Desktop Printing Options






Desktop Printing Options

The majority of Photoshop users print their images on desktop printers most of the time. These printers generally fall into three categories:

  • Inkjet: These printers are the most popular and widespread. They offer relatively affordable printing. For best results look for inkjet printers with cartridges for each color.

  • Dye Sublimation: These printers allow for printing of lab quality prints. The price on these printers has recently plummeted. These printers do not use dots; rather, transparent film (using CMYK dyes) is heated up and transferred to the paper. The vaporized colors absorb into the printer paper. This method is less vulnerable to fading over time.

  • Laser Printer: Laser printers use static electricity to affix powder to the page to form the image. These printers are generally more expensive than inkjets, but can usually print faster and at a higher quality. For more information on laser printing, see an information article at http://computer.howstuffworks.com/laser-printer1.htm.

RGB vs. CMYK

While inkjet printers use CMYK inks, they prefer to ingest RGB images. If the image is in RGB mode, there is no reason to convert if you're using an inkjet printer. Desktop printers are designed to do their own CMYK conversion using internal software. Sending a CMYK image to an inkjet printer will usually result in a second (and unpredictable) color conversion. It is important to realize that the computer screen can display more colors than the printer can print. You might want to use the Gamut Warning command (View > Gamut Warning) to identify areas that need to be toned down before printing.

Printing Paper

Several specialty papers are available for desktop printers. You will not get good results trying to print on plain white copy paper. These specialty papers must be selected in the printer window. It's a good idea to identify the paper you are using so the print driver can adjust the density of the ink coverage to match the paper stock. To conserve paper, you might want to create and print a contact sheet or picture package with several smaller images first.



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