17 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2009 10:56 PM by Cyradis123

    Please help me calibrate my monitor!

    TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

      Okay, as I've mentioned before, my monitor is a Dell 2407WFP

       

      It seems to have on-monitor controls for brightness, contrast, and I can even get to individal Red/Green/Blue adjustment (virtual) sliders. This is on the monitor itself, not controls on the video card.

       

      (1) From Real World Color Management, I was led to belive that LCD monitors only have a brightness adjustment? So how come I've got all these? Should I just ignore them?

       

      (2) Graphics card: nVidia GeForce 7600 GS. I understand that no adjustments should be made to the graphics card when calibrating. But it's already showing some settings: eg: Brightness +50%. Contrast +46%. Gamma +9%. These are the default settings. Is all this okay? Should I just leave it?

       

      (3) Ambient light: It's nighttime here now. Using my puck, I'm measuring the ambient light at ~4800K (x=0.350 y =~0.350 whatever they are). This is when I hold the puck up next to my eyes, looking at the monitor. I need to specify my lighting conditions. So is this considered Dim, Moderate, or Bright?

       

      (4) I'm being asked to choose my white point and gamma. For white point I've got several options between 5000k and 9300K. I've also got a "Monitor Native" and "Custom." Which should I choose (I do stuff for print, not web. In the other thread some kind soul said 5000K for me. Correct? Or monitor native?)

       

      [Edit:] (5) What gamma should I choose? 2.2 is the Windows standard, no?

       

      That's all for now! If I can get past this first screen, with your help, I'm sure I'll have more questions later.

       

      Appreciatively,

      Ariel

        • 1. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
          Rick McCleary Level 3

          Ok, let's take them one at a time...

          It seems to have on-monitor controls for brightness, contrast, and I can even get to individal Red/Green/Blue adjustment (virtual) sliders. This is on the monitor itself, not controls on the video card.

           

          (1) From Real World Color Management, I was led to belive that LCD monitors only have a brightness adjustment? So how come I've got all these? Should I just ignore them?

          LCD monitors have improved markedly in the last two years. Perhaps the RWCM edition you have pre-dates these latest models. In any case, use the controls if they are available. The software with the Monaco puck will guide you through the calibration/profiling process. If it asks whether or not you have control over the individual R/G/B guns, say yes.

          (2) Graphics card: nVidia GeForce 7600 GS. I understand that no adjustments should be made to the graphics card when calibrating. But it's already showing some settings: eg: Brightness +50%. Contrast +46%. Gamma +9%. These are the default settings. Is all this okay? Should I just leave it?

          I'm on a Mac, so my experience may be a bit different than yours. I don't do anything to the video card directly. Lou Dina can probably weigh in here; he's a veteran Windows user.

          (3) Ambient light: It's nighttime here now. Using my puck, I'm measuring the ambient light at ~4800K (x=0.350 y =~0.350 whatever they are). This is when I hold the puck up next to my eyes, looking at the monitor. I need to specify my lighting conditions. So is this considered Dim, Moderate, or Bright?

          The ambient measurement you're reporting is the color temperature of the light (measured in ºKelvin). That is a separate matter from brightness, or luminosity. Can you find a setting for luminosity (expressed as cd/m2)? The software you're using may only give you the three options you've mentioned - Dim, Moderate, Bright.

           

          I would imagine that by Dim, they mean a very darkened room with no windows. Moderate would be a room with an average level of reading light. Bright would be on open office environment with lots of fluorescent lighting and banks of windows.

           

          Pick the one that best describes your working environment. The most important thing is that the lighting remain consistent as you work (i.e., no wondows with direct sunlight coming in.) I have windows in my studio, but when I'm working, a close the blinds.

           

          In any case, just start with one of the settings and use it for a while. If you find that your print work is consistently darker than your monitor, re-calibrate with a darker room light setting. If your print work is consistently lighter than your monitor (...highly unlikely), choose a lighter room light setting.

