Soft-Proofing: Benefits for the Graphic Designer


Senior Member
Sep 27, 2006
There is a very useful, but often overlooked, feature in Photoshop relating to color reproduction. When used properly with the required process control procedures in place, it is extremely helpful to preview how the color in an image will render as it moves through the digital workflow. The feature I’m referring to is soft-proofing. Let’s discuss what soft-proofing is, and the benefits it offers before getting into the how-to steps within Photoshop. Quite simply, soft-proofing answers the question, “How will this image look when printed?” Or more specifically for a graphic designer, “How will this image look when printed by my print vendor on their press with the paper I selected?” Most graphic design and photography professionals understand that there is an unavoidable dynamic range compression and/or gamut compression that occurs when going to print. Depending on the tonal range and color content, some images will appear very different when viewed on a light-emitting device—such as a display—versus ink-on-paper. Saturation may decrease, hues may shift, the tonal range may compress, highlight or shadow detail may diminish. Soft-proofing simulating a conversion to CMYK using U.S. Web Coated (SWOP)v2. Notice the loss of saturation. Photo by © Martha DiMeo (Available to License) Soft-proofing is the step in a color-managed [...]
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