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Thread: Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

  1. #1

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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    Just wondering how many of you bother with profiling your monitors IF you edit and print your images in varying lighting conditions?

    It seems to me that profiling your monitor doesn't make much sense unless you are quite religious and dedicated to maintaining a consistent viewing enironment (lighting, neutral wall color, ambiant light level, monitor background color, etc.)

    Or am I overlooking some advantage to profiling if I am going to be a slob about my viewing conditions (sunshine, evening, colored walls, etc.)?

  2. #2
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    It gives you a neutral reference, a starting point. Eventually, you'll get used to how things look when printed to your monitor's calibration settings, and you'll be able to compensate (if you need to) for prints made for a different kind of lighting.

    I'm sure different people have different methods. I use two profiles--one for black and white digital printing (which is the only digital printing i do at the moment) and one for web/multimedia. I have to remind myself to switch betwee them.

    I don't worry about printing for different print lighting conditions. I aim for a standard that's near the middle of what I've seen on print display walls, and hope for the best. Same was true with darkroom prints ... I had to decide how to illuminate the print viewing area. It's an important decision!

  3. #3

    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    I would think even with different lighting, your better off with a profiled monitor. I profiled mine with the light it is most used under.

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    I'm not sure I understand. My monitor environment is not pure either. You always profile the monitor to a nuetral standard. I use Graytag Macbeth Eye One Display for this. There is no consideration there for monitor light environment. Then you softproof based on what you are outputting to. Then you use printer profiles tuned to the final print environment (I use Imageprint which gives you print profiles for different viewing situations) and try to view your test prints in house with a similar lighting as where they will hang.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

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  5. #5
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    Frank, I might have misunderstood. I thought you were talking about profiling for different print viewing conditions (which could make sense, in some cases). Were you asking about different lighting conditions that your monitor is under?

  6. #6

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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    For example, when using a laptop in a variety of lighting conditions, it seems to me there isn't any point in using anything other than a canned profile for the monitor. So long as you set a grey desktop and it appears "grey" to your eye, with the LCD brightness at maximum, there isn't any point in trying to calibrate the Powerbook.

    While the office CRT monitor has more consistent viewing conditions, the environmental lighting changes considerably during the day, as I won't shut myself up in a darkened room (but I do turn off the overheads). So, really, what is the point of profiling it beyond the simple Colorsync profile routine? Knock out the obvious color casts, pick a color temp between 5500 and 9300, set the Gamma to 1.8 and max the black and white -- and leave well enough alone.

    Now, if I were in a dedicated "digital darkroom" with idealized conditions" grey walls, no windows, and consistent viewing angles, especially with a high output (extra bright) professional CRT monitor, then a hardware calibrator starts to make sense.

    But spending money on a puck for an LCD that's used in a window light office -- would there be any justification beyond falling for the adverrtsing?

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    All I know is that I run two computers in two rooms, one for primarily scanning (and some editing) and the other primarily for editing and inkjet printing. Lighting conditions for both rooms are very different. One is consistent incandescent and the other is mixed daylight and incandescent. If I do not calibrate all my monitors every three weeks maximum with the GM, I cannot get consistent results between the two computers and I cannot get adequate proofing for either film recording or inkjet output.

    I tried everything else for awhile and could not get consistency. When I finally bought the GM it was a revelation. The best 300 bucks I have spent on digital. For instance the maximum brightness of your monitor can run from 140% of optimum (new monitor) to 70% of optimum (old or cheap monitor). You can't guess optimum with your eye. Now my Imageprint output is virtually identical to my screen.

    I bought my daughter a new Powerbook for Xmas as she is in school studying graphic design. There was a dramatic difference in her monitor once we calibrated it with the GM.

    I work with a publisher in Santa Fe who published my new book and my new state calender for next year. All had brand new Macs which were way out of whack. I had to go in and calibrate the monitors I was working on otherwise the scan and printer proofs were no where near close to the monitor image.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  8. #8
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    the first time i hobbled together a website for myself, on an uncalibrated monitor, everything looked great to me. i didn't bother checking on other people's computers. then i got an email from a photo collector in new zealand, who had stumbled onto my site. he praised me for my "bold use of pure black" and for "daring to make prints with huge areas of pitch darkness, devoid of all detail and distractions."

    of course, i didn't know any of this about my work. he was responding to my messed up monitor's vision, not mine.

    i hated to disappoint the guy (maybe my most vocal fan ever) but i went out and bought a puck.

  9. #9

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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    Frank,

    I think you are correct. The reason most people get a calibrator is too match screen to print which is usually done at home where viewing conditions are reasonably consistent. As soon as you start altering viewing conditions then everything looks different.

    But consider...

    light boxes are usually 5500k to give consistent lighting for transparency viweing.

    Viewing booths for prints which give consistent light for colour evaluation Normlicht ImagePro 5000L

    So if you want consistent colour then you have to have consistent viewing conditions. If you are dealing with external people, machines or companies then all you can do is calibrate and hope they have as well. If they haven't then perhaps you should be looking to deal with someone else.

    The question is, why would you be trying to get consistent colour whilst working in conditions which you know are not going to allow you to acheive that? If colour accuracy is important then you have to do calibration and maintain consistent viewing conditions.

    I think most peoples calibration is not about true colour accuracy but more about colour consistency across machines. Get into true colour accuracy and it gets more difficult.

    calibrate your mobile and create some test images in good viewing light and get used to how they look. Then when you have your mobile in less than favourable viewing conditions you can use the images as a reference to adjust lighting conditions or judge editing of any images you are looking at.

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Monitor profiling for shifting viewing condition

    "So if you want consistent colour then you have to have consistent viewing conditions."

    That is absolutely true, but if you don't have consistent monitor viewing conditions, it doesn't follow that you don't need a decent puck and monitor calibration. Even with inconsistent monitor viewing conditions you will see dramatic improvement with a calibrated monitor.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

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