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Thread: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

  1. #1
    rob marshall

    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    I just calibrated my monitor for the first time using a Spyder 3 Pro. It has corrected a previous inconsistency between screen and printer. Basically, my prints were coming out about -0.5 stop compared to on-screen. I guessed that what I was seeing on screen was too bright but I was adjusting edits in CS5 to suit it. In other words, I was turning down the exposure in edit, and when I sent them to print with CS5 handling the printing, it printed them too dark.

    My monitor is fairly new (Samsung 2232bw) and I didn't have this problem with my old monitor even though it wasn't calibrated.

    Most of my posted images on here now look a little dull and muddy, compared to before calibration. Such as this one


    OK, I thought, let's have a look at someone else's - Donald!

    This one in mono comp #90 by Donald looked a bit border-line on exposure yesterday, but it was just OK on my monitor (which was showing too much brighness, remember).



    Looking at it now it looks much darker than yesterday. I sent it to my CS5 and added an exposure layer of +0.6 stop, which made it look much better. Here is the comparison before then after.



    Quite a difference. Then I printed them out, side by side, using my Epson R2400 (good quality printer) as you see above and the print result is even more striking. The one on the right, with extra exposure looks considerably better.

    I'm not quite sure about this, and perhaps Colin can advise. If we all had the same monitor model, and they were all calibrated the same, we should all see the same levels of an image on CiC. If we each printed them out on the same printer, using the same profiles, they should all look the same on print.

    But in the real world, if Donald is looking at his print above and thinks it looks just about right, and to me it looks too dark, the chances are based on this test that his prints will look quite dark. No?

    Spyder 3 Pro calibrators are about 100 from Amazon. Spyder 3 Pro on Amazon

    Donald - if you want to PM me your address, I will post the comparison print to you. It shows quite a difference.

    Looking at some of other people's posted shots here on CiC, some that looked over-exposed before now look quite good, and some that looked too dark, now look even darker. If anyone wants to post a link here to one of their shots I'll let you know what it looks like on my monitor. If I think it needs adjustment, I can edit it and print it to check what it looks like.

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    It's all swings and wotsits really; I think Spyder 3 Pro is cheaper at Warehouse Express, oops. If a picture is dark I have to add 20% brightness in printer controls.

    Here this is supposed to be nearly black:



    and this is not black at all:



    and this prints exactly right:


  3. #3

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    I finally got good results with my Spyder III pro. Out of the box using the default settings it gave an improvement to a new monitor but the results were still way off compared to my secondary monitor. Colours and grey scale were pretty good, my secondary monitor shows colour tinting in mid to high tone greys and some of the near whites lose seperation, the new monitor showed no colour tinting but was much too dark. Eventually dropped the reccommended 2.2 gamma and went for 1.8 gamma to lighten things up a bit, also set the interface to allow me to 'twiddle' RGB controls on the monitor, downloaded the latest interface for the Spyder III and eventually got pretty close. Still have a minor issue with the very low shadow detail seperation and occasionally have to drag an image on to monitor two to double check the shadow detail. Be nice to have something that worked perfectly out of the box first time round but still much better than nothing and probably works better on a much more expensive monitor.
    The final link in the chain, printer profiling is done by Fotospeed by the way, buy one of their fine art paper range (Hahnemuhle, Fotospeed, Canson etc) and they profile it for you for free!!! A couple of years back I went through a sleepless week, vast ammounts of paper/ink and a borrowed ColorMunki in an attempt to produce a profile for just one paper (which wasn't really that accurate at the end of the day). Having a useable profile by return of post is a real bonus.
    Steve :- think I see what you mean. My secondary monitor is a little on the dark side, when I look at the first shot (nice one by the way) it is way different to the view I get on my primary (brighter) monitor. Guessing that my secondary view is the print you're after and my primary monitor view is what you're having to send to the printer, not much of a difference between the two monitors really but quite a difference in the whole atmosphere of the picture.

