A color proof on a computer monitor, also known as
a soft proof, is based on the "additive color process", where
all colors are formed with the additive primary colors, red, green,
and blue. The soft proof can be useful during the design process, but
it is of very little use as a tool to match with the colors attained
through the printing process, whether it be on a printing press or on
computer printers. Printing output utilizes the "subtractive color
process", with cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y), and black (K)
as the colors used to form the range of color. Because of the differences
in the color gamut between the additive process and the subtractive
process, accurate color proofing, using only the computer monitor, is
The additive primary colors
red, green, and blue, with the secondary colors that are formed,
cyan, magenta, and yellow.
The subtractive primary colors,
cyan, magenta, and yellow, with the secondary colors that are
formed, red, green, and blue.
To be able to view the most accurate color on your
monitor, it should be located in a windowless area which is surrounded
by a low level of neutral light. It is also helpful if the color of
nearby walls is of a neutral gray which will aid in preventing any visible
colors surrounding the monitor to influence color vision. A hood that
fits over the front of the monitor could be added to keep the ambient
light from changing your perception of color.
The monitor's color should be calibrated often because
the color gamut can change over time due to age and environmental factors.
A calibrated monitor helps ensure a closer resemblance to the final
printed piece, although it still won't be exact. See color
management for more information.