08/29/21 – The answer to this post is still relevant, but has been further updated – Click here
Question – from Ken Johnson: I have read some very confusing things regarding the effectiveness of the “Gamut Warning” when soft proofing in Photoshop. Is the Gamut Warning of any value when editing RGB images for photo-based ink jet printers and, if not, what is the best way to detect and deal with out of gamut colors?
Answer: Thanks for an interesting but complex question – I’ll try to avoid being overly-technical … The answer applies to both “Soft-Proofing” (viewing the effects of your printer profile on your image) and “Gamut Warning” (viewing the range of colors that your color system can display or print):
I only use either of these functions when working with bright electric colors, mainly the three primaries (Red Green and Blue). I use them more for “informational” purposes, knowing that my bright red may look a certain way on the screen, but because of Tonal Compression (the inevitable reduction /degradation of the original scene from your eyes to the print – it’s pure physics), lighting conditions, and other variables won’t necessarily look that way on the print.
Bottom Line? No color system is “perfect”, and you certainly want to eliminate as many variables as possible (see the free Color Management PDF here) – that being said, I find it infinitely more useful to make a small test print or two of my image, focusing on the basics of color management, rather than get involved in the overwhelming minutiae and infinite variables of the whole process.
• Want to see Color Management in action? Check out “Class 5” of my “Photoshop 101” series of FREE online & live Photoshop Meetups – available nationwide:
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• By the way, this is all based on my Photoshop book designed for photographers, “Not just another Photoshop Book”, available exclusively on Amazon:
Questions? Please contact me – also, feel free to comment and tell your photography friends!
Thx again, and cheers,
John Watts 🙂