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Chapter 9. Hardcopies Made Easy >  A Typical Print Session

A Typical Print Session

Each color printer you use will have its own options and features. I’m going to follow the typical workflow you might use to print a particular photograph to illustrate the choices you may have to make. Unless you use the same Canon inkjet printer I used, you can’t follow along exactly, but I hope you’ll get the general idea nevertheless. Your printer probably uses a similar routine.

  1. Choose File > Print and, if you have more than one printer attached to your computer, select the printer you’d like to use from the drop-down list. The printer you’ve selected as your default printer will appear in the dialog box automatically, as shown in Figure 9.6.

    Figure 9.6. Your printer dialog box will show your default printer automatically.

  2. Click Properties to produce your printer’s particular options dialog box, shown in Figure 9.7. Your printer’s dialog box will probably include several tabs to divide the choices by type of feature. This illustration shows the Canon printer’s General properties.

    Figure 9.7. Set the default printer options in a dialog box like this one.

  3. Choose the general properties you want to apply. In this case, I can choose from among:

    • Paper type, including plain paper, various types of photo paper, photo film, transparencies, and other specialized stocks.

    • Paper source, including the autofeed paper tray and individual sheet feeder. Your printer may have additional paper trays to choose from.

    • Image quality, from among High (slow), Standard, and Draft (fast) choices.

    • Automatic or manual color adjustment, letting you use the printer’s built-in color tools or settings that you manipulate yourself, like those shown in Figure 9.8.

      Figure 9.8. Many printers have automatic and manual color adjustment, a tool of last resort or a way of by-passing Photoshop if you’re in a hurry.

    • Whether you want grayscale printing of a color image.

    • This particular Canon printer also has a Print Advisor wizard that leads you through the various options for printing.

  4. Click the Page Setup tab (or your printer’s equivalent) and choose from options like those shown in Figure 9.9.

    Figure 9.9. Set the orientation, paper size, and other page parameters in a dialog box like this one.

    • Page size, which is different from paper size. Some printers let you print pages that are larger than the paper size by automatically scaling the image down to fit the paper size you choose.

    • Paper size. Choose any paper size supported by your printer.

    • Printing type. Choices may include normal size printing, printing a page scaled to fit your particular page, poster printing (an image will be divided and printed in segments on several sheets which can be butted together to form a larger, poster image), and banner printing (which divides an image to create a long, banner type print made up of several sheets).

    • Orientation, either tall (portrait) or wide (landscape).

    • Number of copies.

  5. Click the tab for your printer’s stamp/background or overprinting tab (or the equivalent). This option, shown in Figure 9.10, lets you create proof prints by putting watermarks or other messages on top of the image, as well as a background image of your choice. Portrait and wedding photographers like this feature because it lets them mark their proof prints in such a way that a client can’t easily take their proofs to another photographer or their local photo kiosk and make their own copies.

    Figure 9.10. Some printers let you overlay an image with a watermark of some sort.

  6. If your printer has an Effects tab, or something similar, you can use this dialog box to apply some Photoshop-like effects at the last minute, such as image smoothing, monochrome toning, and so forth. This option, shown in Figure 9.11, can be handy if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to apply these effects in Photoshop.

    Figure 9.11. Some Photoshop-like effects may be available with your printer driver.

  7. Profiles are an option provided by some printers to let you set up categories of print jobs that can be selected with a few clicks. Parameters include the type of paper, paper source, quality level, orientation, and most of the other choices offered on the previous pages. With Profiles, shown in Figure 9.12, you can reuse a set of parameters with later jobs of the same type.

    Figure 9.12. Profiles let you set printing parameters for reuse later.

  8. Click the Maintenance tab, shown in Figure 9.13, and found in virtually every inkjet printer’s driver, to perform important tasks like nozzle cleaning and print head alignment. Nozzles should be cleaned when your printer has sat idle for a few days or any time enough ink has dried in the nozzles to partially or completely block some of the head’s orifices. You’ll want to realign your print heads when you change ink cartridges. Realignment doesn’t actually change the alignment of the print heads themselves; it informs your printer’s driver software of their precise position so the actual location can be taken into account when printing. The printer generates a test sheet with horizontal and vertical lines arranged in a pattern. You choose the pattern that shows the lines aligned properly.

    Figure 9.13. Printer maintenance tasks include nozzle cleaning and print head alignment.



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