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Calibrating and Profiling Monitors...do it correctly. Use Argyll CMS.

Discussion in 'Printing Photos and Photo Software' started by mikling, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Dec 7, 2014
    mikling

    mikling Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    As much as we see more individuals seeking to improve printing with the use of ICC profiles I think I should bring this to the table as something to also consider.

    With the rapid decline in the cost of IPS LCD/LED monitors, this is something that many should consider using if they are not already doing so.

    The next step is to properly calibrate these monitors. You will be surprised at the quality level that one can achieve nowadays with even modestly priced IPS/PLS(Samsung) type panels. While the professional monitors are superior, for many users a properly calibrated high quality IPS type panel will be sufficiently good.

    The one key piece is to properly adjust the monitors. Monitors off the shelf, even most professional models will benefit from a precise adjustment that can only be performed with a hardware calibrator.

    Most calibrators today are supplied with software that is easy to use. While many users had heard of Argyll CMS for print profiling, the same science behind that software can also be used for adjusting the monitor. Here is where Argyll strays from the others. The easy to use commercial software makes it sound like it is easy as 123 and to a certain extent that might suffice. Datacolor recommends that users should simply leave their monitor at default...which is not really correct but it is better than someone totally messing up the adjustments if they are not careful.

    Here is the reason why. Each adjustment you make on a monitor will affect other adjustments. SO it becomes a game of 123...123...123 etc. to get it close to what is needed. I can see why Datacolor does not point users to make adjustments. Some intuitive skill is required to do it correctly..like initially not get the setting right to make the final one correct...each adjustment tips other adjustments off. It is an iterative process.

    The calibration of monitors to get the brightness, whitepoint correct as well as the gamma curve takes so many readings and calculations relative to commercial packages....you are left wondering if something is wrong. Then.... the job of profiling begins. Here is where you again see that Argyll takes no shortcuts. Depending on the number of samples desired your Argyll can take hours just reading in the samples.

    The end result is impressive. It is not just the color but the richness of the gradations and shadows. YMMV but be prepared to spend hours and hours at this. The downside to this is that it makes monitors look so much better than prints.

    One analogy to this is like listening to a good hifi system. It is not just about the sound but the depth and width of the performance as well as how the relative silence( black) and dynamics are portrayed.. The accurate colors and tones gives images more realistic depth. It is perceptibly better than a 5 minute color calibration routine from the commercial packages. Did I mention it is free except for the effort to learn how to do it and the time taken to do it. B&W aficionados should really look into Argyll. Its end accuracy adds to the art of B&W....a skill in which I am not good at yet...perhaps I will put in the 10,000 hours required to be good at it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
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  2. Dec 8, 2014
    Emulator

    Emulator Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    On your suggestion, I download, installed and ran dispcalgui and calibrated my LCD display, which had been calibrated by the ColorMunki Photo display calibration.

    I am not entirely sure that I chose all the right buttons, doing it without reading much of the instructions, but it seems to have worked and the display of known images does look different with more impact.

    It will take a lot more time to check and evaluate. You have obviously started a new subject we can all argue about:)
     
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  3. Dec 9, 2014
    Roy Sletcher

    Roy Sletcher Indolent contrarian Platinum Printer Member

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    For those of us serious about our imaging, the monitor is more important than the computer. (horrror and gasps follow - what about my multicore super-ultra-magna-eons of oomph processor etc, etc)

    It does not take a lot of processing power to accurately display a large 16 bit image on a good panel. But without a good panel all your images could look like shyte, and you would never know the difference. Secondly this is only an issue if you share or send images to other recipients or sites. Or if you print your images. Else what consenting adults do in their own home with their own tools.....

    Unfortunately a lot of poor quality panels come dressed up as an excellent purchase. I think awesome is the preferred nomenclature of the twenty something gamers who try to sell foist them onto the unsuspecting public. Sorry - my biases are showing.

    Bottom line low priced budget monitors are unlikely to do the job, and it is very difficult to check their quality without test instruments. But again, "horses for courses", and if you UNDERSTAND their limitations and are willing to work within them, they have their uses.

    The market is awash with poor quality low end monitors that do not even cover the sRGB colour space. A recent product sold by Best Buy Canada from a well known manufacturer was tested at less than 80% of the sRGB colour space and retailed for $500, but reduced to $400 just for you!!! Still double its value.

    Truth be told a good 12 or 16 bit panel covering the full aRGB(1988) colour space in its native mode is going to cost you close to four figures. Prices are coming down slowly, The figure was over $1,000 couple of years ago.

    Go to the following site. All the information you need to know, but were afraid to ask. Enter your monitor and see how it stacks up.
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/faq.htm

    Subject gets complicated quickly, and makes colour management look like a beginners picnic.


