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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #42 - Profiling Devices for Monitors

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Type: ColorNews
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  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 42 - July 7th, 2010

This Month's Contents 

  1. CHROMiX News - Curve2, VPR, Maxwell, DisplayWatch... and our latest blog entries: ColoRants (and Raves)
  2. Shows and Events
  3. Color Industry News
  4. Forum Topics, Random Bits, etc.
  5. Monitor Profiling Devices - an article by Pat Herold
  6. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
  7. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

For the very freshest color updates, check out our new blog 

Respond & Discuss
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Find full details about subscriptions, etc at the end of this newsletter.

CHROMiX News  What the heck have we been up to? 

Maxwell ColorShuttle Windows version in beta

We're now testing the next Windows version of ColorShuttle. Its functionality will be identical to the Mac version interfacing with an i1Pro or i1iSis, printing Pass/Fail results, accessing hot folders and more. If all goes well, we should have a final release shortly.

Maxwell has rolled out across the country and the world. As of newsletter "press time," Maxwell contains over 17.5 million measurements and is growing every day. If you have a success story you'd like to tell, please contact us at 
Maxwell Success Stories and we'll get it told!

Curve 2.0.3 released

    Curve 2.0.3 fixes a number of things:
  • fixes problems with printing reports on Windows
  • tweaks the gray balance algorithm
  • gray balancing systems that are way off balance will work much better in the first iteration
  • the Printing Guide report has some corrections
  • numerous smaller tweaks and suggestions from helpful Curve2 users

      Download Here

Curve 2.1 (with VPR) now in beta testing

Curve v2.1 has now entered beta testing. All VPR customers will receive their VPR unlock code within the next couple of days and a link to download Curve 2.1 beta. Version 2.1 will be a free upgrade to all Curve2 users. 

Check out the 
new technical forum devoted especially to Curve2 and IDEALink Curve: This will be the main place to get support, answers and discuss any issues for Curve or Curve2. The forum is free to all users. 

Video's! CHROMiX is now making training videos for Curve2! The first 2 are free, here are the links: 
20 min Curve2 Overview and 47 min Curve2 comprehensive 

Virtual Press Run (VPR)

VPR technology has been under development for more than two years so we're excited to finally reveal this powerful new tool. The environmental and financial impact will benefit small and large printers alike and we expect the ROI to be realized on the very first job. 

Without VPR, obtaining a press profile from a G7-calibrated press requires at least two press runs; one with null plate curves to calculate the G7 calibration curves, and a second to print the profiling target through the resulting plate curves to profile the press. 

VPR typically eliminates the need for the second press run. The G7 curves calculated from the first run are applied mathematically to the profiling target measurements of the first run, producing measurements that appear as if they were produced on a second "virtual" run. The savings can be huge. The first press run can be used to print on a number of different paper types. If VPR eliminates the second runs for each paper, one press run might be all that's needed to G7-calibrate a group of papers. 

Virtual Press Run is an add-on module to Curve2.
Give us a call or email us if you think this tool could be for you! Toll Free (866) CHROMiX Ext #1 or

CHROMiX acquires EIZO SDK, DisplayWatch to support new CG245W self-calibrating display

CHROMiX has recently acquired EIZO's SDK (Software Developer Kit), which is the key software technology EIZO uses for controlling and calibrating CG series monitors. CHROMiX is developing a Maxwell 'DisplayWatch' solution for the new CG245W monitor to be built into ColorShuttle. The CG245W has a built-in automated 'swing-down' calibrator. Maxwell's DisplayWatch will interface directly with this monitor for a variety of uses including: Managing calibration of local and remote monitors from anywhere, reporting & notification of tolerance failures, trending performance compared to a standard reference, and more. See "Industry News" below for more information (and links)

Colorants (and raves) the CHROMiX Blog

Here are some of the recent posts at our new blog:
Monitor Hoods are necessary. Make your own for ~$10!
Barbieri comes out with a spectro with a polarizing filter
Curve 2.0.3 update released.
iPhone 4.0 supports ICC profiles.
Want to view Lab colors in ColorThink?

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

September 21st - 26th, 2010. 
Photokina, Cologne, Germany 

October 3rd - 6th, 2010, 
GRAPH EXPO 2010, Chicago, IL, McCormick Place South. 

October 13th - 15th, 2010, 
SGIA 2010, Las Vegas, NV, Las Vegas Convention Center. Early registration available. 

