Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Nov 8, 2008 9:58 AM by Steven Adamson1
Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
I see that I am not reading the same colors on my screen as is being seen on other screens, according to colleagues of mine. I see yellow/gold, and they tell me it's closer to orange. Can this be corrected by color calibration? I also use shades to dim the light, but I still think even without shades the color could use correcting, if possible. I read about Huey Pro, but I don't really know much about how to do this. I would like to buy the simplest and not too expensive way of improving the color. (Maybe this can be done within the color calibration that comes with the computer, but perhaps I need to buy something else.
Any simple easy to use solutions? Or perhaps I can't do much about this. I love the screen but eventually I would like to print a few photos or work with video and want fidelity if possible.
Thank you

imac 24" alu 2.4 ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • pogster Level 4 Level 4 (2,035 points)
    Color calibration can be done either with a hardware device (colorimeter) such as the Huey or by the software calibration tool in Displays>Color. I'd try the later first and see if the results are to your liking. If you can't get it close enough then buy a colorimeter.

    A hardware device attaches to the screen and you run the software that come with the device. Once the program has run it's course a profile is created and saved to your harddrive. OS Xs software does basically the same thing but instead of a piece of hardware measuring the colors you use your eyes. Either way calibration is fairly easy to do.
  • Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I've tried to use the expert mode on the display color settings under the display preference, but I'm not sure I can eyeball it. The default display calibration seems to give just a few options, like 2.2 gamma as opposed to 1.8. Are there some standard settings that would be close to correct in this case or is the expert mode the only way to get a color correction? It's hard to know what correct or true colors are exactly. Would a color correction device or software do that for me? Any other techniques to using the color correction within the Mac OS?
  • pogster Level 4 Level 4 (2,035 points)
    Expert mode is the best but if you are having trouble eyeballing it then I'd suggest a colorimeter like the Huey you mentioned. Colorvision Spyder and Pantone Colormunki are another couple brands. They vary in price.

    They all basically do the same thing. You run their software and various color patches are read by the colorimeter attached to the screen, and then it creates a color profile which you save and the computer uses it to correct the colors of the display. You don't have to judge the colors yourself as the colorimeter does that for you. The software may ask you to adjust brightness or contrast or choose a gamma setting but thats about it. The rest is automatic. The on-screen guides are generally easy to follow. As a tip, when it comes time to save the profile, I name the profile as the date so it's easy to tell when it was created.

    Depending on what type of display you have its suggested you calibrate every so often because monitors age and so colors shift a bit. But your first calibration will be the most noticeable correction.
  • Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    My Imac is, of course, the glossy glass covered screen. Are there certain recommendations for the gamma, for instance. It is set at 1.8. I have changed that but it seems extreme, maybe relative to what I'm used to. Will the Huey Pro set the correct gamma and white point given the screen I have, or will I have to choose the basic gamma and white point and only then will the calibration begin? After using the screen on default for over a year, I don't quite trust my eyeballing the next step. I do think that the colors are basically off though.
    Is one program superior to another between Huey and Spyder, etc.?
  • PenRules Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    ejosepha wrote:
    I see that I am not reading the same colors on my screen as is being seen on other screens, according to colleagues of mine. I see yellow/gold, and they tell me it's closer to orange.... I would like to buy the simplest and not too expensive way of improving the color. (Maybe this can be done within the color calibration that comes with the computer, but perhaps I need to buy something else.



    Be careful about "calibrating" a monitor to match someone else's uncalibrated display. Truth be told, everyone's monitor depicts color differently. Just go to a well equipped electronics store and look at the variety. Calibrate according to digital standards. Sometimes this means the white point should simulate a target paper for print viewed in daylight or under incandescent, tungsten lamps. In most cases, the display will have neutral grays visible in dark shades and light tints along with a bright white. The ability to control all these parameters goes beyond meager optical settings that come with the Mac OS. You need a third-party calibration device.

    Mainly because it came with my printer as part of a complete color management system, I use an eyeone calibration unit. The Pantone HueyPRO is also good. Both are made/owned by X-Rite. HueyPRO reads more on-screen swatches than original Huey and can calibrate more than one attached monitor. List price is $129 but it can be found for $89 on Amazon. Pantone ColorMunki Design includes even more useful options beyond monitor calibration, though the $500 price tag (currently $389 at Newegg) may be out of your reach. Nevertheless, it's worth considering since it does so much.

    In the end, your display will still not match those of your colleagues. They will also need to properly calibrate their monitors.
  • pogster Level 4 Level 4 (2,035 points)
    ejosepha wrote:
    My Imac is, of course, the glossy glass covered screen. Are there certain recommendations for the gamma, for instance. It is set at 1.8. I have changed that but it seems extreme, maybe relative to what I'm used to. Will the Huey Pro set the correct gamma and white point given the screen I have, or will I have to choose the basic gamma and white point and only then will the calibration begin? After using the screen on default for over a year, I don't quite trust my eyeballing the next step. I do think that the colors are basically off though.
    Is one program superior to another between Huey and Spyder, etc.?


    Hi again,

    If I'm understanding you correctly you just want to get the colors close to accurate and so either brand should be ok. I'm a retired photographer and so screen colors needed to be close. But I was also able to get my glossy imac screen close enough just using expert mode but not all can, and if you need hardware to help then thats ok and I'm sure either device will be good enough for your needs. You can certainly spend a lot money, but no matter how much you spend you can never match colors on screen or paper to real life. That's just the way it is. You just have to decide what's good enough.

