20 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2008 3:26 PM by (Aaron_Andrade)

    LCD monitor profiling: getting started

    Level 1
      I have a cheap LCD monitor (Gem brand) I bought a year or so ago. It works okay for me but i've never calibrated and profiled it. I'd like to finally invest in a calibrator. I'm a click away from ordering the X-Rite EODIS2 Eye-One Display 2 as my quick research (thanks to this forum) says that's a fine choice.

      Once I receive it I will take a serious look at my ambient light conditions and try to become comfortable living with less natural light in my workspace. I will also consider constructing a monitor hood.

      Meanwhile I'll keep reading Real World Color Management.

      Does it sound like i'm on the right track? Any advice / caveats at this stage welcome. Otherwise I'm sure you'll be hearing from me. :) Many thanks.
        • 1. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
          >Does it sound like i'm on the right track?

          Well you also say
          >I have a cheap LCD monitor :/

          Other than that, yes, you are on the right track. :)
          • 2. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
            Level 1
            Uh, good point, Ramon... I would consider replacing this monitor if necessary, but what are the main determinants of whether it's going to do the job? I have the specs in front of me but I'm not sure what I should be looking for.
            • 3. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
              Lou Dina Level 3

              EyeOne Display 2 is a good product. Start with that and calibrate your monitor.

              We all have our opinions on what constitutes the best settings for monitor to print matching. Personally, I have settled on 5200K, 90 cd/m2 for white luminance, and 2.2 gamma. The black luminance usually ends up at about 0.3 cd/m2. This works great on my system and gives me a nearly perfect color and tonal scale match, but settings may need to be different depending on equipment, ambient lighting, viewing lights, etc. A little experimentation is usually in order. I find 6500K way too blue every time, but others seem happy with it. If your prints look dark and muddy compared to your monitor, it most likely means you have your monitor luminance set too high. Of course, you need good, accurate printer profiles for a given paper to end up with a valid monitor to print comparison. Proper viewing lights also help.

              You can download various test patterns to verify how well your monitor is calibrated. If it looks good, save your money and use your existing monitor. If your monitor to print match stinks, then you can continue experimenting with different monitor calibration settings. If nothing works, a new monitor may be required, but you don't need to spend thousands to get a good match.

              Here's a link to an article that probably gives you more information than you probably want.


              • 4. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                Level 1
                Many thanks, Lou, for the thorough reply. I will read your PDF and I'm about to order the EyeOne. Will post a followup after I play with the calibrator...

                • 5. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                  Level 1
                  Okay, I'm now putting the i1 through its paces...

                  And I haven't been able to finish the profiling process, as I couldn't push the luminance (brightness) above 27 cd/m2! I never got close to the range the Match software called for. I guess in adjusting the RGB and contrast values the luminance lowered itself too far.

                  I'm not sure where things went wrong. I'm now looking at a very dim (and unprofiled!) screen...
                  • 6. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                    Level 1
                    Hmm. Maybe I'm on track now. I may have had the i1 incorrectly positioned on my monitor. (The monitor's on-screen adjustment controls are dead center and not movable, so it's a bit of pain -- have to lift the i1 up periodically to see the controls below, make adjustment, then leave the control area, then set the i1 back down!)

                    Now the color temperature and gamma have good readings, but luminance is 97.4 while its target was 90. So that's not great. Maybe I need to do an ambient light measurement -- i skipped that option.

                    I'm going to generate a profile now though and see how it serves. Lou et al, please correct me if I've screwed up anything!
                    • 7. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                      Level 1
                      Tried re-profiling, this time at 5500 K and after doing ambient light calibration. It's a little bluer now, and the luminance is closer -- 88.6 to a target of 90. But with both profiles, the white point looks pretty dim.

                      The only printed piece I can think to compare to in order to evaluate the accuracy of the monitor, is my Pantone books. Coated SWOP. Screen reds appear brighter -- not a very close match.

                      Any advice as to how to best determine the accuracy of my monitor profile? I've made some prints on my Epson 880, but that's a whole other stage of complexity that I reckon is premature until I've settled the monitor piece.
                      • 8. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                        Al Ferrari Level 1

                        You do not have to place the i1 device centered on the monitor. Place it to one side so that it does not interfere with the interactive controls you need access to. The i1 software will locate the position of the i1 device wherever you place it.

                        • 9. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                          Level 1
                          Thanks Al. I thought it should do that, but all the test boxes that draw themselves on screen seem concentrated in the center. Next time I'll try that.

                          Any idea how I can verify the accuracy of my newly calibrated monitor?
                          • 10. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                            Gusgsm Level 2

                            With ColorEyes you can ***** that. It's not too expensive and the demo is fully operative for s short span.
                            • 11. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                              Level 1
                              Thanks Gustavo.

                              Would I generate a new profile with ColorEyes, or does it have an 'assessment mode' where it measures and reports on the existing settings?
                              • 12. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                Level 1
                                Downloaded ColorEyes; tried "Validate Current Profile" feature; the button 'Start Validation' remained dimmed no matter what info i included!
                                • 13. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                  Gusgsm Level 2
                                  Mmhhh... Maybe that option is deactivated in the demo (sorry if so, I did not recall that). I'd try asking in their technical forum.
                                  • 14. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                    Level 1
                                    The saga continues...

