Just as a viewing booth is critical for evaluating hard proofs, the environment in which soft proofs are viewed is also very important. The display should not be in a room where the lighting conditions will change dramatically throughout the day. Overhead (ceiling) lights are satisfactory as long as they are not drastically off-white, but a desk lamp in proximity to the LCD display is not. If there are windows in the room, shades should be installed to eliminate sunlight or glare and provide a consistent environment. If possible, the walls should be painted a neutral color to reduce the effects of the surrounding environment.
Soft proofing is a natural benefit of implementing a color-managed workflow and represents a practical way to verify color accuracy in production further upstream. As with any color device, calibration, consistency, and testing are the keys to success. Combining the quality of both LCD and LED displays with the low price point of profiling software and devices, you can’t afford not to use soft proofing.
Figure 1: A comparison of display gamuts.
Figure 2: A representation of a display set at D65 (6500K, left) and D50 (5000K, right).
Figure 3: Proof setup options to simulate an accurate soft proof in Photoshop.