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As you continue working in a color managed workflow, you will probably hear or read some new terminology. Here is a glossary to help you.


This is basically a way of saying, "how many colors are theoretically possible." For most color work in The Cave, you will be working at RGB 24 bit color depth, which theoretically allows for 16,777,216 colors.


A device used to profile computer monitors.

Color Space or Color Gamut

If bit-depth is the amount of colors that are theoretically possible, then color space (or gamut) is a defined range of colors you can actually use. Certain color spaces are better suited for for certain tasks. Digital printmakers commonly use the Adobe RGB 1998 color space for its broad range of colors. Images for the web are usually assigned the sRGB space because that's the default profile in use on countless computer monitors world wide (note that sRGB has a smaller gamut than Adobe RGB 1998). Also note that devices themselves have different "possible colors"...the ink in a printer usually has a smaller gamut than a computer monitor.

Deckle Edges

Fine art paper, often made from cotton rag, is usually sold to you with soft, furry edges. These furry ("deckle") edges are known to cause ink build up on the print rollers, which can cause very unwanted smearing and staining. Furthermore, modern inkjet printers have optical examination tools which are used to measure your paper and check that it is loaded straight. Removing the deckle edges from your paper will help the printer decide if your paper is straight and perpindicular.

Hard Proofing

To hard proof is to make a print of your image using a "dumbed down" color profile (usually CMYK color space) to try to simulate what your image would print like when printed on a professional printing press. Usually hard proofing does not apply to work done in the cave.

Ink Type

The type of ink you are printing with on an inkjet printer will have an effect on the look of your imagery. There are two types of ink in The Cave: Dye and Pigment. The traditional breakdown of these two was that Dye had the larger color gamut and adhered to more paper types, and Pigment had the better archival quality. These trends have largely been blurred or nullified over the last few years. Epson now makes pigment based ink that rivals dye for color fidelity and has acceptable adhesion to glossy paper. Please click here for more information on printer types in The Cave.


Margins are simply boundaries, nothing more. There are two kinds of margins, Printer Margins and Document Margins.

Printer Margins are what the printer reserves for itself, to ensure that the hardware in the printer has enough paper surface to effectively hold onto your paper. Generally speaking, Epson inkjet printers have minimum standard margins of .13 inches for the left, right, and top of your paper, and .56 inches for the bottom. That means that, if you use the standard epson print driver, for any paper you put in a printer, there are .26 inches in the width, and .69 inches in the height, that are off limits to the user. You can try using the "Maximum" or "Borderless" printer drivers to try to avoid these limitations (and also to try to center your image on the page), but print quality might suffer (especially towards the edges of the page) if you use these methods.

Document Margins are much less strict and are more user specific. They can vary as much as you want them to, depending on your image size and your paper size.

Here is an example which illustrates the concept of margins.

Media Type

This option in the Epson "Print Settings" window is a very important selection because of the profound effects it has on so many of your other print settings. For starters, the media type you choose will determine what print resolution (DPI) you can print at. The media type is also supposed to tell the printer how thick your paper is, and consequently this will also tell the printer how much ink to put down on the paper. On some printers, the media type selection can also affect which type of black ink is used during printing, and the media type selection can also limit your choice of where/how you load your paper in the printer.

Note that the media type is not directly associated with the specific paper you are printing on. Most (not all) of our custom profiles are done with the following media types: Enhanced Matte (EM), Plain Paper (PP), Textured Fine Art (TFA), or Premium Glossy Photo Paper (PGPP). All profiles created after January 2005 should have an abbreviation in their name to indicate which media type you should be using. For instance, "4000-Arches-Cover-White-EM.icc" would be a profile to use on Arches Cover White paper on the Epson 4000 printer, using the Enhanced Matte media type.


This setting in the "Page Setup" window determines the direction the image will be printed by the printer. There are "Portrait" images (where the width is less than the height), and there are "Landscape" images (the width is greater than the height). Because printers print higher (longer) than they print wide, often it is necessary to rotate your landscape image to maximize the image size vs. paper size ratio. This is accomplished one of two ways. You can either rotate your image 90 degrees within Photoshop (so your image looks sideways in Photoshop), or, keep your image "right side up" in Photoshop and choose a "landscape" orientation in the "Page Setup" window. Click here for some examples.

Paper Size

The width measurement of paper is usually the shorter measurement; one way to think about it is, the print head moves back and forth across the width of the paper. The height measurement is usually the longer measurement; one way to think about it is, the paper advances through the printer along its height.

Profile (ICC Profile)

Please see the Color Management Primer.


Printers and computer monitors deal with resolution in very different ways. The print head in an inkjet printer shoots out tiny little micro-droplets of ink onto a piece of paper, and when viewed at a distance, all those dots blend together to form an image. Obviously, the more dots your printer uses, the more your printed image will look "smooth" and "real." Printer resolution is measured in Dots Per Inch, or DPI. All of our Epson printers are capable of 1440 DPI vertical resolution (some of them are capable of higher resolution--more DPI--but it is generally acknowledged that the human eye cannot appreciate much more detail than what's offered with 1440 DPI). Computer monitors, on the other hand, do not care about DPI at all. Computers use a grid of tiny squares called "pixels" to display your image. When a computer displays an image on the monitor, it uses the pixel dimensions of your image, and the computer's pixels-per-inch (PPI) setting, to correctly size your image on the screen. All things being equal, computers display images on the screen with a setting of 72 pixels per inch, but there are many other factors that will affect how big (or small) your image actually appears on the screen (including screen resolution and screen dimensions). The point you need to understand is that DPI and PPI are very different measurements, but the PPI of your image will have an effect on the "acceptable" DPI setting when you print.

Soft Proofing

Soft proofing gives you a simulation of how your image should look when printed on your paper. This is accomplished in Photoshop by going up to the menu bar and choosing "View--->Proof Setup--->Custom..." You then choose the profile for your paper in the "Profile" menu, and by toggling the "Preview" checkbox on and off, you can get a rough sense of what your image will look like when printed.


A scanner-like device used to create paper profiles.

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