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Archive 2013 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?
  
 
Larrys
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p.1 #1 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Short story: I'm on a 2010 Imac and I haven't calibrated my monitor. To my eye the colors looks pretty good, but I still want to have it calibrated, just to be safe.

However, I do not wish to spend 1000 bucks on calibration tools. So therefore I wonder if it is possible to just download color profiles online? I mean a profile shared by someone who uses the same screen as I do.




Apr 24, 2013 at 07:36 AM
James_N
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p.1 #2 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


I can't see how that will work since a monitor profile is unique to both the monitor AND graphics card being used. You would also need the software to load the graphics card's lookup table whenever your computer boots up.

You'd be better off using one of the free, basic calibration tools available online. Also, calibration tools should not cost $1,000 even if you're located outside the U.S.



Apr 24, 2013 at 08:40 AM
flash
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p.1 #3 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


A hundred bucks, not a thousand. The best investment a serious digital photographer can make.

Gordon



Apr 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Mr Mouse
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p.1 #4 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Larrys wrote:
Short story: I'm on a 2010 Imac and I haven't calibrated my monitor. To my eye the colors looks pretty good, but I still want to have it calibrated, just to be safe.

However, I do not wish to spend 1000 bucks on calibration tools. So therefore I wonder if it is possible to just download color profiles online? I mean a profile shared by someone who uses the same screen as I do.



If the colors look good to you do you need to calibrate it. I'm a little colorblind so perfect color is not going to help me all that much for I can not count on the colors my eyes see. I need to use the numbers in the info panel when adjusting color. I spent my money on a great professional photo color printer that was calibrated during manufacturing. I still use IPS displays and like the colors to be good but I'm satisfied just using free software calibration programs and LCD Web test pages like these are the ones I mostly use I do see color well, just see them a little differently then most. My printer did cost a couple thousand....



Apr 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #5 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Yes, but unfortunately monitors are like cameras and cameras are like people. Everyone is individual. So, nope every monitor needs to be profiled, plus profiling depends on light around too.


Apr 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #6 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Larrys wrote:
Short story: I'm on a 2010 Imac and I haven't calibrated my monitor. To my eye the colors looks pretty good, but I still want to have it calibrated, just to be safe.

However, I do not wish to spend 1000 bucks on calibration tools. So therefore I wonder if it is possible to just download color profiles online? I mean a profile shared by someone who uses the same screen as I do.



Every monitor has a unique color space, even those using similar panels and by the same manufacturer. You can get a workable calibration by using free software tools (setting brightness and contrast controls), but to profile your monitor you really need a colorimeter.

Since the monitor is your primary tool in viewing and editing images, I think it is important to calibrate and profile your monitor, and the $150 to 250 you might spend on the hardware is small compared to your likely investment in cameras and glass. You can download and try out calibration settings and profiles created by others for the same model monitor as a starting point and see if that works for you, but if you are serious about matching your prints to what you see on your monitor you need a colorimeter.



Apr 24, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #7 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


It is very likely that you are already using a "standard" profile for your monitor. I am not a Mac user but I believe that for an Imac with integrated monitor this profile will be names (appropriately enough) "Imac".

I think you can verify this using the Imac's Colorsync utility. This page may help:

http://www.computer-darkroom.com/colorsync-display/colorsync_1.htm

You will also see on that page instructions for how to use the Calibrate routine to calibrate the monitor by eye. That process will not be as good as using a hardware-based calibrator/profiler but it may be better than nothing. There are also third-party visual calibrators available like this one:

http://www.bergdesign.com/supercal/

None of that will replace a hardware-based calibrator/profiler and I would think that you should be able to find decent hardware for less than $1,000 US, even in Brazil.

You are the only one who can determine if that kind of investment makes sense. If you are really serious about photography and/or are selling your work (or plan to), then a hardware calibrator/profiler should probably be on your "to buy" list. If your interest is more casual and oriented more to family and friends, maybe not.

Another alternative for you might be to see if you have a friend or relative that has a hardware calibrator/profiler and see if they would let you borrow it.

You can also just post some of your work here on FM. Other FM members will let you know if your images look to be significantly outside the norm.






Apr 24, 2013 at 01:55 PM
WAYCOOL
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p.1 #8 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Do yourself a favor save a $169 and by one.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/798928-REG/X_Rite_CMUNDIS_ColorMunki_Display.html



Apr 24, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Mr Mouse
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p.1 #9 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


aubsxc wrote:
but if you are serious about matching your prints to what you see on your monitor you need a colorimeter.


The truth is the color match will be only be close for the two devices do not have the same color capabilities prints are reflecting light where displays are emitting light and possibly reflecting some to. And inks show different color used on different papers even when the correct profile is used for the printer paper ink combination. Writes the colorblind man.



Apr 24, 2013 at 06:39 PM
theSuede
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p.1 #10 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


There are two main parts of a profile (or actually "what a profile does").

