Add soft proofing to Photolab

Thank you Wolfgang.
I know Lightroom does soft proofing (as does QImage which I use). I don’t use Lightroom anymore, but can you actually see what part / how far of a certain colour is out of gamut?
Let’s say your reds are out of gamut. Can you then see how far parts are out of gamut? Just a little…or maybe far? This can be important when choosing a rendering intent (relative colorimetric/ absolute colorimetric (which might not be used by Lightroom) / perceptual / saturation.

well no, not that I know – but yes, you can …

With printing … let’s say, you have textures with a highly saturated colour and want to print them onto a certain paper, that does not hold / cannot reproduce this saturated colour. You know, that you can reduce that colour’s saturation to some degree (and / or shift the colour) to keep these textures visible.

How to do that ‘best’? – Lightroom offers 2 rendering intents, perceptual and relative colorimetric.

  • When set to perceptual, all colours are compressed to fit into the printable colour range.
    You get a visually satisfying colour reproduction, but all colours are shifted to some degree, depending on how far out of gamut the highly satured colour had been …

  • When set to relative colorimetric, only the out of gamut colour is shifted
    and set to meet the next possible, the next printable colour in this case.
    You get a pleasing colour reproduction without colour shifting, except this out of gamut colour …

Most of the time, when I have to do colour range transformation, I use rending intent relative colorimetric for the very same reasons. But then, I also take care of possible out of gamut colours and choose the appropriate paper, if it doesn’t have to be a certain (matte) paper.

Best is to try yourself and see, how far you can go and how to control. :slight_smile:

Please, check these videos. They show you how to …
– with Tim Grey (printing starts about 56:00)

– with Robert Rodriguez jr (from the beginning)

have fun, Wolfgang

If you’re on macOS, you can use the ColorSync Utility that comes with it.

Thnxs Joanna. I do use Colorsync. Works fine, but does it keep me from deciding which rendering intent to choose?


Is this 3h what you were looking for? Both presentations come on a MAC, so it could be interesting to you – concerning Lightroom.

And BTW, Robert Rodriguez Jr runs a printshop and is also a Canson ambassador.

Just now, I’ve been searching about QImage, what I read from some years ago, that by design it’s based on printer drivers and different to RIP solutions. – But, as I only print single sheet up to DIN A2 and no roll paper, I skipped it. I’m on Epson P800 / Windows.

So, from QImage homepage I got the link to this video. At 9:50 he talks about using Rendering Intents, while showing the user interface.

What I DON’T understand, why on earth there are rendering intents used in the print process?
For ‘mass production’ on roll paper e.g. in print business, I image it to be very useful because of time saving (just go with perceptual or what he told brandnew with AI …). But to handle big prints, don’t you want to know what’s happening?

have fun, Wolfgang

Thnxs again Wolfgang. I’ ve seen a few Robert Rodriquezjr videos (although I don’ t use Canson but Hahnemühle papers). I’ ve seen more videos from that other Rodriquez…José. Very informative!
I also only print single sheet up to A2 on my Canon PRO-1000. Qimage Ultimate isn’ t available for Mac. Only printing can be done with Qimage One (which is very good software…recommend it).
That’ s exactly my point…I would like to know what’ s happening:-)

Hi Wolfgang.
I know I can reduce shadows to keep textures visible, and I know what Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual actually do.
Although you don’t use Qimage (Ultimate nor One),this could be an interesting read: (from the developer of Qimage / useful for me…he answered my personal question related to this subject):

In general he says that it is not worth trying to get everything in gamut…many times this gets worse than letting color managing engine do its job (not sure exactly what he means by color management engine, but ColorSync and printer software could be it). That also is my personal experience, when I tried to get colours into gamut.
Still there is a choice between different rendering intents (in Qimage One there are 4: Perceptual / Relative colorimetric / Saturation and Absolute Colorimetric). In general both Perceptual and Relative Colorimetric are used most when printing (probably a reason why these are in Lightroom), BUT I also printed on fine art matte paper with Absolute Colorimetric…this shouldn’t be done according to many “rules” for choosing a proper rendering intent for printing. Almost like cursing. But …I have 2 prints that are actually better / nicer (I know that’ s personal), with Absolute C. than with others. Always good to experiment, I think.
I think it’ s all about…trying…see with own eyes…and get a “feeling” for what rendering intent works best with a certain image. Takes time and practice. No problem with that.
Happy shooting…happy printing!

thanks, I quickly read the posts (and somehow remember his blog / forum).
As you like printing on matte paper, you are ‘elected’ for colour range conversion. :slight_smile:

If I’m not completely wrong …

You have a file with out of gamut colours (but how to do that, when PL4 is your raw-converter und PL’s workspace is AdobeRGB :slight_smile: ) and put them to paper, just with an ICC-Profil, I don’t think there is any rendering intent ‘magically’ applied. With that, you would get oversaturated colours, which are responsible for loss of textures (if there are).
IF that is correct, you better choose a rendering intent, that should be either perceptual or relative colorimetric. – RI absolute is not ment for ‘normal’ use.

