Digital Scrap-booking: Quality Tips – Checking Gamut in Adobe Photoshop

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It is very important to identify when images are out of gamut before completing digital scrapbook projects. Why? The answer is simple. But first you must understand what a gamut is.

 A gamut is the color range or scope of colors that monitor systems display and printer structures print. If an image is out of gamut, it may not print in the colors shown on your system’s screen.  In Adobe Photoshop, there are various color modes to create your project in, but for digital scrapbooking prints, the two most used modes are RGB and CMYK.   RGB color mode is the more practical choice, since you can check to see if images are in or out of gamut.

Checking for Gamut Issues

The way to check for gamut issues is to do the following:

 On the menu bar click “View” > “Gamut Warning” or use your keyboard shortcuts [Shift + Ctrl (Command on a Mac) + Y].  If the image has grayed out areas, then it is out of gamut.  If the color values did not change, then they are within the color scope and your image should print fine. 

Correcting Out of Gamut Images

Out of gamut images can be fixed by converting it from RGB color mode to CMYK, then back to RGB.  On the menu bar, click “Image” > “Mode”> “CMYK color mode”. 

When you do this, a dialogue box opens with a message that states, “You are about to convert to CMYK using the “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2” profile.  This may not be what you intended.  To use a different profile choose edit > Convert to Profile.”  

Click “ok” and your image will convert, ridding all the graphic of gray areas that were not in gamut. Then revert to RGB color, using the same methods of conversion applied from the “Image” menu (“Image” > “Mode”> RGB color mode).

Fixed image in gamut and RGB color mode

Be aware that some details of the image may be lost during conversion.  CMYK colors are typically the brighter, more neon colors.  If your image is out of gamut and is converted to within the RGB color range, the final edit may not appear as bright.  This should fix your gamut issues.

I hope this tip was helpful.  Happy crafting!