Friday, June 20, 2008

Simulate Paper Color - commercial printing part 5

Simulate Paper Color is a tricky subject and there were a few questions about it. When you check the box to Simulate Paper Color, the image will likely change dramatically. Why? Photoshop tries to make the light emitted from your monitor match the look of light reflected from a printed page. Remember that RGB is an additive colour model and CMYK is a subtractive colour model.

Try using Full Screen Mode to get the most use out of your soft proof (using your monitor to simulate a printing device), View>Screen Mode>Full Screen Mode, and hide the palettes and tool bars by pressing the Tab key. To return from Full Screen Mode, click on the F key.

To answer another related question, the process is going through an Absolute Colorimetric rendering through the paper profile to the screen. Remember the proof is meant to simulate the look of the final press output, not the original file. Make your judgements about what's happening to your colours (hue, saturation, and etc.) and adjust accordingly with levels, curves, or other appropriate adjustment layer.

All of this requires accurate profiles and a calibrated system. If you are working on an uncalibrated system, your mileage will obviously vary. No proofing system is perfect. But, as you get comfortable with the process, you'll get better at predicting and preparing for excellent results.


Anonymous said...

what is the "simulate paper color" doing?
is it just applying a "generic tone" over the canvas or is it using actual icc profiles of a particular paper?

Can I adjust the "simulated paper color" to match my actual paper stock?

Does an ICC profile contain an "info fork" which would allow the togle on/off of "simulate paper color" to show the characterisitics of my paper stock?

Jim Hoerricks said...

Here's a good explanation from Andrew Rodney:

I would imagine that, since Simulate Paper Color is using the ICC profile that you've supplied/identified, it's really a function of that profile. There are programs out there to profile your unique set-up.

I'm not sure, but one of the custom ICC profile vendors would know better ...

Great questions. Keep them coming.