I think you're mixing up soft proof and calibration. Soft proof is only to identify any areas of gamut clipping in the print profile. Saturated colors outside the target (print) color space are clipped to the nearest reproducible color. This not only mutes the original color, but can also wipe out fine detail and texture in these areas and give a "dead" appearance. So with soft proof still on, you can try to compensate to bring these areas "back to life". Or you may decide to do nothing at all. Setting up calibration parameters is something different and unrelated. That's not soft proofing. It's to get a basic match from screen to print, so that what you see on screen generally corresponds to the final print. Same basic brightness level, same white and same "whiteness", same contrast and same black level. What you see is what you get. If you have a white pixel in your document, 255-255-255, that pixel just reproduces as 255-255-255 on screen. There's no regard for what that white actually looks like on screen, or whether it actually matches the white of the paper in your final print. This is what you define when you set up the calibration parameters. You're connecting the two. You're defining screen white to look like paper white. Here's an important thing: the only common reference we all share is a printed photograph on a piece of paper. We all relate to that and know what it looks like. There's no such reference for screens. There's nothing to build a shared perception on. One person's screen is blazing bright, the next person's dim and dull. No common ground. So even if you work for screen only, it still makes perfect sense to target paper white. It puts us all on the same page. But of course you can allow a deeper black if you're not trying to match a certain print process.
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Thank you, Jeff, for letting me know this and for linking me to that thread. Now at least I have less reason to think I'm crazy; and a new good reason to stop obsessively trying to imagine solutions that I was failing to consider. Kind regards, Mark
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