Photoshop Soft Proof does not match Print Preview

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  • Updated 12 months ago
Photoshop Soft Proof does not match Print Preview
Spent 2.5hrs on phone with Adobe tech support and they are stumped.

Does anyone from this knowledgable community know how photoshop renders the Print Preview (with Match Print Colors on) vs. showing the image with Soft Proofing turned on?

I'm struggling with _significant_ luminance and hue differences between the two. Unfortunately, the actual prints closely match the print preview (which was extremely dark, with crazy blue sky saturation), rather than the soft proofed image.

Is this a known Photoshop issue which I'm encountering in an exacerbated with this particular image which is very dark/contrasty?  (prophoto version which this thread posting makes very magenta...

The lack of matching makes Soft Proofing a total hit/miss exercise (frustrating, time consuming, wasteful of materials): Get it right on screen/soft proof. Print and find results way off. Go back to print preview and sigh to see it displaying very much what printed. Back to soft proof to add brightness and reduce sky saturation. Open print preview and sigh. Rinse. Repeat. Shooting in the dark!

I even tried an adjustment layer adding 100 points (!) of brightness. Makes Soft Proof radically brighter in dark foreground, but Preview only a teeny bit brighter.

With tech support, we wiped Photoshop user prefs, created a new user account, even logged into another boot partition. We recalibrated the monitor (again) with SpectraView II. While each permutation yielded slightly different results (bt. soft proof and print preview), they always differed from one another.

The support guy even set the monitor profile to sRGB. Wow! it really shows a difference bt. the two: the soft proof image went crazy cyan in sky, the print preview does not. This would seem to indicate that Soft Proof is much more affected by the display profile than print preview.

Shouldn't the two modes be identical? (see settings below. Isn't turning on "Match Print Colors" in preview analogous to turning on "Proof Colors"?)
Under the hood, is Photoshop using two different algorithms to display? Any idea what they are?

Also, it seems easy to reproduce. I loaded Bill Atkinson's printer test image, which has out of gamut colors. The soft proof gamut warnings are quite different in soft proof window than print preview.

Oddly, the out of gamut results are also different between a MacPro with 30" NEC PA301W and a MacBook Pro (both running the same PS and OS versions)? Most obvious is the redrock arch...

PS, there's a "Preview" checkbox in the Soft Proof dialog box. It seems to have absolutely zero effect. Anyone understand what it is supposed to do?

I tried different printer profiles but it still shows big diffs between Soft Proof and Print Preview (so not print profile corruption).

Renamed Photoshop prefs folder (resetting photoshop prefs) made no visible difference.

The tech support guy even tried "Assign Color Profile" sRGB to my ProPhoto image and changed display profile to sRGB. Don't know why, but it made an awful teal looking sky.

My Settings:
MacPro with recently calibrated monitor (high end 30" NEC PA301W with Spectraview II) at 40cd/m2, White Point 5000K, Gamma 1.8, monitor default contrast ratio.  Did similar test with Macbook Pro.

In Soft Proof:
Printer Profile matches loaded paper. Preserve RGB NOT checked. Perceptual Rendering. Black Point Comp & Simulate Paper Color checked (although also tried with it off, and it didn't impact the issue of Soft Proof not matching).

In print preview:
Checked: Black Point Comp; Match Print colors, gamut warning, show paper white.
And the usual settings: Photoshop Manages Colors, Printer Profile matches loaded paper. Normal Printing. Perceptual Rendering (and tried Relative and it doesn't impact the issue of Soft Proof not matching)

(there's no double color management going on. Macintosh makes it all but impossible. Selecting "photoshop manages colors" disables all printer color management in "Print Setting" dialogs)
Photo of Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

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Posted 12 months ago

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Photo of eartho


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I wish i had an answer for you... have you asked about this on the Luminous forums?
Photo of Todd Shaner

Todd Shaner, Champion

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Try changing PS Preferences> Performance> Graphics Processor Settings> Advanced Settings> Drawing Mode> Basic.

The Normal and Advanced modes have been know to cause issue with PS  soft proof.