Printing workflow with soft-proofing


I print my work on fine art papers that require soft-proofing, which is not supported in DxO.
So far, I have used the following workflow:

  • Process with DxO and export to TIFF 16 bits;
  • Import in the last version of Lightroom that I bought before switching to DxO (version 4…);
  • Do soft-proofing based on the paper profile and minor adjustments there, and print.

I feel this workflow is not optimal, since I do the soft-proofing adjustments on the exported TIFF file, with rather ancient software (I will not get an LR subscription just to print; actually, I pledged never to take any software subscription but that is another matter). Besides, this ancient software may not be supported at all on a new computer or even just a next macOS version.

I am not sure DxO will ever support soft-proofing (I remember reading back in 2019 that a printing module was among the plans, but this has not happened, so I am not sure).

What workflow do you use ? What should I look into ?


I export to Affinity, it’s frustrating the print modual which it was acceped had a lot wrong with it hasn’t been been replaced after all these years after it was meant to be

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On a Mac, you can always use the ColorSync Utility

If you print you should really look at Qimage Ultimate:

Automatically optimises any size of print for the native resolution of the printer, superb halo free sharpening module, soft proofing etc.


Thanks a lot for the answers, everybody.

Joanna, I am wondering how ColorSync can provide soft proofing in the sense that I mean. Right now, before I print, I use the soft proof feature of LR to see how my picture is expected to render on print based on the paper profile (and of course, with the limitation of what the color calibrated display that I use can represent), possibly to modify slightly some settings. My understanding is that ColorSync is jus the platform for color management in macOS, but that it provides no GUI/facility to simulate a rendering. If it does that would be helpful already.

I have been considering a solution like a printing tool, and did not know Qimage. It seems feature reach, so I will have a deep look. I will also look into Affinity. Thanks everybody!

Of course, if DxO PL supported this natively it would be awesome to do the soft proofing inside DxO and the printing settings directly inside the same tool…

It does. It’s just not obvious unless you choose your file in Finder and then “Open with…” ColorSync.

I agree.
I am advocating for years for a decent printing module for end-to end color management system within DxO, but I also know this a lot of work.
Soft proofing being the most obvious feature.
For high resolution fine art printing and signature work, there is an un-clarified topic about the internal working colorspace of DxO. Years ago (before PhotoLab, back in the DxO days) I was told by an engineer that it was close to AdobeRGB but couldn’t give proper documentation about it because it was a sensitive matter. This colorspace was used by the root algorithms for handling demoisaicing/denoizing/ raw processing at the same time (the strenght of DxO), and was nearly impossible to change without heavy investment and research.

Ever since we have seen updates in the raw processing (with spectacular results), but nothing on the color management topic.

I think the DxO guys’ rationale is that if you want to have serious printing workflow, you’ll either invest in a RIP, or use Photoshop. Luminous-landscape made several videos on how to use Softproofing when going from camera to print. This process is/was still “state of the art” for printing serious work, without using costly RIP softwares.

That would make sense if and only if this colorspace issue was clearly documented and clarified. If working with DPL make it hidden and mandatory to go through a hardcoded AdobeRGB-lookalike color space, you simply clip your colors and tonalities since the GAMUT of your camera, and most importantly, the GAMUT of your printer (given you use serious printers with large gamut, like ultrachrome HDR inks from Epson) is larger than AdobeRGB. In photoshop and Camera RAW your can process your raw with the color workspace set to ProphotoRGB, which is the proper workspace if you want to cover all the gamuts and not clip anything (though using it require a fair dose of care. Serious use only).

When you go from a colorspace to another you’ll have to use a rendering intent, ie choose the methods for handling the colors that are outside the destination colorspace…do you clip? do you shrink? All these settings are hidden and we simply don’t know how DxO process it.

I also think the foundation work of Thomas Knoll, the Father of Photoshop laid tons of patents that are difficult to avoid when you want to address the issue. Thomas has made amazing work to colorspace conversion, it took him years.

Long story short => two topics :

If your finality is everything but printing…DPL is very good (viewing pictures on screens, on the web…requires sRGB only, and seldom require adobeRGB which is large).

If you want to print…unless DxO clarifies which colorspace they are using, and make it so the user can choose ProPhoto from the very start…well you’ll loose colors and data from your camera, that your printer could have made use of. And THEN softproofing would make sense (and would be mandatory).


My son is a programmer and has worked on some big projects. He has told me in every one part of the cor programming was old and done using programs no longer in use by programmers no longerworking for the firms. The result was due to poor programming no one knew how to or lacked the programs to change these core parts. They rather had to carry on using them or reprogram them from scratch. I would think there is a good chance PL is like that.

I consulted for a company that had a legacy app that had “evolved” but that had horrible things like 500 different flags that indicated which client that particular bit of code was added for. It was a nightmare and that is why I got called in. Fortunately, the MD who was also the original programmer, realised after trying for three months to shoehorn good techniques into spaghetti code, it was going to take longer to do that than start from scratch. So, whilst maintaining the legacy product for 3-4 years, we started by building solid foundations and “scaffolding”, which ended up as a product that a non-programming consultant could customise to a client’s needs on-site.

