Soft proof profile mismatch

Jon or Dana,

I have noticed a significant mismatch between the soft proof and the actual print. Specifically the hue of the soft proof profile is significantly warmer (leaning more to what I see using Carbon ink set – i.e. more sepia) then the actual print. The tonal values appear accurate between the soft proof and print. The print is on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308. As a test the print hue and tones match very closely to the “Piezography Special Edition K7 inks on JonCone Studio Type 2 paper” sample you guys sell (as you know the color of Type 2 and HFA Photo Rag papers are very close). Here are the details:

  1. SPED ink set in a 3800 in a P2 configuration (MK/MK, PK/WN1, LK/NU6, LLK/GO, C/C2, M/SPED4, LC/SPED3, LM/SE5, and Y/NU7).
  2. I am using QTR_P2-x800-x880-SpecEd-HANptoRag ICC profile with RC and BPC rendering intent and “simulate paper color” and “simulate black ink” checked.
  3. The soft proof appears identical from either LR5 or PS CC.
  4. I am using a NEC PA271w monitor calibrated with an I1 Pro and SpectraView II software to D50 / gamma 2.2 / 85 mcd.
  5. Printed using QTR Print tool and the P2-X800-X880-SpecEd-HanptoRag “driver”, 2880 unidirectional, no color management.

Before I go off and make my own soft proof profile I wanted to check in with you folks and see if you notice anything wrong in my configuration; noticed anything with this particular .icc profile; or something else?? Please let me know if you have any questions.

thank you!

Hi Michael~

All your settings for monitor calibration, soft proofing, and printing are correct.

Based on my tests, and comparing prints made with Special Edition ink on both Hahnemuhle Photo Rag and JonCone Studio Type 2 paper, I would have to say Type 2 paper is quite a bit warmer than Photo Rag, and the paper warmth makes the image warmer. I see more of the cool highlight tones in the Photo Rag print, which are much warmer in the Type 2 print. Comparing the Special Edition soft proof profiles to prints made with the same ink/paper combinations (viewing on my laptop- not calibrated), I feel the preview is quite close to the actual prints. Both previews are substantially different from the Carbon soft proof or print output.

If you have a densitometer, you can try to make your own soft proof profile to see if it gives you a more accurate preview.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

The profile may be accurate but the proof may be reflecting back light to you from a source different than what you have calibrated to.

We are also doing our visual soft proof comparisons using a GTI dimming viewing booth set to the same brightness and white point (D50) of the Eizo. Michael, are you making your comparison using a viewing booth at the same brightness and white point as your Eizo? If not - what light sources are you using to view the proof in comparison? Is there ambient light coming in that may be reflecting off the proof, etc??


Thanks for your help and answers. I am sorry if I confused the issue with the discussion of Type 2 and carbon ink. I was trying to provide some additional info, :-). What’s important is I am using the HFA Photo Rag soft proof profile and comparing my print with what I am seeing on screen. And, yes, I do have the ability to make my own .icc profiles but wanted to check in with you first.


No viewing booth, yet… :-). I am viewing my proofs using Solux 3500K MR16 halogen display lamps from a track system in my studio. Clearly the white point of these bulbs are 1500K different than my moniter (and probably a lot brighter); and of course, the whole issue of transmitted vs. reflected light comes into play. My studio is painted a neutrally-blue/gray. And while I do have windows (N andW) letting in outside light I have viewed the proofs at different times of the day with the same result (as well as closing the blinds on the windows).

I also want to stress that although the hue of the soft proof vs. actual print is off the tonalities are spot on! And working with the soft proof throughout my workflow has made any changes required once the proof is lived with much smaller. And besides that’s why we proof, right! :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t put the time into making your own ICCs as it will not improve your proof observation environment. It won’t make any difference. The human brain can not adapt to two different white points and assume matches are met. We just do not function like that on a physiological level. And you can not adapt the 3500k to your display - that is too far out of the ability for ICC conversion to occur accurately. So you are in effect, comparing apples to oranges right now - although it sounds that the contrast level of the display is working.

The goal in color management is to keep a consistent white point. If you simultaneously look at white light that is neutral (5000k) and look at white light that is cool (maybe 6500k) and look at white light that is warm (maybe 3500k), your brain does not see three white lights. If you only look at warm white light, your brain will see it as white. If you only look at cool white light, your brain will see it is as white. But, as soon as you turn on two different color white lights - your brain sees two different colors and the same is true when comparing colors and grays under two different colors of white light. This is how the standard observer operates because of the beauty of or the limitations of our visual system.

In our studio at Cone Editions Press, we have 5000k everywhere you set something down. The entire studios on two floors are 5000k. The viewing booths are 5000k and our imaging rooms are dark with the exception of the illumination from the displays and the dimming viewing booths. But, on our main studio wall we have warm or neutral lights. The warm light is to imitate what happens in gallery settings. Ultimately when we are working with a photographer or artist we try to simulate the situation in which the prints will ultimately be viewed. If very bright, we may image differently. If very dim (as in a museum) we would most definitely image differently. There have been times when we have made the viewing wall the same color as the gallery and used the exact same lighting. For that particular project, it mattered that much to the photographer and the work was very much nuance based.

So you either have to wing it or think about finishing off your imaging area with a dimming GTI viewing booth. Then you can get an uncanny match. But that comes at a cost and you need to decide whether its worth it to you. Sometimes, the best way is the old way. You just go out into the wall and look at the proof and mark it up and go into Photoshop and make the requisite changes. That way you spend more time looking at the proofs and less time looking at Photoshop. We’re quickly becoming however, a display generation. So I vote for marking up your proofs! :slight_smile:

Jon / Dana: I have a followup question. In looking at the SpectraView II calibration target parameters here is what I have set previously and have questions about two parameters I am unsure of:

White Point: 5000K (D50)
Gamma: 2.20
Brightness (“Intensity”): 85.0 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio (Black level): ??? (historically I have used the “default” value – which I don’t exactly know what that means – I do have choices from 500:1 down to 50:1)
Color Gamut: ??? (historically I have used the “Native (Full)” value – I do have choices including Adobe RGB).

So should I leave the contrast ratio and color gamut parameters at the default values as set by SpectraView II?


I would leave those two alone unless you can compute the contrast ratio between your measured dMax and dMin. That will take some research to come up with a calculation formula and of course your measurement of the media. But it shifts from paper to paper grade. So go with default until your workflow assumes only one media/ink combo. Native should get you about 98% of AdobeRGB (all it can do).