Understanding Rendering Intents

Understanding Rendering Intents

Understanding rendering intents is vital to successfully working within a given color space. Each rendering intent is device dependent, and offers specific advantages depending on the output device and intended use of the printed piece. Consult the help section of your image application to learn how to set the rendering intent when saving the file. We hope that this review will clarify the differences between each rendering intent and offer suggestions on how to the optimize the output of your product.

Perceptual

This is the best choice for photographic images and is the most popular rendering intent. What is important is that the relationship between colors in the original is scaled proportionally to fit the output device’s color gamut. That makes Perceptual the preferred rendering intent when printing conventional photographic images on our photo Noritsu or Canon inkjet printer.

Relative Colorimetric

This intent is best for graphics images, such as logos, where the original needs to closely match the output. Colors that fall outside of the output device’s gamut are converted to colors at the edge of the gamut. Colors that fall inside the output device’s gamut are shifted so that they do not exactly match colors that were originally outside the gamut. This may reduce the total number of colors available. For this reason, this intent should only be used when there are relatively few colors in an image. This rendering intent may be appropriate for certain types of fine art reproduction.

Absolute Colorimetric

This intent is best for images whose colors are mostly inside the output device’s gamut. Colors that fall outside of the output device’s gamut are converted to colors at the edge of the gamut. Colors that fall inside the output device’s gamut are not shifted so that may print the same color as colors that were originally outside the gamut. For this reason, this intent should only be used when there are relatively few colors in an image.

Saturation

This intent is best for images where true color matching is not as important as producing vivid colors. Colors that are outside of the output device’s gamut are converted to colors within the same saturation but with a different lightness. This intent may be used to boost colors within a banner or photographic image when bold color impact is desired and an exact color match is not necessary.

Spot

This intent is designed for use with Pan-tone colors, devices with spot colors and vector images. This intent is commonly used in four color offset lithography, and will produces the greatest saturation possible, and works best with non-photographic images.

Written by Dave Smith