Soft proofing allows the user to view an accurate representation of what a final print will look like on their monitor. This visual representation (soft proof) replaces a traditional hard copy proof and serves as a contract between supplier and buyer. A contract soft proofing system will enhance a digital workflow by providing proofs that are accurate, repeatable, and supported by industry standards. A contract soft proofing system requires software, a light booth, and monitor.
The soft proofing software provides tools for sharing digital proofs. The reviewer will have the capability to view, zoom, and navigate high resolution files without having to download the entire file. The software enables multiple users to simultaneously review the same file and offers markup and annotation tools to communicate edits, digital sign-off to indicate approval or rejection, and automated email notifications sent between stakeholders. To ensure accuracy when selecting soft proofing software look for a program that will assign color profiles to the digital files and prompt the viewer to calibrate their display using an external color sensor and pre-set color viewing parameters. Remote Director’s soft proofing software offers this capability.
A soft proofing workflow also requires a light booth with dimming capabilities to be used near the monitor. This will allow the illuminance level of the monitor and viewing area to match. A GTI iQ viewing system is equipped to automatically match the luminance level of the monitor.
In a soft proofing workflow the monitor is acting like an output device. To ensure accuracy the monitor needs to be a high quality, color calibrated monitor such as those offered by BenQ, Eizo, and NEC.
GTI Graphic Technology, Inc. and Remote Director LLC have combined to offer a series of complete soft proofing solutions that include a two year subscription for two concurrent seats to Remote Director Software, a USB instrument to calibrate the monitor, and a GTI iQ enabled ISO 3664:2009 compliant viewing system. GTI light booths are available in desktop and floor stand models.
Soft proofing allows for many people in many locations to review a single proof at the same time, as opposed to creating and sending multiple copies of the proof to many people. This allows project stakeholders to automatically consolidate all feedback and approvals in a single file instead of manually gathering and sorting through comments provided by reviewers. Soft proofing also shortens the production cycle by eliminating the need to print and deliver hard copy proofs. By eliminating the cost of the printer, paper, ink, and shipping/delivery soft proofing will also save significant money.
Soft proofing will benefit all stakeholders not only by reducing cost and tightening the production cycle, but allowing more time for creativity and creating an opportunity for greater communication across the supply chain. A properly installed soft proofing system completes the digital workflow.