was
    nowhere near as vibrant as I had hoped. Next, I began learning about
    printer profiles and soft proofing in Photoshop. I downloaded some
    suggested printer profiles from Canon that I found referenced in a
    newsgroup post which were supposedly compatible with various types of
    paper and the ip6600d. When I proofed the image in Photoshop, and
    printed them using these profiles, the red shirt was still faded,
    significantly lacking impact of the vibrant red. Similarly, I
    proofed/printed the image using working CMYK and again, the red shirt
    and red tones in the bricks were lost (faded, darker).

    One of the resources I found (which may or may not have had me barking
    up the wrong tree) is:

    Now, it seems to me the fact the photoshop "proofing" can predict what
    my printout will look like (faded red and all, with both Canon profiles
    and CMYK working profile) led me to believe that I simply was dealing
    with a shade of red that was outside what the printer was capable of
    reproducing. I believed that this ruled out printer head problems, low
    ink problems, etc. I also realize that the type of paper I use could
    impact the colors, but it didn't seem likely that it would have that
    large of an impact, and only on one color (red). Incidentally, i was
    using Kodak Premium Glossy 4x6 paper and a few attempts at plain paper -
    both yielding similar results a far as my shade of red was concerned.

    However, it seemed strange to me that the red was so far off - surely a
    more suitable replacement tone could have been found within the gamut.
    So I took my Adobe RGB .tif file to the local camera store and their
    generic (insert card, make prints instantly) machine. I have not had
    the chance to get to my local pro printing lab yet. It is a bit of a
    drive, and I hoped to get some more info from this post/ additoinal web
    research (if not a solution!) before heading out to see them. I
    inserted my card, printed the picture, and although some other colors
    and blue tones came out mildy different than I expected, the red was
    much closer to the vibrant color I was hopnig for. Now, I am certain
    that the Kodak kiosk I used implemented their color correction process
    implemented for the general public and their vacation photos (and
    apparently, people like me!) But it did leave me with more questions:

    #2 Even though photoshop proofed my image to have the red appear very
    faded, how did the kodak kiosk manage to print a red more in line with
    what I expected? Again, does my ip6600D adhere to CMYK, but the Kodak
    Kiosk is capable of more?

    As I think I mentioned before, when I proof in Photoshop with any of the
    Canon profiles, my once vibrant Adobe RGB image looks faded accross the
    whole image, washed out under every profile. Same goes when I proof for
    CMYK. Surely even mid level photo printers are capable of better than
    what I am seeing. What is also strange is that I have printed a handful
    of other images on this printer. One of the images is a shot of my son
    on christmas morning in bright red pajamas. (This was shot in jpg).
    When I view that image in PS in Adobe RGB space, it is vibrant, crisp,
    reds look great. A month or so ago, I printed out this image, and the
    printout I got was much more in line with what I expected, the red
    relatively vibrant. This was a quick "open the image, sharpen, print" -
    This was before I learned anything about proofing, color space, etc.
    Now, if I take this image and proof it in photoshop using either CMYK or
    Canon profiles - the red in the pajamas also looks faded. So I wonder,
    how did my print from a month ago come out crisp when the proof i am
    seeing now is as faded as the shot of my son at the water fountains?

    # 3 In my quest to fix things, did I inadvertantly mis-adjust something
    else, causing the problem I am seeing now?

    I am failing to see a pattern here which is why I am writing. I am
    hoping to learn what part of the digital workflow (RAW file, monitor,
    Adobe RGB profile, proofing, CMYK/printing profiles, printing) is most
    responsible for my faded red problem. Incidentally, I printed the Adobe
    RGB image directly from the memory card (plugged card into printer,
    removing photoshop/PC from the equation). Same effect of getting a
    print where the reds were significantly washed out compared to what i am
    seeing on the screen in Adobe RGB (but in line with what I see in CMYK).

    # 4 Why am I now having such difficulty printing the red I see on my
    screen, yet Kodak Kiosk came pretty darn close to reproducing it.

    # 5 If it turns out I simply need to do better post processing in
    photoshop, what types of things can I do to prepare my image to print
    more in line with what I am expecting?

    I undersand that entire areas of study at 4 year colleges are dedicated
    to fully understanding color, light, printing, proofing, etc. My hope
    is that I will be able to come at least close to printing my photos at
    home as I expect without needing that 4 year degree. Any advice,
    answers, pointers, resources would be most appreicated. And thank you
    to anyone who has made it this far down in my explanation.

