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4.1 The Print Settings Dialogue Box

In this lesson you will begin to configure the various settings available in Photoshop's Print Settings dialogue box.

4.1 The Print Settings Dialogue Box

Welcome to Chapter 4. In this chapter, we're going to work on setting up our print settings for desktop printing. So in this lesson, we're going to be exploring the print settings dialogue box. Now, for our desktop printing, we'll be printing from a TIFF file as opposed to the JPEG that we saved previously. Now, because you saved the JPEG as a copy, after you press save, it actually sends you back to your TIFF file. So that's what you should be looking at right now. For desktop printing in general, you can leave the file in Adobe RGB (1998), and that's what we'll end up doing. In general, desktop printers are made to work from RGB data and they convert that data to CMYK themselves. So if you were to convert your file to CMYK yourself beforehand, your printer would convert it again, which can give you not so desirable results. Now, let's say we wanted to print an eight-by-ten of this photo. Go to file and then print. Now, these are the options that you would see for Photoshop CC. Now, the first thing you would want to do is make sure your printer is selected from the drop-down list here. And let's take a quick peek at print settings. And here it gives you different presets for the type of paper that you'll be using and also options for how many copies that you want, the paper size that you'll be printing on, and the layout of your document. We'll go ahead and select cancel. Your print settings can vary, depending on the printer that you're using. Now, let's look under the color management panel. This is a very important panel, because it's going to affect how your image is printed and how the colors are handled. Now, the first thing we're going to do under color handling is select Photoshop manages colors. It unlocks additional options for you to use, especially under printer profile. Now, here's a note of caution for those of you using Windows. You have more options for color management as opposed to Mac users, which can be a good thing, or it's something that could backfire on you. You can have Photoshop manage the colors for you, or you can have your printer do it, or you can have both of them do it, or you can choose to have neither of them handle the image colors. Be extra careful to select the appropriate settings in the print settings dialogue box, as well as the printer's settings dialogue box. Now, on the other hand, if you're using a Mac, which is what I'm on, and you choose to have Photoshop manage the colors for you, the printer's own color options are automatically locked out, and so we're not able to have both the printer and Photoshop manage the colors. Okay. You'll notice that the document profile says Adobe RGB (1998), which is exactly what we set it on previously. Now, here you'll see the printer profiles. You would select one of the profiles from this list. If your printer came with an ICC color profile, it would be at the top of this list most likely. If it's not, which is in my case, then some trial and error may come into play here. Now, let's talk about ICC profiles for a moment. So what are they? ICC profiles are a bundle of settings that handles the color management on your specific printer and it's supposed to help your printer get good accurate color. They're also known as canned or generic profiles. Sometimes these profiles are good and sometimes they can be improved upon. However, not all printers come with ICC profiles. And my HP inkjet printer, in my case, is in that group. HP, in particular, does not provide ICC profiles for many of its consumer-level inkjet printers, which is just something to keep in mind. However, I do very little printing from my inkjet myself, so that's okay. I'm usually sending my photos off to another printer. So let's explore some different scenarios then. You could use the profile that came with your printer. On newer Canon printers, for example, their ICC profiles are usually installed automatically when you install the software with the printer. So if you're using a Canon printer and you don't see any profiles in this drop-down list, try installing the latest driver for your printer. Now, this would be a similar case with Epson printers. Epson also has a page on their website where you can download very specific ICC profiles for specific papers. Now, if you don't have an ICC profile specific to your printer or your paper, which is in my case, you could play with trial and error with the color profiles that are present. As you can see, you're supplied with quite a few. Now, if you wanted to preview how these would look, you would select match print colors here at the bottom of the preview window, and after you do that, you can preview how your image will look with each printer profile. And so you would select the profile that looks the best to your human eye and then you would print that off and see how it prints. Now, the profile you select can vary, depending on the type of photo that you're printing, such as if it has highly saturated colors or a high amount of shadows. Now, as another option, if you're doing a sizable amount of desktop printing, you would want to use custom profiling equipment to create custom ICC profiles that work well with your printer and paper, or you could find a custom profile online. There are many color profiles available, including those from third-party