1) characterize the primary colors. If you send 255,0,0 (pure red) to the monitor, exactly what red is the result?
2) characterize the contrast curve. This is a type of linearization, for which you can set a "target" contrast curve - often sRGB gamma or something like that.

If you take one thousand LCD's from the same batch of manufacturing, the primaries on them will have extremely small deviations. The "red" on one monitor will typically be within +/- 1dE in the xy plane from any of the other 999 monitors. This is ONLY the chromaticity, not intensity (brightness). Chromaticity is one half of the profile.

Their contrast behavior is another matter. This differs with your brightness setting, small deviations in polarization and so on. Here difference between different samples of the smae monitor can be higher, especially since we set them up differently.



Apr 24, 2013 at 08:12 PM
 

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Larrys
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p.1 #11 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Thanks for all the answers guys! Very helpful.

I have decided to buy a calibration tool from B&H. I did not know that they were this cheap. I have always thought that they were around $1000 .

Cheers!



Apr 25, 2013 at 04:53 AM
aubsxc
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p.1 #12 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Mr Mouse wrote:
The truth is the color match will be only be close for the two devices do not have the same color capabilities prints are reflecting light where displays are emitting light and possibly reflecting some to. And inks show different color used on different papers even when the correct profile is used for the printer paper ink combination. Writes the colorblind man.



Agreed. However, the most significant source of variability in the process is the monitor display, which can be controlled by calibrating and profiling the monitor. One less thing to worry about.



Apr 25, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Mr Mouse
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p.1 #13 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


aubsxc wrote:
[
Agreed. However, the most significant source of variability in the process is the monitor display, which can be controlled by calibrating and profiling the monitor. One less thing to worry about.


IMO the most significant source of variability in the process is the gray matter between one's ears how well its been educated and how much experience it has processing images.

Display color vary when you change lighting so you read a something in the room the display is in or the lighting condition changes from sun coming through a window. Though LCD displays colors are quite stable its environment must be carefully controlled or they will vary.

If you only use the color your eyes see to adjust color I feel your missing the boat. Perhaps I'm lucky being a little colorblind know I can not trust the color my eyes see. I know my $5K camera body and expensive L glass can capture good colors and I know some of the areas in images that should be natural and adjust color by the numbers. Not by the color I see on a display. A display color's need not be the MOST significant source of variability during post processing even the colorblind can correct color. Is a calibrated monitor going to significantly help a colorblind person do a better?

Still I use IPS LCD displays and software calibrate them for I do see color quite well and like to see images on a good display not a TN display.



Apr 27, 2013 at 03:14 AM
sic0048
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p.1 #14 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Larrys wrote:
Thanks for all the answers guys! Very helpful.

I have decided to buy a calibration tool from B&H. I did not know that they were this cheap. I have always thought that they were around $1000 .

Cheers!


The monitor only calibration systems are pretty inexpensive ($100-$300 range). The more expensive kits are usually used for calibrating your monitor AND color printers. If you are not printing yourself, but instead sending images out to third party printers, then you don't need the more expensive models.



Apr 27, 2013 at 06:19 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #15 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Mr Mouse wrote:
IMO the most significant source of variability in the process is the gray matter between one's ears how well its been educated and how much experience it has processing images.


I was working off the assumption that anyone who is willing to invest thousands on a good camera system, a computer workstation, a good quality display and a high quality printer will also take the time to educate themselves on basic color management and the appropriate use of the tools at their disposal. We edit the images we create on our displays, and if our displays are not calibrated and profiled, there is really no way (other than through a lot of guesswork) to figure out if what we are seeing on the screen can be reproduced faithfully on other devices like printers and other displays.

Display color vary when you change lighting so you read a something in the room the display is in or the lighting condition changes from sun coming through a window. Though LCD displays colors are quite stable its environment must be carefully controlled or they will vary.

Yes, which is why it is important to (a) control the lighting conditions in your work area, and (b)calibrate your display under these lighting conditions. It is also important to consider the effects of the lighting conditions under which your prints will be viewed.


If you only use the color your eyes see to adjust color I feel your missing the boat. Perhaps I'm lucky being a little colorblind know I can not trust the color my eyes see. I know my $5K camera body and expensive L glass can capture good colors and I know some of the areas in images that should be natural and adjust color by the numbers. Not by the color I see on a display. A display color's need not be the MOST significant source of variability during post processing even the colorblind can correct color. Is a calibrated...Show more

I don't know. I don't think the OP was asking for advice that related specifically to colorblind people. I don't adjust colors by the numbers, I do my editing by looking at the monitor, which is why using a calibrated device is important to me.



Apr 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #16 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


On my iMac I use a $19 visual calibration tool called "SuperCal": http://www.bergdesign.com/supercal/

It's similar in concept to the visual calibration took in the OSX operating system where test patterns are matched visually via sliders, but it does it with more precision. It's not as objectively accurate as a mechanized analysis but good enough for general use. I've never had a complaint about any image I've edited on my Mac being off color.

