ColorNews Issue #29

Tech Support Grab Bag

Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on things related to Color Management. We strive for a newsletter of high value to our readers. Please let us know your interests so we can address these concerns in future issues.

C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S
Issue # 29 October 17th, 2007
Table of Contents


1. Shows and Events
2. CHROMiX News - including new website launch
3. Color Industry News
4. Tech Support Grab Bag - an article by Patrick Herold and Steve Upton
5. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
6. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




October 18th , 2007, 6:30 pm - Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group, The Oregonian Conference Center, Portland, OR. 'The Secrets of CS3's Color Management.' Peter Constable of Adobe, one of the foremost authorities on Adobe related color management in the world, will be the speaker. The talk will include relevancy to Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and even a little perspective on Photoshop Lightroom.
For more information and RSVP:

October 18th - 20th, PhotoPlus Expo 2007, New York, Jacob Javits Center. A comprehensive event for innovative imaging solutions and photographic education.
For more information:

October 24th - 27th, 2007, SGIA 2007, The Specialty Printing & Imaging Technology Expo, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.

October 29th, 2007 or January 14th, 2008, 9:30am - 4:30pm, Seattle - "Master the Making of HDR images in Photoshop CS3", a hands-on workshop addressing the following questions: How should the images be captured? What are the pitfalls? How do you avoid them? How do you prepare HDR images for a client? Should I use HDR in the Studio? How? For more information and to enroll:

December 9th - 11th, 2007, PIA/GATF Color Management Conference, Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Scottsdale, AZ. This is the ultimate conference for beginners and experts to discover color management, get expert advice and see the latest technology. There are more color management experts per square inch at this show than any other in the world. CHROMiX is a sponsor this year and Steve Upton with be presenting in several sessions. For more information and RSVP:

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.
For more information:

May 29 - June 11th, 2008, DRUPA 2008 - Dusseldorf, Germany. This is one of the world's most comprehensive conferences for the printing industry. For more information: DRUPA 2008




A new website? Really?? YES!! CHROMiX is happy to introduce our brand-new and (we think) very hot-looking new site. If you haven't been by for a while, come take a look and tell us what you think! The new site is located on our server farm which has been under development for over a year. As you may have guessed, this is the same server farm that will be hosting our new Maxwell color management system.

CHROMiX's Maxwell color system received a 'Worth-a-Look!' award under the category of Internet Related Products at Graph Expo 2007. Out of over 6000 products, only 125 were chosen by the Selection Committee for the Must See 'ems and Worth-a-Look recognition.

CHROMIX showed the latest (almost final) version of Maxwell at GraphEXPO 2007 in September. We were overwhelmed by the high amount of interest and excitement. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see a demo. There were many great suggestions by show attendees for additional Maxwell features, some of which we've decided to include in the first release. These new features delay us only slightly and we are in the throws of beta testing Maxwell right now. All things going well we will launch Maxwell for public use within 20-30 days!

We will also be holding another Maxwell WebEx overview in the next two weeks or so. If you have not signed up to be notified, please send an email to the address below. If you have already signed up, you will receive notification of each webinar until Maxwell ships.

The next ColorThink Pro Webinar Training session will be held November 8th at 11:00 AM PST (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 866-CHROMiX x1, or email sales//chromix//com

The next 'second session' or '3rd hour' focusing on the advanced aspects of ColorThink Pro will be held October 30th at 11:00 AM PST (2:00 PM EST). This event is for paid attendees who have attended the first ColorThink Pro training session, and need to finish their training. For more information or to register, call sales at 866-CHROMiX x1, or email sales//chromix//com


Color, Product & Industry News


The X-Rite iSis spectrophotometer won the prestigious European Digital Press (EDP) Award for Best Color Management in the software category. The winners are selected by the European Digital Press Association, and are awarded for the best and most innovative digital printing products of the year. Judged on efficiency, performance, quality, design and ease-of-use, the i1iSis is ideal for high production environments like prepress, high-speed digital printing, high-end proofing, packaging, and wide-format printing. The iSis comes in a standard size A4+/Letter, and an XL size A3+/Tabloid and is priced under $5600. There is a current iSis promotion for saving over $1400 through the end of 2007 (see CHROMiX Ad above). For more: press

X-Rite announced a new product called Shade-X for dentists or laboratories needing to measure and match various shades. The bundled solutions include software and a new handheld shade-measuring device priced at less than $1,000. For more: shadeX

Alwan CMYK Optimizer (new version 3) will be bundled with IDEALink Curve specifically to make G7 proof and press calibration and consistency as easy and affordable as possible for prepress and press users. Alwan Color Expertise (President Elie Khoury) partnered with HutchColor, CHROMiX & IDEAlliance to make this special bundle available. For more:

Integrated Color Corp released ColorEyes Display Pro 1.3.0 for Mac. The new Mac version has the ability to automatically adjust the backlight brightness of Apple-brand flat panel displays (both built-in and external). ColorEyes Display Pro for Windows version is currently 1.2.8, but will be updated soon.

