Soft Proofing is a way to simulate on-screen what a print will look like on your chosen paper/print product. Working knowledge of soft-proofing and basic colour theory and a relatively new, colour-calibrated monitor gives the best results.
If your monitor is 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 to 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 understand the differences in luminosity and whiteness that will affect your image, especially on matt papers/laminates where you will see a significant change. We find that this simulation is often overemphasised on matt finishes, 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 dull when soft-proofing (especially on matt papers), but you can change your file so that these colour shifts 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 outside of the gamut. A gamut is the range of colours that a colour device can display or print. The benefit of going through this process is that you can choose what colour to replace them. If you want to read more about gamut warnings and how to deal with them, go to this helpful link from the University of Delaware.
- When you're happy with the file, please send it with an embedded source profile (usually AdobeRGB 1998). 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. Colours are shown on screen via an array of light-emitting diodes (or conductors in LCD). Colours are represented on paper using pigments. Therefore, there will be a change in luminosity between the two mediums, which is 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.