Soft Proofing is a way to simulate on screen what a print will look like on your chosen paper / print product. A working knowledge of soft proofing and basic colour theory, and a relatively new, colour-calibrated monitor give the best results.
Is your monitor calibrated? Here’s what to do:
- Download our print profiles (updated June 2021). The zip file includes profiles for all our print products, organised by folder. They’re designed for prints that’ll mostly be viewed in daylight (a colour temperature of 5000 - 6000K).
- Install these in the relevant folder on your system (normally \Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers\Color or Username/Library/ColorSync/Profiles on a Mac).
- Open the file you wish to soft proof in Photoshop, then go to View > Proof Setup > Custom and select the profile you’d like to soft proof. Make sure ‘Black point compensation’ is ticked. ‘Simulate paper colour’ is a setting that you can use to get an idea of the differences in luminosity and whiteness that will affect your image, especially on matt papers / laminates where you will see a big change. We find that this simulation is often overemphasised on matt finishes though, so bear this in mind.
- Name each paper profile so you can select it easily in the future. Don’t forget to save.
- Use View > Proof Colours to see what your image will look like as a print. (Your file’s title will change when viewing proof colours).
- Switching between the working space and our profiles, adjust the colours according to your chosen paper type. You’ll notice that very bright colours may appear dulled when soft-proofing (especially on matt papers) but you can change your file so that these shifts in colour are less noticeable.
- When you are at this stage you should also check if all the colours in your image are in the colour space that we can print. To do this you can go to View > Gamut Warning. The colours that turn grey are the ones that are outside gamut. A gamut is the range of colours that a colour device can display or print. The benefits of going through this process is that you can choose what colour to replace them. If you want to read more about gamut warning and how to deal with it, go to this helpful link from the University of Delaware.
- When you’re happy with the file, send it to us with the source profile embedded (usually Adobe 1998 for digital cameras). If your image is untagged, assign an RGB profile such as Adobe 1998 or sRGB. Don’t embed our paper profile or your image won’t print correctly!
A note on matt papers:
Today’s ultra-bright monitors may misrepresent the brightness of your actual print. The way that colours are shown on screen is via an array of light-emitting diodes (or conductors in LCD). Colours are represented on paper using pigments. By definition this means there will be change in luminosity between the two mediums. This will be more apparent on matt papers than gloss.
If you’d like more information, visit Adobe’s colour management help page, or give us a call.