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1.3 What Kind of Printing

In this lesson you'll learn about different color spaces and how they come into play with printing, as well as the specific printing scenarios we will explore in this course.

1.3 What Kind of Printing

In this lesson, we're going to talk about the different color spaces as well as what kind of printing scenarios we will be covering in this course. So when we work with photos, we're using the RGB color space, also known as red, green, and blue. And they all mix together to make white. This is known as the additive color space. However, the printing process uses CMYK, or cyan, magenta, and yellow and black. This is the subtractive color space. Our goal is to match as closely as possible what we see on our monitors with what we print on paper. Let's talk about the different kinds of printing. First we'll talk about offset printing. Offset printing, also known as offset lithography, is the mass production technique in which an image is photographically transferred to plates and then is transferred or offset to a sheet of rubber or plastic referred to as a blanket. And then it's transferred again to the material of choice, in this case, paper. It consistently outputs high-quality work. And then we have digital printing. Digital printing is an encompassing term that refers to the printing of a digital image created in desktop publishing software, such as Photoshop or InDesign, onto your selected media. It includes both inkjet and laser printing. It's the process in which a digital-based image is printed directly to paper from a machine. No plate is used, such as with offset printing, and it's handy for small print runs. Now let's talk about inkjet printing specifically. Inkjet printing is a type of digital printing technique in which ink from the nozzles or jets of cartridges is sprayed directly onto paper and is most often done from your computer at home or in your office. Most common is for there to be a black cartridge, along with a cartridge that carries the pigments cyan, magenta, and yellow, although there are separate cartridges for each of these pigments as well. And let's briefly touch on laser printing. Although we won't be covering laser printing in this course, it's good to know. Laser printing is a digital printing process by which a laser beam passes back and forth over a negatively charged cylindrical drum to portray the positively charged image. Electrically charged toner, or powdered ink, is then collected by the drum and transferred to the paper, which is fused with the image. Throughout the course, we'll be keeping three different printing scenarios in mind. So the first scenario will be printing with your own desktop inkjet printer. In this case, you'd be using some type of inkjet paper. This usually involves RGB printing, where the print drivers often convert the file to CMYK for you. This typically gives you better results than if you submitted a CMYK file yourself, because many inkjet print drivers will want to convert it to RGB and then back to CMYK, which can alter your image with sometimes undesirable results. Our second scenario is when you're sending your image out to print to a large online digital press company, such as MpixPro, Bay Photo, or AdoramaPix, where you have a large array of papers available to you. This option is most likely what people will use most of the time. This can involve submitting your file in either RGB or CMYK, and it depends on the specific company and if they prefer to handle the CMYK conversion for you. And the third scenario that we'll keep in mind throughout this course is when you're working with your printer on larger jobs, such as catalogs, which would most likely use offset printing where your paper choice can vary. It can range from high-quality coated glossy paper to thinner matte stock. In this case, communication with your printer is the most important thing. Often, they will tell tell you what settings they prefer up-front and will be happy when you ask, especially because the job can be so large that you don't want to risk messing it up. These jobs usually involve submitting a file in CMYK. I want to stress that regarding CMYK versus RGB, the most important thing is to check with your printer for specifics, in any case. More and more these days, I'm seeing both CMYK and RGB requirements. For example, MpixPro specifically requests files in RGB, because they prefer to convert the files to CMYK themselves. All right. We're at the end of this lesson. We covered the different color spaces as well as the three different print scenarios we will be keeping in mind for this course. In our next lesson, we're going to discuss the different types of paper and how they can affect print quality.

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