They should change the title to Our Bullshit about Soft Proofs".
I can appreciate that they would want to promote hard proofing since that's how they make their money. But it does seem somewhat disingenuous not to mention the benefits of using soft proofing simply to help mitigate the negative effects of the "make my image look ugly" button. I think my first post was somewhat misleading in that I didn't make it clear that's all I wanted to do. I got wrapped up in rendering intents simply because they're in the same dialog as the Simulate Paper Color and Simulate Black Ink settings.
I guess you could say I wasn't looking to "fully use" their profile but rather "temporarily" use it just to display the effects of the Simulate Paper Color & Simulate Black Ink settings on my monitor so I could make edits to my AdobeRGB image that would offset those effects to some extent. I admit to being somewhat naive about how the other settings (rendering intent and BPC) would be passed along to the printing service, but again it wasn't my intent to do that. It can get somewhat confusing when most of the tutorials and info found about soft proofing are for people who print to their own printer. Sending to a print lab is a different animal and not nearly as straightforward.
What you say about converting to the printer profile makes perfect sense for all the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for giving me a better understanding of how rendering intent and BPC are passed along to a printing service.
However, I'd like to straighten out a thing or two and ask a couple more questions. I'm a bit late responding because I emailed the lab and that took some time.
-I didn't say I sent the lab sRGB, it was aRGB. They request a working space, not necessarily sRGB. Please note that I'm using their PrintLab service, it's less expensive than their custom service in that it's for images that have already been post-processed. And yes it is likely set up to crank out as many prints as possible, hence the lower cost.
-With the understanding that my sole purpose for soft proofing was to mitigate the effects of the Simulate Paper Color & Simulate Black Ink settings and NOT to pass the rendering intent on to the printing service, would you agree that sending the file to the lab in my aRGB working color space would reflect my soft proofing edits in the print? IOW The print would be more ugly without the edits <g>
-The lab uses perceptual intent with black point compensation as the default settings for their PrintLab printers. I suspect that they request files for this service to be in a working color space because it is an automated environment, because people are more likely to have files in a working space, and because it's less complicated than fiddling with a printer profile (especially for those who don't soft proof or haven't any other reason to use a printer profile). However, that they request a working space isn't to say they demand one. People who do soft proof and want to override the PrintLab's default perceptual intent can do so. It was explained to me like this...
1-Convert the aRGB (or whatever) working space to the printer profile using the relative colorimetric intent
2-Save the file UNTAGGED (with no embedded profile)
3-Upload the file to the PrintLab
4-On the order form you fill out, note those changes so the lab can output your file properly.
-With regard to the age of printer profiles. Their Chromira profiles are dated 10/28/10 (1 week old), the previous one was dated 11/08. An Epson inkjet profile I requested back in June was dated 11/07. FYI I just downloaded Pictopia's profiles and they are dated 3/18/2010. In your experience, would the age of a profile make a difference when one is soft proofing only to mitigate the effects of the Simulate Paper Color and Simulate Black Ink settings? And if so, how old would be too old? Would the same apply if one wanted to change the rendering intent, or would the age limit be different. I suspect the rendering intent could be more sensitive to dated profiles but would love to hear what you have to say about it. Given that you recommend Pictopia, and that their profiles are 8 months old, it seems there's a good deal of wiggle room when it comes to dated profiles.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion I might have caused and answers most of your questions. And thanks again for enlightening me on these issues.