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Image colors very different when printing from Photoshop

New Here ,
Oct 17, 2016 Oct 17, 2016

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Hello!

I am designing shirts for my husband and his buddies for the Harry Potter Festival this weekend and am having issues with my output.  I have created pretty basic, designs and when I attempt to print to my Epson C88+ which has a continuous ink system, the prints are very dark and not even close to my design.  I have spent many hours now in different forums, changing color management settings, settings both in Photoshop(CS5.1) and on my printer and have had no luck in achieving anything even close to my design.  I understand that what is on my screen may not be exact given that I am not printing on a high-tech press or anything, but I have to believe there is something I'm missing and there is a fix to this.  Any assistance would be very helpful and welcome.  Thanks in advance!

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

Inkjet printers do their own conversion to CMYK, so they should be fed RGB files.

Also, they usually have a wider color gamut than traditional CMYK, especially those that use six or eight colors.

In any case, any conversion to CMYK should be done using the proper profile for the output device - there is no such thing as "generic" CMYK - different profiles will produce very different results.

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Community Expert , Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

KShinabery212 wrote:

Make sure you are working in CYMK or at least convert the RGB image to CMYK.

No, modern inkjet printers have a wider gamut then that what is possible in CMYK. They are approaching the RGB target with those 6+ colours. CMYK is only used with professional printing services like offset. And even there, you won't convert anymore all your pictures as modern RIPs can do that and more adapted to the specific printer.

I use CMYK when I need to get a clean K, and only then. Most of my p

...

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Community Expert ,
Oct 17, 2016 Oct 17, 2016

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These are complex issues, as you have no doubt discovered!

Bear in mind that the colors that appear on your monitor in RGB will be much brighter, particularly oranges and greens, than can be reproduced in CMYK.

You should be working in (say) sRGB color space and allow your printer's software to do the conversion.

You can soft proof from Photoshop so you can get an idea onscreen of how it might print.

Is there a printer profile you can download from Epson?

Have you calibrated your monitor? If your printer is printing very dark your monitor may be too bright.

Just a few ideas.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 18, 2016 Oct 18, 2016

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This is a calibration problem. Your screen displays colours not only in an other system (RGB) as your printer (CMYK+other colours if it is a photo printer), but even if you work in the same system, like having 2 screens of the same make and model, you may have differences in colour and lightness.

The solution to this is calibration. You (using a a calibration program and some special hardware) measure the colours reproduced and adapt some tables, that are used to translate the colours from one media to an other. This is complex and even pros are not always doing a good job here.

To complicate the situation for prints, calibration is paper and ink dependant.

If you are in a controlled environment, ie it's your screen and printer, then you can try to adapt the pictures in a way, that the print is looking correct. To be clear: this is absolutely an amateurish behaviour and should be replaced as soon as possible with a calibrated workflow. Anyhow, consumer printers are optimized for sRGB colour space and RGB printing. The printer and driver are using all the necessary measures to convert such an image to a correct paper image. You still need to select the correct paper and type for the print job! And if you are using a paper that is not listed by the printer driver, you need to load the correct colour tables for that paper, when they exist. In this case you only need to provide a good RGB image.

If you are taking your design to an outside printer service, you absolutely need to make sure that you meet the correct and required parameters. Probably, by adapting your image to your printer using the correct paper parameters and the sRGB colour space, an outside print will not differ much. I still recommend doing a test print. At the end, it will be cheaper then to shredder all the prints. A test print may be a picture with stripes of different brightnesses. In the good old times a similar system was used to find out the correct parameters for classic photo developing. Also, a serious service provider will give some guidance on how to prepare the picture and will check if it is correct.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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New Here ,
Oct 18, 2016 Oct 18, 2016

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It looks like the problem may be that I do not have the proper ICC printer profiles.  They are not available on the Epson website.  I'm running Windows 10, so we're looking to see if maybe that is the issue.  Hopefully we can find a fix and that cures the problem!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 18, 2016 Oct 18, 2016

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All the matters mentioned effect color, so there's little point in installing printer profiles if your monitor hasn't been calibrated. And if the continuous ink system inks haven't been made by Epson this can effect the color as well.

The ColorMunki is quite a good bit of kit for calibrating your monitors and producing your own ICC printers profiles:

Amazon.com : X-Rite ColorMunki Photo (CMUNPH) : Digital Camera Accessory Kits : Camera & Photo

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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Make sure you are working in CYMK or at least convert the RGB image to CMYK.

Now your colors may never be perfect unless you are printing from home.  Because you need to calibrate your monitor and the printer to match.  When you go to another place to have your images printed there may be also differences in the colors (again this is because of calibration differences).

