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Getting Set Up

If you’re setting up your first photo quality printer, there are a few things to consider beyond what we’ve already discussed. Here are some points to think about.

  • If you’re selecting a printer and have a choice between one that has only a parallel port connection and one that has a universal serial bus (USB) connection (or both USB and parallel), choose the USB printer. Printers used with Photoshop have traditionally had parallel port connections (under Windows) or conventional serial port links (under Mac OS). While those worked fine in the past, the traditional ports had some serious drawbacks, including limitations on the number of printers you could attach to your computer, so most printers sold today have a USB connection (or sometimes an Ethernet connection) in addition to (or instead of) a parallel port connection.

    The universal serial bus can handle 127 different devices, eases installation (especially under Windows; Microsoft’s operating system will automatically locate your new printer and install the right drivers under most conditions), and allows hot swapping. You could, for example, unplug one USB printer and replace it with another, or with another device, such as a scanner, without bothering to reboot. While you can buy parallel-to-USB adapters that let you plug a parallel printer into a USB port, a native USB printer is your best choice.

  • Take the time to calibrate your CRT monitor, scanner, and printer, as described in the manuals that came with each, and use Photoshop’s calibration/characterization tools (discussed in Chapter 6). Spend the time now so that what you see more or less resembles what you get.

  • Use plain paper rather than the expensive photo paper to do all your test prints and calibrations. As the long-distance commercial says, you can save a buck or two.

  • Take some time to compare the results you get with different paper stocks and using different paper settings in your printer’s driver. Don’t automatically assume that choosing Plain Paper, Pro Paper, or Glossy Paper in the driver will give you the best results with any particular type of printing media.

  • Don’t go overboard when you first get your printer set up. Resist the urge to print everything on your hard disk just to see how it looks. Instead, use Photoshop’s Contact Sheet and Picture Package features to create multiple images on a single page to save time, paper, and ink.



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