Convert to printer's color space for final editing to make full use of printer gamut?

Started Sep 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Joe0Bloggs Veteran Member • Posts: 5,391
Convert to printer's color space for final editing to make full use of printer gamut?

In my previous thread people told me not to convert to the printer's color space before printing, but to let the print module handle the conversion. But right now I'm finding the following workflow to work best for me: (not trying to dismiss the experts' advice, it just seems like I'm on to something here)

1. Convert the document to the printer / paper's color space (I used proof colors to determine the best rendering intent to use)

2. Proof colors using the same profile, with simulate paper color turned on (otherwise colors appear too saturated)

(for a matte paper the proof with simuate paper was too washed out while for a glossy paper the effect was just right. I suspect these issues will go away with proper custom profiles. If not, I found that adjusting the black point in the monitor driver gave a compensation for the matte paper that was just right.)

3. Edit the image to compensate for any undesirable color shifts.

4. Print (photoshop managing colors and printing to the same output color space the document already is in)

Advantage of proof colors with simulate paper: for a wide gamut printing space not much will change but if you are printing to a narrow gamut like cmyk on matte, you will see the extensive modifications made by photoshop to suit the output space more clearly. If simulate paper isn't on, and if the paper has a high black point (or if the profile *thinks* the paper has a high black point) dark colors will be oversaturated onscreen. These differences will be reflected to some extent in the print, so a simulate paper with the same appearance of blacks (via a correct paper profile or in one case for me a temporary hack using the display driver) is critical for previewing print saturation.

Advantage of converting to printer color space for editing: the rgb values of the document will cover the full gamut of the printer, no more, no less. You can now pull levels, curves, saturation, etc. and know exactly how much data you are clipping in the final print. I found for example that an image converted to my print color space had much sparse dark tones than the original srgb document, and was able to compress them intelligently knowing exactly what tradeoff I'm making in shadow tonal range vs black blacks.

If I made saturation-increasing adjustments, the colors can now expand to fill the whole printable gamut, no more, no less. You could also make use of the whole printer gamut by editing in a large working space like ProPhoto, but then much of the space would be out of the printer's gamut and the only indication would be the soft proof or gamut warning blinkies. No indication via clipped rgb values. You would also be at the mercy of the conversion engine as to how to convert out of gamut colors--and I found that for narrow output gamuts, even absolute colorimetric bends in gamut colors as well. As you make various adjuatments in your working space to suit the image for printing, it may no longer be suitable for monitor display in srgb or argb anyway--so why not convert directly into the output color space and get full control of your colors?

I know what I'm saying won't be taken seriously as long as I haven't calibrated my monitor and papers, so I'll be getting a colormunki next Monday. In the meantime, I invite the gurus here to try this workflow on narrow gamut printing and see if I'm full of s**t or if I may be onto something

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