November 8th - 10th, 2010, FFTA's 2010 Fall Conference & Tabletop Exhibition, Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY. Presented by the Flexographic Technical Association

December 5th - 7th, 2010, Color Management Conference, Phoenix, AZ. Reservation & Location TBD. Presented by the Printing Industries of America, this is the industry?s premier educational event for companies seeking to improve their control and management of color. It is designed for those new to color management, as well as veteran practitioners looking to stay on top of technology developments and use. With a resource area featuring almost all leading software and equipment companies in the field, a state-of-the-art hands-on computer lab, and over 50 sessions, the Color Management Conference is a one-stop resource for information on color management.

Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.

Color Industry News   What's going on in the world of color 

X-Rite announced the imminent release date of their next generation color profiling solution i1Profiler at the IPEX 2010 show in May. X-Rite will be combining the best of i1Match, MonacoPROFILER and ProfileMaker into one comprehensive software platform and adding a more robust palette creation and color bridging tool called PANTONE Link. We're anticipating a Q4 release period. Also, any purchase of MonacoPROFILER and ProfileMaker until then will receive a free upgrade to i1Profiler as well as receive a $400 voucher towards purchase of any X-Rite or Pantone product . CHROMiX will keep you posted with any news. Press releases:  <

EIZO has announced an exciting new LCD monitor called the CG245W. Its unique distinction is that it has an embedded measurement device that will automatically calibrate the monitor! This could mean a huge benefit for many organizations that are trying to standardize, or who have had difficulties maintaining consistent calibrations. Its interesting to note that the CG245W can also be correlated to the measurement results of an external calibration sensor. There's a NEW "Correlation Utility" program included with the bundled ColorNavigator software that coordinates this aspect. Finally, the CG245W also does the calibration independent of the operating system & computer it's connected to (which can be off). That means it can work with Linux, for example.

Here's a simple demo of the CG245W self-calibrating in action.

A more comprehensive demo of the calibration.

Product and specification page.

Ship date is forecasted towards end of July. CHROMiX is taking advance orders here.

CHROMiX is also now working with EIZO's SDK and the CG245W to work seamlessly with Maxwell. See CHROMiX announcement's above.

ColorBurst released OverDrive, a new RGB RIP for Mac OS X

Unique new PostScript RIP that utilizes the Print Driver. Works with Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6. Server and Single User versions available. Note: Only compatible with print drivers that allow you to disable color management. 15-day demo available. For more information click here.

On another ColorBurst note: Effective July 1, 2010, ColorBurst will discontinue ColorBurst X-Proof 3800 for Windows. ColorBurst X-Proof 3800 for Mac will not be discontinued.  Customers with the 3800 series printers should purchase X-Proof 17 for Windows.

Forum Topics and other bits 

Brian Lawler discusses the new iPhone4's Retina Display and its ramifications: <>

Luminous Landscape had some good postings that explains the difference between 8-bit vs 16-bit profiles. There is also a discussion about differences of printing in 16-bit vs 16-bit printer profiles. FWIW, at this point in the industry, 16-bit profiles are the norm, and 8-bit profiles are not used much anymore.

<8-Bit vs 16-Bit?>

Matching sRGB and Wide Color Gamut Monitors? Here's a good white paper if you're facing this challenge and have EIZO monitors <Matching sRGB and Wide Gamut LCD's>

Fogra has a listing of Fogra Certified Softproofing Systems that meet their criteria. Here is a detailed description of Fogra's measurement procedure (pdf): 

Of the monitors listed, EIZO has 8 listings in the line up, NEC has 5 listings and Quato has 5 listings. <>

Fogra also has a listing of Pre-Certified Monitors that they have tested and that Conform to the Fogra standards. Of those EIZO has 11, NEC has 6 and Quato has 4. <>

Profiling Devices for Monitors - an article by Pat Herold

"I don't understand the differences between the Spyder, the i1 Display2 and the Colormunki.  I have searched the Internet and I only get different opinions from different people about what works best on their own displays, or a manufacturer's claim that their puck is great.  But all this business about colorimeters and spectrophotometers is really confusing.  Can somebody explain the merits or drawbacks of each one?"


It wasn't too long ago that your choice of a piece of hardware for profiling your monitor was limited to two or three options, all of which would work pretty well.  You final choice might depend on how much money you had, or what brand you had heard good things about.

With the entry of a few new models in the market, and especially the introduction of wide gamut displays, this question of 'what do I get to calibrate it?' is getting more complicated.  Ideally, we like to take your emails and phone calls to the sales or technical support departments so we can give a good answer based on your individual setup.  But we thought it would help a lot of people to give an overview of the basics of this subject here. 

