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With the soft-proofing technique, also called monitor proofing, printing data is rendered digitally to check them before printing them. The printing profile is tested and further tests such as color control are carried out. The computer monitor must be calibrated regularly for this test to be accurate.

Color data is displayed on a monitor or projector: This way, you can see on the screen how the finished print will finally look on paper. This means that the soft proof is a temporary simulation of the original. The interplay of the different soft-proof components must be guaranteed to achieve a high soft-proof quality, based on fixed criteria and tolerances.

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What Is the Difference Between Soft- and Hard-Proof?

In contrast to soft proof, hard proof or simply proof, is the physical printing on paper, using calibrated color printers. They render a picture that corresponds to the actual color value. A soft proof is a print simulation mainly used to check the colors.

How Does Soft Proof Work?

Creating a soft proof is very complex and is executed in different steps. Matching the color on the monitor to the print of the machine is of utmost importance. The entire printing process is displayed on the monitor, including printer point increase and color of the printing paper. All of this can be achieved with our EyeC software.

Make sure to calibrate the monitors regularly to ensure color accuracy. The room lighting should also be as neutral as possible. Neutral light is at around 5.000 Kelvin and is the ideal choice.

After checking the individual pages, your request for corrections is added and handled in the next step.

The Four Components of a Soft-Proofing System

The hardware of a soft-proofing system consists of four essential components that are compatible and do not have to be from the same manufacturer.

A colorimeter measures the color values and guarantees their exact rendering. To display the data on the monitor correctly, you need monitor-proofing software. The third component is the monitor itself which displays the data correctly from all angles. The norm light makes sure that the monitor is illuminated correctly.

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Which Soft-Proofing Products Does EyeC Offer?

Discover our Artwork & Pre-Press Inspection software at EyeC: The pre-press inspection system EyeC Profiler Graphic compares the press-ready files to the customer data to ensure they are correct before printing plates are created. This way, possible errors can already be detected on the monitor. This is especially important for label printing in the pharmaceutical sector. The automated software system guarantees compliance with the highest standards during the entire chain of production.  

The EyeC Proofiler Graphic software can be integrated into all current pre-press systems and can be operated intuitively and easily. The automated control reduces proofreading time considerably.

The software also allows the usage of more than one printing machine which increases effectiveness. Errors are detected early which is especially important in the pharmaceutical field, as faulty labeling can produce life-threatening danger. The inspection system uses Pixel-to-pixel comparison for a detailed proofing process. The EyeC Proofiler offers a final check report that makes communication with your customers easier.

The EyeC Proofiler Graphic can also be used to proof 1D and 2D codes such as barcodes and QR codes. Apart from text, graphics, and codes, braille according to ISO 17351:2013 can also be checked. The entire soft-proofing process is easily integrated into your workflow.

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Which File Formats Are Used?

The pictures for the soft-proofing procedure mainly exist in the formats JPEG and TIFF, both in a device-dependent and device-independent color spectrum. The first group is RGB and CMYK colors as well as multichannel colors. CIE-LAB and CIEXYZ belong to the second group.

For files that include both graphic and text elements, the PDF format is used. Other options are open data from layout programs such as INDD or QXD.

Which Are the Advantages of Soft-Proofing?

The soft-proofing technique offers a variety of advantages. One important factor is the time-saving aspect as there are no additional prints needed which leads to an accelerated workflow. Moreover, the ecological advantage of this paperless procedure is clear. Furthermore, all corrections can be attributed to specific persons, as they are time-stamped and can be displayed at any time. This way, your proofing process can span different locations and time zones.

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Ashley Madden

EyeC America

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