X-Rite released Eye-One Match 3.6.2 for Mac and Windows. The Windows version will now run in 64-bit Windows Vista, and the Eye-One Pro and Eye-One iO drivers have been improved for both Macs and PCs.
Download at: i1Match

Adobe released Photoshop Lightroom 1.2 for Mac and Windows. This new release incorporates the recent changes in Camera Raw 4.2, plus many other feature updates and bug fixes. Lightroom 1.2 is a free update for licensed users. Download Mac/PC updates at: Lightroom


This Month's Feature Article:

Tech Support Grab Bag

by CHROMiX's Patrick Herold and Steve Upton

This month, instead of writing an article as we usually do, we thought we'd try to address some of the questions we're asked on a regular basis. As always, please remember that, if you have a specific question you'd like us to address, please send it in and we'll do our best to publish it, and its answer.


Photoshop, Mac and Epson combinations - Pat Herold


Every once in a while, we get a call from someone who is following the proper procedures for using their custom printer profile, but getting poor results in their actual prints. In the article from ColorNews Issue 24 Printer_to_Match_my_Screen, we explained what to look for if your printer is not printing as expected. If you are following all of these guidelines and the color is still not right, are you using a Mac computer to print with Photoshop to an Epson computer? These three don't always play nicely together when it comes to printer profiles, so here are a few more things to check:

- Make "GENERIC RGB.icc" your default ColorSync profile in the driver. (Yes, we know you've already got color management turned off in the driver, or set to "no color adjustment" - but there's a bug in the software that makes it necessary to choose "Generic RGB.icc" as your Current Profile in ColorSync.

- Make the printer in question the DEFAULT printer. When you have more than one printer connected to your computer, you should make the printer you are using the default printer - even if that means changing the default printer every time you need to print to a different machine. We have found that it makes a difference.

- Reinstall or update the Epson driver. We have seen this one, too. The color from a custom profile looks bad. Then the Epson driver is re-installed. Suddenly the color looks good.


How can I make one printer look like another? - Pat Herold


This is a basic question, but to get a simple answer depends on whether the profiles for your two printers are accurate. IF the profiles for your two printers are good quality, then all you need to do is to use Photoshop to convert to the profile of the printer you want to emulate. Then, print on your other printer as usual.

For example, you want to want to print on your HP Z3100 so that it looks the same as your Epson 2200. You would convert your image to the Epson 2200 profile. Then print that image to the HP Z3100 using the regular Z3100 profile. This assumes that these two profiles are accurately representing what these printers are putting out.

To streamline this process, set up the Epson 2200 profile for soft proofing, then select this soft proofing setup as the 'source' color when printing. Then Photoshop will perform the conversion to the Epson 2200 profile and onto the HP printer profile on the fly.


ColorThink Pro tip - Pat Herold


Did you know you can use ColorThink Pro to "fine-tune" profiling? Say you have an image to print that has some problem colors in it, and you'd like to make a printer profile that specifically samples those colors so that the profile will have more detailed information about how to treat them. This is not a "one-click" procedure, but it's very useful when you want to improve a profile without taking the dangerous step of editing it.

The worksheet in ColorThink Pro allows you to select colors in an image using the eye dropper or target marque tools. Those color selections are added to a colorlist, and that colorlist can be saved as a reference file - which can then be added into your regular reference file and made into a new, expanded target. This can be used with any printer profiling software that accepts custom targets.

- Open an image into ColorThink
- Convert the image to your device's color space using your existing device profile (or pre-convert the image in Photoshop)
- Using the eyedropper tool, click on the colors you wish to sample. This will start populating a colorlist. Remember that you can zoom in on an image by enlarging the worksheet or using the magnify tool (in overlay or slice image modes only.)
- Alternatively select the target marque tool and choose 'custom' as the size, then select the number of sample points you want. Click and drag to select a portion of your image, and ColorThink will sample many points from an evenly-spaced grid.
- Save the rightmost color list by clicking on "", and "Save List As...".
- Choose destination, and click the drop down box to choose the device space of your printer.
- Name the new colorlist and save it.
- Open the new colorlist in a text editing program, or a spreadsheet program like Excel.
- Open the reference file for your profiling target in the same program.
- Copy and paste the color information from your new colorlist onto the end of your profiling target reference.
- Bring your target reference into the Testchart Generator of MeasureTool (if you have that function enabled), or Gretag / Xrite's ColorLab program (if you don't have MeasureTool).
- Create a new testchart using the normal procedures.

Your profile will now be built with additional sampling in the area of the color space you selected. With ProfileMaker, we have found this can sometimes drastically improve flesh tone transitions and other common issues.


How do internal-calibration screens differ from regular displays? - Steve Upton


A number of high-quality LCD displays available today make use of "internal calibration" technology and we find that this feature, while very useful, confuses and confounds.

