CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #28 - Monitors, Part 2
Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on things related to Color Management.
C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S
Issue # 28
Table of Contents
1. Shows and Events
SHOWS & EVENTS
September 9th - 12th, 2007, GraphEXPO and Converting Expo 2007 USA, Chicago, IL. Regarded as the USA's most comprehensive prepress, printing, converting, and digital equipment trade show and conference in the USA. CHROMiX will be in booth 5147 showing Maxwell, ColorThink Pro and IDEALink Curve software. See below CHROMiX News for more information.
October 24th - 27th, 2007, SGIA 2007, The Specialty Printing & Imaging Technology Expo, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.
February 21st - 22nd, 2008, FOGRA Colour Management Symposium 2008 'Science Meets Color', Arabella Sheraton Conference Center , Bogenhausen, Munich, Germany. The main focus will be on the methods for capturing, color transformation and hard/softcopy output for RGB-workflows. Simultaneous German/English interpreting.
May 29 - June 11th, 2008 ,DRUPA 2008 - Dusseldorf, Germany.
CHROMIX will be releasing the first public version of Maxwell at GraphEXPO 2007 in September. CHROMiX's own Steve Upton will be in Booth 5147 in the Developer Pavilion showing Maxwell, a truly revolutionary enterprise-level color management system. If you're in Chicago for the event, this would be a great opportunity to see it firsthand as presented by its architect, Steve Upton. Please come by Booth 5147 for a demo and talk with us about your needs and thoughts. CHROMiX can also provide FREE Exhibits-Only passes. If interested, send us an email at sales(at)CHROMIX.com or contact Sales at 866-CHROMiX x1.
Can't make the GraphEXPO show? Take a look at Maxwell for FREE from the convenience of your own computer!! The date and time for the next Maxwell Webex Tour is August 22nd, 2007, at 10:00 am Pacific Std Time (1:00 PM EST). For those who express interest in this webinar, you will receive an email with the confirming date and connection information. If you haven't signed up yet, send an email to us at
The next ColorThink Pro Webinar Training session will be held August 23rd at 11:00 AM Pacific Std Time (2:00 PM EST). The WebEx class, which consists of one two-hour session and one one-hour session, is taught by Steve Upton, designer and developer of ColorThink. The first two hours cover fundamental and intermediate use, and touch on some advanced concepts. The second session, held at a later date agreed upon by class attendees, focuses on advanced concepts and questions. The class is presented in this manner to allow plenty of hands-on time with the program before the final hour of training. Interested? All you need is a current browser, and ColorThink Pro. Pricing: $349 for the Webinar class, $598 if you need an upgrade from ColorThink to ColorThink Pro and $748 if you are starting from scratch (no upgrade) for the training and the whole ColorThink Pro program. For more information or to register, call sales at
Color, Product & Industry News
Adobe recently created a new feature in Acrobat CS3 to print directly to Fedex Kinkos via a new web-link in the application. Many people think this is a good idea. Many others feel this violates the trust and neutrality Adobe has shown for many years with the printing industry. One of the best perspectives on this is from Dr. Joe Webb, a highly respected mind in our industry. His comments are worth a read:
News Flash! Just as we were releasing this newsletter we received news that Adobe has decided to completely remove all links from their PDF software in an upcoming maintenance release version due sometime in October. PIA/GATF have been involved in the process and have an announcement on their site:
ColorBurst recently discovered that customers running ColorBurst RIP software on Macs running OS 10.4 or higher had been having problems with their dongle becoming inactive after a restart. A new dongle installer that fixes the issue has been created and is available at:
We found an interesting article about a possible breakthrough technology that could cheaply replace the color components in conventional LCD monitors. Here's the link:
Ken Fisher writes in his article, "A new study says that, on average, more than half of the ink from inkjet cartridges is wasted when users toss them in the garbage. Why is that interesting? According to the study, users are tossing the cartridges when their printers are telling them they're out of ink, not when they necessarily are out of ink." If this has happened to you, read the following story at this link:
The Eastman Kodak Co. unveiled 'next-generation color filter patterns' which Kodak says is designed to more than double the light sensitivity of CMOS or CCD image sensors used in todays camera phones and digital still cameras. Kodak is departing slightly from the standard Bayer light absorption pattern method by creating a hybrid pattern with 'transparent' pixels to absorb the light. For more:
Don Hutcheson of HutchColor and IDEAlliance recently talked about press color specifications at the IPA Technical Conference. You'll find this video informative:
This Month's Feature Article:
by CHROMiX's Patrick Herold
In the last installment of the CHROMiX ColorNews, we looked at the overall process of how color gets from your computer into your monitor; sort of a look at the hardware involved.
In "Monitors Part 2," we'll look through the software side of things - the blistering array of settings that are available to you in a typical monitor calibration program.
== White Point ==
The idea behind White Point is to set the color of your screen's white to whatever white you think is "normal". The most common recommendation these days is 6500 Kelvin. You can choose a different color aim if you are trying to match your monitor to a particular output with a different white point. This is where a "custom" white point setting would come into play. Many people match their monitor color to the color temperature of their light booth or other lighting situation. 5000 Kelvin is technically the color temperature of normal daylight, which most profiling systems take as the standard - but that does not mean you should set your monitor to that. Most people see 5000 as too red. We discussed white point options in more detail in ColorNews issue #24 if you would like to read more about this:
== Native White point deserves some explanation ==
In the last article, we saw how LCD monitors are lit by a "backlight" of some kind. The natural color of this backlight (without any LCD filtering going on in front of it) is often very close to what you want to achieve, all by itself. Typical LCD native white points run anywhere between 5900 to 6700 or so.
