What is ‘soft proofing’?
Soft proofing, or on-screen previewing is a way to describe viewing how your image will look when printed on a specific photographic paper, using a specific process. Soft proofing can be done using the the relevant print profile and applying this to your file using Adobe Photoshop.
For Lambda C-type prints, we advise that you Download Our Lambda Paper Profiles to see a fairly accurate softproof preview of the printed output on your screen (if your monitor is properly calibrated). We calibrate our Lambda Colour Profiles frequently so please download the latest versions from the link above.
For other print services we advise saving your file in Adobe RGB (1998) colour space. As there are many other variables – such as substrate or paper type – for these processes, therefore an accurate result is best achieved through test printing.
How do I ‘soft proof’ my work in Photoshop?
Firstly, it is important that you should only use a calibrated and profiled monitor when soft-proofing, to ensure the most accurate results.
When you soft proof your image in Photoshop, the printer will substitute colours that the printer cannot replicate, generating a close match to what your print will look like on paper. As the gamut of the screen is larger than the gamut of the printer, the file may look different once the profile is applied.
To begin the soft proof process go to Photoshop menu: View > Proof Setup > Custom
When the pop-up appears, titled customize proof condition’ click down the list Device to simulate’ and select the relevant pre-downloaded profile from the list that corresponds to the process and paper type you will be using.
After downloading the profile of your choice simply drop it into the following folder on your mac – / Library / ColorSync / Profiles folder or the / Users / username / Library / ColorSync / Profiles folder.
For PC users the path to place the Lambda profile in is WINDOWS system32 spool drivers colour folder.
Under rendering intent’ either select perceptual’ or relative colorimetric’ (perceptual can produce less loss of tone in shadow detail but can result in a slight tonal shift across the image. Relative colorimetric will hold the exact tone of the image but may result in a loss of tone in the darker sections of the image). Make sure black point’ compensation is checked but that both simulate paper colour’ and simulate black ink’ remain unchecked.
Once the profile is applied and you are happy with the on-screen result, go to the Photoshop menu and select Edit > Convert to profile, then apply the same settings that you used previously in the preview of your image.
When saving, rename your file so as not to override the colour settings of the original file, as converting to a colour profile is an irreversible process.