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Photoshop Elements >

Color Management >

12 - Rendering Intents

When you convert a sRGB or Adobe RGB file into a printer profile, you have to select a rendering intent.


Your monitor has more colors, with greater saturation, than does a piece of photography paper.

So, your photograph has colors that can't be reproduced by the printer.

Colors that can't be reproduced are called out-of-gamut colors.

The gamut is the area of the color space that can be reproduced.

Rendering intents decide what to do with the out-of-gamut colors.

One of Two Actions

Rendering intents do one of two actions, to deal with the out-of-gamut colors.

They either convert or remove the out-of-gamut colors.


The out-of-gamut colors are converted into reproducible colors.

This conversion process is also called compression.

Typically, the conversion optimizes hue more than saturation and brightness.

That's because human vision is more sensitive to hue, than it is to saturation and brightness.


The out-of-gamut colors are removed, or clipped.

Convert or Remove?

Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual are the most common rendering intents.

Relative Colorimetric converts the out-of-gamut colors into colors that are in the color space.

Perceptual removes the out-of-gamut colors.

Try Relative Colorimetric first.

However, if your photograph has many different saturated colors, try Perceptual.

These rendering intents are descibed in more detail below.

Set the Rendering Intent

To set the rendering intent, do the following in Photoshop Elements.

1) Go to File > Print, or press Ctrl + p.

2) Look for the Color Management section.

In earlier versions of Photoshop Elements, you must select Show More Options.

3) Select the rendering intent in the Rendering Intent box.


Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual are described in more detail below.

  What It Does Advantages Disadvantages Best For
Relative Colorimetric Each out-of-gamut color becomes the last in-gamut color. All of the in-gamut colors are left the same. The out-of-gamut colors are changed to the last in-gamut color.

1) When there are few colors that will be out-of-gamut.

2) When there are few areas with highly saturated colors.

3) May be useful for B&W


All of the colors, in-gamut and out-of-gamut, are uniformly compressed.

The compression maintains the relationship between the colors in the file, so the printed photograph looks the same as the on-screen photograph—overall.

However, on an individual color level, all of the colors will have changed.


In-gamut colors are changed, as well as out-of-gamut colors are changed.


To move out-of-gamut colors into the gamut of the output device, the colors are desaturated.

1) When many colors will be out-of-gamut.

2) When there are areas with highly saturated colors.

Skip the Two Topics Below?

The next topic, The Other Two Rendering Intents, discusses two rarely used rendering intents.

Therefore, you may want to skip ahead to the next section, 13 - Soft Proofing.

The Other Two Rendering Intents

As mentioned, the following rendering intents are rarely used with photographs.

Absolute Colorimetric

The Relative Colorimetric rendering intent hehave slike human vison.

The Absolute rendering intent doesn't.

Human Vision

Human vision uses the the color of whites in a scene to govern how the other colors are perceived.

The color of white influences our perception of the other colors.

For example, let's say you're looking at a table.

The room is dark, and the table is illuminated with a track light.

A track light produces orange-colored light.

The table is covered with a white table cloth, and there's a bouquet of pink flowers in the center.

You see the table cloth as being white, even though it's illuminated with orange light.

The pink flowers look pink, even though the orange light has shifted their color away from pink.

This is called color constancy.

Your brain measures the color of the white cloth, and compensates for the orange light.

This process is called chromatic adaptation.

Again, this is like the Relative Colorimetric rendering intent, described above.

When using the this rendering intent, the colors are adjusted relative to the white of the display (monitor or printer), just like human vision.

The Absolute Colorimetric rendering intent doesn't change the colors relative to the white of the display device.

The colors are absolute.

The colors are independent of the color of the white of the monitor or print.

The white of the source will be the same white in the destination.

The rendering intent is used for proofing.

For example, let's say you're proofing a photograph that will appear on the cover of a newspaper magazine.

It's a picture of a bride.

The white of her dress is the white of the magazine-cover paper.

The paper is slightly yellow.

The Absolute Colorimetric rendering intent will preserve this yellow-white color even though you're printing the photograph on a paper with a different color of white.

Your Epson glossy print will have a yellow-white color, not its normal neutral white.


The Saturated rendering intent is used for graphics, such as charts.

The goal is to increase or preserve saturation.

The accuracy of the hue is not the goal, as it is in the other rendering intents.

Out-of-gamut Colors

Out-of-gamut colors are changed to the most saturated in-gamut color, rather than to the closest in-gamut color.

For example, three different shades of red on a pie chart may be changed to a single saturated red.

In-gamut Colors

In-gamut colors are changed to more saturated in-gamut colors.