Colour Management – Part Four
Printing with Photoshop Elements
This is the big one!! The reason I say this is because the Printer Driver – that’s the software that actually does the printing- varies from type to type. What you see on screen is not standard and the degree of control you have in the driver varies. It’s also possible that even for the same manufacturer the Printer Driver has changed from model to model and from revision to revision. This means in the follow text you will come across a few ‘may’, ‘might’ and ‘depends’
The starting point then is the settings within Elements that you all need consider but first some general information.
Images to be printed have to go through the translation process to change the colour data in the original image to that needed by the printer. This is the basis of colour management. Unlike the display, where the Colour Management (i.e the data translation) is performed by Elements, two possibilities exist when printing.
What you must not do is allow both to happen.
Next point is that it’s quite common for people to compare what they see on the screen with the print. Now, lets assume that you’ve got all the Colour Management process in place – it is still possible to notice differences. One factor that contributes to this is the fact that displays transmit light and prints are viewed by reflected light. This means that print colours can be vary dependent on the colour of the light we use to view them. If you set your screen to represent daylight colours then you should use the same daylight to view the prints. Prints may also take some time to dry during which the colours can change – so patience may be needed.
It’s also possible that despite the best endeavours of the Colour Management process there are just simply some colours your printer cannot reproduce – close but not 100%.
Elements Print Options
There are two places from where you can print – either the Organiser or the Editor and there are some subtle differences between the two which I’ll highlight. I’m not going to explain the layout options but only those features that relate to Colour Management.
When you go to print from the Editor you will see this pop-up window. In truth to see this exact window you need to click on the ‘Show More Options’ checkbox, which will then bring up the Colour Management options.
If you can remember back to the basic principles of colour management you need at least two profiles for Colour Management to work correctly: One profile in the image and one profile for where ever it’s going – in this case the printer
Source Space – this will tell you the Colour Profile or Colour Space of the image you are trying to print. If you’ve followed the previous advice it should say sRGB IEC61966-2.1. What you don’t want to see is the word Untagged or anything that mentions Monitor.
Printer Profile – this is where you get to choose the correct printer profile for your printer and paper combination and this is where things get hard to describe because there are many, many different makes of printer and some provide profiles and some don’t. I’m afraid you’ll need to read your manual to see what your printer comes with.
Click on the drop down box against Printer Profile and you’ll get a list of available profiles to choose from – but which one!! What you see below is the top of the list on my PC – there are actually more. Most of these you do not want to use but there are a couple that you may have to resort to.
As soon as you select a Printer Profile the grayed out Rendering Intent Box will become active allowing you to choose from 1 of 4 options. Rendering Intent provides some instructions to the Colour Management engine on how to translate the colours from one space to another. Specifically it will provide options on what to do with those colours in the Source Space that are not possible in the destination space – in this case the Printer.
The four options are:-
Within the Organiser the print dialog is slightly different and to get to the Colour Management options you click on the More Options button. You will then see the Print Space option box.
There are two noticeable difference in using the Print Space settings here. The ‘Printer Colour Management’ option is missing for some reason. If this is what you need then you will have to print from the Editor. Otherwise the options are as for the Editor. Also, once you select a Profile you have no option for Rendering Intent.