    The software will probably ask you to choose a gamma setting. I use 2.2. It will also probably ask you choose a color temp for the monitor. I use 6500K. The instructions included with the hardware or the manufacturers web site should give you more details on which settings to use. I've only used the Spyder (on a pc) so I can't comment on the Huey.

    Color management can be a deep subject to get into and somewhat of a science. If you want to do some reading this is a pretty good site without getting too deep: http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/color_management.htm
  • Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Thank you for your replies. I wasn't worried about calibrating my display to match someone else's display. It was only that I was told by a few people that the a bar of color on a magazine they were publishing was orange, but it looked gold on my computer. I finally saw the printed magazine and the bar was closer to orange than to gold or dark yellow. Perhaps even calibrating my display would not do much or match others' displays or printed matter. I did change the gamma from the standard 1.8 to the 2.2, but found it a bit dark, especially with skin, and it seemed to lose some detail in the shaded or dark areas. For now I have left the display on the original IMac setting.
    I have read reviews where calibration hardware, Huey and Spyder, among many, turned displays to an even worse calibration, for example too red or blue.
    Would the expert mode of calibration have a good chance of giving me "True" color or at least improve my current calibration?
    Thanks,
  • PenRules Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    You can try Expert Mode as a cheap method of color management. The question then becomes how to evaluate the results when you're done. That's were subject comments such it looks "too red or blue" come from. Maybe your "gold" will look closer to "orange."

    The Mac has traditionally used the 1.8 gamma whereas 2.2 is standard on Windows. Perhaps stereotypical, with businessmen in mind, Windows users ran applications like PowerPoint or Excel and desired very vibrant colors. From the beginning, the Mac was designed for artists so its gamma is closer to reality. But gamma is only one factor in the calibration process. Sometimes Mac users with Windows customers switch to the latter to get a better idea of what their clients are seeing.

    If you are photo retouching for magazine publication, I strongly recommend you consider a serious color management solution. Hardware calibration devices include software with sophisticated control and validation. As it turns out, today I had to calibrate my display. This time I took screenshots of the process. You are welcome read about it here. Click on any of the displayed images to advance through the screenshots. Post back and let us know if you ever get "orange."
  • Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I just don't think I have the eye training to correctly execute the expert mode of calibration. I do thank you for the explanations. The colors look richer on 2.2 gamma, but less natural. For now I've left the gamma on 1.8. To do a color calibration I know there is a discussion of luminance. Eventually, if I do a hardware calibration, where would I leave the brightness level on the display. I am using Shades software to diminish the brightness because the lowest brightness setting on this IMac is way too bright for me. I suppose that I would have to disable the Shades software to correctly calibrate. But where would one leave the brightness setting to calibrate?
    Additionally, why do so many reviews of both Pantone Huey and Spyder 3 Pro say they were very unhappy with the color cast after calibration? I suppose it would be easiest if I could eyeball the calibration through expert mode.
  • den.thed Level 7 Level 7 (24,505 points)
    Hi ejosepha

    Try this:

    Go to: *System Preferences / Displays* and select the Color tab and uncheck the box *Show profiles for this display only*, then select any one of the RGB or sRGB profiles from the list. I think you will find something there that is much richer and a little darker than the iMac Calibrated Profile.

    Dennis
  • lenn5 Level 4 Level 4 (2,530 points)
    I was wondering if there's some place you can take your iMac or laptop that will color calibrate it for you with a very good hardware calibrator? I'd rather do this than purchase my own.

    lenn
  • Steven Adamson1 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I tried the other display calibrations earlier, but found the RGB calibrations to be rather close to the Imac profile but with gamma at 2.2. Not very natural looking.
  • PenRules Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    I don't know of any official retail places, perhaps a VAR. There is nothing to prevent a friend with a calibration device from building a profile for you. However, displays subtly diminish luminance over time. For this reason, some shops calibrate every morning. Others calibrate weekly or monthly, depending on how often they require critical color. A one-time profile would be technically valid for a limited time. IMHO it is more sensible to purchase your own personal hardware calibration device. They are not as intimidating as they appear. You basically hang the unit on display and follow the prompts. The investment is far less costly than a bad print job.

    One of the clever features of the Huey is that, when plugged into a USB port, it automatically adjusts screen brightens based on ambient lighting. This may just be eye candy for iMac users who already have displays tuned to minimum brightness.
  • PenRules Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    ejosepha wrote:
    Eventually, if I do a hardware calibration, where would I leave the brightness level on the display?
    Additionally, why do so many reviews of both Pantone Huey and Spyder 3 Pro say they were very unhappy with the color cast after calibration? I suppose it would be easiest if I could eyeball the calibration through expert mode.


    The software that comes with the calibration device should prompt you for the correct brightness. (Default target is 120 luminance which may not be achievable. My iMac display ranges from about 160 to 190. So you may just have to set it as low as possible. The good news is that your display will last longer because of it.)

    "Unhappy with color cast" is a subjective statement. Could it be that people are commenting on the relative difference from what they are used to? I can't really comment on such evaluations. There are some websites (displaycalibration.com and monitorsetup.com) that attempt to offer visual verification of calibration but Mac displays lack RGB or contrast controls so you can't do much more than look at the swatches and see if they appear "good."

    The Spyder 2 Pro (and likely the 3) includes some way-over-the-head features like: "You can measure what you want and see the color coordinates: XYZ and Yxy (cd/m²), Lu*v, kelvins, etc." Access to such advanced settings may invite problems so don't pay extra for it. Go for something less intimidating. As I mentioned on a prior link, I have great results with an eye-one along with proprietary software that came with my printer. Read the Amazon reviews.
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