Gamut Question

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Gamut Question

Good afternoon.. I have a quick question about Gamut

I have been designing for years now and Gamut is one of those that is a major issue because it messes with print - which I actually do and design for others to print. With the rise of books from like Shutterfly, Costco, etc. Gamut still plays a part. I was taught not to have ANY Gamut issues, even a little messes up the colors. I know some colors are harder, and there is an easy fix - go from RGB to CMYK, duplicate layer, merge, back to RGB - so when we are QCing for Commons, Gamut is not a big issue - its only if its out of Gamut significantly?

With it being such an easy fix and the potential of it not printing, why not just fix it and not have it be a major shift but just any shift? We owe our customers a quality product and so giving them something that 'May or May not' print is not keeping with high quality standards.

I am not trying to be a pain, just seriously asking this question because of how I was trained and being things for so long.

I know I've seen a tutorial on here before for a quick way to both check and fix gamut issues, at least with Photoshop (and possibly Elements as well).

In Photoshop, all one has to do is go to View > Gamut Warning (Shift-Ctrl-Y), and anything out of gamut will become grey (this is visual only). If that happens, it can be fixed by going to Image > Mode and selecting CMYK Color, which converts the image to CMYK, including finding the nearest equivalent to those out-of-gamut colors. Switching back to RGB Color doesn't undo this, so the image is now in gamut.

Gamet issues are easy to fix in Photoshop but not so easy in PaintShop Pro. There are a lot of designers who use PSP (and possibly other programs). Those designers cannot detect gamet issues, therefore they cannot correct them.

Hi Megan,
please read some discussion on gamut

Marisa wrote in post #1:
" ... Gamut issues are particularly tricky, mainly because unlike some QC issues it's not black and white if something is an issue. It's easy enough to turn on a gamut check in Photoshop (View -> Gamut Warning), however just because you see some areas out of gamut, does not mean that they should be reported as a problem. ..."

Rose wrote in post #13:
" ... The bottom line is, if you are using any colors outside the CMYK range, it's virtually impossible to create graphic that will look the same in lights (on your monitor/screen). Converting to CMYK and back to RGB doesn't do anything helpful, it's still like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

and Sunny wrote in post #14:
"... Their synopsis is that different monitors have different calibrations for color. So my monitor may show within Gamut, but the same graphic on your monitor may show out of gamut. The only way to see the same thing is to buy a special calibration program to set up the correct mode. Even then, it is not a sure thing, because of different brands of monitors and different brands of calibration programs. Yikes. So, I think this will be a discussion long into many a starry night. I suggest that when we are doing a QC, we should use gentle judgement and only remark it when it is SIGNIFICANTLY out of gamut. Let smaller gamut issues slide. It just might be our monitor, rather than the designer's monitor."

I use Paint Shop Pro like Gina said and have no possibility to correct this. I also own Photoshop Elements, which also can't check for gamut.

I (and also others here) design just for fun and as a hobby, we are not professional designers and don't sell our products. We don't make any money with our designs. Perhaps you can keep this in mind when sending out QC reports.

I take part in blog trains and give away freebies in the commons - this is my way to give something back here. I use the color palettes from the actual and also from old blog trains.

I'm not able (and also willing) to spend 1000 Euro for a special monitor or 200 Euro per year for Photoshop (yes, that does it cost in Germany) just to check for gamut and recognize that an other person still get a gamut warning on a different monitor.

And if you send a QC report with a problem, it is marked with "Significantly out of gamut" not with "has areas out of gamut".

And here is a another quotation from Marisa:
" ... the designer will choose what they want to do with the information. In a lot of cases there isn't a right or wrong answer, and designers will choose what to do what they think best and what is within their abilities."

When I get a QC report with a gamut problem, I asked other members to also check this graphic and after someone else checked it and send me the screenshot of the gamut warning, I made my decision. I also went to a shop and printed some of my graphics at 125% on glossy photo paper. This cost me also money and time, but I was curious how serious the problem really is. (But they turned out really nice.)

