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No difference in softproof image but major differences in historgram

Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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I don't see any difference in my image when I view the softproof version using a vendor specific ICC file vs the original display.  However there is a big difference in the historgram.  Shouldn't I see a difference in the image when I look at the softproof version?

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Community Beginner , Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

Thanks but I am now at a loss of what to do.  The print company sent me a hardcopy proof of my image, which I want to get printed on metal.  The proof is too dark and the colors are off a bit, maybe too warm.  The company told me to calibrate my monitor (which I have done) and to adjust my monitor to match the proof.  After trying multiple times with changes to the color temperature, contrast, and RGB controls on my monitor, I am not able to get my screen to look like the hardcopy proof.  So tha

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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Not necessarily. You are looking at the soft proof on a monitor, so there are two color conversions: First the conversion to show the soft proof, but then these colors will be converted to your monitor and that is where you can lose the visible differences.

 

As an example: Let's say the image is ProPhotoRGB, you soft proof against AdobeRGB but your monitor is sRGB. Because sRGB is the smallest color space of the three, you will not be able to see on your monitor what soft proofing from ProPhotoRGB to AdobeRGB does.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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quote

I view the softproof version using a vendor specific ICC file vs the original display.


BTW, if you mean that you are soft proofing against your own monitor profile, then you will never see a difference. A soft proof is a simulation of  how the image will look when displayed on the device your are soft proofing, so you are simulating how the image will look on your own monitor...

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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Right, I am comparing the default monitor profile against the printer's profile.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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In a first step please try resetting the preferences of Lightroom Classic:   https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/setting-preferences-lightroom.html

 

It's recommended to backup your preferences before you reset the preferences to the default settings: 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/preference-file-and-other-file-locations.html

 

 

My System: Intel i7-8700K - 64GB RAM - NVidia Geforce RTX 3060 - Windows 10 Pro 22H2 -- LR-Classic 13.2 - Photoshop 25.7 - Nik Collection 7 - PureRAW 4 - Topaz PhotoAI 3

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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Thank you for your response but unfortunately that didn't help.  When I turn on softproofing with the printer's ICC file, there's no difference in what I see on the screen.  I shot the image on a Sony A7III and I'm using a Dell 2718Q monitor.  Do you have any other suggestions?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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This is how soft proofing works. Ideally you should NOT see any difference. This means that all the colors are inside the gamut of both your monitor and the icc profile. So that you don't see a change is completely expected. Oftentimes the biggest changes are observed when you also enable "simulate paper and ink" but that option is just meant to give you an impression of the impact of the paper color and the ink black density. With it off in general the difference for soft proof should be minor except if you're soft proofing for a not too good printer. If you're soft proofing for a different standard color space like soft proof for adobeRGB it is extremely rare to be able to see any difference. Sometimes proofing for sRGB you might see a difference if you are on a wide gamut display.

The histogram that will be shown in the histogram display when proofing is based on the icc profile instead of based on the Lightroom color space for the histogram which is a special colorspace with prophotoRGB primaries and a sRGB tonecurve. These profiles usually have completely different tone curves than sRGB and absolutely have different primaries. So the histogram should change but the appearance of the image should not change. When you see large changes, it usually just means that the image has colors outside of the soft proof profile and you can choose to correct for that (but don't have to if the difference is minor or not objectionable).