Where color can go off the rails is when a photographer starts with an image which is perfectly balanced in camera, but changes it based on how it looks on an uncalibrated monitor.

The approach I use is to start "color management" at the camera by setting Custom WB off a gray card. That way regardless of how it might seem to look on the monitor, which can be subjectively altered by image content, I know and can measure with the eye dropper on a test image including the card that the gray balance in neutrals is correct "by the numbers". The camera WB becomes my trusted base line. I can test it's accuracy by including the same gray card in a test shot and checking it's RGB values. As a rule I don't make many color corrections in post processing because I know it's correct SOOC. That also allows me to edit on unmanged devices like an iPad without worry.

In the case of a very poorly calibrated monitor the "by the numbers" Custom WB baseline of the camera will make that obvious if the image is opened and visually the gray card and neutrals look off color and biased.

Color perception is all a matter of what the brain thinks is the more reliable reference. If you open an image and the neutrals look off on the monitor and assume the monitor is correct you'll assume the WB in the camera was incorrect. But if you start out trusting the WB in the camera more than the monitor as your baseline, your brain will deduce that the camera was crossed and something is off in your monitor.

The same is true if you download and view test images which are known to be neutral and have a full range of highlight / shadow detail. If they don't appear that way on your monitor then it tells you there's a calibration problem with the montor. If you post photos for critique and consistenly get comments about a color cast (red / green / blue) in neutrals that's also a sign your monitor is out of calbration.

Even on a perfectly calibrated monitor if you open a portrait of a face surrounded by bright colors in the background the staring at the background will shift your color perception to the point the face will seem to have a bias opposite the background color on the color wheel. That's particularly true of green backgrounds due to the greenish-cyan sensitively of the rod cells of the eye which only respond to that color but are 3000x more sensitive than the RGB cone cells. There are 120 million rods in the eye, 5 million cones (total of all three colors) so green exhausts the eyes and creates a complementary color optical illusion.



Apr 29, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #17 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Don't be fooled into believing that just because a gray looks gray that everything else will magically be correct. If your gray looks gray, it means just that, and it might mean that the colors are closer than if your gray balance was off, but there's much more to it than that. Ultimately, you should have a well calibrated monitor and rely on a combination of what you see on screen plus what the numbers in your info palette read. Too bad LR read in percentages. Oh well.


Apr 29, 2013 at 06:44 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #18 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Beyond gray balance digital color, generated by a camera, is what the selected stye makes it. For example here's a Macbeth Chart captured in RAW after setting Custom WB off a gray card with four different styles applied in post processing:







Which is the "accurate" color? None of them if compared to the actual chart. Which is the "best" color? That depends a lot on what is being photographed. The common denominator between all the styles as you select them? The neutrals, established by setting Custom WB off a gray card stay the same in all styles.

If you were to print that file on four different types of printer with a color managed workflow none of the prints would match each other, the orginal target or how the file appears on screen exactly. Compared side-by-side some will look better than others in different color patches. But if you took the samples and put them in separate rooms and walked between them it would be more difficult to judge which looks better.

That's the nature of human perception of color. Beyond having a full tonal range from deep black to pure white with detail and correct neutrals it's really not that critical perceptually with respect to exact colorimetric color match. Our perception adapts to whatever gamut we look at which is why we accept color in magazines, TV, unmanaged browers and tablets, etc. as looking "normal".



Apr 29, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Mr Mouse
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p.1 #19 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


aubsxc wrote:
I don't know. I don't think the OP was asking for advice that related specifically to colorblind people. I don't adjust colors by the numbers, I do my editing by looking at the monitor, which is why using a calibrated device is important to me.


In that case I'll stick with the most significant source of variability in the process is the gray matter between one's ears how well its been educated and how much experience it has processing images.



Apr 29, 2013 at 09:10 PM
theSuede
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p.1 #20 · Is it possible to share color profiles for monitors?


Yes. Which is also why one shouldn't trust measurement tech OVER the knowledge and experience that you have.

After profiling a screen, it's usually good to verify it by using some kind of external "second opinion" solution. As I mentioned earlier, the maximum color saturation for R, G and B are pretty stable in a screen, what you need to look out for is overall brightness and gamma changes - and large swings in the screen surroundings if you're on laptop.

There's quite a large difference between sitting in a deep red painted chic office with glaring fluorescent lighting, and a well thought out working station with reasonably muted colors and the correct amount of ambient lights. You impression of what the screen is showing will be totally different.

To get baseline hints about if the screens are working correctly when I get somewhere, I usually start with looking at the surrounding workplace, and that the screens can render an sRGB gamma correctly.



I don't recommend looking at this image in a web-browser, download and open in photoshop. It is one of the smaller testwedges I've made, that fits even older laptop screens.



Apr 29, 2013 at 10:11 PM
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