So, a quick background on screen calibration:

In a conventional CRT or LCD display system, calibration of the display mostly takes place in the computer's graphics card. When you run your screen calibration software, it displays many different color patches on screen and measures them using your calibration hardware (puck). Typically, the largest number of patches are for the calibration of the screen. This stage is where the behavior of each individual RGB color channel is measured, and then curves are loaded into the graphics card in order to achieve the gamma or L* curve you requested AND achieve neutral grays from black to white. The balance of maximum RGB values may also be set to achieve a white point other than the one the display shows in its uncalibrated state. (We strongly suggest altering CRTs on their front panels rather than having the software do this.)

As you may know, any time you pass numbers through a curve, you lose some of them (unless it's a flat curve). In a high-bit system (more than 8 bits per channel), this may not be a big deal, but in a display system using 8 bits per channel, it can be a big problem. 8 bits per channel is barely enough to display smooth transitions across all colors on a display - some feel it's not enough. If your display requires significant curving to bring it into calibration, then many of the 256 possible values become unavailable. This shows up as posterizing in displayed images.

If you want to explore this concept interactively, take a look at Bruce Lindbloom's Levels Calculator here:
Levels Calculator
One method to get around this problem is to find a graphics card with high-bit calibration curves.... good luck. Rumors abound that they exist (they used to) or that they soon will, but they are rare indeed.

Another method is to move the calibration function into the monitor itself. In this case, the video card's curves are set to gamma 1.0 (flat), so any outgoing values are unaltered and no precision is lost. Then the calibration software produces curves for the monitor's internal tables. The secret? These tables have 10-14 bits of precision.

How does this help? Well, the calibration software can alter the behavior of the display quite a bit before running up against the problem of losing precision in the 8-bit data coming from the computer. It can also spend more time (and patches) on the gray-balancing of the display, producing more neutral grays across the full range and also making the transitions smoother.

Do these displays work? Definitely!

Do you need to use software that can take advantage of these curves? Definitely!

Obviously, the software shipped with the display will support this level of calibration. Some other packages - ColorEyes Display Pro and Eye One Match are notables - will also support internal curves on many displays. I'd check with the software folks about it supporting your display before buying the software, just to be sure.

Now... the clincher...

How can I tell if I have one (or that it is calibrated correctly)?

Well, the curves that are internal to displays are not easy to get a hold of. In most cases, the curves themselves appear to be stored inside the display itself. But there is one quick way to check (on the Mac).

- open the ColorSync utility
- find your display profile among the listed display profiles
- double-click to open it
- click on the 'vcgt' tag in the profile

Note the shape of the curve and whether or not it has a gamma of '1.0'

If the curve is not completely flat then your display calibration is taking place in your graphics card. If it is flat, and the profile was created using calibration software and an instrument, then you can be assured that the calibration is taking place within your display's tables.

On Windows, it may not be so easy to perform this test. If you are a ColorThink user, open the profile into the Profile Inspector and select the 'vcgt' tag. ColorThink will report that the curve is defined by 'a formula' if it is flat, otherwise it will be described by the number of points in the curve. The Windows Color Control Applet does not report this kind of information. I believe that ColorShop X will report this information if you use it.

Finally: Does this mean that my display is a '14 bit' display? No! Definitely not!

You could say that it is a display with '14 bit calibration' but it is certainly not a 14 bit display. To be a 14 bit display you would need 14 bits per channel of image data coming from Photoshop, through a supporting graphics card, and then out to a supporting display. And we're a fair ways off from that! Also, this does not mean that you will have 14-bit grays. You will still only have 256 discrete levels of gray - they will simply be well calibrated levels of gray without any of the 8 bits lost due to calibration.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion you may have about these displays.


Matching two displays - with a virtual twist - Courtesy of Eric Walowit


How do you get your Parallels Windows XP display to match a Mac's OS X display?

For those wishing to match "two" displays between XP and OSX on a single machine with a single screen, here is how to do it with ColorEyes Display Pro (CEDP):

1) Install CEDP on OSX only (do not install CEDP under Parallels XP).

2) Calibrate and profile under OSX normally.

3) Copy the profile just created over to Parallels/XP, install, and select it from the Display Control panel.

4) Disable any LUT loading application from the XP startup folder, or anywhere else for that matter.

5) Repeat anytime the monitor is recalibrated and profiled.

This works under Parallels/XP but not VMWare/XP, and should work with most any monitor calibration solution.

A bit cumbersome but a small price to pay.

The Parallels/XP method should be obvious, but the wrinkle is that VMWare just doesn't support video LUTs, OS-level color management, or selection of a monitor profile even if no calibration is required.

Bummer because VMWare seems to be superior in every other way.

Thanks to Derrick Brown and Chris Murphy for their helpful suggestions.


Thanks for reading,

-Patrick Herold and Steve Upton



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