Well the engineers and interface gurus at Adobe must have been
reading the same article because the print workflow within Photoshop
CS2 has undergone a very significant overhaul. In this tutorial I will
discuss these changes in detail, so that by the time you finish reading
it you too will be an expert in Photoshop print colour management
However, before I get into describing the various Photoshop and
Print Driver configurations I need to clarify two aspects of print
making that still seem to confuse a lot of Photoshop users:
Desktop inkjet printers from Epson, Canon, Hewlett
Packard, et al may use CMYK or CcMmYK coloured inks but this doesn't
make them CMYK printers. Occasionally you'll see this type of printer
referred to as Non-Postscript, but more often they'll be described as
GDI (Windows platform) or QuickDraw (Mac platform) printers. The
reason I stress this point so much is that the device drivers
supplied with these printers are not designed to interpret CMYK data.
So any attempt to produce a CMYK print directly from a desktop
inkjet printer will result in disappointment.
The image displayed on a typical computer monitor
whether it be a CRT or LCD cannot be fully replicated in print. Yes
we can often get close but an exact match is rarely if ever possible.
Note that while the initial screenshots used for this
tutorial are based upon the Mac OSX version of Photoshop CS2 they
should still provide more than ample guidance those of you using either
Windows 2000 or XP. Nevertheless, the actual printer driver screenshots
are OS specific; therefore I've included separate instructions for both
Mac and Windows versions. These instructions and screenshots are based
on the Epson Stylus Photo R2400, but should be compatible with most
other current models from Epson.
language translation of this essay is available from
An Adobe Acrobat version of this
tutorial can be downloaded by clicking the Acrobat icon
Producing an Inkjet Print
As I mentioned at the outset Adobe has made some very
significant changes to the Print with Preview dialog, alas I
fear that many of these changes will likely lead to even more confusion
than previous attempts to simplify printing from within Photoshop.
Photoshop CS2 has five Print menu options: Page
Setup, Print, Print with Preview, Print One Copy
and Print Online. By-the-way, the Print menu option opens the
"System" print dialog, which means that none of Photoshop's print
colour management options are available. I just thought I'd mention
that because you would not believe the number of folk who still contact
me asking were all the colour setting have gone. Anyway, this tutorial
will be concentrate on Print with Preview, which is where the
printer colour settings have lived since Photoshop 7.
The Print with Preview menu option is only
available for selection when an image is open on your desktop so if
you're following along I suggest that you open an image now. Figure 1
below shows the default view of Print with Preview.
Figure 1 - Photoshop CS2 Print
If you've been using an earlier version of Photoshop
you'll immediately notice that we now have a more extensive and very
different list of options available. Firstly, the Color
Management settings are now shown by default, although you can
change this if you wish. Anyway, to keep things simple I will focus on
the Print and Options sections of the dialog. I will also
try to explain the meaning of each option, and hopefully give you
better idea why certain combinations will work and others don't: -
Document: denotes the ICC profile embedded
within or assigned to the document to be printed. The example shown
in figure 1 shows ProPhoto RGB, but it could be any number of user
specified alternatives (e.g. sRGB, Adobe RGB (1998), ColorMatch). If
the image has already been converted (i.e. using the Photoshop
Convert to Profile command) to a printer/media profile this will
be the colour space reflected here. It's actually a good way of
double checking that you haven't mistakenly converted the image
Proof: this field will normally display as
(Profile: N/A). Once it's activated via the radio-button it tells
Photoshop to convert the image on-the-fly from the
image source colour space to the destination ICC profile shown in
brackets. You can only alter the destination profile from within the
Proof Setup dialog (see: Photoshop View menu). Also, note that
you'll only ever need to use this option if you are intending to make
Hard Proofs or Match Prints (i.e. trying to emulate another printer
such as a press), therefore I don't intend to discuss this workflow
further in this tutorial.
Color Handling - this is the new pop-up
menu from which you choose the preferred method of managing
colour when printing. By adopting this approach Adobe have separated
the workflow aspects of printing from the media choices. In
theory this should make life easier for the user, but only time will
tell us whether it has. There are four different choices: Let
Printer Determine Colors, Let Photoshop Determine Colors,
Separations, and No Color Management. Each of these
choices has its own associated preset configuration in the Print
with Preview dialog thereby helping you avoid erroneous settings.
Printer Profile - as its name implies this is
the pop-up menu form which you choose the ICC profile associated with
the printer/media combination you'll be using. This pop-up will only
be active when the Let Photoshop Determine Colors is selected
in the Color Handling pop-up.
Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation
- again, depending upon your choice in Color Handling one or
both of these settings may be greyed out.
Proof Setup Preset - by default this pop-up
menu is greyed out and will only be activated when the Proof
radio button is selected. As mentioned above this option is normally
only used when simulating or proofing other output devices such as a
Description - this is a useful addition to the
Print with Preview dialog in so far as it provides short explanations
for each of the settings and options. The description itself is
triggered when you hover the mouse cursor over the various buttons
and popups (e.g. Color Handling, Rendering Intent, Black Point
It's all about Workflow
There are four choices or more accurately workflow
options contained within the Color Handling pop-up. However,
this tutorial will only discuss three of them, leaving the fourth (i.e.
