Poll

Is soft proofing effective?

No, never use it
- 1 (1.1%)
Sometimes
- 18 (19.1%)
Better than no SP not a match
- 18 (19.1%)
Yes, always use it
- 51 (54.3%)
Just make a print!
- 6 (6.4%)

Total Members Voted: 93


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Author Topic: Soft proofing doesn’t work  (Read 52664 times)

digitaldog

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2011, 10:39:31 am »

Matt Kloskowski has never come across to me (at least from what I have seen and heard on the 'web) as being other than quite well informed about his subject(s) and pleasant with it to boot...

That’s been my impression as well. It makes this behavior seem even more at odds.
I told him I’d be happy to meet with him when I’m in Florida next month but he has not replied.

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rmyers

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2011, 12:17:49 pm »

If so, why even mention that ‘it doesn’t work’? Best to say nothing.

It is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

Good point. 

I don't know how big their audience is, but I wonder if it would be a positive influence on the market for color management hardware and software if they got that audience on board? 
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2011, 12:24:24 pm »

If so, why even mention that ‘it doesn’t work’? Best to say nothing.

It is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

This is a classic!

And sometimes by saying nothing, the audience thinks you are super deep and smart!
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2011, 12:32:49 pm »

I don't know how big their audience is

Pretty huge, something like 70,000 members world wide.
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Photo Op

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2011, 02:49:37 pm »

Pretty huge, something like 70,000 members world wide.

And dare I say, that may be the "problem". They may have become enamored with their place in the cult. I do NOT deny their knowledge in their relm. But his (Matt) dismissal of the "benefits" of SP in light of the comments by authorities in the field, DigitalDog and to a lesser degree Jeff  ;), confirms their fluff and not substance on the subject. IMHO!
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Schewe

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2011, 03:28:24 pm »

...in light of the comments by authorities in the field, DigitalDog and to a lesser degree Jeff

To a lesser degree me? Really?

Where do you think Andrew learns this stuff? (and if you said Bruce Fraser, you would be right).

:~)
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Carey Ridd

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2011, 10:18:16 pm »

Andrew, this is a great topic you started. I have not read all the reply posts (hard to with a 4 year old asking you questions about EVERYTHING). I will state my experience with the topic.
I am in pre-press and do catalog work for one of the largest retailers in north america and I use soft proofing every day on every image (I am a retoucher not a photographer). For soft proofing to work right everything in your workflow must be calibrated to the proper specs. Even with all aspects of your colour managed workflow on the same page it is not 100% accurate but it is very, very close. You can only get so close with the "perceived" brightness coming from the display and a print. I agree that with Matt and Scott, there displays might be set to bright for the conditions they are viewing the proof in. I think it is very difficult for people to grasp all the colour management stuff only because there are many "experts" who, A) are not very knowledgable and B) Who seem to disagree (or just not totally agree) on many topics of colour management. My journey to learn colour management has taken many years. I have read books by Bruce Frazer, Dan Margulis and others. Over the years there have been times when I have been confused because my own personal testing is not the same as what these experts have said. When this happens I do not think that I am smarter or have figured out something they have not, my first thought is how is my logic flawed. Sometimes it has taken me a while to figure out, but in the end the more you understand about each piece of the puzzle the clearer it all becomes.

Carey
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2011, 01:24:44 am »

The new profiles for imageprint 8 load real easily into PS using the profile manager. I have started using SP as a result and find it is one more useful step in the workflow and one more place to catch a problem. I still make a test print and so on but I cannot see why not use SP. I find it to be surprisingly accurate and easy to use. What am I missing in this? Why would this step not be useful?
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Schewe

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #48 on: February 15, 2011, 02:06:54 am »

What am I missing in this? Why would this step not be useful?

Oh, it's useful if the following conditions are true;

You have a profession quality display that is properly calibrated and profiled,

You have an accurate printer profile,

You are printing to a pro quality printer,

You are using a "large gamut" working space (Adobe RGB minimum and ideally ProPhoto RGB),

You know how to use soft proofing and understand what it's showing you and,

You know how to correct the soft proofed image so the final print is optimized for both color and tone,

And the final print is viewed under consistent viewing conditions that are in-line (a match) to the display properties.


