Soft-Proofing in Capture One Pro

Soft Proofing for Print in Capture One Pro and Photoshop (Podcast 575)

This week I've created a video to explain soft-proofing for print in Capture One Pro and Photoshop, in response to a question from Chris Moore. I'd been meaning to do a video on soft-proofing in Capture One Pro for a while, so thanks for the question Chris! Soft proofing in Capture One...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
11 Comments
  • Eric Bier
    Posted at 02:56h, 30 May Reply

    Thank you for this excellent review of soft proofing. I agree with you that prints usually look a lot better than the soft proofing image looks, and that it is probably better to use test prints. Unless you are making photos of clothes, etc. for catalogs where the color need to be accurate, test prints may show that “inaccurate” colors look better!

    In Photoshop Color Range has a drop-down menu under Select where you can automatically select out-of-gamut colors.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:02h, 30 May Reply

      You’re very welcome Eric. I’m pleased you liked it.

      I have to admit, I’d never even noticed the option to select out of gamut colors. Thanks for the tip!

      One thing to note though, is that it selects all colors that are out of gamut, which might work, but you may want to do something different with one color, and something different again for another, so selecting the actual color might still be necessary depending on the image. In the example I used, it would have been perfect. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Joshua Kuhn
    Posted at 17:52h, 31 May Reply

    Getting ready to order a large format printer and this was very helpful. I am pretty sure I had all these things straight in my head, but it was nice to see it all laid out to clarify things.
    It was like you were answering questions that popped into my head as you went. Especially when you were trying to bring the photo into the paper’s gamut, I thought “is desaturating better than letting the software do it?” Thanks, good stuff.
    This is also one more reason I wish C1 would let you name variants. It might be nice to keep variants that were adusted for specific papers, or any reason. But with no way to keep them straight you can just as well delete them after saving a Tiff.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:54h, 01 June Reply

      Hi Josh,

      That’s great. I’m pleased this helped.

      I have actually had better luck getting a photo to look like the original by increasing the saturation and ignoring the gamut warnings. I mentioned this briefly, but it seems that as the printer aims for the more vivid color, I sometimes gets closer to the original color and can look OK. It’s more hit and miss though. Most of the time these days, I’m letting the software handle most of it, and the results are stunning.

      I agree that Capture One could handle file names and variant names much better. I get the feeling sometimes that the software is designed by engineers for photographers with very unimaginative workflows. I love it, but there are lots of areas where it could be much better.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Ken Cole
    Posted at 06:20h, 01 June Reply

    Thanks for such a thorough and clear explanation of colour space / gamut. I have never fully understood these concepts and your podcast has really helped me. Although I don’t use Capture One, your tips on soft proofing and how to get the best results from printing were very helpful. In fact it has inspired me to get a decent printer and to start printing my photos. I am sure there is still a lot I will need to learn but this podcast has helped me take a big step forward.
    Thanks
    Ken

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:57h, 01 June Reply

      You’re very welcome Ken. I’m pleased it was useful.

      I’ve actually prepared a follow up post that will go out on June 12, to work through the basics even more. Why we even need to use ICC profiles and working spaces, and the relationship between them etc. I hope you find that useful too.

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Leon Droby
    Posted at 06:48h, 28 June Reply

    Awesome explanation on soft proofing. Clear and thorough. I’m considering moving to CaptureOne from Lightroom (again). The lack of soft proofing was one thing holding me back.

    One question though. I believe you mention not saving variants for different print media in CaptureOne.

    When soft proofing in Lightroom, for each printing profile, the system saves a unique virtual copy. Some of my pics I’ll print on different paper. An extreme case would be semi gloss and matte. With Lightroom, I’d have three different copies: the basic raw, one tweaked for matte paper and one tweaked for semi gloss paper. So depending on what surface I’m printing to would determine which copy I’d use.

    With CaptureOne, I would assume I’d do the same thing using variants. Have the basic image, a variant for matte paper and a second variant for semi gloss.

    But unless I misunderstood, I thought you recommended not doing that. Can you elaborate?

    Thanks again for the pod cast,
    Leon

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:28h, 29 June Reply

      Hi Leon,

      I’m pleased this has helped some.

      I might have confused matters a little. I actually do make any changes that need to be made as a variant, although there is no way to change the file name in Capture One Pro to make it easier to recognize your variants for different paper types. I guess you could use Keywords etc. Either way, your suggested method would work, using variants in Capture One Pro.

      If I do end up jumping into Photoshop and making adjustments, I save the proofed file in TIFF format. To be honest though, I’m rarely having to actually change images for print these days. The PRO-4000 does such a good job of the color reproduction, I haven’t actually modified a file for print over the last year. I also found myself doing this much less even with my old iPF6350. With a relatively wide-gamut media, printing is just so much easier these days.

      I hope that helps.

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Philip J.A Benton
    Posted at 23:58h, 26 July Reply

    Martin, this is a fantastic video, although I am still a little confused by it.

    A question… you talk about adjusting colours to bring them into gamut. What would you do to adjust the overall brightness of the image for print?

    I have just calibrated my monitor, which on the whole makes the monitor darker but a much better match to the prints I have to hand.

    Would you simply Clone the variant and then increase the exposure or brightness sliders slightly until you were happy with it?

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 08:58h, 27 July Reply

    Hi Philip,

    Thanks for watching, and for the question.

    Because I use a technique called ETTR or Expose to the Right, my images are all already nice and bright, so I actually don’t have to brighten my images up for print. This is why I didn’t even think to mention it.

    I wouldn’t necessarily just increase the brightness or exposure of the image, because that also brightens shadows, and you might not want that. It would probably be better to grab the white point (bottom right of the Levels) and move that in until it’s close to the right side of the histogram. Turn on Exposure Warnings and ensure that you don’t make anything over-exposed as you move the white point.

    That will brighten the image but leave your shadows darker, which will probably look better overall. Personally I would do this on the base image. As I say my work never needs brightening for print, so having your base images bright saves thinking about that.

    I hope that helps.

    Regards,
    Martin.

  • Peter Svancar
    Posted at 20:55h, 29 March Reply

    Thank you very much for writing this article, it is really easy to understand the recipe thing in the capture one from it..

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