          (4) I'm being asked to choose my white point and gamma. For white point I've got several options between 5000k and 9300K. I've also got a "Monitor Native" and "Custom." Which should I choose (I do stuff for print, not web. In the other thread some kind soul said 5000K for me. Correct? Or monitor native?)

          Because you have separate "virtual" controls for R/G/B, don't choose "native". For print, choose between D50 and 5,500ºK to start. The ambient measurement of your working space (4,800ºK) is perfect for print.

          (5) What gamma should I choose? 2.2 is the Windows standard, no?

          Yes. 2.2

          There are subtle arguments for choosing slightly different settings (like 2.1 or 2.0), but that's splitting hairs. For now, choose 2.2 and get the ball rolling.

           

          Good luck!

          • 2. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
            TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Thanks Rick.

             

            Okay, I calibrated it. The brightness had to be turned way down (it's at 9 out of 100). Is that normal?

             

            How can I know if I calibrated it correctly?

            • 3. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
              TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Well, I calibrated it, but I think something's wrong. It doesn't look pretty, and everything has a slight slight green tint.

               

              Also, the two test charts on this page:

               

              http://www.imaging-resource.com/ARTS/MONCAL/CALIBRATE.HTM

               

              are now worse. Before I calibrated, I was able to see a difference between all the white squares and all the black squares. Now, I can't distinguish between the two highest whites (maybe even three), and I cannot distinguish between the four darkest blacks.

              • 4. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                Rick McCleary Level 3

                Okay, I calibrated it. The brightness had to be turned way down (it's at 9 out of 100). Is that normal?

                Yes. If you are not used to working on a calibrated monitor, it's not unusual to think that it's way too dark. Remember, you're wanting the white of the monitor to simulate a white sheet of paper. You don't want it to be a light source. Most monitors have to be cranked WAY down.

                How can I know if I calibrated it correctly?

                A couple ways:

                1) Create a new file in Photoshop. Fill it with white (255/255/255). Size the file on your screen so it's roughly the size of a sheet of paper. Hold an actual sheet of paper next to your screen. The sheet of paper and the white file should look very similar. This, of course, presumes that the viewing conditions in your studio are optimal.

                 

                2) Open a known file (like the PDI test image - google "PDI test image") in Photoshop. Hold an accurate hard proof of that image next to your monitor. They should look very similar. (You'll have to spend a few bucks having a printer run out a proof of that file.)

                 

                Keep in mind that your monitor is a backlit transmissive device, while a print is a reflective, so they'll never look absolutely identical. But you can get pretty damned close. (They are REALLY close in my studio.)

                • 5. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                  Rick McCleary Level 3

                  Well, I calibrated it, but I think something's wrong. It doesn't look pretty, and everything has a slight slight green tint.

                  ... and you profiled it as well, I assume? Have you invoked the new profile as your monitor profile?

                   

                  (Again, I'm a Mac guy, so I don't know where the profile should go in your system directory, nor how to use it as the active monitor profile.)

                  • 6. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                    TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    I restarted the computer just in case the profile wasn't loaded. The Monaco Gamma loader popped up and said it's loading the gamma. So I think the profile must be working now.

                     

                    I did the Photoshop test, and paper is much much grayer than the screen. But I think the lighting here is pretty dim. I'll try it again tomorrow afternoon.

                     

                    What about that link to the test images I posted? Is it normal that after calibrating I can no longer see differences in gradations that I could see before calibrating?

                    • 7. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                      Lou Dina Level 3

                      Ariel,

                       

                      In Windows XP, if you are using a standard profiling software package, it should automatically install your profile in the proper folder and activate it as the standard profile.  This will be the same folder where all your color profiles normally reside.  I don't have access to my PC at the moment, but I believe the folder is:

                       

                      C:\WINNT\Systems32\Spool\Drivers\Color.

