Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Are Dual-Monitor Setups a Good Idea ?

During a recent conversation, Steve Upton of Chromix stressed the way we adjust to a whitepoint. As a result, I'm not so sure anymore that dual-monitor setups are a good idea for color retouching, because the whitepoint of your palette monitor will contaminate your evaluation of the main display, especially if you set the main display background to full-screen black.

Request for help in establishing a Monitor Calibration Quality Evaluation Protocol

As you've noticed, I write a fair bit about color management, and I'd like to get my opinions about LCD monitor calibration on a more solid footing. So, I would like to establish a test protocol that I could run on my machines to test calibrators. This is journalism, not rocket science, but I still want to be able to do things decently.

I was thinking of first adopting a methodology similar to that of Dr. Abhay Sharma for the WMU Profiling Review.

If I understand rightly, this means doing a whitepoint measurement and then computing delta E for colorchecker squares. The evaluation results can then be the avg and max delta E measured.

The instrumentation I now have is a Gretag Eyeone spectrophotometer. I wonder whether this would be sufficient to act as a reference for this purpose, seeing I'm doing journalism and not science? Also, I don't know how to do the reading: Which software can put the instrument in a state to read in the screen squares, then make measurements ? I guess I need to somehow establish the base 100L value then compute the delta E for each colorchecker square, can anyone tell me exactly how set up software to do this ? It would be nice if Gretag offered some support, eg. made their SDK available ...Maybe some existing package can already do this ?

Specialists will rightly assume I don't know what I'm doing; however, Color Management is now trickling down to consumer level so we need consumer-level testing of this type.

I am cross-posting to the blog, and the Colorsync list, so you can answer here or comment there if you wish. I would appreciate input from all the professional members of the community.

Monday, June 20, 2005

L* - obsoleting gamma

The latest Basiccolor Display and ColorEyes Display give the user the option of calibrating to L* instead of a gamma value like 2.2 or 1.8. Gamma values are related to the functioning of CRT screens, and these are nowadays a quasi-obsolete technology.

The basic idea behind L* is to have a monitor space which does not employ the obsolete notion of gamma. In fact, L* seems to be derived from LAB, and is therefore a perception-linear space, at least as far as the luminance axis is concerned.

An L* working space and various test images can be downloaded here. I don't think that the use of an L* working space in Photoshop is really necessary to enjoy the benefits of a screen profile made with L* in photoshop.

I will try to make a translation of the german L* documents soon; then you can tell me what it all means. There is however one caveat — I have heard rumors, which I'm trying to confirm, that L* is patented — I wonder whether a _notation_ for a psychophysical quantity eg. color can be patented ? Would the decibel or music notation be patentable in the eyes of US law of 2005 ?

Basiccolor 3.1 is up ! L* makes its Debut!

Try it! Go get the demo ! I've heard it said that if you want optimal results when viewing images onscreen in Photoshop you should use L* and a matrix profile.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

BasicColor 3.10 and ColorEyes Display update on Monday

They say twins are telepathic — Basiccolor and ColorEyes Display are both coincidentally releasing an important update on Monday, June 20, with support for hardware calibration of numerous DDC compatible LCD monitors amongst which just about the whole Eizo CG range, eg. CG210 and CG21 the Nec Spectraview 2180, and, I surmise, the LaCie 321. Some exotic devices like the displays OEMd under the Quato, A.C.T. Kern and Eye_Q brands are also supported.

Some controversy surrounds the Apple Cinema Displays, and the Eizo Flexscan series. In the case of the Apples, it would seem that DDC has been implemented unidirectionally, allowing the monitor type to be recognized by the computer. However no information can be written from the Mac to the screen, so hardware calibration is not feasible. In the case of the Eizo Flexscans, Eizo has released an SDK for PCs but not for the Mac, so the software has differing capabilities dependent on the platform.

Both companies supply fully functional demos — go get'em!

The X-rite Pulse ColorElite options

In this story you can find my Xrite Pulse review . Now Marc Levine of X-rite has put up a message detailing the contents of the various Xrite Pulse ColorElite packages in a way *specialists* will perfectly comprehend. Marc"s message also gives examples of the functionality of the ColorshopX package supplied with the accessory pack.

Marc is in the color management business, I'm in the news buisness, which means explaining things I don't understand to other people.

At the moment referring to Marc's article, and my own notes, Pulse can be sold:
With or without Monaco Optix XR monitor calibrator.
With or without accessory pack.
With or without CMYK capability.
With or without UV filter.

Maybe a simplified product matrix might be easier to sell, and stock for retailers ? Anyway, here are my recommendations: Everyone should get the accessory pack, the Optix is nice if you don't have a screen calibrator yet, you need the CMYK option only when driving a RIP or profiling presses , as for the UV filter, I don't recommend it, except again if you're in the proofing buisness. Oh, and did I tell you to get the accessory pack ?

My take on Pulse is it's very user-friendly. Maybe some users can post their usage experiences with Pulse as comments ?

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Eizo CG210 is calibrated, finally.

My Eizo got nicely cleaned up by Basiccolor 3.10. For the previous state, refer to the CG210 review in the previous article, compared with the 213T. Updates to BasicColor and ColorEyes Display allow DDC monitor calibration ability. A list of supported DDC LCD screens, … NeatImage user testimonials … Bug-fixes from Canon and Lexar etc, can all be found in my latest story A Digest of Good News

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nice template wanted !

I'm new to blogging. Can anyone suggest a nice template ? I'd liketo have really densely packed text so I can post stories, and a farly sober, low bandwidth look with some color or black. Not just a white background.

Monitor Matchup: Pitting an Eizo CG210 Against a Samsung 213T

My description of setting up a dual monitor system was published on June 13 2005. Color accuracy on the Eizo has since been improved by the use of Basiccolor 3.10. See my next story for the details.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005