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Steve

    Your bridge shot is the same as Donald's shot. It looks better to me with an extra +0.8 stop of exposure (no other changes) What does it look like on your monitor? Yours is on the left. On my monitor the two shots look very similar to the print I did. There is quite a difference in the prints.

    Warehouse Express is cheaper, as you say. 90.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spyder-3-Pro...4750380&sr=8-1

    http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...3-pro/p1025726



  5. #5
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Cheers Paul; I didn't have to do any printer profiling thank goodness, that sort of worked straight out of the box, but I do test prints at different cyan, magenta, yellow, contrast, brightness settings, and choose one between natural light and artificial light, the artificial light is always bang in the middle, the same as my display.

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by bambleweeney View Post
    The final link in the chain, printer profiling is done by Fotospeed by the way, buy one of their fine art paper range (Hahnemuhle, Fotospeed, Canson etc) and they profile it for you for free!!! A couple of years back I went through a sleepless week, vast ammounts of paper/ink and a borrowed ColorMunki in an attempt to produce a profile for just one paper (which wasn't really that accurate at the end of the day). Having a useable profile by return of post is a real bonus.
    I use permajet paper and they do a similar service on the paper profiles. http://www.permajet.com/cat/45/produ..._Profiles.html Their Oyster semi-gloss paper is very nice too.
    Peter Anson found this helpful.

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Steve

    Your bridge shot is the same as Donald's shot. It looks better to me with an extra +0.8 stop of exposure (no other changes) What does it look like on your monitor? Yours is on the left. On my monitor the two shots look very similar to the print I did. There is quite a difference in the prints.

    Warehouse Express is cheaper, as you say. 90.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spyder-3-Pro...4750380&sr=8-1

    http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...3-pro/p1025726


    Depends really, I set it for artificial (20 watt energy bulb) light, and it is about right on the left, in natural light the right but it is a bit dark today, and I think maybe I like darker pictures. But certainly in natural light the left hand one is too dark. cheers

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Folks,
    Just a few thoughts on this rather difficult and complicated subject. If you need your calibrated monitor to display work in a way that approximates your printed output (soft proofing) you will likely have to turn the monitor brightness (usually back lighting) down. This is so that the white of an unprinted sheet of paper is approximately the same brightness (lit under display conditions) as the white of a plain word processor / empty document displayed on your monitor. Most monitors have a default brightness that is way too high – this is set by the manufactures to impress folks in the show rooms. Problem is that a lot of the more affordable monitors become non linear and difficult to calibrate if one turns the brightness down. A few years back I was doing endless rounds of monitor calibration and printer profiling and getting nowhere – e.g. no match between monitor and printed output. As soon as I matched the two sets of whites – as described above – things rapidly improved, and I was able to establish a work flow with a repeatable process and consistent results.

    Regards,

    Nick.
    Cantab found this helpful.

  9. #9

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Rob,

    Just as critical is ambient lighting and where the monitor is wrt light sources (e.g. not in front of nor behind the monitor) during PP and profiling. Because of brightness adaptation in our visual system, if you turn down the lights in your office your first pictures will look plenty bright.

    To compensate for this, Nick's suggestion above is good. Just make sure that when you are doing the comparison, you are under the same light source (intensity and color temperature) that you or your clients would view the images. Also, what's the white reference of your color space? Gotta coordinate...

  10. #10
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    I've heard a lot of pro's recommend using an actual calibrator saying they do a better job than the built in calibration system. And I understand the reason as relating to color tone accuracy etc... but as far as brightness and exposure isn't the histogram what you primarily depend on? As far as brightness I've learned to go exclusively off of the histogram and set my screen brightness according to the image. I used to tune with my screen on most of the way up to the top but when I'd send out for prints from a pro lab they'd come back all dark and muddy. That's when I learned to go off of the histogram with my screen on about half brightness and no more problems. I'd really be curious to know what my shots look like on your newly calibrated screen Rob. If you don't mind checking my flickr page and telling me what your impressions are of my exposure I'd be extremely grateful.

