Monitor Profiling


I went through this before in a discussion about reds not matching between the monitor and printer. I came to accept that my monitor just can’t display the same colour gamut as what my printer can produce, and it shows up mostly in the magenta/red. I can deal with that, I’m not doing super colour critical work as it’s mainly for home printing. My next experience was with shadow detail. I wasn’t getting the shadow detail in my prints that I could see on my colour image on the monitor. That was solved when I downloaded IJM’s icc’s.

Fast forward to today.

I have read on the IJM site that most common desktop monitors crush the shadow detail, especially in greyscale work for black and white. This has never been a problem for me with colour work, but I’m discovering that when printing on Epson EEM (or the modern equivalent whose title I can never remember… why do they keep changing things up…) I’m seeing more shadow detail in my print than I can see on my monitor, and this is only with QTR-K7 printing, let alone piezography.

I do realize that for the best work, I’ll need something like a NEC-PA series monitor. It’s only in the black and white that this shadow detail is an issue, so I’ll probably have to upgrade, but I will have to wait awhile before I can afford to upgrade.

When I started getting into all this last year, I did some basic research felt that a Samsung IPS panel would be a good solution. Reviews were mixed about the Spyder4pro, I got the feeling that if used correctly it would profile the monitor accurately.

I am now finding that the Spyder4pro seems extremely inconsistent. I’m not sure why. It seemed to do a good job the last time I used it a month ago, but today I reprofiled my monitor and it doesn’t seem the same. I actually seem to have less shadow detail today than I did yesterday. Now, I did switch to using an HDMI cable instead of the original VGA cable. I may switch back.

Now to my question:
Is the Spyder4pro basically junk? Or am I not using it right? I see that Argyll is now compatible with the Spyder4pro. Will that work better?

Assuming that I will have to upgrade so that my hardware includes a measuring device in the future (next year probably), will a Colormunki Photo be junk for the purpose of colour profiling, linearising papers and profiling my display? Or will it work fine as long as it’s used correctly? I hear varying comments about this. Some are telling me to just get the i1. Honestly, if I am going to have to get an i1, I will be waiting a couple of years until the Canadian $ recovers (if it ever does!).

Will upgrading to an NEC PA with spectraview (if I can get a refurbished one) solve all my viewing problems with shadow detail? Would an NEC PA w/o spectraview work OK with the Spyder4pro? Or would that be a waste of my time?

This may seem like a confusing question, but I’m really not sure what the best thing to upgrade first would be, or if I’m just not using my Spyder4pro right.



Update to today:
Things seem better with the Spyder4pro now. It seems really sensitive to the bright IPS monitor. I normally keep it low, but you’re supposed to reset the settings just before running a calibration, then turn the brightness down. I turned it down more. I was having a lot of trouble adjusting the red with the monitor controls. The screen would look much more red, but the Spyder would report that I’d need more red. I have a feeling that the Spyder was getting oversaturated with the red. Once I reduced the green and blue a lot, I was able to calibrate. I don’t know if that’s user error on my part, a flaw in the Spyder, or what. I know this monitor will be far from perfect, especially with respect to black and white. There will be trial and error for the deeper shadows, and it will be tough to do any editing in those areas unless I upgrade the monitor.



Further update:
I just happen to find a setting called “Black Level” for the Samsung IPS monitor. It was set (by default) to “low”. When I changed it to “normal”, I saw way more shadow detail. I’m sure it won’t be good enought for fine work in Piezography, but it did make a huge difference. It’s pretty much solved my problem for now. (I can see down to 6 or 7 on with my Samsung IPS).

I’m sure this doesn’t affect most of you who are using Cone inks or piezography, because I’m sure many of you have better monitors than I do.

Still, I’m curious to know, when I need to get a measuring device, I keep hearing differing opinions regarding the Colormunki. For Piezography applications, would the Colormunki frustrate me with the ability to get accurate results, or is it workable.