                       

                      Check to see if it is there.  I don't know about Vista.  They had some problems early on with color profiles remaining active, but I would guess they have solved that issue by now.  In WinXP, you can also right-click your desktop, select Properties, Advanced, Color Management and it should show you that your newly created profile is the default profile for your display.  I'm doing this from memory, but that should be correct or at least close.

                       

                      These Mac guys just don't have a clue!    :O)     (Hey wait..... I'm a Mac guy now too).

                      • 8. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                        TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Hi Lou,

                         

                        Yes, the profile's there and set as default.

                         

                        But everything looks really ugly. I wouldn't say darker, just greener.

                         

                        Take these forums for instance: is the box around the OP meant to be a sickly pale hospital blue/green?

                        • 9. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                          Rick McCleary Level 3

                          These Mac guys just don't have a clue!

                          Hey, tell me about it!!

                          [So how's that Mac thing working out for you?]

                           

                          I owe you an email, Lou.

                          • 10. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                            Lou Dina Level 3

                            Ariel,

                             

                            Perhaps I missed it in an earlier post, but what are you using to calibrate and profile your monitor?  EyeOne, Huey, Spyder?  What software?  What are your target settings?

                             

                            As Rick mentioned, for print it is generally a good idea to pick a color temperature between 5000K and 5500K (I use 5200K).  For white luminance, I use 90 cd/m2.  For black luminance, I shoot for 0.25 to 0.35 cd/m2.  And I use 2.2 gamma for the midpoint.

                             

                            If your monitor looks "greenish", either your calibration software/hardware is not working right, you have a calibration loader that is conflicting with your software, your monitor profile is not loading or staying loaded in your O/S, or your eyes are used to seeing a much different monitor and have not aclimated.  Having said that, if you are used to a super bright, contrasty, whitish blue monitor, a properly calibrated monitor will look a bit dingy and yellow at first.  As Rick also mentioned, for print, a properly calibrated monitor will have the white point set so it is approximately the same brightness as a sheet of white paper when viewed under your viewing lights, and the color will be pretty much the same.  Most monitors "out of the box" are set to blindingly bright, bluish white and super high contrast.

                             

                            What you are describing, "sickly pale hospital blue/green", doesn't sound right.

                             

                            Lou

                            • 11. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                              TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Lou,

                               

                              What I'm using to calibrate the monitor is a MonacoOPTIXxr puck, along with the software that came with that: MonacoEZcolor.

                               

                              There's nowhere in this software that I can see where I get to select my luminance. I've picked 5000K for the white point. I've described my conditions as dim. The software first gets me to crank the brightness all the way up. Then I'm asked to reduce it until some arrow points to a vague area which matches my lighting conditions in the studio. Once the calibration and profiling is over, the luminance it states is around 270 cd/m2. That's too bright, right?

                              • 12. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                Lou Dina Level 3

                                "What I'm using to calibrate the monitor is a MonacoOPTIXxr puck, along with the software that came with that: MonacoEZcolor. 

                                 

                                There's nowhere in this software that I can see where I get to select my luminance. I've picked 5000K for the white point. I've described my conditions as dim. The software first gets me to crank the brightness all the way up. Then I'm asked to reduce it until some arrow points to a vague area which matches my lighting conditions in the studio. Once the calibration and profiling is over, the luminance it states is around 270 cd/m2. That's too bright, right?"

                                 

                                Ariel, if 270 cd/m2 is your final luminance after profiling, yes.....it is WAY too bright.  Let's try an experiment.  I don't have that software, so I am not sure how it will work, okay?

                                 

                                1.  Open Photoshop, Elements, or whatever you use for editing your images.  Create a new blank document and fill it with pure white (R=G=B=255).

                                 

                                2.  Adjust your monitor using the brightness control so that the brightness of white image displayed in your Photoshop document is reasonably close to a white sheet of paper under normal viewing conditions.  Under ideal conditions, normal viewing conditions would be a medium or medium low intensity 5000K viewing light or lightbox....neither super dark nor super bright. You want the brightnesses of the two to be fairly close.  Ignore color right now and don't worry if you display is more blue, yellow, green or whatever.

