How to Find the Right Rendering Intent

Many people who print see the Rendering Intent option and are not exactly sure what it is and how it works. They usually select a Rendering Intent option a friend or colleague tells them to use and then think nothing more of it. It turns out that this selection can have a huge effect on how your image appears, and should therefore be understood fully.

Rendering Intents are mathematical rules on how to deal with out-of-gamut colors when moving from one color space to another. In other words, chances are that when you print an image there will be colors that your camera captured that are impossible for your printer to reproduce.

The printer driver can’t just delete the sections of the images it can’t reproduce or you would get images with large sections of nothing. Therefore, the driver changes those out-of-gamut colors to colors it can actually hit. The method it uses to do this is a Rendering Intent.

Rendering Intents in Photoshop CS3.

You may or may not have noticed that every time you hit print, there’s a Rendering Intent option. You can see it in the Photoshop CS3 print window (see the accompanying image sample). If you open up that drop-down menu you will see there are four options…