And yes, I'm a hobby designer, I start designing from scratch for me and my family more than 16 years ago. I love to give something back because I was downloading lovely freebies over all these years. I do this for fun - no money involved.

But, I also worked for more than 15 years in one of the leading book printing and binding companies of Germany (and Europe, if you asked my boss). We produced high quality colorful expensive large-sized bound books with conventional offset printing processes in large circulations and export these books in many different countries, incl. the US.

A lot of our books were about art, cooking, gardening and animals with a lot of large pictures, often more pictures than writing. We also produced the famous encyclopedia "The Brockhaus" for decades. We printed books about Picasso and Michelangelo and many more world famous artists. We used f. e. the finest goatskin from Italy for the books and some books were with gilt edges (made with REAL gold leafs, not fake gold). Perhaps you have seen these books in our local book store or are happy to own some by yourself.
I know how important it is that the color turns out the way the customer expect it.

I have a occupation that requires training for two or three years here in Germany (depends on your school-leaving qualification), you have to pass a written examination that takes about four hours and a oral examination. I was a department manager for years and were responsible for buying all the materials that is needed to produce a book - the paper, the printing inks, the cover material and so on. We don't buy the paper in standard size or buy just a couple of thousands sheets - we buy them by tons and truck loads - for every single project.

I can explain the difference between uncoated, single matt, semi-matt, silk-matt and double coated paper if you wish, also what volume of paper or grammage of paper means. I know there is no "white" paper at all, there are all shades of white, from blue-white to chamois. I know that a semi-matt coated paper produced in a special swedish paper mill has not the same color and feel than a semi-matt coated paper produced in a paper mill in Italy. I know that the kind of paper has a huge impact of the print result, but also the printing maschine itself, the temperature in the hall or the air humidity has impact. Please do not mix the printing ink from company A with the one from company B.

I knew what CYMB means before you can even buy an inkjet printer for private use.

So I think I'm a well educated and informed person.

So, when we are talking about gamut, there are no easy solution and no easy way to fix issues. There are a lot of impacts of the print result not just the graphic itself.
Just because Photoshop on your computer with your monitor shows no out of gamut doesn‘t mean a thing. In fact, the print result can still be disappointing. And on the other hand, just because a graphics has some out of gamut areas, it still will be printable. And of course it‘s a big difference between a plain green paper 12x12 and a small button that has many colors 300x300 pixels. Pixels on the monitor are digital and ink on paper is physical, there will always be a difference in the colors, even if it's not visible for the human eyes.

So just focus of the graphic reaches not far enough when the print result is the goal. But shall the print result be the only thing that counts in the end? How many of your layouts do you really print? How many do you show only at online galleries or share with family and friends via Facebook and e-mails? How many of your family vacation photos do you print? Do you check these photos of gamut issues too? I never thought about this in all the years and all of my printed photobooks turned out nicely.

Of course I always try to do my very best as a designer. But in the end I have no influence where and how my graphics are used. Perhaps none of them will be ever printed at all.

And yes, for me it makes a big difference, if a designer makes it just for fun and gives away freebies or if a designer sells digital products in stores. If somebody charges money I expect a higher quality standard than from a gift.
That doesn't mean just because something is for free it should have a poor quality standard or I except it. But I understand that designers have different skills and are on different levels. For me it counts more if they tried their best at this time.

The idea behind the commons is not a store or a place for perfect graphics.
Here is Marisa's definition of the commons:
"The Pixel Scrapper Commons is a special area of Pixel Scrapper where community members of all experience levels can upload and share designs they create, get feedback, and progress as designers.
A particular goal of the Commons is to help beginning and intermediate designers develop their skills through community feedback and support. If you are an advanced designer, the program will help familiarize you with the workings of designing at Pixel Scrapper while allowing you to share your designs with the Pixel Scrapper community.
Anyone and everyone is welcome at the Commons!"

I love to see, download and use a colorful cluster with many layered elements and perhaps a little mistake more than a simple button - I can easily make one by myself in less than a minute.

