Still Looking – Printing CMYK files with Photoshop

M
Posted By
mibi222
Aug 11, 2005
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706
Replies
5
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Closed
Here’s the story:

For testing purposes, I painted 4 separate stripes: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, onto a blank Photoshop CMYK file.

I printed the file with a HP Laserjet 2550 Color printer, and the colors came out distorted. (Seems to mix up more yellow into each of the pure CMYK colors, and also becomes darker). I can tell by comparing these results to the printer’s auto-test page, where each color is pure. By the way, the HP Laserjet 2550 has separate toner cartriges for each of the CMYK colors.

I tried the SAME thing in CorelDRAW, but here, the colors printed out perfectly!!!

The oddest thing is that when I generated a TIFF file from the Photoshop test sample and imported it into CorelDRAW as CMYK, the print-out comes out distorted exactly as if it was printed in Photoshop.

I read that Photoshop converts a CMYK file into RGB before sending the file to printer which may be the cause of this, but then, why does the problem still occur when I import the Photoshop file into CorelDRAW?? And why DOESN’T this occur with an original CorelDRAW generated file??

This is driving me CRAZY! I really need to solve this problem and I’d greatly appreciate anyone’s help!

Thanks.

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I
iehsmith
Aug 11, 2005
On 8/10/05 11:41 PM, mibi222 uttered:

Here’s the story:

For testing purposes, I painted 4 separate stripes: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, onto a blank Photoshop CMYK file.

I printed the file with a HP Laserjet 2550 Color printer, and the colors came out distorted. (Seems to mix up more yellow into each of the pure CMYK colors, and also becomes darker). I can tell by comparing these results to the printer’s auto-test page, where each color is pure. By the way, the HP Laserjet 2550 has separate toner cartriges for each of the CMYK colors.

I tried the SAME thing in CorelDRAW, but here, the colors printed out perfectly!!!

The oddest thing is that when I generated a TIFF file from the Photoshop test sample and imported it into CorelDRAW as CMYK, the print-out comes out distorted exactly as if it was printed in Photoshop.

I read that Photoshop converts a CMYK file into RGB before sending the file to printer which may be the cause of this, but then, why does the problem still occur when I import the Photoshop file into CorelDRAW?? And why DOESN’T this occur with an original CorelDRAW generated file??
This is driving me CRAZY! I really need to solve this problem and I’d greatly appreciate anyone’s help!

Don’t know what you have or haven’t tried. Maybe turn color management off in PS and try a print to see if it changes, and what kind of changes?

inez
MR
Mike Russell
Aug 11, 2005
"mibi222" wrote in message
Here’s the story:

For testing purposes, I painted 4 separate stripes: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, onto a blank Photoshop CMYK file.

I printed the file with a HP Laserjet 2550 Color printer, and the colors came out distorted. (Seems to mix up more yellow into each of the pure CMYK colors, and also becomes darker). I can tell by comparing these results to the printer’s auto-test page, where each color is pure. By the way, the HP Laserjet 2550 has separate toner cartriges for each of the CMYK colors.

I tried the SAME thing in CorelDRAW, but here, the colors printed out perfectly!!!

The oddest thing is that when I generated a TIFF file from the Photoshop test sample and imported it into CorelDRAW as CMYK, the print-out comes out distorted exactly as if it was printed in Photoshop.

I read that Photoshop converts a CMYK file into RGB before sending the file to printer which may be the cause of this, but then, why does the problem still occur when I import the Photoshop file into CorelDRAW?? And why DOESN’T this occur with an original CorelDRAW generated file??
This is driving me CRAZY! I really need to solve this problem and I’d greatly appreciate anyone’s help!

First, you are doing something very unusual, and many knowledgeable people on this list will simply tell you "don’t do that". But der Curvemeister loves this sort of offbeat experiment, and indeed one of his first experiments with an inkjet was to try to print CMYK with it. Here are some reasons why it doesn’t really work:

Although it is theoretically possible, and even desirable, to print directly in CMYK with an inkjet, consumer inkjets operate exclusively in RGB space. This means cyan is send to the printer as an equal mixture of green and blue, yellow as a mixture of red and green, and magenta as a mixture of red and blue. In effect, there’s a "translator" between your work and the actual CMYK colors produced by the inkjet.

This will tend to produce slightly impure colors. The drivers for these devices also perform their own black generation, so the K channel of your image will be translated, as the driver sees fit, into a mixture of CMY and
K. So colors are more or less mixed freely with one another, making it
almost impossible to print pure CMY colors.

But back to your original problem. My guess, not having a copy of CorelDraw at my disposal, is that you are running into CMYK embedded profiles. Photoshop normally embeds a profile in each image that it produces that allows other downstream apps, including Photoshop itself, to interpret the color values in the file.

To verify this, change your Photoshop color preferences to embed no profile in your CMYK docs, save the image, and print it from CorelDraw. I think it’s likely that CorelDraw will print these with the colors undistorted, as you describe for a CMYK file originally made in CorelDraw.

The colors as printed from Photoshop, impure as they may appear, are designed to be a more accurate reflection of what you would see on press than the corresponding CorelDraw output.

If you are still inclined to experiment in CMYK, and would like to see brighter colors in Photoshop, try using the Wide Gamut CMYK profile from the curvemeister site:
http://www.curvemeister.com/tutorials/cmyk/widegamutcmyk/wgc myk.htm

To use the profile, drag it into your system’s color folder, as described in the tutorial, open up the Color Settings folder, and specify Wide Gamut CMYK as your CMYK working space profile.

I happen to think there is benefit to color correcting in CMYK, provided you understand the limits of what you can do. Do keep in mind that you are working outside the mainstream.


Mike Russell
www.curvemeister.com
MR
Mike Russell
Aug 11, 2005
Addendum: My previous remarks were really centered on inkjet printer performance.

If your laser printer supports postscript, it may be possible to save an EPS CMYK file, and print directly in CMYK, and this explain why CorelPaint is giving you a different result.

Mike Russell
www.curvemeister.com
I
iehsmith
Aug 11, 2005
On 8/11/05 3:45 AM, Mike Russell uttered:

If your laser printer supports postscript, it may be possible to save an EPS CMYK file, and print directly in CMYK, and this explain why CorelPaint is giving you a different result.

Mike, I don’t know anything about CorelDraw, but why would it be the one that outputs the desired results over PS?

inez
MR
Mike Russell
Aug 11, 2005
"iehsmith" wrote in message
On 8/11/05 3:45 AM, Mike Russell uttered:

If your laser printer supports postscript, it may be possible to save an EPS
CMYK file, and print directly in CMYK, and this explain why CorelPaint is giving you a different result.

Mike, I don’t know anything about CorelDraw, but why would it be the one that outputs the desired results over PS?

One possibility is that you have CorelDraw set up to output in eps but not Photoshop. This would give CorelDraw a CMYK pathway to your printer.

There are two big ifs, though. First that CorelDraw will do eps output, and second that your printer handles PostScript. There are other possibilities – for example CorelDraw may use a simple conversion to get from CMYK to RGB, which could result in purer, less accurate colors.

Unfortunately, I’m just guessing here. Perhaps someone who owns the same printer will chime in.

Mike Russell
www.curvemeister.com

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