- Introduction, 15 minutes
- Printing Demo, Adjustment Layers, Colour Range, 30 minutes
- Work Period, Finalizing image and adjusting, 90–100 minutes
- Printed Image discussion, 30 minutes
- Adjustments Layers, Grouping Layers
- Colour Range tool
- Image Discussion
In this class, we will be discussing the printing process for an illustration. This is especially important if you are interested in making your own prints where you have the opportunity to tightly control the output. This is also an important process if you have the opportunity to adjust the colour of the final output, say, with the printer for a children’s’ book.
On Gamuts and Colour Systems
Colours on the screen are much different than the colours in print. RGB is a colour system for subtractive colour, as in lights and illuminated displays, and CMYK is for additive colour, as in printing and inks.
A gamut is the range of colour that can be reproduced. RGB has the largest range of colour aside from human vision, and CMYK is more limited.
You may have heard of the term Pantone. Pantone is a proprietary colour matching system mainly for printing (think of colour chips for house paints). It can provide references to specific colours across a range of media, from printing to car colours. This system can reproduce specific colours with more vibrancy by using custom inks outside of CMYK.
On working in RGB or CMYK
Many will say that the file should be converted to CMYK, but in my opinion, many printers have their own embedded RGB to CMYK conversion, so I often leave my file in RGB and leave the conversion to the specific printer.
If you must, a good default is the profile: ISO Coated v2 or Coated FOGRA39. Even better would be to ask the printer, if you are working with one, what CMYK profile to choose. This link is good for further information
- The file should be at its print size at 300 dpi resolution
- Flatten the image and “Save a Copy” as a Photoshop PDF
- The colour will always have differences between screen and print, the latter usually less bright.
Demo: Adjustment Layers and Printing
- Download the Demo File
- Open the file in Photoshop
- Review the file and layers
- Print out a copy (File>Print; choose appropriate page size (letter) and printer), and retrieve it
- Under a bright light, carefully review the overall image and the colours:
- Overall, is it too dark or light?
- Overall, is it too grey/desaturated, or too vibrant?
- What specific colours are important to reproduce? How can you adjust it to be closer to what you need?
- Create a new group, the folder icon, beside the new layer icon, and rename it something like “Printing Adjustments”
- With the group selected, click on the icon with the circle divided in half, to create an Adjustment Layer and scroll down to “Levels…”
- In the “Properties” Palette, you can now adjust the levels. I’ve used the highlight slider to make the image brighter
- I find the image too red, so I make another Adjustment Layer, but I now choose “Colour Balance” and shift to the “Green”, away from “Red”
- I want to make the yellows pop so I create a new Adjustment Layer and use the “Colour Range Tool” (under Select>Colour Range) and select the yellow using the Eyedropper and Eyedropper+ Tool. I then adjust it to create a brighter yellow.
- Do a test print
- Make as many test prints and adjustment layers until you are satisfied.
- Once you have finalized your image, save a copy of it, open it up, flatten it and resave to a “Photoshop PDF”. This file is now ready to be sent for print.
- You may have to repeat this process if the proofs from the printer do not match your expectations.
You can also use Adjustment Layers for your illustration and not only for printing.
- Take about 90 minutes to finalize your selected image to present. Let me know of any technical difficulties.
- Once you are finished, let me know and we will send it to print.
- Each student can do an initial test print and one final print, so two colour prints in total. Max total for class: 35 copies (70 cents a page) so each student can print 2 (maybe 3) copies.
- Adjust colours according to demo
- Do a final print
Each student has about 2 to 3 minutes to discuss their image.
- What were your intentions and objectives?
- What do you like about this image? What do you think works? What can use improvement?
- What was challenging about creating the image?
- How does using Photoshop work with your own process?