                                 

                                3.  Now, fire up your profiling software.  If it allows, set the monitor white point to 5000K, and set the gamma to 2.2 gamma.  If the software will let you, just ignore it when it tells you to adjust brightness, contrast, etc.  Just leave your luminance set to where it was when you matched your Photoshop white document to your sheet of white paper under your viewing lamp.  Hopefully it will allow that.

                                 

                                4.  Let it create a profile, and save it.

                                 

                                5.  See what it reports back as far as luminance and any other settings.

                                 

                                See if that does the trick.  If you still get a sickly green, something is messed up....either your puck, the software, a competing loader, etc.  Buy the way, do a search on your hard drive and see if you can find Adobe Gamma Loader (not Adobe Gamma).  If you find Adobe Gamma Loader, or if it in your startup folder, drag them to your desktop to prevent them from loading.  It is possible they may try to load something into your video card and compete with the Monaco Optix loader.

                                 

                                Let us know if this helps.

                                 

                                Lou

                                • 13. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                  TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Thanks Lou.

                                   

                                  I've done kind of what you said. I took a measurement of the colour reflected off a sheet of paper in my room, and, because it's daytime here now, the reading was around 5500, rather than low 4000's in the evening (when I've got a yellow compact flourescent on).

                                   

                                  So I used the software and my RGB controls to get to 5500 (rather than 5000K as you said).

                                   

                                  I then turned the contrast all the way up (100%). And opened Photoshop, and dimmed the brightness of the monitor right down (10%).

                                   

                                  So, it's looking good now: the white in Photoshop is matching a white sheet of paper in the room (depending what angle I look at the paper). It's got a slight greyish tinge which the paper also has.

                                   

                                  Then I made a profile (without calibrating). These are the results of the profile:

                                   

                                  Black luminance 0.13 cd/m2. White: 133.28 cd/m2 White point is 5500K (x=0.333 and y=0.341)

                                   

                                  How are we doing?

                                  • 14. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                    Lou Dina Level 3

                                    Ariel,

                                     

                                    Things seem to be moving in the right direction.  How do your colors look now?  Do greys look neutral?  Do you still have a sickly greenish tinge overall?

                                     

                                    My experience suggests that anywhere between 5000K and 5500K is about the right white point for monitor to print matching.  Others prefer 6500K, but it seems to cool on my systems.  I like to calibrate my white luminance to 90 cd/m2.  My black luminance is usually around 0.2 to 0.3 cd/m2.  On my system and in my ambient environment, these figures give me a good monitor to print match.

                                     

                                    If a print looks very dark in comparison to your monitor, this often suggests your monitor is set too bright.  If you get a good match at your current luminance of around 130 cd/m2, so be it.  (This all assumes you are printing with an accurate printer profile using the correct settings).  Try printing a full scale image (good range of shadows, highlights, midtones, colors, neutrals, etc) and compare it to your monitor.  Your monitor should be soft proofing the image using the same printer profile and rendering intent for the paper you printed on.  If your shadows are dark and plugged up, you probably need to lower your monitor luminance even more.  If the match is good, you're probably set to go.

                                     

                                    You can normally have your monitor set brighter if your ambient lighting is also fairly bright.  It's the way our visual systems work.  I try to work in a fairly dimly lit room and shut my window blinds.  This provides a more consistent lighting environment with less fluctuation.  In my environment, 90 cd/m2 works best.

                                     

                                    If you need to lower your luminance even more, you can try lowering the contrast too.  The important thing is a good match and setting your black and white endpoints so they are in the proper range.  Most monitors seem to do well within a certain range or "sweet spot".  If you stray too far beyond that sweet spot, output can suffer and you may lose a lot of color gamut and even stability.  Depending on your ambient lighting, I'd shoot for a white luminance between 90 and 110 cd/m2, or maybe even as high as 120.  Black luminance between 0,2 and 0.35 is usually about right.

