I would definitely contact the print shop. They might, or might not, use the CMYK profile, that you chose, and their specs. will be what you want. Any good print shop will be glad to furnish you with what they want.
Now, the CMYK gamut is different from the RGB gamuts. Certain colors will never look the same. Greens are perfect examples. That is just how it is, when using inks on paper vs glowing pixels on a monitor.
Good luck, and either e-mail, or phone the shop. They should be very happy to help, as it will give you the best possible job.
Thanks, I will contact the shop and hope they can give me an ICC profile, although I would have thought it would have been on their site somewhere if they had one.
But this still doesnt explain why my image looks good inside photoshop (working in CMYK) and then only looks awful when I open up the (jpeg/tiff) in any other program/browser..... I gather its probably something to do with the working profile applied by photoshop? How do I know which one the printers are going to see?
I recommend converting a copy of your .psd over to cmyk profile. You may see some adjustment at that point in your colors. Open levels, and play with adjustments (sometimes just making it a little lighter helps) until you get it close to what you want.
Rasterize all text layers to ensure fonts are embedded and save as pdf. If you have a newer version of Photoshop, you may be able to select the specifications of the final pdf. If high quality print is an option, it is what I recommend.
I take it the entire file is from Photoshop? The print vendor wants hiRes PDF CMYK. Simple enough in Photoshop. However, it appears you have a conflict in the conversion from RGB to CMYK, specifically a gamut clip in your shadows. You do not mention what RGB space the original is in, just that you are going to SWOP CMYK. I'd be interested in knowing a few things up front:
1.) How many layers involved?
2.) What are your application Color Settings? Is "Desaturate Monitor Colors" > selected?
3.) What is the bit depth of the original? 16 or 8?
Try flattening a "copy" of the original, in the copy assign or apply an Adobe RGB profile to it. In your Color Settings, honor profiles when converting to CMYK in order to maximize the conversion gamut. I believe you can still adjust the image in the PDF format as suggested already. If, for whatever reason, you get the clip in the PDF generating, you may have to adjust the levels and curves to get back the shadow detail. That said, I have not encountered such a dramatic conversion mess as what you are showing in your thumbs. Hope this helps.
i wasn't able to follow this entire thread, but generally, from photoshop
Edit> Convert to Profile> Destination Space: (the CMYK profile your printer recommends)
if your printer 'genius' is clueless, US Web Coated SWOP v2 is a good bet
if your color shifts on the monitor when you Convert RGB to CMYK profiles in photoshop, you need to read up on Out of Gamut colors, Gamut Warning and Soft Proofing in photoshop
>>this still doesnt explain why my image looks good inside photoshop (working in CMYK) and then only looks awful when I open up the (jpeg/tiff) in any other program/browser
aside from Mr. Cox pointed out about CMYK .jpg — only applications that read embedded profiles (or assume the correct source profile by default) will display or print the color as photoshop does
probably saving in .tif for the printer is also a good idea (.jpg degrades pixel quality)
you could also setup the Conversion in a PDF (beware of behind-the-scenes jpg compression and mysterious profile issues tho)...but i would certainly NOT rasterise any type/text that you want vector sharp on the printed piece, and scream bloody murder if the print 'genius' drags your .pdf into photoshop and ruins your vector type sharpness
Thanks all for the replies.
Just to be clear the file is already in CMYK (U.S web coated SWOPv2), I understand now its probably smarter to work in RGB and then convert at the end but hadn't done so in this case.
If I change image mode to RGB (or vice versa) i notice a tiny shift in the colours on my monitor but nothing as dramatic as what im seeing in those CMYK Jpeg/TIFF's.
John Danek -
there are probably more than 20 layers in there, my colour settings should all be default because ive never even looked in there before, but here is a screenshot of the dialogue box
and the bit depth is 8-bits per channel
If I save it out as a CMYK .pdf then it looks fine, presumably because im opening it in Adobe acrobat reader so it can see the embedded profile. So I think this is the problem after all, thanks Chris Cox and gator soup for clearing that up!
I have emailed the printers and asked if they can read my embedded profiles correctly with their software (presumably they can) and asked for them to recommend an ICC colour profile but have yet to hear back from them.