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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, is Soft 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 only gottcha is that your monitor has to be properly calibrated and your printer has to have a custom ICC/ICM profile. If you are not familiar with these topics a good place to start is my article on System 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 an ICC/ICM profile — such as one of the Epson Photo series of printers — the rest is easy. Note though that you can use the supplied Epson profiles only if you have a Mac system.  You can only use this approach with a Windows-based system if you are using a custom profile for your specific printer and paper. (See below for 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 to View / Proof Setup / Custom.

Using the Profile drop-down find and select the profile for your printer. If you have an Epson printer 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 off Preserve Color Number, and only turn on Simulate Paper White if 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 the Preview box on and off. Intent should be left at Perceptual.

Finally, click on Save and name this particular setting.

In Use

Now, whenever you want to do a soft proof simply select the profile that you want to use with View / Proof Setup, and then press CTRL-Y to 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 the Epson 1270 and 2000P from Ian Lyons' excellent web site — Digital Darkroom, at Epson 1270 Media Profiles and Epson 2000P Media Profiles.

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Concepts: Printing, Inkjet printer, Printer, Profiles

Entities: Windows, Michael Reichmann, Epson, Ian Lyons

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