Gamuts and Profiles
What a session I just had. It wasn’t with with a physiotherapist though my neck and shoulder do need some relieving manipulation. Nor a dentist though my teeth were damagingly clenched for a few hours. Nor a psychologist even though I needed to talk with someone to excise the stress induced by printing. No, my session was with a helpline Ian who checked and approved my work and provided me a discount for a print run that needs to be reprinted.
I had printed my first photozine and there on the pages in front of me were my inexperiences, ignorances and oversights. Not only on the page in front of but in a box the same errors were replicated over and over again.
A first lesson might be to restrict my printing to companies that provide proofs. I can understand why printers proofs are a chore for the service provider but I had to learn this lesson again. It was my first time using Adobe InDesign software and I fell victim to a trap that’s obvious with hindsight. I’m used to using WISIWIG software, that is what you see is what you get. Of course that’s not the case for printing. Our typical computer screens use a RGB gamut suited to LED colours. They cannot properly display the CMYK gamut suited to inks and dyes. I know this and I’ve known this for decades so I avoided this mistake. What blindsided me was the suspension of WISYWIG practices for a design and layout package. I got the page margins and bleeds wrong. They are in the document so I presumed they’d be present in the final PDF file. But no, there’s a box to tick in order to use the document settings.
A second lesson is the normal internet caveat – delayed gratification trumps impatience and impetuosity. I got carried away with my success in learning InDesign and creating a PDF that looked really good. Subliminally, I knew this had been too easy, way too easy. I know of this uncertainty because when the box arrived the other day, I was quite reluctant to open it. Almost as reluctant as when my report cards arrived after each term when I was a schoolboy. I might have had no concern about six or seven exams but the eighth or ninth might have exposed my limits.
I have to tell you that I was vacillating making the PDF for days and days but my good wife recognised that I was using my ignorance as a reason not to start. So I started and got locked into an eight hour battle with learning and unlearning. That’s not to blame anyone but myself.
The blots and dots we see in digital photographs were once dust and splashes. That’s a normal problem with photography and some of my readers may know of my camera disasters that arose from cleaning the sensors. However, when printing, you ought to create special versions of the images in order to get the most from the print technology.
This means brightening the images by a stop or two. It means ensuring 300 dpi resolution on output. It means adding extra margins in order not to lose the composition when printing full pages that must be cut after printing. It may mean a bit of extra sharpening depending on the inks and paper absorption properties. It may also mean converting from RGB to CMYK.
So you have to carefully manage version controls. And that’s easier said than done. I scored myself 9 out of ten on this task but that’s like losing. There were two pictures that I redeveloped from the the raw images and in my haste, I overlooked some spots that shouted out from the page.