  11. #11
    Pictus's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    The default Datacolor software ***never*** gave-me a good result...
    But the FREE and HIGH quality Argyll + dispcalGUI did, check my posts at
    Monitor calibration and black crush

    So the best bang for the buck if you are *luck* is Spyder3 Express + Argyll + dispcalGUI
    the problem is that the quality of the Spyders vary toooooo much, it is a lottery...

    Lots of info on probes for wide gamut monitors including data:
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=35872021
    Peter Anson found this helpful.

  12. #12
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by nickjohnson View Post
    Folks,
    Just a few thoughts on this rather difficult and complicated subject. If you need your calibrated monitor to display work in a way that approximates your printed output (soft proofing) you will likely have to turn the monitor brightness (usually back lighting) down. This is so that the white of an unprinted sheet of paper is approximately the same brightness (lit under display conditions) as the white of a plain word processor / empty document displayed on your monitor. Most monitors have a default brightness that is way too high – this is set by the manufactures to impress folks in the show rooms. Problem is that a lot of the more affordable monitors become non linear and difficult to calibrate if one turns the brightness down. A few years back I was doing endless rounds of monitor calibration and printer profiling and getting nowhere – e.g. no match between monitor and printed output. As soon as I matched the two sets of whites – as described above – things rapidly improved, and I was able to establish a work flow with a repeatable process and consistent results.

    Regards,

    Nick.
    Nick

    Yes, that's what I have found. Spyder has turned down my brightness considerably (the CiC webpage looks a lot darker) but my on-screen images now are more like the print output. Not the same, but nearer. As I see it there are two potential problems with all of this

    1. If you edit a shot and it looks 'right' on screen, the chances are that it will look dark in print, as most monitors are too bright. I was seeing a bright image on screen and adjusted my exposure in edit to fit in with what I was seeing. But that's no good if/when you come to print.

    2. If you only produce shots for on-line viewing, and never or rarely print. the chances are that most other people on-line will see roughly what you see, unless they have their monitors calibrated. In which case they may well see a darker image.

  13. #13
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmoll View Post
    As far as brightness I've learned to go exclusively off of the histogram and set my screen brightness according to the image. I used to tune with my screen on most of the way up to the top but when I'd send out for prints from a pro lab they'd come back all dark and muddy. That's when I learned to go off of the histogram with my screen on about half brightness and no more problems. I'd really be curious to know what my shots look like on your newly calibrated screen Rob. If you don't mind checking my flickr page and telling me what your impressions are of my exposure I'd be extremely grateful.
    The Spyder software asked me to set my brightness to about 50%. It was previously 72%. I'll check your Flickr.

  14. #14
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Hi Rob,

    The screen I use at home is calibrated using Spyder 3 and I also use Permajet paper. I use the Oyster Semi – Gloss and find it quiet contrasty but with very little colour bias, which I like.

    I too have found all the issues you mentioned above and I too found I needed to turn down the brightness of the screen as discussed. I use a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 as my printer and downloaded the Permajet ICC profiles to match. I am very happy with the results.

    The screen I use to post here mostly on CiC is one at work that is not calibrated but does a fair job.

  15. #15
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    Hi Rob,

    The screen I use at home is calibrated using Spyder 3 and I also use Permajet paper. I use the Oyster Semi – Gloss and find it quiet contrasty but with very little colour bias, which I like.

    I too have found all the issues you mentioned above and I too found I needed to turn down the brightness of the screen as discussed. I use a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 as my printer and downloaded the Permajet ICC profiles to match. I am very happy with the results.

    The screen I use to post here mostly on CiC is one at work that is not calibrated but does a fair job.
    Thanks Peter. I too use their Oyster. I find it very good. I also use their fine art Delta Matt. I use the ICC profiles for those papers, but today I was talking to Permajet and they suggested downloading the test print files to create personal profiles. I did so (a bit tedious, but I got there) and I'm mailing them off tomorrow. They email the profiles back to you within a few days. The link is here http://www.permajet.com/product/104/..._Profiles.html Free service if you use their papers.

