Do any of you guys get your stuff printed?
Have you gone through the complete horror of realizing your digital artwork was never meant to touch paper because of the limitations of printer ink?
Also, wtf is a color profile? How do?
Different color profiles have different color values and ranges for different applications, and then there are different color spaces within each of those profiles.
Usually you want to work in Adobe RGB and export to CMYK if you're offset printing. Most desktop photo printers use RGB profiles. Call your print shop and ask what profile/color space they use.
Also helps to work in a decent monitor.
Yeah, I work at a print shop, so I've done one canvas print that came out OK (would've been better with a different lacquer I think), and tons of prints on glossy poster paper. The poster paper prints come out great for stuff with colors, they don't tend to look as good with darker stuff, and I do a lot of literally and figuratively dark art.
Oh, and addendum to this: I asked them about color profiles and they said just don't mess with it. Modern printers have no issue doing RGB, since that's what most people will be printing from anyway. CMYK might be important if you're doing certain bright flat colors, but generally doesn't effect illustrative work.
Most digital printers really are garbage, so just find a place you hate the least and experiment with different papers. Usually glossy paper will have more saturated colors and more contrast, but your images will be darker. Laminating your prints will also darken them.
If your stuff always comes out too dark, make a test sheet where you print the same image with different exposure values, so you know how much you need to compensate.
From what I experience during my colorist days,
A good contrast work in CMYK always looks nicer than works with values near to each other specially in the darker tones as it sometimes bleed inbetween values.
So what I do is do a high contrast work in order for the printer to properly read it.
Also, if you use Photoshop, ctrl+Y works to check if you have a color that can't be read by the printer and it will register it as a blot of grey.