Was it worth it? Well, the new product is even more successful than the old and the MD/coder happily threw way thousands of lines of code, some of which did the same thing seven different ways.

There comes a time when you need revolution instead of evolution. It just takes a company, and a consultant who isn’t blinded by what is there already, to change a good app into a great app.

Sounds like a service offering ::smiley:

More seriously, if you track back on the many (but not that many) threads on the topic, I am concerned there hasn’t been any statement by any of the DxO Team Member.
I had hoped that releasing DeepPrime, DxO announced they had developped a new raw processing algorithm and then they could take care of the issue. But the consistent rebuke in handling Xtrans sensor raw files make me think that the foundation components for the demoisaicing and more generally raw processing did not really changed, and they feel no need to change it.
I hope I’m wrong but this goes along the hardcoded ColorSpace concern, that you clip/shrink colors into the working colorspace when you use DPL, with no way of knowing / changing it whatsoever.

It would a good surprise to see DxO tackle this challenge, but I’d reckon the algorithm is set in stone and this would not change anytime soon.

Maybe we missed something. Could a DxO Technical Staff reply?

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One proplem is I don’t think there is any of the original programming people left. Given lack of responses to this and other topics relating to the original moduals print and colour there may well be no one who actually knows the answers.

please read DXO on calibrated screen EIZO - #21 by wolf (and further down) or search for AdobeRGB

While I’m happy with AdobeRGB, I miss softproofing in PL.
Add soft proofing to Photolab
Printing - colour balance issue with PL 1.2 - #8 by Wolfgang

Dear Wolfgang, thanks, its an old thread but confirms that the working colorspace of DxO/DPL was, in 2019, set in stone as AdobeRGB and cannot be changed.

This is exactly why including DPL in the workflow somewhat change your perceived GAMUT. For serious printing this is just not acceptable. In short, it makes no sense to shoot raw for its colorspace capture ability, when you use DPL. What’s more problematic is the rendering intent, what happen to the colors outside AdobeRGB when DPL process raw files? Do they clip? Do they Shrink? At least it should be made as a setting.

Adobe Camera RAW make it possible to choose your very first colorspace in which you process the raw files. Too bad you can’t benefit from DPL perks without clipping your color workflow.

It means that If want to fully use the GAMUT of the printer (EPSON 7900 in my case) i have to start a brand new processing from the original raw file.

Again AdobeRGB is perfect for most digital foodchain, where you produce images that will be shown on screens only.

An update in 2021 from DXO Staff would be nice


Thanks, Joanna! I was unaware of this functionality of Colorsync. It should be quite helpful indeed, even though it will not make adjustment and checking as easy as LR did.

Thanks to all for the great discussion on the situation of color management and printing support. I wholeheartedly agree that a fully color managed process and printing output with soft-proofing would be a must.

I print a carefully chosen, small percentage of my pictures in rather large size (A3+ or A2) and on fine art papers (printer currently used: Espon SC-P800). Before I watch the excellent series of “from camera to print” tutorials from Luminous Landscape (thanks Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe!) results were pretty random. After I systematically adopt their techniques, including soft-proofing, the quality of the prints started to bring me a lot of satisfaction. Not only, I got results I liked on the papers I had, but also, it encouraged me to look at other papers.
I now like very much DxO except for the one thing that it does not help much for printing.

Like others, I would also appreciate very much some statements from the DPL Staff on this topic.

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When the DXO team hear about soft-proofing, they turn their heads away and mumble “what a bunch of crybabies…”.

see here → Add soft proofing to Photolab - #16 by sankos
(RI = perceptual – and yes, I’d like an option to choose RI = relativ colorimetric)

Concerning AdobeRGB colour space, I think the limitation is more with the papers.
– It must be about 15 years, that I started printing. At the moment I’m ‘running’ an Epson P800 with Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag (semigloss, more vivid appearance) and Tecco PCR310 Premium Cotton Rag (semimatt, more subdued but without being all dull).

Again AdobeRGB is perfect for most digital foodchain, where you produce images that will be shown on screens only.

for screen (for web = when I don’t know the colour space of the target monitor) only sRGB

The need for a print update wad also problems many of us have with the margind not working properly. I have to have if using pl and set up wider than the other side. Something not needed in any other program.

for screen (for web = when I don’t know the colour space of the target monitor) only sRGB


yes most of the time sRGB is the way to go for web only.
I also agree papers are cardinal here. Canson infinity have the very best papers here, and the platine fibre is one of the best GAMUT-wise. I also like the baryta prestige. For some of my pictures and photoshop, after a softproofing work, I even managed to print the totality of colors without any rendering intent (ie relative or perceptual) on Baryta prestige. That says a lot.

I use epson cold press bright, Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Duo, awagami kozo papers (and epson kozo although discontinued, they have a really insane DR for a mat fibre paper). For gloss I am into metallic papers recently, and I love to experiment with new papers. Buying a spectrophotometer is also mandatory to calibrate your camera to paper workflow, especially for new and exotic papers.