And because ALL graphics in the commons are under PU license only, there is no need to reach highest commercial quality standards.

And as Marisa elaborated, there is no must to fix a graphic with a reported problem, it's alone up to the designer.
Nobody has a right or can expect that a graphic will be fixed just because of sending a QC report with a problem.

So my 2cents are, if you use Photoshop for your QC and get out of gamut warnings, please keep in mind, that not all designers sell their products or can "fix" gamut issues with their own software. So please be gentle and report only "significantly out of gamut" and not every little mess. And if you already know that a designer can't fix the problem you found because of the missing Photoshop software where is the sense in reporting that problem? This is not helpful for the designer at all. And that is what the QC report should be for the designer - helpful!

Sorry for this long post smiley

Gonda - it's okay. There is a reason I asked because of some of the reason you pointed out as well as Gina and Amanda. The CMYK to RGB also requires you duplicating the layer to remove the issue. I don't know all the papers you mention but in Art School we had to do a lot of printing of our work and depending on the project the paper type would change, in Typography we had to print on all formats.

Part of the reason I asked is because of those who use Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Elements and there is another one GIMP - I think is what I know some people use. I also know a designer who uses Microsoft Word for her creations. Another part was because printing layouts is becoming more popular as well as knowing each computer is set-up differently. Some use Apple, some use iPad, some use regular Desktops, etc. - for me I use a gaming computer with High Resolution and a powerful graphics card so I don't have lag issues and can see the game in all its glory. So I wasn't sure if its a 'my computer' issue, because I see more than others.

I also couldn't find a post about Gamut before I posted this. I looked, so thank you for sharing the link.

I understand that some people do this as a hobby - I am an in between - I do this because I love it but I don't expect it to make me my entire salary for the month. But when I find issues with items, and this goes for top designers too, I do share and I like to share screenshots which is hard to do when you do a report here because there isn't a way to attach a file to let the person see what I am seeing. If they aren't seeing the same thing, then its my graphics card that is catching it, so it may not be an issue - does that make sense.

So just trying to figure it out for my own head and understanding.

Megan, you can always send an e-mail to this designer with the screenshot. I think this will be more helpful for the designer to make the decision what to do. For example, if a graphic is completely out of gamut but the designer want to keep it because of the graphic itself and/or the chosen colors, there is always the possibility to add a note to the description.

All I wanna try to say is, that the whole "out of gamut" problem has a lot of different aspects. And just converting the graphic from RGB to CMYK and than back does not mean, that the graphic is out for gamut. Another person might get an out of gamut warning again.

I know there are other graphic software out there, but the only one I know that comes with this possibility to check for out of gamut is Photoshop. Neither Paint Shop Pro, Gimp, nor Elements can do this.

Here is a tutorial from Marisa about gamut.

And there are some instructions about quality control and leaving reports in the help section.

On the basis of this I check on what level the designer is and adapt my expectations.

If you are doing quality control for designers, who sell their products commercially, you will have a different focus and of course higher expectations. And if you are taught to report every little out of gamut pixel, you should of course do it for these designers

But, perhaps, if you are doing the quality control for commons designers here at Pixelscrapper, you should less think about
"We owe our customers a quality product" and more about "What will be helpful for the designer? Can I encourage the designer to keep designing and try something new? Will it be possible for the designer to fix the reported issue? (Not only depending on the software but also on the designer‘s level)"

Just my 2cents ...

Started that today. Thanks. I am hoping to learn more so I can be helpful.

Have you tried inkscape? From what I understand, Inkscape can be used to detect out of gamut colours.

Thought I'd post my basic gamut tutorial here, it may help someone smiley

Thanks! So if I use only the CMYK mode when designing, will the colours stay in gamut?

Jenna - I have never tried that. One of the things I do do is switch to the 'Color Library' button and use Pantone colors when checking my color palettes. But I do what Marisa mentioned in her tutorial as well. But I wonder if it is the same between Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop? At this point I am tempted to download PSP just to understand it more to help with QCing. I feel like I am failing others because of the differences I see.