Calibration devices fall into two main camps:  Spectrophotometers and colorimeters. 

A spectrophotometer (i1Pro, ColorMunki) is designed to measure light energy at various frequencies across the entire spectrum of visible light.  Its measurement returns data from roughly 400nm (nanometers) to 700nm or so.  Basically, it measures many bands of light at once.  These different bands of spectral data are brought together by the profiling software to identify individual colors.  Spectrophotometers are able to measure reflective light (off of a page) as well as emissive light (off of a monitor) which is why many of these devices offer printer profiling abilities also.  So this can be another point to consider when buying a device to calibrate your monitor:  If you are interested in making your own printer profiles as well, consider a device that will do both.

A colorimeter (DTP-94, i1 Display 2, Spyder 2, Spyder 3) is a simpler device that makes use of filters to measure the intensity of red, green and blue.   Measuring these primaries is roughly similar to how our eyes work, too.  The filters reduce a broad range of light wavelengths into a few measurement values.  Therefore, the accuracy and quality of these instruments depend a lot on the filters used - how durable they are over time, what colors they are specifically created to measure, and so forth.

Because spectrophotometers read a large number of bands, instead of just a few, they are considered to be more accurate than colorimeters.  (They are also more expensive.)  However, there is a major drawback.  Because they read more bands of light, they will tend to introduce more noise into the mix.  This is not much of a problem until you get down to measuring things like shadow detail and blacks.  Imagine you're a spectrophotometer, dangling off the front of a display and you're asked to measure a black patch.  Well, there won't be much of anything there to read, but you give it your best. You gather all the data from some 36 bands of wavelengths and because of digital noise and sensor dust, that will add to your report of how bright black is.  For this reason, spectrophotometers tend to not measure shadow detail as dark as most colorimeters do.  For example, the Monaco Optix (DTP-94) is famous for getting great shadow detail.  It even has some noise-reduction circuitry built into it.

I'm starting to hear some of the gears in your mind start to work.  You're already starting to make plans for what instrument you might buy next, depending on whether color accuracy or shadow detail is important to you.  If it were only that simple!

The monkey wrench in all of this is the wide gamut display.  Suddenly, people are able to buy displays that produce much more saturated colors - in the range of the AdobeRGB gamut.  It makes sense that a colorimeter developed before these wide gamut monitors came on the scene is not intended to measure more saturated colors.   So some of these models, like the DTP-94, are not recommended for the newer displays.    Some models, like the X-Rite i1 Display 2, were developed early on, but have been tested to also work fine on the newer displays.  Some, like the Spyder 3, are newer and have been developed with the newer monitor gamuts in mind.

In many cases, a wide gamut monitor will come with a colorimeter that is a "re-branded" version of one of the models above.  It has been specially tuned to work with the display for which it is intended.  Some manufacturers believe this is the only way to ensure that accurate color is achieved without sacrificing shadow detail.  HP, NEC, LaCie and Eizo all have colorimeters that they offer that are specially tuned to work with their high end displays and their own software.

Another twist on this is the recent introduction of LED-backlit displays.  They are another flavor of wide gamut display.  In some cases, the LED's themselves can be adjusted to output specific white points.  You would just about have to calibrate with a spectrophotometer in order to be sure of accurately capturing whatever colors are being put out by those models.  On the other hand, the newest iMac uses an LED-backlit display with only a slightly larger gamut (10%)  than the sRGB gamut.  These should have no trouble being calibrated with a typical colorimeter.

If you have the more traditional monitor that resembles the sRGB spectrum, you will do fine with any of the colorimeters mentioned above.

If you are getting one of the high end displays, it is best to get the colorimeter that is made for that display.  If you have a variety of wide-gamut displays to calibrate, you should look into a spectrophotometer. If you have a wide-gamut display that does not have a custom-tuned colorimeter, then you should consider a spectrophotometer or one of the newer colorimeters.  If you already have a colorimeter, it might work quite well with a wide gamut display, so it is worth a try to test it out before throwing it in the garbage.  As I mentioned already, most colorimeters will tend to give you slightly better shadow detail than a spectrophotometer, so you have to keep that in mind while weighing your choices. 

That's about it for general recommendations.  There is a lot more that can be said for specific displays and profiling systems.  CHROMiX sales and tech support personnel are familiar with all of these issues and can make more informed recommendations for your individual setup.  Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation discussion of your profiling needs.

Thanks for reading,

Pat Herold

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