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Calibrating new iMac

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Old 12-18-2013, 11:23 PM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Calibrating new iMac

I just got a new 27" fully-loaded iMac and am trying to get it calibrated. I used a Spyder4 Pro with the latest software update and have noticed that with smooth, dark backgrounds in portraits I'm getting banding on the screen. When I open the same file on my old Mac Pro w/cinema display and the same calibration, the banding is not there. I've tried several different calibrations, using different settings (white point and gamma are consistent, I'm using the defaults). The difference is the type of backlighting on the monitor. When the software asks what kind of backlighting the monitor has, the choices are - Not Sure, RGB LED, and White. The closest so far has been Not Sure, the RGB LED has overly heavy blacks. I'm checking everything on my Epson 2880 with a custom profile, which has always been very accurate in the past, and am not getting very good results. Is the Spyder just not up to the task of the new displays, or do I need to be looking in a different direction?
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:54 AM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

I am considering the iMac at the moment for retouching work (I use one at home but that's for fun stuff) but am put off by that particular issue and the reflective screen. Given it's limitations you may well have already obtained the optimum display, disappointing though that may be. You could link a 'quality' monitor alongside for colour critical work/reference.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:34 AM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by Repairman View Post
I am considering the iMac at the moment for retouching work (I use one at home but that's for fun stuff) but am put off by that particular issue and the reflective screen. Given it's limitations you may well have already obtained the optimum display, disappointing though that may be. You could link a 'quality' monitor alongside for colour critical work/reference.
Thanks, Repairman. The screen reflection on this new iMac hasn't been an issue for me, they've dulled it down a bit. The fusion drive is quite nice.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:10 PM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

Probably the Spyder, not the best unit around to do this task. IF the new display has LED backlight or some illuminant of which the filters in the Spyder are not built to measure, you'll get poor results. Try a Native Gamma if such a setting exists, might help with banding. Probably need a better more modern unit that's built for newer display technology like the X-rite EyeOne Display-Pro.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:12 PM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
Probably the Spyder, not the best unit around to do this task. IF the new display has LED backlight or some illuminant of which the filters in the Spyder are not built to measure, you'll get poor results. Try a Native Gamma if such a setting exists, might help with banding. Probably need a better more modern unit that's built for newer display technology like the X-rite EyeOne Display-Pro.
I was considering the EyeOne, just wanted to see what others thought before I spent the money. If it does the trick, it's worth the extra cost. Thanks much.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:03 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
Probably the Spyder, not the best unit around to do this task. IF the new display has LED backlight or some illuminant of which the filters in the Spyder are not built to measure, you'll get poor results. Try a Native Gamma if such a setting exists, might help with banding. Probably need a better more modern unit that's built for newer display technology like the X-rite EyeOne Display-Pro.
I don't keep up with Spyder that much, but Datacolor claims the 3 and 4 were supposedly updated for better response with LED backlit and wide gamut displays. Was it just a firmware adjustment or something? The i1 display pro was obviously a ground up re-design, as X-rite's prior colorimeters were very old designs. They had the DTP-94b, which was from the early 2000s. The other came from their takeover of Gretag Macbeth. It was also pretty ancient.


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Originally Posted by holgaman View Post
I was considering the EyeOne, just wanted to see what others thought before I spent the money. If it does the trick, it's worth the extra cost. Thanks much.
The i1 display pro is around $250. It's not that big of a difference. I use it. It's good. As I stated though, you are just rewriting profile data, and it still has its limitations. If that data isn't well represented, it compounds the problem, and you are more likely to see banding. In either case if you understand the way these things are written, it's easy to understand their limitations.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:03 PM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

The i1 display pro is around $250. It's not that big of a difference. I use it. It's good. As I stated though, you are just rewriting profile data, and it still has its limitations. If that data isn't well represented, it compounds the problem, and you are more likely to see banding. In either case if you understand the way these things are written, it's easy to understand their limitations.[/QUOTE]