If you share the design, maybe one of the ACPs can give you an idea of how to really calibrate everything better.  Usually my colors are nearly spot on.  But I have run into this problem when I was younger.  It is all trial and error.  It is frustrating.... I know.  But once you figure out your monitor and printer you will be happier.

Just be glad that you are not working on a project for a company like Coca-Cola who has to have the exact shade of RED.  Of course then they are using professional printers to replicate their colors perfectly.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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"Make sure you are working in CYMK or at least convert the RGB image to CMYK."

This is a bizarre suggestion. Converting RGB to CMYK is the worst possible workflow!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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Derek....

Actually it is not the worst advice.

As an artist you may create artwork that original starts out as RGB for projects that will be airred on television or go online.  But eventually these projects may need to be printed out.  Thus, you would have to convert them to CYMK or at least should.

Example... I worked for Nickelodeon on a show called U-Pick Live.  During this time I created some graphics for on-air that of course were created in RGB.  Later I wanted to have some of these graphics for my print portfolio, so I converted them.

Also I have had a couple of publishers ask me for work that was originally in RGB for publishing and I converted them.  Granted I have also printed things that were not converted as well.  If you go to a professional printer and not Kinko's they can usually make the adjustments for you.

The thing is you never know how you will use a graphic in the future.

Another example or an issue we ran into at the Adobe Creative Meet Up Conference that I planned this summer.... we had a company produce 16 large scale illuminated versions of designs from artists who took part in the art gallery.  Well, sometimes when we create graphics we only think in the present so we may create a piece that is a certain size without thinking that it may need to be blown up in the future.  Needless to say we had to be very picky on the images we blew up. Now I think in more than one direction... if I am creating a graphic I tend to make it bigger than needed so it can be scaled down or scaled up.

Like I said... one may or may not know how something will be used in the future... yes it may need to be converted and yes it may need to be resized.  You never know how things will be used later on.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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KShinabery212 wrote:

As an artist you may create artwork that original starts out as RGB for projects that will be airred on television or go online.  But eventually these projects may need to be printed out.  Thus, you would have to convert them to CYMK or at least should.

Example... I worked for Nickelodeon on a show called U-Pick Live.  During this time I created some graphics for on-air that of course were created in RGB.  Later I wanted to have some of these graphics for my print portfolio, so I converted them.

Never convert an image to CMYK for generic use - it's absolutely essential to use the correct profile for the press/paper combination. Using the wrong profile can cause results you are not happy with.

You can work on an RGB image in Photoshop with a CMYK preview (View > Proof Setup), but again, it requires that you are using the correct CMYK profile. The printer should be able to tell you which one to use, or provide you with it if it's a customized profile.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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The current algorithm in Photoshop for blowing up pictures is the best I have seen since the early PS versions. And yes, creating a bigger artwork may be a good idea, but this is about colours and inkjet printing. We are not talking about offset printing here.

The only current reason, I my have to use CMYK is, when I need a clean black in offset.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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New Here ,
May 09, 2019 May 09, 2019

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HI, i got a problem with printing Photo. I adjusted to CMYK, but still facing that the photo on my computer and other devices like iPhone, laptop look bright and colorfull, but on printed photo durk and grayish. I do not print photo at home, I print them in a photo lab. How can I setup settings in Photoshop that are sutable for others printers? Thank you.

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2019 May 09, 2019

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Are you printing to a printer from Photoshop or are you sending your picture to a Lab who prints it for you?

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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Inkjet printers do their own conversion to CMYK, so they should be fed RGB files.

Also, they usually have a wider color gamut than traditional CMYK, especially those that use six or eight colors.

In any case, any conversion to CMYK should be done using the proper profile for the output device - there is no such thing as "generic" CMYK - different profiles will produce very different results.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2016 Oct 19, 2016

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KShinabery212 wrote:

Make sure you are working in CYMK or at least convert the RGB image to CMYK.

No, modern inkjet printers have a wider gamut then that what is possible in CMYK. They are approaching the RGB target with those 6+ colours. CMYK is only used with professional printing services like offset. And even there, you won't convert anymore all your pictures as modern RIPs can do that and more adapted to the specific printer.

I use CMYK when I need to get a clean K, and only then. Most of my pictures stay in RGB and are happy as such.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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New Here ,
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019

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Yes indeed.I have had the same problem over the years with different printers.Like you I have spent hours  & hours in the various settings to no avail.IMO,Calibrating the monitor with hardware such spider etc may be of limited benefit.The best solution I have found is to print the photoshop saved file with the original printer software that came bundled on the printer cd.Using the original printer manufacturers software is designed pacifically for YOUR printer.In my experiences ,no other software (even photoshop) can match the colour accuracy Of the original software.

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New Here ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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