manufacturers and commercial printers that can be installed manually. So, very quickly, I'm going to walk you through the process of how to install a custom ICC profile. The main thing to keep in mind is that after you download it, that ICC profile needs to be placed in the correct folder within your software so that it can be detected. First we'll walk through an example for Photoshop Creative Cloud on a Mac, and then I'll give you an overview of how to install it on Windows. For the purposes of this course, we'll head over to redrivercatalog.com. And I'm gonna head over to their support menu. And within support, I'm going to select color profiles. And here you see they make available a nice long list of ICC profiles, depending on the printer that you have. And so you would select the profile that matches your printer. For example purposes, I'm going to go ahead and select this HP Photosmart 5520 profile, and then you would select the type of paper that you will be using for your print job. I'll go ahead and select the first one here, the UltraPro Gloss. And this is the profile bundled into a zip file. And so I'm going to save that file to my computer. And then you want to locate that file to wherever you saved it from. In my case, it's in my downloads folder. And here you will see it's in a zip file. Now, after you've downloaded the file, you want to unzip it. And so I did that here on my Mac by double-clicking on the zipped file. In here I have the contents. First you'll see that we have instructions for the profile, so this is not part of the profile itself. It's just the instructions. And the file ending in dot ICM is the actual profile. And so this is what we'll be working with. And so now I'm going to copy and paste this file. So I'll copy it first. And I could also click and drag. And now I'm going to head over to my profiles folder. And so on my Mac, I am going to head over to my library and then color sync and then my profiles folder. This is where I would paste that file ending in dot ICM. Now, if you're using a Mac that runs on OS 10.7 or later, the profiles folder may be locked by default, meaning you won't be able to paste into it. And if this is the case, then you'll need to be an admin. Go to profiles, and then get info, and then you would select the unlock icon on the very bottom. And when you do that, it's going to ask you for your name and your password. And so after you give that, then you will be able to change the folder access state to read and write. And so as you see here for me, I am able to both read and write to this folder. And at this point you would need to restart Photoshop. And then your profile should be available and ready to go from within the print settings dialog box. Here are instructions if you're using Windows. First you would download the file and make sure to unzip that file by right-clicking on it and then extracting all. And then you would locate that profile on your computer. Now, on the file ending in dot ICM, you would right-click on it and select install profile. At this point it may appear that nothing has happened, but your system has actually copied that profile to the folder where it needs to be, and then you would need to restart Photoshop and then that profile would be available to you. And so there's a run-through for installing custom ICC profiles onto your computer. And we'll go ahead and select 16-bit data for this. And next let's move on to rendering intent. And, as you can see, it has relative colorimetric selected by default. Rendering intent is how your printer handles the colors in your color space and also those colors that are out of gamut. So for a relative colorimetric, it looks at the white of the source color space and destination color space and shifts the colors in the image accordingly. It preserves more of your original colors, and it moves the out-of-gamut colors to the closest reproducible color. Many times this option will work for you. However, another popular option is the perceptual rendering intent. Now, with the perceptual, it preserves the visual relationship between your colors. You color values may change, but it tries to keep the image natural-looking to the human eye. If you want to preserve the shadows in your image or highly saturated areas of color, perceptual is the better option and is known for handling that more successfully. For this photo, we'll go ahead and select relative colorimetric. And we'll make sure that black point compensation is selected. Now, let's scroll down a bit, and you'll notice that they have a module for scaling the print size of your image. Now, we're not going to mess with this, because previously we already cropped and adjusted the resolution of our image. And so you want to leave the scale to fit media box unchecked. It should say 100% in the box underneath scale. And just a quick reminder that you do not want to scale your image within this print setting dialogue box because it's not best practice. If your image is too small, then it can become pixelated when you print it out. And if your image is too large, then it can become over-sharpened when you print it out. And so simply clicking the scale to fit media box can give you undesirable results with the resolution and crispness of your image. And that brings us to the end of this lesson. In this lesson, we began exploring the Photoshop print settings dialogue box. In our next lesson, we'll continue on and explore the print marking settings in this dialogue box.

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