  16. #16
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Hi Rob,

    Unfortunately, there are factors that complicate the ideal setup, with (as you're discovering), a large part of the problem being the different dynamic ranges of a monitor -v- that of paper (or "print media" to be more accurate, since I work mostly with canvas). Rightly or wrongly, I set my monitors to 200cd/m2, which is very high, but my thinking goes like this ...

    1. Some things in life annoy me; "hot heads" wearing hoodies in the middle of summer - people bouncing basket balls - dimly lit rooms. In the case of the latter, I like to run high levels of ambient lighting (normally an 8 x 3m room with 12x daylight balanced flourescent tubes) -- and I like my screen to be bright too. To my way of thinking, if you have your screen brightness turned right down then you'd better have very low ambient lighting or you're not going to know if a dull image is dull because of the screen brightness, or if it does infact have a levels issue. Having just said that, I guess that it's something you could learn to compensate for, but personally I wouldn't want to.

    2. Although print media and screens have different dynamic ranges, by and large, similar principles usually apply in that for most images you'll STILL want to have something at level 255, and you'll STILL want to have something at level 0 - so even though an image may be adjusted for a canvas print, it usually still looks pretty good onscreen, although having said that, prior to printing I'll usually clip a "normal" histogram (ie touching both ends at about 8 to 16 for the blacks, and around 238 for the whites (general statement though -- applies more for landscape than it does to studio portraiture).

    The problem the good Spyder people face is that there are a lot of different monitors - and video cards - and users of all levels out there; some know what they're doing, many don't -- so I think they tend to take a conservative approach that covered as many bases as possible. As I got to understand what was happening more I started over-riding some of the recommendations ("grabbing the bull by the horns" so-to-speak) especially in the area of "brightness". Over the years I've learned to compensate for the requirements oft he media I use, so what I'm really after is CONSISTENCY.

    In your case, I'd probably just increase the brightness to a level you like - reprofile - and see how it goes from there.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 11th January 2011 at 11:08 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    I have exactly this problem! I have calibrated my Acer H243HX with a Spyder (Don't know the model) and this made a huge difference but my images still come back way too dark from the printers.

    For instance, in this image I can see some detail (on my calibrated home Acer monitor and work Asus laptop, and my uncalibrated LG W2253TQ monitor at work) inside the arch in the background and leaf litter on the ledge in the foreground, LH lower corner. These areas are black when printed.

  18. #18
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Colins has made these points before and I have taken them on board in my workflow.

    One thing I had to learn Rob was that getting a print right for yourself is one thing but when you frame and sell them people often hang them in darker areas of a room (compared to the light source in my room when they come off the printer) and I found I needed to print images on the brighter side to compensate for the most likely viewing situations.

  19. #19
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by whited3 View Post
    I have exactly this problem! I have calibrated my Acer H243HX with a Spyder (Don't know the model) and this made a huge difference but my images still come back way too dark from the printers.

    For instance, in this image I can see some detail (on my calibrated home Acer monitor and work Asus laptop, and my uncalibrated LG W2253TQ monitor at work) inside the arch in the background and leaf litter on the ledge in the foreground, LH lower corner. These areas are black when printed.[/IMG]
    Hi Mark,

    There is quiet a dramatic dynamic range in this shot and as Colin states above the dynamic range of your monitor is greater than print output. Colin has indicated this is around 6 stops for the screen verses 4 for printing.

    I believe there are in fact two post processing requirements - one if you are going to keep the image in the digital domain (email, web digital frames) and another for printing.

    When printing something like this I often add some fine tuning by way of Shadow/Highlights command to open up the darker areas (or in RAW the Fill slider) that may make these areas look at little over exposed on the screen but they come out better in print. If you are going to use either method with these images they may look a bit flat or ‘milky’ as the contrast is reduced and you need to apply the Levels command to the image and crimp the black and white clipping points to restore the contrast.
    whited3 found this helpful.

  20. #20
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Let me know the results when you get them back Rob. It will be interesting to see if you notice any difference. It might be a bit harder to get them over there from Australia but if you think it worthwhile I might have a go.

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