Soft proofing won't work very well if you;

Are using a laptop display,

Using a cheap "smaller than sRGB" display,

Driving the display at 100% brightness and/or at an uncontrolled luminance and/or contrast range (anything above 500/1 is SciFi)...

Don't know how to use Photoshop's soft proofing–including the Display Options (On-Screen) options...

Don't have a standard viewing environment so you have some ideal and consistent print viewing capability.


Look, all I can say is that for serious prints I make (and I'm a pretty darn good printer) soft proofing is the BEST way to get an image optimized prior to making that first test print (why waste ink & paper if you don't need to?).

Yes, sometimes I'll look at the actual print and decide to go back and make an additional tweak to perfect the final print. Most of the time, I really don't need to make a test print because the soft proofed image gives me the info I need to get an optimal print the first time out of the printer.

The ONLY time soft proofing fails (to my mind) is predicting the image detail on screen.

While Photoshop is capable of accurately displaying tone and color, it's kinda sucks at predicting the image detail (sharpening and noise reduction) you expect to see in the final print.

That's not a limitation of Photoshop so much as a limitation in the resolution of today's displays. When you can get a 30" that has the same resolution of an iPhone 4 retina display (over 200PPI) then you might be able to predict sharpening and noise reduction for the print. Today? Not so much...you either need experience or a test print to tell you the detail the image is capable of producing...

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Josh-H

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #49 on: February 15, 2011, 06:57:52 am »

Oh, it's useful if the following conditions are true;

You have a profession quality display that is properly calibrated and profiled,

You have an accurate printer profile,

You are printing to a pro quality printer,

You are using a "large gamut" working space (Adobe RGB minimum and ideally ProPhoto RGB),

You know how to use soft proofing and understand what it's showing you and,

You know how to correct the soft proofed image so the final print is optimized for both color and tone,

And the final print is viewed under consistent viewing conditions that are in-line (a match) to the display properties.


Soft proofing won't work very well if you;

Are using a laptop display,

Using a cheap "smaller than sRGB" display,

Driving the display at 100% brightness and/or at an uncontrolled luminance and/or contrast range (anything above 500/1 is SciFi)...

Don't know how to use Photoshop's soft proofing–including the Display Options (On-Screen) options...

Don't have a standard viewing environment so you have some ideal and consistent print viewing capability.


Look, all I can say is that for serious prints I make (and I'm a pretty darn good printer) soft proofing is the BEST way to get an image optimized prior to making that first test print (why waste ink & paper if you don't need to?).

Yes, sometimes I'll look at the actual print and decide to go back and make an additional tweak to perfect the final print. Most of the time, I really don't need to make a test print because the soft proofed image gives me the info I need to get an optimal print the first time out of the printer.

The ONLY time soft proofing fails (to my mind) is predicting the image detail on screen.

While Photoshop is capable of accurately displaying tone and color, it's kinda sucks at predicting the image detail (sharpening and noise reduction) you expect to see in the final print.

That's not a limitation of Photoshop so much as a limitation in the resolution of today's displays. When you can get a 30" that has the same resolution of an iPhone 4 retina display (over 200PPI) then you might be able to predict sharpening and noise reduction for the print. Today? Not so much...you either need experience or a test print to tell you the detail the image is capable of producing...



Without unnecessarily repeating the above (although it deserves repeating. Hence the 'quote'); And, at the risk of sounding like a fan boy  ::) +1 to what Jeff said.  ;D
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2011, 08:57:10 am »

Oh, it's useful if the following conditions are true;


Excellent summary of the necessary conditions and limitations. You should send this to NAPP - better still - why not offer to do them an article on softproofing for PhotoshupUser magazine?  :-)
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #51 on: February 15, 2011, 12:20:00 pm »

You should send this to NAPP - better still - why not offer to do them an article on softproofing for PhotoshupUser magazine?  :-)

You think that will help? Change starts at the top. So will a Schewe article will anything to change the perceptions and ‘advise’ of Scott and Matt, will they then be soft proofing proponents or deniers?

