The Latest Developments in Monitor Soft Proofing

Kodak Matchprint Virtual being used to edit and approve files in prepress.

ICS Remote Director being used press side at Worldcolor, Toronto.

Figure 2: With ICC profiles, color documents can be output on different devices, yet look the same. This is done in the RIP, which can use two or more profiles to create different workflow scenarios.

Figure 3: Green-red “traffic lights” are used in Remote Director to indicate who is viewing and collaborating on a soft proof and whether their monitor is calibrated.

Abhay Sharma is a professor in the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. This article is based on a presentation entitled “ROI of Soft Proofing,” which he gave last month at Graphics of the Americas in Miami. Contact him at

With soft proofing, your monitor provides an accurate prediction of the press output so that people can view the proof at different locations, yet see the same colors.

MONITOR SOFT proofing allows many benefits in terms of time and convenience. With the current economic challenges, all printers must look at ways to increase efficiencies. Soft proofing and online collaboration were obvious solutions even before the current financial meltdown, and now the case for soft proofing is even more compelling.

The aim in soft proofing is that the monitor provides an accurate prediction of the press output and different people can view the proof at different locations, yet see the same colors. Soft proofing can be for content and collaboration only, but most of the time we also want accurate color. A soft proofing “kit” consists of the following basic components:

• A good quality monitor, preferably with a hood
• A measuring instrument
• ICC color profiles
• A software solution such as ICS Remote Director or Kodak Matchprint Virtual

Selecting Your Monitor

The choice of monitor is important. All solutions today use only LCD flat panels, and most solutions are based on the Eizo Color–Edge (CG) series or Apple (HD or LED) displays. Other makes seen at recent trade shows, however, include NEC displays, the HP DreamColor and Quato monitors.

When choosing a display, uniformity from one side of the screen to the other is sometimes an issue, so a good software solution will take measurements from all over the screen before you start and then use that data to improve the display uniformity. The color gamut of the monitor needs to encompass most commonly used print gamuts. Images are displayed in a manner that simulates a press condition, thus the screen needs to accurately display all press colors. Usually, if you are buying a complete soft proofing solution, your monitor choice depends on the models supported by your chosen provider.

Color Management Basics

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