With a CRT, the idea was to use the monitor's own adjustments to the red, green & blue guns to bring the white point close to what you're aiming at, and then the computer's video card would not have to make large adjustments to bring the color into line. Since users are used to this feature, LCD manufacturers have probably incorporated into the screen setup buttons some way to adjust the screen color. But this is really just artificially dimming the LCD array in front of the backlight, and it's questionable how uniform this sort of "correction" is.
An alternative method to try when calibrating an LCD monitor is to leave the "on-board" monitor color adjustments alone so that the monitor is left to produce its native white. Then let the calibration software do the adjusting in the video card to bring all the colors around to what you're aiming for.
However, it's a double-edged sword. If the video card has to yank the color around quite a bit, then banding is more likely.
== Gamma ==
2.2 is the almost universal standard now. If you are working in an ICC controlled application like Photoshop, then the gamma is irrelevant since it is corrected for in the monitor profile. A gamma setting of 2.2 might also help to reduce banding.
== Luminance ==
The Luminance setting you choose depends a lot on your viewing environment. General guidelines are 100 - 120 for a moderately lit room, 100 or less for a dim room. If you are trying to adjust your screen to match your printer output, then adjust your luminance so that a white screen will be as bright as a blank piece of paper.
If you plan to use your on-board monitor controls to adjust the RGB of an LCD display, you will want to adjust your luminance at the same time. These two effect each other. If your software does not have the colors and the luminance readout on the same page, then you'll want to skip back and forth a bit until you have the RGB the way you want, and the luminance the way you want.
== Matrix vs. Lookup Tables ==
Your monitor profiling software will offer you a choice between making a matrix profile or a look-up table profile. A matrix profile consists of a simple mathematical formula that describes the shape of the gamut. This results in a very small file size, and these profiles can be smoother in transitions (less banding), but perhaps less accurate hue-wise.
Look-up table profiles (or LUTS) define color using a table or grid describing the behavior of precise points of color in the monitor. These create larger file sizes, and can accurately handle monitors that have sudden spikes of color (as many LCD's do).
In general terms, older CRT's and some of the upper end LCD screens can be profiled very successfully using matrix profiles, and you can turn to a matrix profile if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of color accuracy for a reduction in banding on your LCD monitor. Otherwise, it is generally recommended that you choose to make LUT profiles for the average, modern LCD.
== 8-bit vs. 16-bit profiles ==
The 16-bit option gives more precision in profiles and should be used whenever possible.
== Version 2 vs. Version 4 profiles ==
Version 4 profiles conform to the most recent specifications of the ICC, and this option should be chosen in most cases. But if you using a program that does not recognize Version 4 profiles, you have the option to make and use a Version 2 profile.
== What is DDC? ==
If you have a DDC-capable monitor and a DDC-compatible video card, and a DDC feature in your calibration software, then you can have Direct Digital Communication between the three. DDC will automatically take care of adjusting the brightness, contrast and color controls that you would normally adjust on the front of your monitor. Not only does this make profiling easier and faster, but it can keep your profiling more consistent, and can produce finer adjustments that are available within your monitor's on-screen controls.
== What about these new LED-backlit displays? ==
I knew you were going to ask me about those. There is a new technology that uses Light-Emitting Diodes as backlights for LCD monitors (instead of fluorescent tubes). LED's show great promise, in that they are long-lasting, can use less power, and still get quite bright. Some LED LCD's use only "white" LED's for the backlighting. Those with separate red, green and blue LED's can be "tune-able" to a specific white point. When you have control over the actual color temperature of the light source itself, this makes for another way to avoid having to depend on the video card to make big changes in the color. That's the theory anyway. It's a little too soon for us to tell you to rush out and buy one. A lot is going to depend on how these LEDs are used in specific models.
Finally, here are a few interesting tidbits concerning LCD monitors that you should be aware of:
- An LCD screen is a grid of RGB pixels, and thus each model has a specific native resolution. To get the sharpest image, you should set your monitor to its native resolution. This is particularly important if you are viewing text.
- Do I really need a monitor that can duplicate the Adobe RGB colorspace if that is what I work in? A lot of people don't, and still get by just fine. You don't often see colors that are that saturated. A good quality monitor, properly calibrated, will give you a good representation of what you are working with, even though you may not see the true saturated reds and greens that are in there.
- Be careful about making color correcting choices when viewing images on a large-gamut display running in 16-bit mode. The limitation of 256 adjustment steps in the video card can introduce banding, and you may not be seeing the color that is really in the image. These monitors are more suitable for proofing than color-correcting.
- There is more to a high quality monitor than just its gamut size. Consistency of the image across the display is often overlooked. LCD's can sometimes show a lightness around the edges of the screen. This is not a result of a "burning-in" pattern like CRT's tend to get, but is usually a result of production. To check this on your display, bring up a 50% gray screen and look for evenness of brightness and color along the edge of the screen.
- I haven't mentioned "angle of view" yet. It is common knowledge that colors will change when viewing most LCDs off-center, but the same effect can happen with CRTs.
- The Monaco Optix XR colorimeter (also known as the X-Rite DTP-94) is being discontinued by X-Rite but, ironically, is considered the best colorimeter out there. Statistically it is very accurate, very repeatable, and has a number of more elaborate circuitry features such as automatically adjusting for ambient temperature changes. We have hoarded some of these at CHROMiX. Call our sales department if you are interested.
Thanks for reading,
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