Saturday, December 29, 2007
The top image is the original, the bottom a duplicate with soft proofing applied. The differences aren't huge and you probably want to click on the image to bring up the large version to really see the changes.
I was reading a discussion about the value of soft proofing on Luminous Landscape and while the discussion degenerated into abuse along the lines of 'my expert is better than your expert' it did make me think more about the process of soft proofing. I'd watched 'From Camera To Print and Jeff Schewe in particular espoused the value of soft proofing. Time to look into this a bit further. I took the Athabasca Falls image that I showed the editing on for the previous blog entry and made a print on Enhanced Matte, knowing that soft proofing shows the differences with matte paper especially.
Know what, Jeff was spot on. First reaction to turning on soft proofing - 'yuck, what happened to my lovely image'. But then I did as instructed and held up the print made 90 degrees to the monitor and in the same lighting and flipped back and forth between monitor and print and guess what, the soft proof explained all the differences between my carefully edited image on monitor and the resultant print. Very impressive.
Now the trick is to learn how to change the image so that the soft proof matches as closely as possible the original. Again I did as Jeff suggested, I duplicated the image so I could compare the soft proof side by side with the original.
I used a combination of five adjustment layers to to match as closely as possible the original. I increased overall saturation by +7 (Jeff mentions that this is usually needed when printing to matte paper). I created two curves layers which could prob. have been combined, to increase contrast slightly and give a bit of punch to the dark areas - and I noted that the white water took on a bluish tinge which didn't match the rest of the image so I used a selective colour adjustment layer, working on whites to yellow them up a tinge.
The end result on screen looked darn close to the original. Of course the blacks weren't as black (because the soft proof is emulating the lower dynamic range of matte paper) but overall it looked good. I made a print. The print looks like I went just a bit too far. I'm going to try again with all the added adjustment layers set to 66% opacity, or perhaps 50%. Ah, 66% works perfectly.
I can see that with a bit of practice this is going to be very helpful in getting images as close a possible to what I want - also to making the same image on two types of paper, matte and glossy, and having them match as close as possible.
It's intersting, the difference means that rock that looked wet in the on screen image, now looks wet again in the print - it didn't before I soft proofed and adjusted.
If you are not soft proofing, you might want to start doing so. Clearly an experiment of one isn't the whole answer, but so far it's looking useful and I will update down the road.
I need to try the technique with black and white images too.