Thursday, May 26, 2011

Calibrating the MacBook Pro display

Under review.

How White LED display backlights work.

All the new Apple laptops are now using screens backlit by LEDs, I believe. These backlights do not involve red, green and blue diodes, but rather blue diodes encapsulated in a phosphor coated epoxy. This coating absorbs the diode's light and fluoresces, and reemits some of the blue light frequency-shifted to longer wavelengths by way of a physical phenomenon named the Stokes shift. Result, white light, or rather a weird but still smooth spectrum:

White LED technology is displacing CCFL (fluorescent light-tube) technology in laptops, and even in large TV displays; I guess the advantages are low-voltage power supply, no slow flicker and hum,The obvious disadvantage can be seen in the spectrum diagram above: The power output in the longer wavelengths is abysmally low, so you can expect to have a reduced gamut in the reds — no wonder then that demo discs for TV showrooms are heavily stacked toward Ridley Scott bluish decors. 

If your inner geek is still hungry Wikipedia is begging to illuminate. The graph above was excerpted from the linked article.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bug of the day: Epson Premium Luster and Premium Glossy profiles

Every day brings its bug report. Today I noticed that the two Epson profiles "Epson Stylus Pro 3880_3885_3890 PremiumGlossyPhotoPaper.icc" and "Epson Stylus Pro 3880_3885_3890 PremiumLusterPhotoPaper.icc" installed by my Epson 3880 driver appear to be identical. 

I don't think those inkjet papers are anywhere identical, do you? I think this bug may be biting professional inkjet users, as I believe that the 3880, 7880 and 9880 use the same profiles. I found the bug by accident when comparing gamuts. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

i1Profiler - Xrite pimps new software with innovative interface


I received the i1Profiler upgrade for my purple PMP dongle a few weeks ago, and have now played around a bit with the product. Xite support helped me quickly and effectively with some minor installation woes, when i1Profiler had a conflict with the installed ColorMunki software. I then ran a single-page target on the iSis to create a profile for my Epson 3880, on some old experimental Canon matte paper, and this profile was first rate.  Every other color geek seems to like the profiles too, although some deplore the absence of direct DTP-70 support (measurement files are accepted) and the fact that scanner profiling has been dropped.

 i1Profiler does display, projector and both RGB and CMYK printer profiles. It updates most of the features of old Monaco and PMP (see below), and wraps them in a very pretty but also truly innovative interface. This has a basic mode with plenty of online help for the non-specialist and a truly novel advanced mode for the color geeks. The innovation stems from the way in which it s possible to save settings or measured data - the saved states are symbolized by icons and called assets and workflows.  It's like nothing I've ever seen before, which is why I'm simply pointing you at the video. I think this interface is so interesting that people will copy it. 

 This blog has had a hiatus for a few years, but in that time, nothing really changed in the color world. Gretag got merged into Xrite, but the combined company marketed both Xrite's Profile Maker Platinum and Gretag's Profiler Maker Pro professional publishing software, and the prosumer i1Match series. All of which were visibly stuck in a minimum-maintenance mode.  They will now be retired as i1Profiler addresses both pro and prosumer in a very complete  one-size-fits-all package; most users will be quoted around $500 list for the upgrade, although there seem to be some better deals floating round.

 Prosumer sales and upgrades from i1Match will take off right now, but it may take more time until the prudent and conservative pro color community fully adopts i1Profiler, since many users are still quite happy with their existing packages. However, I do think Xrite has a solid winner here, and the release of 1Profiler demonstrates that the company has fully digested the merger and the Pantone acquisition, and can now move ahead again with product development.

 I'll come back with a more detailed look at some of the i1Profiler features, reasonably soon.

Edmund Ronald