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| p.1 #5 · Printing: Matte Papers- Disappointing How to improve. |
"Soft proofing (BPC and Simulate Paper color turned on and using Relative Colorimetric)
Turns the image very dull, lack luster and lose the contrast.
(I then have to add curves and other methods to regain the contrast at SP stage)
At default, prints turn out way darker and blacks print as deep blacks more like black color blobs. If I compensate for contrast at Soft proofing stage, it makes the matters worse"
Two things right off the bat, well, maybe three. How has you monitor been calibrated and to what luminance level? In conjunction with the monitor luminance, what is the ambient light level in your editing room? How are you viewing and judging your prints? Under what type of lighting conditions? And lastly, what is the source for your paper profiles?
If your prints are all too dark, you have to start with monitor luminance and go from there. Too bright monitor, regardless of calibration and profile will have you make your files too dark to compensate, but that is also tied very closely to ambient light levels - the higher the ambient, the brighter you screen needs to be. The black point on the screen is as important as the white point and not enough attention is paid to that by most.
For the best results, you need to have custom profiles, although the Epson profiles for Epson media are generally pretty good to start with. The soft proofing for matte papers is generally mediocre at best and has to do with the accuracy of the measured white and black points in your profile, which are used to simulate on screen. It also helps to have your print at ninety degrees to the monitor so you have to look away and then back to the screen. The print should be illuminated with a calibrated light source like a Solux light or the equivalent.
I use my own custom profiles on an Epson 9900 and have printed on a ton of Velvet Fine Art, Hot Press Bright and virtually everything HahnemŁhle has to offer, and the soft proofs are really very good. You have to look to profile quality and calibration accuracy for the root of your printing issues.