Just a tip - when I was trying to calibrate my monitor (following IJM’s description and a Colormunki) I couldn’t see below 6 or 7 on the checker. Try as I might to review and repeat the calibration I just couldn’t see below 6. Then it dawned on me. I was looking at the file as an SRGB file. Once I opened the file in Photoshop and changed from SRGB, I could see all the way down to 1. I’m writing this from memory, and it happened over a year ago, so it might not be 100% accurate.


Also, I found the Munki very capable of calibrating the monitor. I upgraded to an i1 so I could re-linearize paper profiles using the QTR droplet app.


Hi Larry.

As I am sure you know, so many things influence the perceived accuracy of a monitor (viewing angle, light source, peripheral distractions, age (both ours and the monitor), eyesight, etc). I have a Colormunki and have used it for paper profiling with very good results. I have never tried using it for B&W profiling as, from what I can gather, it seems like hard work. The Colormunki will only profile a monitor as far as the monitor will allow and this is one of the areas where a monitor designed for the job scores.

After many years of trying to balance monitor and prints (in a non specialized environment) I now use the old darkroom method of making a print and going from there.




I like to say “the pudding’s in the proof.” :wink:



Thanks John! I tried that and I can just make out the 2. And this is with an inexpensive IPS Samsung!

Has anyone successfully linearised a profile with a colormunki Photo? I keep hearing it’s possible, but there are a couple of tricks, so it is harder. Mind you, with K7 then seem to be enough papers l inearised already.



[QUOTE=LarryB;10656]Mind you, with K7 then seem to be enough papers l inearised already.


Well, there are enough papers “profiled.” Re-linearization takes into account all the variables associated with YOUR printer/paper/ink. A re-linearized profile likely can’t be shared to someone else’s set-up…


From what I can gather, relinearisation is somewhat optional. For more exacting work, relinearisation may be necessary. I’ll have to look at the Piezography Manual again, but it looks like I could get away with preparing the image, then printing it using an appropriate curve from QTR.

My appologies if I mix up the terms profile and linearise.



Yes, you can get away with printing with the appropriate QTR curve. Until last year, that was about the only choice you had (some VERY experienced users developed hacks but for the rest of us, the standard QTR curves had to do). The ability to re-linearize a profile came about AFTER the latest Piezography Manual was published. Brian’s website has some excellent write-ups on re-linearization using the QTR Droplet application.


Yep. We’ve been validating it in-house for a bit. Our internal software uses some very different algorithms (mainly dealing with building 256 patch profiles) but will post some interesting stuff on this soon.



We will be updating the Piezography manual with more information about the .quad Linearizer and how to optimize it’s usage. This will happen . . . . asap ;).



Good to know Walker!



I’ll add a bit of info on an external monitor with Windows 10 and nVidia graphics card with regards to seeing any shadow detail on the monitor.

The nVidia Control Panel is set RGB=15-235 instead of RGB=0-255 (I think those were the numbers?) by default when you install it or a new driver. If you look in the nVidia Control Panel and while on the external monitor you need to go here: Navigate to Display > Change resolution and go down to Step #3 “Apply the following settings” > change “Output color format:” from RGB to YCbCr444. That RGB is a default and will not present a good black on the screen so you may not see the lower piezo test image numbers.



That seems very similar to what Samsung does. Only what Samsung was doing isn’t really documented as far as I know. I googled “black level” and found it would crush the shadows in almost the same way your nVidia was doing. If nVidia and Samsung both do it, I’m sure most consumer level panels are doing something just the same.

Yes, I should upgrade the monitor, but if I had to choose between piezo ink and a new monitor, I’d go with the ink for now. And I do have to choose, so I will be going wtih ink. After my next paycheque!

PS Got my R2000. I set it up and it’s working great. I’ll use up the existing ink which is probably a good $200 worth of ink (in Epson dollars), then stick in some piezoflush carts, then get some piezography ink!