Marisa gave an interesting answer in another post:

"I consider "significantly out of gamut" to mean that the color looks significantly different when you switch to CMYK mode, which gives you an idea of how the color will print. Gamut issues are most noticeable with neon colors, which can alter quite a bit when printed. Sometimes Photoshop will show that the entire area of your graphic is out of gamut, but if you switch it to CMYK you won't even notice a difference, or there will be a minute difference. So it's less an issue of how much area is out of gamut, but what will happen to the color when printed.

You can see in this tutorial that the neon green changes to more of an olive green, which might be an issue for some people."

So the question is not how much of the graphic is out of gamut (that was my first thought) but rather how large is the difference between RGB and CMYK is?
As fas as I understand this, the whole graphic could be technically out if gamut but if you can't notice the difference, the graphic will be fine and not out of gamut.

This whole in or out of gamut discussion causes me a headache ... and add to that the fact that I don't know if the graphic will ever be printed or not ...

Agreed on it causing headaches. It seems like a lot depends on people's printers as well (though you'd think just doing things in CMYK would be sufficient, since CMYK has absolute values no matter the computer), if they're even going to print the thing ever.

If it looks like it'll print fine (not too different when switching to CMYK), then I wouldn't worry, to be honest.

It looks like when you're in CMYK mode, you can't really go out of gamut... I could be wrong though.

The difference is between how many colors the screen can see vs printer, right? Is there a difference between inkjet and laser printing? I can tell you that I have actually experienced and issue with printing on my Canon photo printer (it uses a black ink and a color ink cartridge) and when an item is out of gamut even if it is one side, it does print two different colors for me. I may have to find something that is out of gamut and print it again to see if my new ink makes a difference (it's not canon) and then share the image. I have been doing a lot of cards and 5x6 photo cards for my church for the young women and the items have been printed at Costco and one of the pinks were off.. no one knew but me, but in my Photoshop, I never got a warning, I keep Gamut clicked.

So this makes my head spin.

For 8 years, I worked in the graphic department at a church and printed many projects. Some projected were printed in house and others were printed off sight. Very few (if any) looked exactly like it did on my computer screen. It bothered me but no one else seemed to notice or care if there were slight differences. The paper seemed to affect this more than the color being out of gamet (unless it was extremely out of gamet).

Try to be more concerned with the quality of the product (is it pixelated, is it the correct size, is it blurry) than with the exact color of a particular area of an image.

"The difference is between how many colors the screen can see vs printer, right?"

* Bear in mind that while I have art experience, my print experience basically amounts to "did this turn out well enough at Staples to sell at my next show? Great." It's only recently that I've been looking into this in more depth.

RGB is for recreating color with light (the way the human eye perceives them), while CMYK is for recreating color using inks (as with a printer). The range for CMYK is much smaller than what the human eye can perceive, and also ends up being smaller than what RGB reproduces (which is also smaller than the human visual range, but not by as much, and varies depending on color profile).

From what I can find, the biggest issue when checking for gamut is not so much with monitor calibration, but rather what printer color profiles your computer uses. As I mentioned before, CMYK has absolute values, so if something uses only those values, it should print the same on a single printer no matter whose computer it came from. But if that printer is a lower-end one it may not be able to properly reproduce the colors in an image, and might affect a gamut check on its connected computer (I can't seem to find hard evidence of this, but it's the closest explanation I can come up with for why one computer would show out-of-gamut colors and another shows them in gamut, unless the check is being done purely by "eyeballing" it). Basically tools like Photoshop's gamut check should just be checking "can your printer reliably print this or will something come out muddy?"

