soft proofing in photoshop cs2?


TPF Noob!
Mar 26, 2007
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This may sound rather dumb, but I'm somewhat of a newbie when it comes to trying to prepare images for a professional lab. In the past having my photos printed at Walmart or such I've always been satisfied. I will admit a few times they were a little dark. Now I'm working on putting together a book, the company has provided me with their ICC profile and aside from the proper Calibration of my monitor they suggest that I soft proof all of my images. Doing so I find that all (the soft proof image) look washed out. So is that saying what my image will look like in the end if I were to leave it without editing? I'm a little confused. I've been duplicating my image so I can see the soft proof and work on my image, none of this changes the soft proof image because the work is done on the origional only. So how do I know if the changes are correct. Am I going about this wrong? Please help.

Aside from this book project, should I always get the ICC of the company (if I change labs) and soft proof my images in the future?
For total accuracy soft proofing is important, and I'm not quite sure how you are doing it at the moment, but Photoshop provides perfect soft proofing features.

With your ICC profile from the printing company it should contain your colours, black point, and white point. In photoshop click view -> Proof Setup -> Custom and select the ICC profile you wish to simulate.

Now there's a few options here including rendering intents where Relative Colorimetric with black point compensation ON is often the sensible option for photographs with vivid colours in them. Under neat that are two options simulate black ink and simulate paper. This causes images to look washed out as a printer's black isn't a true black, and paper isn't backlit like a computer screen.

How you proof is now up to personal choice. I personally simulate black ink but not the paper when proofing but it's a characteristic of my home printer that the colours don't smoothly roll into black so it gives me a good way to work on images.

From there when editing photos and you want to see how things may look in a simulated environment hit Ctrl-Y or view-> proof colours and you will see the image converted on the fly to the printer's profile and you can see if you're clipping detail out of the print or loosing things in your black and whites.

In the end you also need to ask the company what colour profile they want the file in. Although the last time I printed something from a pro company they gave me their ICC profile, they still requrested the image in either sRGB or AdobeRGB and convert it themselves. Therefore soft proofing is only a way to show what will happen once your original full colour image leaves your hands.

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