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2023 Dec 19, 2023

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Oh forgot to say that it is possible to see minor differences even when your colors are all inside the soft proof ICC profile's gamut when you are using perceptual rendering intent and the profile has defined one. You see this often in profiles for printer/paper combinations. However when you choose relative rendering intent for those you won't see any difference.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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Thanks but I am now at a loss of what to do.  The print company sent me a hardcopy proof of my image, which I want to get printed on metal.  The proof is too dark and the colors are off a bit, maybe too warm.  The company told me to calibrate my monitor (which I have done) and to adjust my monitor to match the proof.  After trying multiple times with changes to the color temperature, contrast, and RGB controls on my monitor, I am not able to get my screen to look like the hardcopy proof.  So that's when I decided to try Lightroom soft proof with the intent of modifying the soft proof image (which I had hoped would look like the hardcopy) to have the brightness and color of my original edits.  Since that's not working either, I'm at a loss on what to do.  Do you have any suggestions?  Thanks very much!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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Ah yeah. Soft proofing will not help if your monitor is not calibrated right and set to a reasonable brightness for the environment you are editing in. Most monitors are waaaaaay too bright resulting in dark prints (because you compensate by editing your images too darkly). Soft proofing will never show this. Also, most monitors out of the box are often much too high color temperature resulting in prints that look too warm. Soft proofing also cannot correct for this. Calibration using calibration hardware however fixes both of these. Also, with prints, their appearance very much depends on the viewing conditions and the quality of the light source you are using. Try looking at it in daylight instead of artificial light if you don't have high color rendering index light sources. This all takes some effort to get right. Probably you should reset the controls on your monitor first and make sure to choose a color temperature (if it has a control) of 6500K or native. Lower is also good but not lower than 5800. Native is usually best if it has that option and that will be close to 6500K normally. 

 

To really calibrate, you really need to get access to a screen calibrator. There are several types out there. Most popular are the SpyderX series. Others are called i1display or colorMunki. Often if you are member of a local photoclub, they will have one for borrowing. They even have them at public libraries if you have a library that promotes things like makerspaces. You can also rent these from places like lensrentals.

 

Barring this and if you want an immediate fix without needing a calibrator, the most important thing is to make sure your display is not too bright. You can check this by holding a piece of white paper near your monitor. If your monitor appears brighter than the piece of paper, it is too bright. Decrease the brightness of the monitor until it matches better. Typically this means that the brightness setting is somewhere halfway down to 2/3 of the scale. If you end up very low on the brightness scale of your monitor, you have too little ambient light in your work environment. Increase the amount of light around you and ensure that it is good daylight like color quality (no warm tint LEDs or worse incandescant light bulbs). Trick is to make the screen similar to the paper you print on. This will at first make everything look dark but that is what your images are actually like. You were probably compensating for way too high screen brightness by darkening your images.

 

Hope this helps.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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Thanks again for your detailed response.  I have been using Spyder X Pro for calibration. It first checks the ambient light.  I have to close my shades during the day to get a medium reading.  Then it instructs me to set the color temp to 5000K (which is as low as my monitor goes), then has me match a target brightness (about 33% of max) , and then it completes the rest of the profile creation (runs through RGB at different brightnesses).   I've done this before with brighter light in the room, and then it specifies 6500K.  So this is all a bit confusing.  Using the 5000K setting, I need to increase the exposure of my image about 1/3 of a stop, which doesn't sound like much but it makes a big difference.  So maybe my next step is to send this modified image for another proof.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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You're probably better off in a brighter environment with the 6500K setting for accuracy of the monitor (most are less accurate at low brightness settings) but what you are detailing is exactly what you need to do and should work. 5000K is very low. If the difference is only about 1/3 of a stop it is not unlikely that your print viewing environment is not very good or that the problem is actually more the printer's. Are you sending them files in a standard color space or converted to their soft proofing profile? The latter is usually the best option but not all print shops color manage correctly. For print environment try viewing it in full daylight and compare your impression to what you edited. Lighting as used for art displays is also good. If you know it will be hanging in a darker environment you might be best off trying to correct a bit for that and developing everything 1/3 of a stop too bright or to use the print adjustment slider in the print panel and dial in a bit of extra brightness. It is advisable to use the print panel with jpeg output anyway as it allows you to more easily crop to the paper size on the fly, scale to the right size and resolution, do output sharpening for the print medium, and convert to the printer profile with perceptual intent (which you cannot do in the export panel). 

Unfortunately 1/3 of a stop is pretty close in practice. Most shops do not control their process that tightly.

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