There is a very interesting odd behavior here. We have proponents of soft proofing sure. We have users who say it doesn’t work for them so they don’t use it. Why it doesn’t work for them but does for others is something you’d think they would ask themselves but generally speaking, they find it doesn’t work and they move on. OK, that’s one thing. But then there is this odd third group of highly visible educators who appear to go out of their way to dismiss soft proofing. Read Matt’s blog. It starts out with useful information about this new LR soft proof plug-in. It didn’t need to go farther yet like the original piece he did on the issue of Prints too dark, there’s a discussion of how soft proofing isn’t useful to him (and a the usual round of comments agreeing about this). Now, I know this will probably start a religious battle, but personally the soft proofing feature does nothing “for me” (key words here: “for me”). Why this slant?

When asked about how he calibrates his display, or why soft proofing is effective to so many and why it might not work for him, or why he’d drive his display at 100% brightness the answer is “I’m good, I know how to soft proof”.

There’s a Epson training Video for sale on Kelby Training where I’m told, Scott tells the guest (Dano from Epson) something along the lines that he doesn’t use soft proofing. I haven’t seen it, but there were some posts on the NAPP forums about it, some from shocked members who did see the video. Why the comments dismissing this technology that’s been used by many since 1998?

These people presumably calibrate their displays. I wonder why? Well they expect some resemblance of what they see on-screen and elsewhere, and they want visual consistency I suspect. So why when the setup a soft proof do they find a mismatch? Or what about the people who say “without soft proofing, my screen matches my prints”. So the differences in gamut, paper white, contrast ratio, rendering intent when applied don’t work, but when viewing an output agnostic working space it does? Something seems odd here. Unfortunately some are so defensive of their workflow, that when you ask them about the disconnect, when you try to get the soft proofing to work for them, the clamp up. This isn’t an ideological opinion with differing points of view, its a technology that should work or not work. Its not a religious battle, why bring that up?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 12:21:58 pm by digitaldog »
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RFPhotography

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2011, 12:44:31 pm »

I'll go back to what I'd mentioned earlier, Andrew.

Soft proofing doesn't necessarily fit the 'Kelby Method' of teaching.  I haven't bought any of his DVDs but have been a NAAP member in the past, seen some of the online tutorials and subscribed to PS User and the instructional method used is the same as in Scott's books.  It's very regimented, 'do steps 1 through 10 and get result A'.  There's really no room for 'freewheeling' in the instructional method he and his associates use.  Soft proofing doesn't work that way.  There is no, 'do steps 1 through 10 and your prints will match your screen beautifully'.  Soft proofing is a more 'loose' methodology.  Sure, setting up the dupe and original images side by side, proofing with the proper profile, choosing the rendering intent, BPC, Paper White, are easily conveyed in a step-by-step, but beyond that, not so much.  There's no 'Adjust Saturation by +10' or 'Move Highlights to 248 and Shadows to 8 in Levels'.  Every image/print is different and the Kelby Method doesn't account for that.
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digitaldog

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2011, 12:58:42 pm »

There is no, 'do steps 1 through 10 and your prints will match your screen beautifully'.  Soft proofing is a more 'loose' methodology.

IMHO, a large degree of blame should be placed on those who create color management solutions. Asking most users to set a target luminance in cd/m2 is about as intuitive as asking them to preform low level programming. User are being asked the wrong questions, the wrong way. The methodology can be greatly improved.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2011, 01:26:08 pm »

I'll go back to what I'd mentioned earlier, Andrew.

Soft proofing doesn't necessarily fit the 'Kelby Method' of teaching. 
I'm not sure color management fits into the NAPP philosophy.  Matt's tutorial on how to get the correct density from your lab by printing out a series of tests at various densities shows they would rather give you a specific "do this to get this approach" than teach the concepts and steps for a correct workflow.  Interestingly enough, Photoshop World has even moved that way ... many of the instructors who I respect the most are no longer involved, and those that remain might offer some nice tidbits on speeding workflow but nothing more.

As far as Matt's credibility, at this point I'm not sure he does get it.  He's entertaining, and certainly knows his way around photoshop and lightroom better than I do and offers a nice teaching style and some useful tips. But sitting in one of his sessions at last year's photoshop world he stated emphatically that everyone should use ProPhotorgb as their working space, but not to bother with 16 bits because it just makes your files twice as big.

