Why cannot LR4's softproofing autocompensate ?

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Questions thread
Mark McCormick Senior Member • Posts: 1,175
Re: Why cannot LR4's softproofing autocompensate ?

Petruska wrote:

The softproof differences are showing what the printer "can't" produce.

Well, sort of but not entirely and hence the need for further image edits being guided by the softproof mode.

I think the best way to look at the differences between original source image appearance and printed output image appearance is that the an ICC profiling workflow is by design already attempting to make a good reproduction of the image by factoring in a color and tonal "translation" that maps out of gamut source colors and tones into the printer/media output gamut. We do have some control over the "flavor" of that mapping algorithm by selecting a rendering intent (perceptual, relative, etc).  However, we are still in an age where the CMM (color management module) and the profiles collectively function as a relatively "dumb" combination. The gamut mapping takes place with only a fixed consideration of the total source color space (e.g., sRGB, aRGB)  and output colorspace (i.e, the printer profile's color gamut) not the actual color and tone content of the image. Thus, even with an image that is fully within gamut of the printer/media combination the colors and tones will get gently or moderately compressed to make room for colors and tones that that particular image doesn't even have. Thus, with today's profiling technologies all images will lose at least some image contrast and possibly color saturation plus hue shifting as well when they go from RGB working spaces to print. Media choice makes a big difference in how much color and tone compression is being called for. Matte papers force much more tone compression than glossy papers, yet it's primarily these "within gamut but still compressed more" errors that folks who use softproofing have an opportunity to manually address and thus improve the final rendering to suit personal taste.

The idea of a "smart" CMM which looks at image content and applies a more sophisticated tonal and color mapping only as needed has and is being actively addressed by the color science community, and as the OP suggested, clever folks at Adobe and other companies could also attempt to  "outsmart" our currently dumb ICC profiling CMMs by building in some "auto" print correction algorithm into the image editing app. But it's not as easy as it seems, and IMHO, it's kind of like expecting the "auto color" tool in Photoshop to be the only image color and tone correction method one would ever want or need to improve our original source images. That's where we humans are still useful and can weigh in with our personal preferences, and that's also what softproofing allows us to do with some visual guidance as we make our final prep-for-print choices.

-- hide signature --

Mark McCormick

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow