Softproofing profiles (direct print vs. photo print) / automatic adjustment?

Hi there,

After getting my issues with colour profiles more or less solved, I’m making my first steps first with soft-proofing in RawTherapee as I want to order a large metal print. I hope that I understood this correctly, but soft-proofing should show how the print would look like in reality.

I loaded the ICC profiles here and these are the results.

No soft-proof:

With Direct print on aluminum Dibond ICC profile UV Art Print Aluminum:

With Kodak Pro Ultra Endura (250g/m²), matte/glossy ICC profile Kodak Ultra Endura matte/glossy:

Note: This is not the photo I want to print. Because I’m not the author of it, I cannot show it on the internet. However, the behaviour is the same.

Now, my first question: Is this normal for direct metal prints that they look like if someone had put some “fog” on top of it (don’t know how to explain)? The soft-proof with photo print on Kodak paper looks much better, but is also more expensive. So I’m thinking whether it’s worth the money. I already ordered the set with different samples but it’s hard to compare because all of the samples show different pictures.

Furthermore, is it possible to automatically apply some curves or corrections to cancel this profile and to get what I initially adjusted my photo to?

If you look at the images the one on the metal has just as much detail. The difference is that the colours are less saturated and the blacks not as dark. It looks as though the process used to produce images on metal cannot go to quite the extremes the process used to produce images on expensive photo paper. This should not come as a surprise.

I have no experience with having images printed on metal, but I would expect something like the above. That is why one uses soft proofing: to get an idea of what the final image would look like.

To counter the above, I would suggest increasing the saturation contrast by making the pastel type colours even more pastel and desaturating the sky

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I’ve been playing with those printing profiles on Gamutvision (it’s freeware), and this is what I’ve seen:

The wireframe is the sRGB 3D gamut, while the colored (and smaller) volumes are the printing profiles gamuts. On the lower right of each rendering there are 2 numbers: «(1)» is the sRGB gamut volume, while «(2)» is the printing profile volume.

As you can see, the Dibond printing will not be able to render as much colors as the Endure printing.

The whole idea of soft-proofing is to tweak the image processing so that it looks more like the original!
On the DiBond it looks like a subtle S curve might help bring a bit of contrast and saturation back but you would need to have your clipping indicators turned. Looking at Xaviers screen grab Dibond is very deficient in its black point, so personally I’d forget it.

The art of printing and soft proofing is to find a print medium that requires the least adjustment in order to render a proofed image identical to the original - but ALL soft proofing requires some adjustment to the image.

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