    - Andy
    magicrat, Mar 7, 2006
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  2. magicrat

    Eatmorepies Guest

    I'm not sure if I can help but I had similar problems when I bought a Canon
    350D and used Adobe colour space as the setting . I thought I would get
    better results in Photoshop using this setting - I got odd colour results,
    probably because of my lack of understanding of the whole process.

    I have ended up using sRGB in the camera and in Photoshop. I calibrated my
    monitor using Adobe gamma in control panel. I then experimented with setting
    in my printer -an Epson 1290. I use the default settings in the printer
    except for the gamma setting. I found that printing with a gamma of 1.5
    produced truer colours than the 1.8 setting in default.

    I am probably not making full use of the potential of this complex system -
    but I do get pictures I like. I often adjust saturation etc in Photoshop but
    if I print images as the camera takes them they are generally quite good.

    Eatmorepies, Mar 7, 2006
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  3. magicrat

    rafe b Guest

    No. For desktop publishing, forget CMYK.

    99.99% of all printer drivers expect RGB. They
    will *accept* CMYK if they get it, but results are
    unpredictable and generally not good.

    The remaining 0.01% of drivers that do accept
    CMYK are specialized RIPs. Generally these
    are very expensive (>$1K) and available only
    for high-end "pro" model printers like the
    Epson x600 and x800 series.

    Bear in mind that several of the newest inkjet
    printers are now using blue, green, and/or red
    inks in addition to CcMmYK. Canon just
    announced a model with ten inks, for example.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 7, 2006
  4. magicrat

    Jim Guest

    No, the traditional CMYK color space does not and never has applied to
    inkjet printers. The printer drivers require and expect an RGB file, If
    you send them a CMYK file, the driver must first convert it to an
    approximation of RGB and then convert the approximation back to yet another
    approximation of CMYK. These two steps usually result in disaster.

    The first thing you should do is calibrate your monitor and to calibrate
    your printer. You may find that the printer manufacturer's profiles are
    good enough.

    Next, you must insure that the profile isn't being used twice. I turn off
    color management in the printer driver..

    Yes, it is correct that many CMYK profiles (there are more than one) have a
    smaller gamut than Adobe RGB. sRGB also has a smaller gamut.

    Jim, Mar 7, 2006
  5. magicrat

    Mark Roberts Guest

    Well it's better to provide too much information than too little!

    Others have addressed some of your specific questions fairly well so
    I'll just give you some workflow suggestions.

    First, use a different RAW converter. The Pentax-supplied software
    will get you by if you don't have anything else but there are *free8
    alternatives that are much better. Pixmantec's RawShooter Essentials
    is highly recommended (and, yes, it's freeware):

    Sounds like you're on the right track with monitor calibration, though
    solutions with a feedback system like the Colorvision Spyder are
    obviously better, I think what you're doing should be sufficient for
    the time being.

    Convert the RAW file into a 16-bit TIFF using RawShooter Essentials or
    other software, getting it looking as close as possible to the way you
    want it at this stage and then using Photoshop for final tweaking.
    Adobe RGB colorspace is a good choice since you're optimizing for

    Now in Photoshop, activate Gamut Warning (under the View menu). This
    will highlight any colors that are beyond CMYK colorspace (saturated
    RGB primaries of red, green and blue are major candidates). If you
    have a lot of highlighted areas you have trouble. You can correct the
    image substantially by going to Image - Adjustments - Selective Color.
    It would take a major essay to describe how to use this control.
    Experimentation will get you headed in the right direction much
    quicker than you think. Just don't adjust any control a *lot* is my
    advice :) If you can't eliminate all the highlighted areas, just
    remove as much as you can without making the image look too wonky.
    (Turn Gamut Warning OFF to check.)

    Now for printing. CMYK is only for pre-press preparation. You want to
    keep everything RGB. Your printer driver will make the necessary
    conversions appropriate to your specific printer.

    To print, go to the File menu and select Print With Preview (not plain
    "Print"). Select Show More Options if it's visible. Look in the Color
    Handling drop-down box and select either "Let Photoshop Determine
    Colors" or "Let Printer Determine Colors". IMPORTANT: "Let Printer
    Determine Colors" really means "Let Print DRIVER Determine Colors" -
    Adobe doesn't really make this clear. I suggest this latter choice for

    Under Printer Profile select either Adobe RGB 1998 or the
    printer-specific profile for the paper you're using (if you've loaded
    any - I'd guess not from what you've said).

    Under Rendering Intent "Relative Colorimetric" is a good general
    choice but I'd go with "Perceptual" if you had a lot of out-of-gamut
    color you couldn't correct with the Selective Color adjustment.

