Soft proofing is previewing, on a monitor, how your image's colors (or shades
of gray if a black and white image) will look when reproduced by another device,
such as a printer. While proofing, you may or may not encounter out of
An out of gamut color is any color that cannot be reproduced by the targeted
device. For example, the image file may have a shade of cyan that renders
fine on a monitor, but is unable to be reproduced exactly by a printer.
The color is in gamut for the monitor but out of gamut for the printer. In
order to bring the color in gamut for the printer, the color must be changed.
The objective is to change the color, and only that color, as little as
Soft proofing and correcting out of gamut colors only
works reliably when the monitor is color calibrated and accurate printer
profiles are used.
To soft proof an image for a printer, follow these steps.
- Click View > Proof Setup > Custom.
- Select the printer profile to be used by the print engine to print the
- Set the rendering intent. It is usually Relative Colorimetric or
Perceptual. For more information on rendering intent, read the
Color Settings page.
- Make sure Use Black Point Compensation is checked.
- Set Simulate. Usually it is Paper White.
- Click OK. This establishes the profile to which the image will be
- Click View > Proof Colors. This will allow Photoshop to try and display
on the monitor what the image will look like when printed using the profile
identified in the previous steps.
Use Ctrl + y (Command + y) to toggle between proofed and non-proofed views
When checking for out of gamut colors using a printer profile, be sure to use
the profile for the printer/paper/ink combination that will be used to print the
image. Also remember, because different printer/paper/ink combinations
will render an image differently, a color may be in gamut for one combination
and out of gamut for another. Therefore, check for out of gamut colors for
each combination to be used.
Figure 1. The magenta color indicates areas of out of gamut
If needed, establish the proper printer profile to be used to check for out
of gamut colors. These steps are described under Soft Proof above.
- Click View > Gamut Warning.
Any out of gamut colors will be displayed in the color defined in your Photoshop
preferences. To set this color, click Edit > Preferences > Transparency
In Figure 1, magenta is used to show out of gamut areas. To fix out of
gamut colors, follow the instructions below.
- First, make sure the gamut warning color is visible. If it is not,
click Shift + Ctrl + y (Shift + Command + y) to make it visible.
- Click Select > Color Range.
- In the Select drop down box, choose Out of Gamut.
- Click OK. This will create an active selection around the out of gamut
- Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by clicking Layer > New
Adjustment Layer. Or, by clicking the Create New Fill or Adjustment layer
at the bottom of the Layers panel. The selection will become a layer
- In the Hue/Saturation dialog box, start by clicking in the Lightness
text box. Use the up/down arrow keys and slowly change Lightness until the
gamut warning color disappears. Be sure to try both increasing and
decreasing Lightness. Make a note how much Lightness had to be changed to
bring the colors in gamut. Note both how much it had to be increased and
how much it had to be decreased. Change the Lightness value back to zero.
- Now repeat using the Saturation text box. Note how much Saturation had
to be changed to bring the colors in gamut. Again, try both increasing and
decreasing saturation. Set Saturation back to zero.
- Repeat for the Hue text box. Set Hue back to zero.
- You should now have six numbers: three positive and three negative. Two
for lightness, two for saturation and two for hue. Using this information,
decide which characteristic you are willing to change and make the change.
Usually, it is the one where the least amount of change brought the colors
in gamut. You only need to change one of the three characteristics.
- Click OK to close the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Leave blending mode
Because different printer/paper/ink combinations will render an image
differently, you may find you need a different Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
to correct out of gamut colors for each combination. Do not try and force
one adjustment to fix all the out of gamut colors for all combinations of
I find the Color Range command selects more colors than
Gamut Warning does. Therefore, after I make my Hue/Saturation
adjustment, I will paint in the layer mask with black paint to isolate only
those colors found by Gamut Warning.