Thanks, klev. I really don't know much at all about the technical side of how displays and graphics cards work. I got the best graphics card offered for the iMac and just want to know that what I'm sending to a client is exactly what I intended. I gave the Spyder4 another shot with different settings and it seems like I'm pretty darn close (no banding, color and contrast look good), but haven't ruled the i1 out by any means. If I do decide to go that direction, I most likely will be checking back for help with settings questions that are over my head. Many thanks to everyone for all your help, and happy holidays!
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:45 AM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by holgaman View Post
Thanks, klev. I really don't know much at all about the technical side of how displays and graphics cards work. I got the best graphics card offered for the iMac and just want to know that what I'm sending to a client is exactly what I intended. I gave the Spyder4 another shot with different settings and it seems like I'm pretty darn close (no banding, color and contrast look good), but haven't ruled the i1 out by any means. If I do decide to go that direction, I most likely will be checking back for help with settings questions that are over my head. Many thanks to everyone for all your help, and happy holidays!
That's cool. For future reference graphics cards don't make much of a difference in photoshop. The misconception came from a couple things. One was the inclusion of OpenGL drawing starting with CS4. They have expanded on it a bit, yet if you look at the list and consider what percentage of your time is spent on any given thing, it won't be much. In other software like lightroom it's meaningless. Where I think graphics cards matter is when it comes to things like the kind of display you wish to use. Certain cards support 10 bit displayport with specific displays in photoshop on Windows. By that I mean a full 10 bit path. 4K displays are just starting to hit at the bleeding edge. Only a subset of newer cards support them at 60hz refresh rates.

For future reference, check the software you want to use. They all have some kind of system requirements page, which often lists additional recommendations and some kind of breakdown of features. Here is Adobe's help page on the subject.

I questioned Andrew on the i1 for a reason. It was updated quite a bit with version 3 and 4 with respect to newer displays. I am unsure whether he felt the update was inadequate and more of a patch or basically his reasoning, which may be completely sound. No banding is definitely a start. You aren't trying to set color temp to something weird like D50 are you?
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:01 AM
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by klev View Post
That's cool. For future reference graphics cards don't make much of a difference in photoshop. The misconception came from a couple things. One was the inclusion of OpenGL drawing starting with CS4. They have expanded on it a bit, yet if you look at the list and consider what percentage of your time is spent on any given thing, it won't be much. In other software like lightroom it's meaningless. Where I think graphics cards matter is when it comes to things like the kind of display you wish to use. Certain cards support 10 bit displayport with specific displays in photoshop on Windows. By that I mean a full 10 bit path. 4K displays are just starting to hit at the bleeding edge. Only a subset of newer cards support them at 60hz refresh rates.

For future reference, check the software you want to use. They all have some kind of system requirements page, which often lists additional recommendations and some kind of breakdown of features. Here is Adobe's help page on the subject.

I questioned Andrew on the i1 for a reason. It was updated quite a bit with version 3 and 4 with respect to newer displays. I am unsure whether he felt the update was inadequate and more of a patch or basically his reasoning, which may be completely sound. No banding is definitely a start. You aren't trying to set color temp to something weird like D50 are you?
I set the color temp to 6500k, which is looking pretty good (as far as I can tell). I don't do product, but I still want to make sure I'm not wasting a lot of time in PS getting my version of 'just right'. I do include a frame of an Xrite color checker whenever possible, even if I know I want to deviate from neutral in the end. Thanks for all the great info.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:42 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Calibrating new iMac

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Originally Posted by holgaman View Post
I set the color temp to 6500k, which is looking pretty good (as far as I can tell). I don't do product, but I still want to make sure I'm not wasting a lot of time in PS getting my version of 'just right'. I do include a frame of an Xrite color checker whenever possible, even if I know I want to deviate from neutral in the end. Thanks for all the great info.
X-rite color checkers aren't bad. I still haven't gotten used to calling them that. They were Gretag Macbeth color checkers for many years. Just realize they are still subject to the issue of metamerism, even if they aren't bad in this regard. It's something that is virtually impossible to completely eliminate. In theory they're rough surfaces that absorb a lot of light allowing them to return the look of a constant color, but even X-rite will tell you that you may not always want to make something where the color checker is completely neutral relative to its theoretical LAB reference values. It's merely very close if you want realism, and that in itself is really great.

While it feels like I'm just talking around whatever the prior response is, I do understand your goals here. If the color checker in a given reference space is measured with a spectrophotometer to say LAB 20,20,30, you want the ability to get that reading in photoshop and in a reference print with some accommodation for lighting variation and creative interpretation. 6500K "as interpreted by the profiling software" (important distinction) should be reasonable. It has become the defacto standard outside of specific specialized workflows. Your imac is probably balanced between 6500 and 7000 when new if measuring the brightest white. If I am not really specific on this, Andrew will go into a full explanation of the derivation of black body temperatures along with a lexical analysis of D50 and D65.
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