As far as my use of soft proofing, like some others have mentioned, I find my monitor matches EEF very well, so most of the time I'm use soft proofing mainly to evaluate which rendering intent to use.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2011, 02:13:55 pm »

One of the real problems in this field (and it's not alone of course) is that people can do various things to get themselves acknowledged as "experts", and indeed, in some respects they may well be - but here's the rub - not in everything. Digital imaging is a pretty vast enterprise; there's lots of stuff to learn and know about. But some of the "experts" have the chutzpa to advise on matters they either don't fully understand, or haven't tested properly for themselves, or both. Worse than that, if a technology with merit doesn't fit within a recipe, better dismiss the technology rather than amend the recipe, because behind the recipe there is economy of effort, enhanced productivity pumping out instructional materials and cash flow.

NAPP is arguably the world's largest Photoshop instructional enterprise going; as such it has a serious responsibility to carefully verify the merits of the things its staff encourages or discourages before going public. If it fails to do that, its credibility will suffer and it will lose support. I've never paid any attention - until Andrew raised it - what those guys think of soft-proofing, and I find what's being revealed here quite appalling from the broader educational perspective; then on top of that to hear one of thinks it's fine to use 8-bit files in ProPhoto RGB raises yet more concern, because the risk of wrecking image quality from doing that is arguably worse than from failing to soft-proof.

I must say, with regret, this kind of stuff reminds me of previous episodes of "over-reached expertise": you may recall that well-known NAPP Hall of Famer who at various times issued brain-dead propositions to the effect that a monkey could calibrate his display, there's no need to work in anything other than 8-bit sRGB, colour management is dead, Adobe Camera Raw is primitive because it doesn't have curves for each of the individual primaries, an so on...........

It's good to see others around who are vigilant and trying to keep the standards up. Thanks Andrew and Jeff. But being the free-wheeling market it is for ideas and education, "caveat emptor" applies here like it does for so many other things. People should "take advice on advisement" and test these propositions for themselves, to see what they should believe or not believe. It's work, but there's no substitute for first-hand discovery of what works best for each of us.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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gholleman

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2011, 02:30:00 pm »

Scott's latest book, CS 5 for Digital Photographers has a section on how to soft proof, but starts off with a statment on how he does not use or advocate the use of soft proofing. I myself find it extreamly usefull when making prints.
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RFPhotography

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #57 on: February 15, 2011, 02:31:10 pm »

That may be true, Andrew.  Tough to set a target when you don't know what the target should be.  Then again, many tutorials suggest leaving the display brightness at factory default (usually Max) or using a visual approach to display brightness.  So are the tutorials chasing the software or is the software chasing the tutorials?

If
Then
Else

Wayne, you're right.  I should have said colour management not just soft proofing.
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Schewe

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #58 on: February 15, 2011, 03:05:32 pm »

Interestingly enough, Photoshop World has even moved that way ... many of the instructors who I respect the most are no longer involved, and those that remain might offer some nice tidbits on speeding workflow but nothing more.

Well, I'm still hanging on. If you went to PSW Vegas last year, I wasn't there because of a conflict between PSW and PODUS Iceland. First one I've missed in a while...but I'm back at PSW Orlando (although I hate Orlando more than Vegas) and will be doing two printing sessions; Printing in Lightroom (and of course soft proofing in Photoshop) and The Art of the Perfect Print which is all about taking a raw image and perfecting it for the final print. Soft proofing is of course involved...also doing Real World Image Sharpening too. So at least there will be one person there who knows how to print :~) Actually JP Caponigro is there too but he's not doing a printing session...
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Soft proofing doesn’t work
« Reply #59 on: February 15, 2011, 03:14:36 pm »

That may be true, Andrew.  Tough to set a target when you don't know what the target should be.  Then again, many tutorials suggest leaving the display brightness at factory default (usually Max) or using a visual approach to display brightness.  So are the tutorials chasing the software or is the software chasing the tutorials?


Andrew explains very clearly what the target should be in his tutorial on "Why Are My Prints Too Dark" on this website. All those tutorials recommending to leave display brightness at factory default - AT LEAST in that respect - aren't worth the silicon they consume. Needless to say here, factory defaults are sweet for playing video games.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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