Separations) for others to explain.
The default configuration for the Print with Preview
dialog is shown below as Figure 2. Notice that Color Handling is
set to Let Printer Determine Colors. For the purpose of this
tutorial we'll call this setting Print Workflow 1.
If you've just upgraded to Photoshop CS2 from an
earlier version then Let Printer Determine Colors is the direct
equivalent of Printer Color Management in Photoshop 7 and CS.
Let Printer Determine Colors is probably the easiest and safest
choice for new Photoshop users or those who are not yet familiar with
how to integrate printer ICC media profiles into their workflow.
When you choose Let Printer Determine Colors
you're in fact informing Photoshop that the document should be passed
directly to printer driver complete with details of the ICC profile
listed against Document. Photoshop will not make any adjustments
to the document colours nor will it take any account of the media
specified in your printer driver. By tagging the document with the ICC
profile Photoshop is providing the printer driver with all the
information required to ensure accurate colour rendering of the print.
The document colour management is handled solely by the printer driver.
Figure 2 - Print Workflow 1
Tip: Depending upon your printer model it is
possible that Rendering Intent may not be active for this
workflow. Even if it is active there is every possibility that the
printer driver will ignore your choice and use Perceptual, but don't
worry either way.
This workflow is really intended for the more
advanced/demanding Photoshop worker who needs total control of how
their documents are rendered to print. With Color Handling set
to Let Photoshop Determine Colors you are able to choose:
specific ICC media profiles, the Rendering Intent, and whether
or not Black Point Compensation is to be used. Trying to relate
this particular option back to earlier versions of Photoshop is
difficult because there was no direct equivalent.
When Let Photoshop Determine Colors is selected
you'll immediately be given access to the Printer Profile
pop-up. By default the profile shown in this pop-up is the Working
RGB profile (defined in Photoshop Color Settings), but
you'll very seldom want to leave it at Working RGB. It's
important that your actual choice of Printer Profile matches the
media and printer model that you'll be using otherwise poor quality
prints are almost a certainty. The best quality will be obtained when
you use an ICC media profile, which has been created for your specific
printer. These can be created by you using specialist software/hardware
or purchased from a third party.
Tip: Many Epson printers are now supplied
complete with ICC media profiles for a range of media types although
with some models you may have to install the PIM driver (see the
cd-rom supplied with your printer) before they become available.
Figure 3 - Print Workflow 2
Notice that once a printer profile is selected both
Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation" (BPC) are
activated. Generally you'll want to use Perceptual or
Relative Colorimetric, and have BPC checked. It's worth
noting that with many of the newer models from Epson (e.g. 2100, 2200,
R800, etc.) it is probable that choosing Relative Colorimetric
will produce the more pleasing prints.
Tip: The important point to note about this
workflow is that your printer driver MUST be configured so
that ALL colour management features are disabled. Often you'll
see this workflow referred to as the No Color Adjustment (NCA)
workflow, but as we'll see later Epson have made changes to their
recent drivers that may render the term NCA obsolete.
The final workflow choice is No Color Management.
This particular workflow is primarily intended for Photoshop users who
are creating customised ICC media profiles or printing the multi-patch
targets for others to create them on their behalf. It's NOT
recommended when printing normal documents. If you've just upgraded to
Photoshop CS2 from an earlier version then No Color Management
is the direct equivalent of Same As Source in Photoshop 7 and
CS. With this choice Photoshop simply passes the document
straight to the printer driver without making any colour adjustments or
conversions. There will be no ICC profile embedded in the image, so
this option is effectively telling Photoshop to NOT colour
manage the process of printing the document.
Figure 4 - Print Workflow 3
Tip: As with Print Workflow 2 it is important
that your printer driver is configured so that ALL colour
management features are disabled. I'll show this can be achieved
later in the tutorial.
Once the Print with Preview dialog has been
configured to suit your requirements it's time to press the Print
Tip: by holding down the Alt/Option keyboard
button you will find that the Done button changes to
Remember. Using this keyboard modifier will allow you to save the
Print with Preview settings for future use.
For more details on how to configure the Printer driver
you should follow one of the links shown below. Each link will take you
to an Operating System specific set of instructions. Alternatively you
can simply press the arrow button at the bottom of the page and
progress to the next page (the Mac OSX driver is discussed on page 2
and the Windows XP driver on page 3)
Epson Printer Driver
Settings for Mac OS X
Epson Printer Driver
Settings for Microsoft Windows
Whilst on the subject of things Colour Management I
think it's worth mentioning a book "Color
Management for Photographers" by Andrew Rodney (aka as
the Digital Dog). This book contains a wealth of useful information,
tips, tricks and tutorials. Better still it's right up to date in that
it covers all of the changes made in Photoshop CS2. I was privileged to
have the opportunity to review the book prior to publication and would
have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone interested in learning
more about the practical issues of colour management facing
photographers. Copies can be obtained from