    Click the Page Setup button and, in the dialog that opens, click
    Printer. In *that* new dialog, click Properties to open your print
    driver dialog. Select paper type, size, etc. as appropriate. There
    should also be options for color management. I can't be very specific
    here because the options available will depend on your printer/print
    driver but this is important: If you earlier chose "Let Photoshop
    Determine Colors" you need to turn OFF color management in your print
    driver. If you selected "Let Printer Determine Colors" you need to
    make sure color management in your print driver is ON. Remember, you
    want either Photoshop OR your print driver controlling color
    management, but not both!

    Close out all dialog boxes and you should be back at the Print With
    Preview window. Click Print and see what you get. If you've done
    everything right the new print should be at least close enough that
    you can achieve success with just a little more adjustment in
    Mark Roberts, Mar 7, 2006
  6. magicrat

    Tesco News Guest


    Welcome to the wonderfully confusing world of colour management. I Joke.

    Forget about CMYK.

    There are a number of things you have not made clear, and you could not be
    expected to know the significance yet.

    Have you calibrated your Monitor using Adobe Gamma, but that will only work
    for CRT Monitors. Flat Panels need to be calibrated using a Hardware
    Device. (Spyder 2 or similar).

    What Profile is the Camera set to, Adobe or sRGB.

    What Profile is being specified in the Adobe Raw Converter.

    You have set up PS for Adobe RGB, have you set up the other boxes for miss
    matches to "Convert to Working Space Profile", and "ask before"?

    I have to ask, what Paper is specified in the Printer Profile you are using.
    If it is a Canon Profile you can be sure it is not for Kodak Paper.

    I would suggest switching to a Canon paper, and using the Canon Profile for
    that paper in the Printer.

    Again I have to ask, which Ink is in the Printer, Canon Printer Profiles
    will assume Canon Ink.

    I do not use a Canon Printer, so I am not sure how to turn of the Colour
    Management in your Printer, or how to specify which Profile the Printer
    should use. I believe these tasks are a bit more complicated than they are
    in Epson Printers.

    The basic workflow is.

    Open the Image in PS. If the Tagged profile is different from your Working
    Space, PS will ask to Convert it.

    When you go to Print with Preview, in C. Management, you will see a box
    specifying the "Source Profile", this should be your Working Space, Adobe

    Below that is a box for the "Output", this is where you specify the Printer
    / Paper Profile.

    Once this is done you then get into the Printer Driver, and go through the
    process of completely turning off its Colour Management.

    The alternative is to choose in PS Output, "Management by Printer", and then
    choose the correct Profile in the Printer Driver, and let the Printer do the

    It is important that only one of PS or the Printer uses the Printer Profile,
    double Profiling guarantees wrong colour.

    I would suggest that you have a read at some of the specialised sites such
    as or some of the others which will be suggested
    very soon.

    It is difficult, but if I can do it then so can anyone.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Mar 8, 2006
  7. magicrat

    magicrat Guest

    Thank you all for the wonderful responses. I'm happy to report that I
    seem to be on the right trail based on all the suggestions, but still
    not achieving what I hope to. Some answers/notes inline below...

    Using a Dell FP1905 flat panel, my amateur calibration effort was made
    using's Monitor Calibration Wizard 1.0
    sRGB (now thinking that maybe there are some implications here which I'm
    not grasping??)
    adobe RGB
    (I had previously tried Raw Essentials 2005 but there was no support for
    Pentax istDL Raw. Thanks to Mark's mention of it again, I went back...
    low and behold, RSE 2006 is available, and conversion for Pentax istDL
    works fine now!)
    I have - "ask when opening" for mismatches and missing profiles, at
    which point I choose "open with Adobe RGB"
    since your comment, i have tinkered with paper settings, still not
    achieiving what I hope.
    ink in printer is Canon branded ink
    I did try printing a different photo (same red shirt, same
    shoot/lighting) on Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy as per canon's [hidden]
    documentation I found at:
    where they instruct to disable color management for the print space in
    PS and let the printer driver handle it. Most of the blues and greens
    looked nice, and the red shirt seemed to retain an acceptable level of
    color - but my son's face (skin tone) was overly red - not natural.
    Adjusting to fix the redness in the face results in losing the redness
    in the shirt
    I think i have a handle on making sure that either the printer or PS
    does color management (not both). I've tried various settings, various
    adjustments - still haven't gotten it. I did find this thread on which seems to represent the problem I am trying to work

    I think it is good that what I see on the monitor is pretty darn close
    to what comes out of the printer - I suppose that's exactly how it is
    supposed to work! What I don't understand is why when I shift (either
    by doing profile->assign or view->proof colors) from Adobe RGB to each
    of the different canon profiles, there seems to be a significant color
    shift, almost like a "haze" over the image. No matter what adjustments
    I try, I can't seem to get "canon proof" to come close to the Adobe RGB
    If I do most of my adjustments in Raw Shooters Esentials, then convert
    to Adobe RGB and open in PS - things seem just fine. It's when I go to
    the canon profiles (even when specifying that in RSE) that I seem to be
    losing the "crispness, vividness, impact" of the colors that I can't
    seem to get back.