                                    I've been watching Chris Murphy's lynda.com 'Color Management Essential Training' videos, which are very good but i'm still not sure I'm doing this properly. Here's the story:

                                    He outlines a test to determine whether your LCD display's backlight is controlled via the Brightness or Contrast on-screen control: fill a new Photoshop file with black, and adjust each control independently to determine which shows a visible change in the solid black. After resetting my monitor to defaults, and trying this, it was obvious that the Contrast control was linked to the backlight.

                                    Murphy then demonstrates profiling, using the same Eye-One Match software. He skips the 'Set the Contrast' portion in the software, as that relies on adjusting the Contrast control to adjust backlight. I did do it, because my monitor backlight does appear to be controlled by Contrast.

                                    Next is the 'Set the White Point' portion, which involves adjusting RGB values separately. Chris says it's not a good idea for non-high-end LCDs -- that it's better for white point adjustment to occur in the video card LUT. So he skips that portion, and -- although my monitor does allow such independent adjustment -- i skip it as well.

                                    Then it's 'Set the Luminance', where we use the Brightness control. In Chris' case he's adjusting the backlight. In my case, uh, I dunno what I'm adjusting exactly. Anyway, I can't get the current marker all the way down to the target value. With Brightness at 0, it's slightly above my target 90. (I wonder if this means my monitor is burning out, or it's an indicator I should have done the RBG adjustment stage?) But Chris encourages staying slightly above the target so there's a little room to come down later. I settle at 92.6.

                                    Then calibration, correction curve, RGB->XYZ, and a display profile is born!

                                    I learned from Chris that Eye-One Match includes a Monitor Validator feature. I do it and find my DE2000 is 2.56! Seems quite high. (Chris' was 0.78.) Does it mean my monitor just sucks, or is it an acceptable value, or is there something I need to adjust?

                                    In other news, blinds are more closed (except for one window -- this room has lots of 'em), room is darker, I shall start wearing black. :)

                                    Thanks for any perspective on any of this.
                                    • 15. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                      Level 1
                                      A side question: Is it necessary to rent a lux meter to measure my ambient light?
                                      • 16. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                        Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                                        To make it easy determining the right settings make you a 21 step grayramp or download this one...


                                        ...I created in AdobeRGB. Load it in a nonCM app like PictureViewer and make sure you can see separation between black and the next gray rectangle on the top and separation between 245RGB and 250RGB highlight rectangles by adjusting the contrast and/or brightness or whatever will give you the separation in the tones indicated. You want the blackest looking black and the brightness of your white to match the paper you print on viewed under the lights you will be using to proof with.

                                        Next examine a white document loaded full screen on your display at night with all lights turned off and see if it's neutral looking. In fact it would be best to do the entire calibration routine at night anyway and have one of your lights you'll view your prints under available to turn on and off if needed. If the white of your display is neutral looking, then leave the color temp set to native in the calibration software.

                                        In the i1Match software choose LCD, then advanced in the software and choose Native White Point, 2.2 gamma and luminance unchanged. Skip contrasts and brightness and let the i1 finish the calibration and profiling process where you'll arrive at a dialog box panel showing what it measured as the true response of your display.

                                        You want the color temp readout to be between 6000K-6800K, the actual gamma and 2.2 target gamma should be pretty close and luminance should be around 90cdm/2 and black luminance should be around .3. These numbers will depend on how bright you set the white of your display when comparing it to a white sheet of print paper.

                                        If luminance is too light or dark adjust the button on the display that affects overall brightness not contrast. You'll have to determine this yourself and recalibrate with the same settings described above and see which measurement changed in the final dialog box.
                                        • 17. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                          Level 1
                                          Tim, thanks for that thorough reply. I'm still stuck at the ambient light part though, before I choose my room lighting. Did you actually measure your ambient lux before calibrating?
                                          • 18. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                            Lou Dina Level 3

                                            I wouldn't obsess about your ambient lighting. Just keep it on the low side and calibrate your monitor. As mentioned, try to get the brightness of a white document in PS so that it appears about the same as a sheet of white paper under your normal viewing light.

                                            • 19. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                              Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                                              No, I don't bother with lux and ambient light measurement and readouts because all that does is allow you to adjust the appearance of these numbers with the software through the video card to reach these targets and that's all. Just like letting i1 pick a color temp instead of using native, the look usually is quite warmer/reddish than I'm comfortable with.

                                              That's what doesn't make since about going by the numbers. My native color temp looks very neutral as is on my 2004 G5 iMac which reads 6200K as measured by i1Match but when I choose 6500K target which is very close to native, the screen becomes more reddish. There shouldn't be that much of a visual difference between the two which implies the look of the numbers are subjective according to the manufacturer.

                                              Thus I rely on my own eyes more as you should, but that's up to you.
                                              • 20. Re: LCD monitor profiling: getting started
                                                Level 1
                                                Many thanks, Lou and Tim. I'm taking a break from the process for a bit but hope to act on your advice within a couple weeks and post a followup.