    RS
     
  4. Dec 9, 2014
    mikling

    mikling Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    Cheep and cheerful. When on sale I picked this up for $120 CAD and when properly calibrated and profiled, gives about 110% sRGB. At that price and the performance extracted. Woo Hoo. Great second monitor for my backup PC. Gave my older TN panel to my sis who needed a monitor and I got this as a "cheap" monitor. Shocked at what I ended up getting.

    http://www.ncix.com/detail/samsung-s24d390hl-23-6in-widescreen-pls-f7-95913-1165.htm

    Here's the thing as well. When the brightness etc is turned down as required. This thing hardly even warms up and possibly consumes 5watts or less. A far cry from my older DELL 2410 that gets quite warm. Are they equal? no. But I will say that for $120. Shocking performance from a low cost monitor....after the adjustments and calibration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
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  5. Dec 9, 2014
    palombian

    palombian Printer Master

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    Price in € between 160 and 185.
    On this German site sRGB coverage is measured only 91,7%.

    http://www.prad.de/new/monitore/test/2014/test-samsung-s24d390hl-led.html

    But conclusion was "GOOD"

    Same as the EIZO EV2336W demo model I picked up for €200 (but this one was tested 96% sRGB).
    I calibrated this screen with the Colormunki Photo software and arrived at a comparable profile than the one delivered with the monitor.
    It is an office model from EIZO, until someone can explain me why I need a wide gamut screen (if I can blow it up to 110-115% with Argyll I don't need one).

    Agree with @mikling that most IPS panels are good now and can be used for (at least amateur) photo work after calibration.
     
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  6. Dec 9, 2014
    3dogs

    3dogs Printer Master

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    My first monitor was a V7......??????? Made in Japan and is still going. I calibrate it with an old macbeth iOne and it looks just great........until I put it side by side with the wide gamut Eizo, strap on the munki and calibrate, it falls further when I try to set it to the bightness I require, drops further still when I try to softproof, almost dies when I stand back and change view angle and then dies in the ass when I look critically at uniformity of image brightness edge to edge.

    I figure it this way, if I spend $3000 on a camera body, then 2/3 of that on a lens, $300 on lightroom, $900on Photoshop and then download to a crap computer, and look the images on a $300 monitor............I have issues, believe me, I REALLY have a comprehension issue.

    If this comes to you as snobby, I apologise in advance, I am talking about how I see the issue for me.

    I would love to be able to look at a monitor and say, yes that is a good one, no that one is rubbish ....etc. Cant do that SO, I research, budget, save, and then spend whatever it takes to purchase the 'best'..........if its good enough for a commercial enterprise that rely on it for sales/ revenue then it is starting to be good enough for me. Same with the camera, stuff the sales and marketing pitch........what are the folks using whose work I can see, feel, touch. If its producing for them, then its nearly good enough for me.

    At the end of the day it then comes down to this, if I have the best in its class gear and my images are still crap I know IMMEDIATELY where the problem lies......ME. no more searching, try new gear and so on, its me that needs fixing so I know what to do, study, practice work harder to learn to be better. If my gear is even a remote possibility to be the problem, then I am a fool because I allowed too many variables.
    Crazy I know....but its my way.
     
  7. Dec 9, 2014
    mikling

    mikling Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    I would have been happy with a 90% coverage as I only use it as a backup general use machine and the angle sensitivity of TN was getting to me and I saw an opportunity to donate my old TN as an excuse to get a better IPS. That I got an edit capable machine was a treat. BTW, It took three attempts to get it right....the intial calibration was drifting to my eyes. I suspect that break in time was not done before I calibrated...lesson learnt. Break it in before calibration. Use it a lot and then calibrate...
     
  8. Dec 9, 2014
    Roy Sletcher

    Roy Sletcher Indolent contrarian Platinum Printer Member

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    "until someone can explain me why I need a wide gamut screen" - OK, I will try :(

    Only you can decide if you need a wide gamut screen, but consider this....

    Most modern cameras can shoot raw which means data is captured in excess of the aRGB colour space. Significantly larger than the sRGB space.

    Heck, even budget level cameras have a switch aRGB or sRGB for image display. The net result is that after purchasing technology to display a higher quality image, many voluntarily choose to discard the very data that contributes to the higher quality, so they can display the image at the lowest common denominator of image quality AKA sRGB.

    When post processing your RAW or aRGB files you are manipulating colours in your image that you can`t even see on your sRGB monitor, :he

    Second point - do you make prints? If your printer has 6 or more colours is is almost certain you can print colours beyond the sRGB colour space. soft proofing and post processing is more precise and easier with a wide gamut display.

    OK, I admit there are downsides like cost, a larger degree of technical complexity regarding setup, calibration and profiling. To get the best results post processing should be in 16 bits, not all software supports this.

    And a whole lot more, but I am sure you get the point.

    In the final analysis personal preference rules. Just like the VHS v Betamax controversy.

    Plus our brains are wired to correct a lot of visual deficiencies in the images we view, like colour balance etc. Truly a case of seeing is not always believing.

    Enough of a rant for now.

    RS
    I fully respect anybody`s opinion to see things differently.
     
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  9. Dec 9, 2014
    Emulator

    Emulator Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    I really haven't a clue about the detail of ArgyllCMS dispcalGUI as yet, but here are two of the outputs available from dispcalGUI as a result of the profiling of an ASUS v239V. The first versus sRGB and the second versus Adobe RGB1998.

    ASUS VS239V.jpg ASUS VS239V vs AdobeRGB 1998.jpg

    The third and fourth are Gamutvision B&W Density and 3D L*a*b* versus Adobe RGB 1998

    Gamutvision B&W Density.jpg Gamutvision 3D Lab Vs AdobeRGB .jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  10. Dec 9, 2014
    palombian

    palombian Printer Master

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    That's the problem with my EIZO.
    OK, it is their low range product, but I did not expect this, my 10 years old DELL 1905 was better.

    When I buy a wide gamut (thanks to Roy) , I will consider a DELL again.
     
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