A few weeks back I hosted a YouTube LIVE video over on my YouTube Channel taking folks through the process of ‘How to use Soft Proofing’
What is Soft Proofing?
Basically it’s a way of simulating how your pictures will look when they come back from the printers. This is something that’s foxed pretty much everyone at some time or another I would suggest. I know that in my case, I used to get so frustrated when prints would come back from the lab and never seemed to look like the pictures did on my screen. Soft Proofing though is how to fix this!
In the video I take you through how to use Soft Proofing and I think you’ll find it not only incredibly useful but also incredibly easy. Soft Proofing is great because it gives you a preview of what your pictures would look like if they were printed and so you can then make adjustments as you see necessary to get the preview looking like the original; basically by editing the preview you are overcompensating for what the printing process will do so that when the image is printed it looks pretty much identical to the one on your screen. Make sense?
Anyway, check out the video and all will be revealed.
Oh and underneath the video I’ve posted some Q & A’s that I got when I first posted the video that you might want to check out too…
Q: Do you add any extra sharpening into your workflow?
A: If you’ve seen any of my retouching videos you’ll see that I do add sharpening selectively across the image to draw the viewers’ eye and to give added depth and dimension. However I do also add extra sharpening to entire image when I export from Lightroom before sending off to be printed. Lightroom offers 3 additional sharpening processes on Export; Low, Standard and High. Which one I use depends on the medium the picture is being printed on but as a rule: Canvas would be High, Regular Lustre Paper would be Medium and Metallic / Alumini would be Low.
Q: Do you export images into sRGB before sending to the Lab?
A: In a word, No. The printers I use is Loxley Colour and they can print in Adobe RGB. So, as I shoot in Adobe RGB and edit in Lightroom and Photoshop in Adobe RGB, I keep to the same for printing. For me it makes sense to keep everything consistent when it comes to colour and printing.
Q: Is there a Safe / General ICC Profile to use if my client is going to get them printed themselves?
A: Again, in a word, No. ICC profiles are produced by manufacturers for particular paper and printer combinations and also provided by the majority of Labs for the paper they use. In my opinion if you don’t know what they’re going to use I wouldn’t apply any ICC Profile.
Q: I’ve installed an ICC Profile but the option to Simulate Paper and Ink isn’t available; it’s greyed out. Why is this?
A: Not all ICC Profiles are created equal and by that I mean that not all ICC profiles have the Simulate Paper and Ink functionality built into them.
Q: If you’re sending off lots of image files to the Lab to be printed on a variety of mediums, how do Loxley know?
A: This is all down to how I name the files before I send them off. For example a filename would be made up like this: name_size_profile/paper which would look something like this: brian_24x16_LoxleyColour-Alumini
Bearing in mind that Loxley Colour only receive the file to print so labelling like this just helps to remind you the size of template and the paper / medium to choose … does that make sense?
So I hope this helps but as always if you have any questions / comments feel free to use the comments section below and I’ll make sure I reply.