Soft Proofing

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann


Soft Proofing

Photoshop 6.0

Photoshop 6.0, which was introduced in late 2000, has been one of the most important advances since Photoshop 4.0 was introduced a number of years ago. Among the most interesting and beneficial new features, and of particular interest to photographers using inkjet printers, isSoft Proofing. If you haven’t yet done the upgrade to version 6.0 this feature alone should be motivation enough.

Soft Proofing

Simply put this is the ability to view on-screen what your photograph’s colours will look like when printed on a particular printer and even on a particular type of paper. The onlygottchais that your monitor has to be properly calibrated and your printer has to have a customICC/ICMprofile. If you are not familiar with these topics a good place to start is my article onSystem Calibration.

Assuming that your monitor has been calibrated and is giving you an accurate representation of your work, and also assuming that you are using a printer that has anICC/ICMprofile‚ such as one of theEpson Photoseries of printers‚ the rest is easy. Note though that you can use the suppliedEpsonprofiles only if you have aMacsystem.  You can only use this approach with aWindows-basedsystem if you are using a custom profile for your specific printer and paper.(Seebelowfor availability of custom profiles for certain Epson printers if you’re a Windows user.)

Set up

The set up is simple and straightforward. The first thing to do is go toView / Proof Setup / Custom.

Using theProfiledrop-down find and select the profile for your printer. If you have anEpsonprinter the profile will have automatically been added when you installed the printer. If you have created a custom profile with a profiling package select the specific profile for the paper/ink combination that you want to use.

Turn offPreserve Color Number,and only turn onSimulate Paper Whiteif you have created a custom profile for a specific paper. If you have an image onscreen while you do this you’ll be able to see the effect by clicking thePreviewbox on and off. Intent should be left atPerceptual.

Finally, click onSaveand name this particular setting.

In Use

Now, whenever you want to do a soft proof simply select the profile that you want to use withView / Proof Setup, and then pressCTRL-Yto switch back and forth at any time between your monitor’s profile and the one that your printer will be using. The file name line at the very top of the page reminds you whether you’re looking at a soft-proof or not. 

Custom Epson Profiles

If you do not have the ability to create custom printer profiles you can obtain several for theEpson 1270and2000PfromIan Lyons’excellent web site‚Digital Darkroom, atEpson 1270 Media Profilesand Epson 2000P Media Profiles.

Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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