    Thanks again to all those who responded. I'll be reviewing the comments
    again with a fresh mind (and some daylight coming through the window) in
    the morning. Any other suggestions/thoughts - please keep them coming!

    - andy
    magicrat, Mar 8, 2006
  8. magicrat

    rafe b Guest

    On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 22:01:16 -0700, magicrat wrote"

    Try printing a reference image, like
    the photodisc test image.

    You need to break the problem down to
    see if it's a monitor-profile issue
    or a printer-profile issue.

    It shouldn't be that hard. Has the
    printer *ever* given good colors --
    or are you having problems with just
    this one image?

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 8, 2006
  9. I'm going to guess you haven't enough memory allocated to photoshop. If this
    is the case you'll need to add more memory, free up more memory, or reboot
    after making significant changes, otherwise it is possible the changes you
    make will be behind by two prints or more or not at all.
    =?iso-8859-1?Q?mark=5Fdigital=A9?=, Mar 8, 2006
  10. magicrat

    Tesco News Guest

    Hi again.

    You mention that your Monitor is showing pretty much the colours you are
    getting out of the Printer. That probably indicates that you are getting
    your Colour Management working, but it should really only be similar when
    you are using View - Proof.

    When you go to View - Proof, and use a Canon Printer Profile, you say the
    colours change. From your description I would say that you are getting an
    accurate view of what the printer will produce. Duller& slightly greyish.

    The difference between your normal Edit View and the Proof View is due
    largely to the fact that a Print is viewed by Reflected light. Proof View
    is attempting to replicate that effect while also limiting colours to the
    actual Colour Gamut of your Printer's Inks, and the surface colour of the

    This is very much what Proof is for, to show an approximation of what a
    Print will look like using that Printer and its Profile.

    Have you checked that the Canon Printer Profile you are using to print with
    is specific to your Printer Model, and the Paper in it.

    In XP go to Windows \ System 32 \ Spool \ Driver \ Colour, R. Click on the
    Profile, then on Properties and on the Profile Information Tab, you should
    see what Paper and Printer it is specified for.

    The only other part of your workflow that is dubious seems to be the opening
    of your image in PS, you should be "Assigning sRGB" and ticking the box to
    "Convert to Working Space", if it is coming in without a tagged profile.

    Or it might be worthwhile, meantime, to work in sRGB, so that you will
    prevent yourself from making any Assigning or Converting errors, until you
    have really got the hang of it all.

    There is a fairly simple workflow instruction with screen shots on the
    "Notices and Info" pages of my Camera Club website,
    Tesco News, Mar 8, 2006
  11. You say let printer driver determine colors, then you go on to set a
    profile in Photoshop and a rendering intent.
    So stop hosing us and tell us how to do that.
    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 9, 2006
  12. What do you think you learned there? Their complete section on printer
    settings to achieve color management was:

    "Hopefully the material presented in this essay has been helpful and
    improved your understanding of Photoshop's approach to managing colour.
    As noted throughout the essay there is vast body of material to be found
    all over the internet. A simple search using "" and the keys
    words color management is all that is required."

    And so it goes.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 9, 2006
  13. magicrat

    Don Guest

    Andy - Howdy, I am going to try Mark's methods to see how it works on my
    PIXMA 8500 however, you might simply try printing the shot from the Canon
    software that came with the printer. I assume you have Easy PhotoPrint. It
    works very well and is reasonably idiot proof for people like me (and
    perhaps you as well - grin). I also assume you are using canon ink and

    Don from Down Under.
    Don, Mar 9, 2006
  14. magicrat

    Tesco News Guest

    I think you should have another, closer, look. There are at least 7
    articles on Photoshop and CM and Printing,

    The "Basic Printing with PS 6" is a very good article for beginners and
    little of importance has changed in PS Print Dialogues since then.

    That site is where I learned pretty much everything I know about CM.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Mar 9, 2006
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