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Q&A

Q1:What's Duotone and how can I use it?
A1: Duotones, and their cousins monotones, tritones, and quadtones, are quite simply Grayscale images printed in various numbers of colored inks. The colors blend to reproduce tinted grays. There's a good reason for using duotones, rather than black ink, when you want really good reproduction of a Grayscale image. The bottom line is quality. A Grayscale image can have as many as 254 shades of gray, plus pure black and white. The best a printing press can do is to reproduce only about 50 levels of gray per ink. If you print in black (or any monotone color), your pictures automatically get compressed, each five steps of gray becoming one. So the image comes out looking a lot coarser than it would if two inks are used. When you convert the Grayscale to a duotone, you add another 50 levels of gray, and immediately your image looks better, less compressed.

Duotones can be printed with a black ink and a gray ink, but more commonly black plus a color is used, giving a slight tint to the midtones and highlights. You can also make a duotone with two contrasting colors for a more unusual and colorful effect. To create a duotone, start by converting the image to Grayscale, and then open the Image, Mode, Duotone dialog box and choose color(s) for the duotone. Photoshop will translate the image into duotone.

Q2:Is there ever a time when I would want to work in LAB color?
A2: Well, I've been using Photoshop since version 2, and I haven't yet found a need for it. Without knowing who you are and how you use Photoshop, I can't say you'll never need it, but it's unlikely.
Q3:What are Web-safe colors, and why are there less than 256 of them?
A3: Macintoshes and PCs both can use a limited palette of 256 colors. However, the two palettes aren't quite the same. Only 216 of the 256 colors are identical. These are the Web-safe" colors, meaning that no matter what kind of computer you use to surf the Web, if these colors are used, you'll see the page as its author intended.
Q4:If I want to print my pictures, and put them on the Web, should I be working in CMYK or RGB?
A4: I'd do my work in RGB mode, and then save a copy in CMYK and check the gamut before printing it. Your video monitor can't show you true CMYK colors, no matter how many times you calibrate it. It doesn't display color that way.


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