A Computer Darkroom Tutorial

This tutorial is intended to help simplify the process of printing from within Photoshop CS although it also applies to version 7.


Before we get into Photoshop and Print Driver configurations let's clarify a couple of matters that still confuse some users.

  1. The typical desktop inkjet printer from Canon, HP, Lexmark and Epson requires that your image be in RGB mode and not CMYK mode. The print drivers supplied with these printers are not designed to interpret CMYK image data and will therefore produce less than optimal results. This type of printer is often referred to as Non-Postscript although you may also see them referred to as GDI (Windows platform) or QuickDraw (Mac platform). 

  2. The colour gamut of an image displayed on a typical VDU whether it be a CRT or LCD cannot be fully replicated in print. We can often get close, but never an exact match, that is unless we manipulate the image such that the colour gamut is significantly reduced, and even then it's questionable.


Common Photoshop Settings

The initial screenshots used below are based upon the Mac OSX version of Photoshop CS but should provide more than ample guidance to anyone using any version of Windows or Mac OS9. The Windows, Mac OS 9 and OS X printer driver settings are available on dedicated pages.

In Photoshop CS the "File > Print" menu option no longer gives the user access to colour management settings. Not to worry - to gain access to the settings formerly found in the Print dialog we must now choose "File > Print with Preview". The new Print dialog (figure 2) will appear and we can begin the process of getting things configured so that Photoshop can print using the more familiar print dialog.

  • Begin by engaging the "Show More Options" checkbox.



Figure 2 Default Print Dialog


Notice that we now have a more extensive list of options available (figure 3), most of which are of no relevance to those users with the typical desktop inkjet printer.

  • Next click the popup labelled "Output" and choose "Colour Management". The dialog will quickly change form (see Figure 4 overleaf) and low and behold we're back with something similar to the print dialog with which we should all be familiar. We now have access to the essential colour management tools required to achieve high quality output.



Figure 3



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