I think it’s saturation, that’s used e.g. with advertisments containing ‘spot color’ (don’t know if it’s the correct term), that is a distinct colour being an essential part of the company’s logo / design >> corporate identity etc. RI saturation cares for the correct transmission of that special colour (of course not out of gamut, otherwise not printable), but neglects other colours, as they are not that important. – And RI absolute is used for softproof between different media (something else like that).

With that, ‘we’ normally use RI perdeptual or relative colorimetric, depending on how we want out of gamut colours to be handled.

I just checked PL4. In the printing process – still do my printing with PS – you can choose a profile plus a rendering intent like in PS, but no softproof around.

Now, I re-checked the blog and he says, he usually prints with RI relative colorimetric, and only when he is not satisfied, he tries again with RI perceptual. – I assume, it all comes down to one’s workflow. etc etc

That’s it for now – w’ll keep in touch. :slight_smile:
have fun, Wolfgang

another post from Joanna
PhotoLab 4 with X-rite i1Display Studio display calibrator

macOS has a ColorSync utility that, if you open a file with it, shows you a soft proof of whichever profile you select for a given rendering intent.

@mujabad So it’s this, she was referring to. – As I don’t know about MacOS, can you desature (or whatever) in QImage AND see the softproof in your OS at the same time?

Unless this has been changed recently, PhotoLab uses the Perceptual rendering intent on export. Displaycal test images suggest that this is also the case when PL4 (Win) creates a preview:

In Qimage One I cannot desature (or whatever), an image while seeing the result at the same time. For working on files I have to return to DXO PL4 (or another program like APhoto). Qimage One is solely for printing.

Hello Sankos. Thank you. Interesting. I didn’t know this.

again I’ve learned a lot reading this thread…thank you to all the members sharing their knowledge.
Searching for more information I’ve found Q & A : Explain the difference between Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual Rendering Intent in Printing — The Photo Video Guy.
For me the article is written very good to understand for non professional and also the link to adobe A Color Managed Raw Workflow—From Camera to Final Print ( was very helpful.
And it’s a cry for implementing soft proof in DXO, which is also discussed in another thread the last days, and also a feature request.

I hope it can help somebody to demystify the theme :smile:


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Although with Mac this could be very different…using ColorSync

You’re right, although I’d be surprised if they used a different rendering intent with Macs. Still, it’s easy to test this with the images from the Displaycal website I linked to above.

“Unless this has been changed recently, PhotoLab uses the Perceptual rendering intent on export. Displaycal test images suggest that this is also the case when PL4 (Win) creates a preview: …”

Thank you for this information.
Have been wondering, how PL4 is doing export, but can confirm rendering intent perceptual.

With that, why not give the user the choice between RI perceptual and relative colorimetric.
When combined with ProPhoto working space, it would better justify the costs for the Elite Version
as well being more attractive to professionals.


I support SoftProofing, which implies Icc profiles color management, rendering, a revamped printing module, and yes (really) being to us ProPhotoRGB as a working space instead ot the hardcoded AdobeRGB.

Hi. Do you print with your own printer? I don’t print myself, so I would vote for softproofing in the PL viewer component (not in the print module), icc profiles, rendering intent, black point compensation, maybe simulation of paper white.

If you are on a Mac, the macOS ColorSync Utility does soft proofing.

Thanks, but I am on Windows. I wonder how many DXO customers are on Mac vs. Windows.

There are probably significantly more Windows users of PhotoLab than Mac users. This is a guess of course but I say it because Windows has more than 90% of the market share of personal computers while Macs have less than 10%. I’m not sure what percentage of Windows users are on Windows 10 or Windows 11, but these days it is probably the overwhelming majority.

If you look at responses on this site you might get the impression that there are more Mac users than Windows users, but that’s probably because Mac users, in my experience, are much more vocal here than Windows users mostly because they tend to have more issues on that platform.