Monitor calibration factors in not because it actually affects the gamut check, but because it affects the designer's perception of colors when designing. If your monitor is poorly calibrated, your eyes may have adjusted to it, but the colors you see on-screen won't necessarily be the colors you see in print. I can attest to this personally. I have two monitors in a side-by-side setup. One of them (the right-hand, non-workspace monitor, which I use for Youtube, chat windows, and resource folders) is my older monitor, and was previously my only monitor before I was gifted the much nicer one that acts as my main workspace. The older monitor looked fine to me the entire time it was my primary monitor, and even now looks fine at a glance side-by-side with my newer monitor. But I noticed that purples in my pictures tended to print out a little pinker than I was expecting when I took the files to Staples. After getting my newer monitor and looking at those same images on it, I realized it's because the older monitor was poorly calibrated and leaned a little toward making things blue, so I ended up overcompensating unintentionally when working on images in Photoshop, hence the pinker tones to things.

A quick and dirty way to check your monitor's calibrations is to print out a color wheel on your preferred printer, then put it up next to your monitor and visually compare the images. It's not going to be perfect, and this is just a bare-bones repeat of an article I read years ago and don't recall the rest of, but you can at least get an idea if something's a bit off with your monitor's calibration. Windows 10 also apparently has a built-in calibration tool, so you could give that a shot. Keeping a calibrated monitor won't guarantee that your colors will be in gamut, but it will mean that when designing you'll see colors truer to how they print out (assuming you're working in CMYK) or how they will look on someone else's properly-calibrated screen (if working on web-based projects).

However, on top of all this, the paper you print on can affect how colors turn out, and thus technically affects the gamut. Different papers take ink in different ways, which is why printers often have settings for different types of paper, to best replicate your colors for the medium. So even if you take everything else into account, if the end-user prints the image on the wrong paper type, it may not look right in the end. There's not much you can do about that.

The short of it is that as long as you get as close to gamut as possible, and a shift to CMYK doesn't drastically change anything, then it should print fine for the vast majority of printers. If a test-print at your local trusted print shop comes out looking good, then the product should print out fine at places like Shutterfly as well (since both businesses rely on keeping their printers printing accurately). Beyond that, you can't control people's personal computers or printers, and shouldn't stress out trying to design for poorly-calibrated ones.

Two additional things: First, I can vouch for Photoshop, at the very least, actually changing colors when you switch to CMYK and back, so the excerpt from Rose's comment on the other thread (that switching to CMYK and then back doesn't do anything helpful) isn't entirely accurate (I may not be grasping her original intent with that comment). If your intent is to convert everything in your image to colors only available within the CMYK range, it will work fine. It may drastically alter some colors, and you may want to find more involved but better-tuned methods for converting your out-of-gamut colors, but it does work in a pinch (at least in Photoshop, and presumably Photoshop Elements), and also makes for a decent quick-and-dirty gamut check (save beforehand, and you can undo the changes in the image history as well).

Second, it seems like Jenna's comment earlier about Inkscape has merit. A quick search indicates that version 0.46 included the ability to check gamut in an image, and as a bonus, Inkscape is free. I can confirm this when my husband gets back from a business trip tomorrow since he uses the program regularly (he's traveling all day or I'd just text him).

Inkscape isn't only good for gamut checking, but great for making paper patterns. Got some tutorials on deviantart:


Inkscape is basically a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator, much the same way that GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop.

Yep. I have them both, and I also have Artrage and Medibang Paint Pro. Will have to see if Medibang has a CMYK mode so I can keep my pictures more in gamut.

I have Inkscape.. I haven't gotten much into yet but I will have to check it out more now. Thanks for all this feedback, I have been learning so much, I wish I learned more of this in school and when being trained.

Glad to help! Been kinda struggling on designing a good boiled sweet, so I'm gonna need to practice quite a bit it looks like!

Gamut is a pain, so if it gives you a headache, I'd just ignore it. Individuals who are printing out our graphics I think expect things to look different on paper than on the monitor. At least I'm not surprised when I print something at home and it looks different than it did on my monitor.

@Gonda: To answer your question about "significantly out of gamut" I would consider it not to be an issue of area, but of color change.

I've heard that some of the newer printers now have around six or seven colours - maybe some actual blue and green instead of approximations.