How do you handle the out of gamut colors?

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How do you handle the out of gamut colors?

I know there are a lot of tips out there on the internet to deal with out of gamut colors but I was wondering how you, as digiscrap designers, deal with it. Do you take care of it before making your elements/papers or correct the finished product? What is your usual process?

I first choose a colour to work with that isn't out of gamut. However, working with the different filters, blending options, etc. will push a colour out of gamut. I have a great action from Sugarbutt Designs that checks and corrects any colours that are out of gamut. However, having said that, it is easy enough to correct out of gamut colours. First, you can switch your design to CMYK and then back to RGB. This forces all the colours into gamut and then uses the RGB codes for the in gamut colours. If it is one specific colour, in the Photoshop colour picker screen there two little icons to the side of the box that shows your current colour and the new colour. If the colour is out of gamut, the top icon will be visible with a little triangle and an exclamation mark to warn you that your new colour is out of gamut. Just click that icon and it will move your colour to the nearest similar colour that is in gamut.

Here's a picture of what I am talking about re: the little icons in Photoshop:

I do exactly the same as Cat! Start out with the right colors and end with changing the color mode from RGB > CMYK and back to RGB.

So... for us non-designer types, like me. smiley I admit I am totally ignorant on this subject. LoL
Please share if you don't mind, what does it mean for an element to be out of gamut with certain colors? smiley

Out of gamut is a term used for printing. Some colours (out of gamut) can't be represented in the CMYK scheme that printers use since they can only use the four colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Its not a big deal if a colour is out of gamut if the design is only going to be used on digital displays, but a lot of people want to print their projects and thats when the issue comes into play. I also design stuff for hybrid/electronic cutting so it needs to be in gamut to print true to colour on the screen (which also brings into the mix the need to have your monitor calibrated properly to your printer...).

@Cat: Well... I for one must say thank you for going above and beyond in making sure it's perfect for us that like to print our layouts. I had no idea. I guess I should maybe take the time to learn more about the subject to save trouble when I do print a bunch more of my layouts, eventually. Is this something that you lovely designers typically do to make sure it's good to go for us or is it that some designers do this and some don't? Thanks for educating me! smiley

Most designers will make sure all their final products are in gamut, so its typically something the end user wouldn't need to worry about. However, if you're using freebies or things from new designers that may not know to check, it might be a good idea to just convert it to CMYK and then back to RGB to bring everything into gamut. You can check to see if there is anything out of gamut in Photoshop by going to the VIEW menu and then clicking GAMUT WARNING (I don't know if PSE has this feature - I haven't installed my PSE yet). If anything is out of gamut, you will see splotches of colour (probably grey because that is the default colour) that are where they're not suppose to be. I did a little example for you.

Here is a just some colours I used with a simple brush without gamut warning on:

Looks quite normal and they're nice colours. But turning on gamut warning shows that the green colour is out of gamut. You can see behind the menu that it has turned a bright fluorescent pink. I changed the default warning colour to a colour I probably wouldn't design with (this colour happens to be out of gamut as well) so that it will show well up against my designs and I know to look for it. A lot of times, applying a drop shadow will cause some colours to go out of gamut, so I wanted to use a colour other than grey so it would show up in the shadow areas as well. Heres the final view with the out of gamut warning showing:

Hope that helps and explains a little bit about "out of gamut" and how to deal with it. smiley

Just an after thought... Perhaps someone could move this to the tutorial section. It might be good to have it there as a resource, yes?

Good thought, Cat. Only Marisa can add to the tutorials, I'll ask her to either move this post or maybe make her own tut about this!

Cat´s explanation was perfect! Just want to add some tricks that I learned along the way when playing with colors that were very close of being out of gamut:

Sometimes when you put something back to gamut just converting color mode your colors will change a lot. On that cases, you can undo the re-conversion and the conversion and, with gamut warning on, try to play with hue/saturation or levels or brigtness/contrast of your colored layer, or the texture layer. It´s by trial or error and can make you spend lots of time. But the effort is worth, because only someone who had pretty pages on screen that were printed in an aweful way knows how its frustrating.

Also... How to know if a color is close to being out of gamut or not? When I took a class with Karen Diamond as my mentor earlier this year I asked this question, after hearing that this or that was very close to be out of gamut... she made a tutorial and left it on her blog, here. It´s very useful when deceiding on the color palette to use...

Cat: Wow!!! Rather simple but awesome and very useful information!!!
Lorien: Thanks for adding your tips!

You ladies are an awesome wealth of knowledge!!! Thanks for always being so willing to share your experience with us!

PS: Judy added it to the PS Tutorials List (under intermediate) with a link back to this post Cat!

Okay, does this mean the designers working with Paint Shop Pro leave their color management enabled and proofing as they work?

Okay, does this mean the designers working with Paint Shop Pro leave their color management enabled and proofing as they work?

There are some tricks like the colour management and proofing, but PSP doesn't show you which pixels are out of gamut. I love using PSP, and can do just about everything with it that I can with Photoshop, but quit using it for designing because of that reason (and it has more free resources smiley ). I think if you're serious about designing, checking gamut is an integral part of any quality check routine. If you want to design with PSP, I think you may have to have a friend with Photoshop check your colours afterward or have a CT member do your quality checking if they have Photoshop. There are some people who do quality checking and take the free product as payment. Its an option for designers who can't justify the cost of moving to Photoshop.

I have been playing around with checking my gamut, so now I have a question based on what I read in this thread; Is the proper way to fix gamut simply just converting it to CYMK and then back to RGB?

Usually, yes. Flattern the image, convert to CMYK, then back to RGB. However, sometimes Photoshop will give you an equivalent that is too far away from your color, and then you´ll possibly need to pick another in gamut color manually

Awesome, thank you so much! smiley

In Photoshop 7 when I check the gamut, out of gamut colors show up as grey... Is there a way to change this to a brighter color? I cannot for the life of me find it in my version..

In CS4-6 you go to file - preferences - transparency and gamut, but I´m not sure if it´s like that on your version. I work with a neon gray...

You are so wonderful Lorien! I found it and changed it. Thank you SOOOOO much for your help with this!!

You are welcome. Glad I could help.

Does anyone know if there is a way to check for out of gamut colors if you DO NOT own a PhotoShop?