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Author Topic: is softproofing a relic?  (Read 2542 times)
texshooter
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« on: June 05, 2012, 07:25:34 PM »
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forgive the 101 question, but why is softproofing important if i have a well calibrated display and a well profiled printer?  if your answer is because calibration, no matter how sophisticated, can match the display with the printer 100%, i get that point ,but am still left wondering how the photoshop softproofer can do a better job of matching my printer and display than my spectrophotometer can.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 07:37:31 PM »
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The point is not calibration or profiling. The purpose of soft proofing is to see how a particular image will print on a particular printer / paper / ink combination and whether it will be within gamut or not. This helps you determine which rendering intent to use or whether or not you want to manually correct the image.

May I suggest our "Camera to Print and Screen" training video?

Michael
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 08:55:56 PM by michael » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 07:50:32 PM »
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forgive the 101 question, but why is softproofing important if i have a well calibrated display and a well profiled printer? 

That is only one part of the preview equation. When you view an image, the embedded profile (say Adobe RGB (1998)) and the display profile provide the correct preview of the image in that color space. But now you want to see how that data will appear to some output device (My Epson Printer using some kind of paper which the profile also defines). You need to add that to the equation. You want to see what the image should look like to an output device, not the RGB working space. So you soft proof, you allow the soft proof to simulate the paper white and density of the black (using the Simulate check boxes). You have to toggle the rendering intents to pick the one you preview. And you might want to edit a copy with the soft proof on to correct it towards how you wish to render the print.

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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 08:26:33 PM »
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forgive the 101 question, but why is softproofing important if i have a well calibrated display and a well profiled printer?

So...which rendering intent should you use?

Wanna know?

Soft proof, otherwise print one with each and then decide (the printer companies will love you for wasting the ink/paper).
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 08:27:12 PM »
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Er,no, softproofing is not a relic.

The key point about softproofing is that one is attempting to predict with a transmissive light medium (a monitor) what an image will look like when viewed on a relective light medium (paper, canvas etc).

I agree that a profiled monitor and a good paper profile are important (crucial, really), but there is still a large subjective component to getting an acceptable print.
What softproofing does is simulate on the monitor (that transmissive light medium) what the image should look like once printed on paper or canvas, or whatever (that reflective light medium). Since the Dmax and the colour gamut achievable with both these media are different even the softproofed image on the monitor (with the best profiling of monitor and printer/paper combination) cannot exactly simulate what the print will look like.

Most people will edit the softproofed image side-by-side with the original master image that they liked to get the two as close as possible before printing.
Once printed most people will notice a difference, still, between the softproofed image and the printed image.

The reason why most people print with only a very few papers and canvas is because they can then learn, by experience, how to finesse their images to get the most out of the image as a print.
BTW, a key point here is that if one gives several master printers the same image file to print using the same printer/paper combination using the same profiled monitor and printer/paper profiles all will probably achieve a really good result but likely different according to their own interpretation of how to get the best from the master image.
So, even when the science of a colour-managed workflow is identical, the artistic aspects can produce different results according to individual interpretation.
Nonetheless, the master printers will be able to get consistent results (especially if they have long experience with the particular printer/paper combination and its associated profile) and that consistency should be a goal of all people who print.

Another point: While it is true that the printer/paper profiles of some manufacturers leave something to be desired it is equally true that many (most) of the paper manufacturers provide excellent profiles.
I print a lot with Canson Baryta Photographique using Canson's own profiles with magnificent results. Softproofing with these profiles is a breeze and I am now confident, before I print to predict how the print will look. The print closely matches, as much as is possible given the differences already explained, the softproofed image on the monitor.
It is also true that Michael Reichman himself recommends this particular paper and the manufacturers profile but until I had done the experiments myself it was all still theory. Experimentation and practice, now, allows me to agree with Michael.

In summary, softproofing provides an essential halfway house between the optimally edited digital image and the optimally finessed print.
There is definately an artistic component to softproofing where further editing of the softproofed image is required to get it to match as closely as possible the digital masterfile.

Regards

Tony Jay

As an aside, the whole process is much easier in Lr4 than in Ps but comparable results are achievable either way.
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texshooter
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 09:23:17 PM »
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i watched video#23 again while concentrating on the gamet concept instead of fixating on calibration. when i press the "make my print look like crap" button, how does photoshop know what my print will look like (its predictive power)? and more to the point, how does photoshop know how to change the displayed imaged (the desired version) to the crappy one (the predicted version)? does the answer have something to do with the custom printer profile i created myself and selected in the softproof options pane, or is there a prediction algorithm built into the utilty by its programmers after having first tested my printer/paper combo in their lab?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 09:25:27 PM by texshooter » Logged
Tony Jay
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 09:27:00 PM »
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A printer/paper profile not only tells the printer how to interpret and print one's image file but also how to display that image on a monitor to as closely simulate that image as a printed image as possible.

As for the second part of the question - photoshop doesn't have a clue how to modify the softproofed image: that is your job as I explained in my first post.

Jeff, Michael, and Andrew have also highlighted several issues that I did not stress.

Basically Michael hit the nail on the head - buy and view the entire CPS tutorial - I promise you that all your questions are answered as well as many that you haven't thought of yet.
I can only say that if you do your homework it all does make sense.

Regards

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 09:41:40 PM by Tony Jay » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 09:47:40 PM »
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...how does photoshop know what my print will look like (its predictive power)? and more to the point, how does photoshop know how to change the displayed imaged (the desired version) to the crappy one (the predicted version)?

It's friggin' magic bud...

I could tell you but your head would explode...

It's all about your output profile and PS/LR knowing that and adjusting the display based on the display profile...it's friggin' magic–oh sorry, I already said that :~)
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 01:13:09 AM »
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...it's friggin' magic–oh sorry, I already said that :~)

LOL!! That's hilarious!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2012, 08:14:28 AM »
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when i press the "make my print look like crap" button, how does photoshop know what my print will look like (its predictive power)? and more to the point, how does photoshop know how to change the displayed imaged (the desired version) to the crappy one (the predicted version)?

It ‘knows’ because of the output profile which defines the print conditions. Paper white, ink black density, gamut and all the stuff necessary to make the print is described by the printer profile.
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Andrew Rodney
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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 08:43:06 AM »
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It ‘knows’ because of the output profile which defines the print conditions. Paper white, ink black density, gamut and all the stuff necessary to make the print is described by the printer profile.
An ICC profile describes the colour characteristics of a device.  The monitor profile describes the monitor, and colour-managed programs like Photoshop use that to map colours from Photoshop's internal working space to the monitor's colour space.  Similarly, the printer profile describes the colour characteristics of the printer, and Photoshop uses a printer profile to map colours from its working space to the printer's colour space.  (Usually there are multiple profiles for each printer: one for each type of paper.)

So with appropriate "friggin' magic" Photoshop can use the printer profile (and the monitor profile) to simulate on the monitor how the picture would look on the printer. 
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 09:13:42 AM »
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Short answer: because soft-proofing is the "best bet" you can make as to how the image will _actually_ look like once printed.

-h
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eronald
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2012, 09:17:36 PM »
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Short answer: because soft-proofing is the "best bet" you can make as to how the image will _actually_ look like once printed.

-h

Indeed. And I suspect that some -unnamed- image processing software is hedging its bets by printing what is shown on the screen rather than what is in the file (ie. it converts to the monitor profile, and thence to the printer profile).

Edmund
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2012, 09:20:19 PM »
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Edmond you have lost me - time to be more explicit.

Regards

Tony Jay
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