quick custom digital fabric printing

Adjusting Colour Within Photoshop

Learn how to get the right printed colour outcome

Some images we are sent print onto fabric with brightness and intensity. Other images are far more subtle/subdued. Sometimes people ask us why their printed fabric is not as intense as what they saw on their computer screen (hopefully our colour school has already addressed that issue for you).

Some fabric printers automatically adjust the intensity and/or darkness of images before printing onto fabric. However, at Lacuna Press we do not do that, because we believe it is up to the designer to make every design choice. This gives you a wider range of design options.

The Three Dimensions of Colour

Colour is commonly understood as having 3 dimensions: Hue, Chroma and Value.

Colour has 3 Dimensions
Colour has 3 Dimensions

Hue

Hue is what we commonly think of as colour; for example, different combinations of Red, Green and Blue.

Saturation, or Chroma

Chroma, measured radially from the center of each slice, represents the saturation of a colour, with lower chroma being less saturated (more washed out, as in pastels), and higher chroma being more saturated.

Lightness, or Value

Value, or lightness, varies vertically along the color solid, from black at the bottom, to white at the top. Neutral grays lie along the vertical axis between black and white.

Editing the 3 Dimensions of Colour in Photoshop

If the Adjustments Window is not already visible, Select Window, Adjustments from the menu. Then, in the Adjustments window, click on the Properties tab.
Use the sliders to adjust the different dimensions of colour for your image
Use the sliders to adjust the different dimensions of colour for your image

Photoshop Colour Presets

The following presets are available from the "Preset" drop down in the Properties Window:

Have a go with these presets, first, to see what sort of effects are possible by changing the colour properties.

Making your own Hue, Saturation and Lightness Adjustments

Alternatively, you can adjust the 3 different colour properties using the sliders. By default, when you do this, it will affect all colour values in your image. However, if you click on the drop-down that says Master, you can select different colour portions of your images. The options for colour selection are:

When you have selected the set of colours that you want to change, move the sliders to change the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness settings for that group.

Colour Gamut Warning

Once you have set up your custom soft-proofing settings, you can go on to check which of the colours within your image are not available in your selected printer colour profile, i.e., which of your selected colours the printer will not be able to print accurately. To do this, in Photoshop select View, Gamut Warning from the menu. Any colours that are outside of your selected colour profile will turn grey. Select View, Gamut Warning again if you want to turn the warning off.

 My soft-proofed image with gamut warning showing
My soft-proofed image with gamut warning showing

Ensuring the Colours in your image are within the Colour Gamut

 Access the Photoshop Properties Controls by going to Window, Properties
Access the Photoshop Properties Controls by going to Window, Properties

The reds seem to be affected in my image. To adjust them, I will:

  1. Click Master in the properties box, and then click on Reds.
  2. Drag the Hue, Saturation and Lightness sliders, until you find a position where the gamut warning grey disappears, and you are still happy with your colour outcome.
There is no longer a gamut warning on my image, so I can be surer of what the colour outcome will be when I print it
Because there is no longer a gamut warning on my image, I can be more sure of what the colour outcome will be when I print it

Next - Adjusting Contrast, Darkness and Detail within Photoshop