Photoshop for Beginners: Introducing Proof Colors

One of the features of the full version of Photoshop is its ability to mimic the colour of other devices. For instance, it can show you how a print will look when it comes out of your inkjet printer. It’ll also show you how your photo will look on average consumer monitors across the world. All of this is useful if you want to control colour and have other people see your pictures as you intended.

Under view>proof setup in Photoshop, you’ll see a list of different outputs that you can “softproof” (preview) right there in the program. You only must click on these and have “proof colors” switched on to view these alternative colours. Some of the available settings are listed below.

  • Internet Standard RGB: This shows you how your photo will look on a standard-gamut monitor with an approximate sRGB gamut. If you see a loss of saturation with this switched on, it’ll be because your own monitor has a wider gamut than average.
  • Monitor RGB: If you were planning to display photos on your own monitor using a program that didn’t have colour management, this setting would show you what the image would look like. Some parts of the Windows OS correspond to this setting, including the desktop or the “photos” app.
  • Legacy Macintosh RGB (Gamma 1.8): Old Macs had a 1.8 gamma, which produces a brighter image when you soft proof it. Because modern Macs use a conventional 2.2 gamma, the setting is virtually obsolete, hence the “legacy” label.
  • Custom: Under this setting you’d typically load your own inkjet printer profile or a profile supplied by a photo lab. Being able to preview the colours of your print enables you to adjust the colours and achieve a print that closely matches the original photo.

Other tools exist that allow users to softproof a print accurately and effectively. For instance, you can “simulate paper colour and black ink” so the screen matches the dynamic range of a print. Such settings make the photo look uglier, momentarily, but the idea is to avoid disappointment in the final print.