                                     

                                    Calibration devices are great for repeatability, accuracy, etc.  In the final analysis though, your eyes need to be the judge as to whether you get a good match or not.  Then, you note those calibration settings and let your puck and software hit those targets over and over in the future for consistency.

                                     

                                    Lou

                                    • 15. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                      Cyradis123 Level 1

                                      Hi Lou,

                                      I just purchased a NEC LCD2690W2 with Spectraview II software and it's accompanying puck - Xrite(latest ver.2). I'm on a PowerMac G5 and new to calibration.

                                      The calibration takes place in the Display not via the Graphics Card, as I've understood.

                                      I've tried Nec's preset Targets but still find the colors to be very saturated.  From those presets, I've lowered intensity down to Intensity 70 cd/m2 and Gamma from 2.2 down to 1.8, with White Point at D65 down to D50 - trying different variations.  But still, even with the sRGB Target profile and variations there in, I still find the colors much too saturated.  Lou, is there a rule of thumb in lowering the intenseness of color and overall brightness?

                                      Thank you, Cathy

                                      • 16. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                        Lou Dina Level 3

                                        Cathy,

                                         

                                        Most LCD monitors (except the top of the line models, which are usually expensive, and yours may be one of them) do NOT make adjustments at the monitor level even though you have controls on the front of the monitor.  When you adjust those controls on the "average" monitor, those adjustments are actually written to your video card.  The high end monitors have on-board electronics to adjust some settings at the monitor itself.  I did a quick search of your monitor on the web, but couldn't find any information that was helpful to me, so I can't really say.

                                         

                                        For my work, which is monitor to print matching (fine art, press proofs, etc), I set my monitor to 5200K, 90 cd/m2 and 2.2 gamma.  This works for my monitor, my ambient lighting, my viewing lights, etc.  For print, I generally recommend  a white color temp between 5000K to 5500K, a white luminance between 80 - 100 cd/m2, and 2.2 gamma.  This assumes moderate to dim ambient lighting, a good 5000K viewing light, a printer with custom profiles, etc. For internet work, you will be better served calibrating to 6500K, 2.2 gamma, and probably about 120 cd/m2, but in my experience, those settings do not provide a good monitor to print match.

                                         

                                        If your monitor has a super wide gamut approaching Adobe RGB, then it might look super saturated with images on the internet, emails, and non-color managed applications.  That is because those numbers will be interpreted as very saturated and bright, since there is no color management to do translation before it is displayed.  But, that same monitor, if calibrated accurately, should look fine in color managed applications such as Photoshop, LightRoom, color managed web browsers, etc.  I'm not sure what you mean by "sRGB target profile".  I also know nothing about Spectraview II software.

                                         

                                        Most profiling packages that come with a colorimeter and software guide you, step by step, to calibrate your monitor to attain your target values, like the ones I suggest above.  Depending on the monitor, you may have all, some or very few controls you can adjust.  My Samsung monitor for example is hooked up via DVI connection.  When I calibrate, ALL my monitor controls are automatically disabled, with the exception of the brightness control.  That is the only analog control on my monitor, and all the others (contrast, saturation, color balance, etc) get written to the video card anyway, so the system recoginizes this and just disables them, allowing the software to write the necessary corrections to the video card.

                                         

                                        Hope some of this helps.

                                         

                                        Lou

                                        • 17. Re: Please help me calibrate my monitor!
                                          Cyradis123 Level 1

                                          Hi Lou,

                                          Thank you very much for all the time and information you supplied regarding my query.

                                          No instructional pamphlet came with the SVII-Pro-Kit only the "puck" and software CD.

                                          I contacted Nec and this matter was quickly resolved. 

                                          I was told to remove the "holder" from the "puck" when I calibrated. 

                                          It's been quite a while since I've been embarrassed like that. LOL!

                                          Cathy