Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

What is the Best Multi-Monitor Calibration Tool?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the lots-at-once dept.

Displays 55

sojourndeath asks: "I am looking for a good way to calibrate multiple monitors (30-40), so that their color looks similar? It seems like everything I find is for profiling your monitor to your printer and scanner. I need to be able to have a bunch of users see the same color on any monitor? Does anyone have a good, accurate way of doing this?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11727860)

Hmmm....first post, I guess. Where the hell is everybody?!

Any calibrator will do it (4, Informative)

B4RSK (626870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11727909)

You're going to have to calibrate each monitor separately using the same calibrator.

Repeat once a month or so.

I don't envy you having to do this!

Re:Any calibrator will do it (2, Informative)

captnitro (160231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731189)

I haven't seen any posts that mention the GretagMacbeth EyeOne [i1color.com] units. They're very spiffy, and they come in cheap (monitor calibration) to expensive (match your printer setup with the color of your shoes). I have an EyeOne Display that I loan out to coworkers when I'm designing websites, since most LCDs are woeful at displaying accurate dark colors.

calibration (4, Informative)

thaWhat (531916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11727948)

I hope that they're all the same brand, or as the previous post mentioned i dont envy you. Some brands (Barco for one) have *luxury* an auto-calibration tool for some of their monitors. From observation, it seems to take around 5 minutes per monitor. I hope this helps. otherwise L.E.D.s are sensitive to wavelengths similar to that at which they radiate. Perhaps if you obtain a multimeter and measure the voltage of each led for a given (standardised) setting for each monitor, at least you should have a sort of way to quantitatively compare the brightness/colour balance. Just a thought

Re:calibration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11729036)

Well, I doubt you'll get to see much out of that LED. They are a current source, and need to "talk" to a short circuit, not the open circuit of a multimeter, which even if it were sensitive enough, would display a wildly non-linear set of voltages. Not to mention you're calibrating 40 monitors and you want to do it in a ad hoc, crappy, unprofessional way? How do you *know* the response of the LED to light?

Apple ColorSync Monitors (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11730242)

I remember Apple's high end "ColorSync" CRT monitors, just before the days of LCD. Their top end model had a calibtration button. Pressing it would cause the monitor to flash and buzz and flicker for a few minutes before finally settling down. Apparently it also had some sort of auto calibration like the Barco monitors.

(No, this wasn't a deguass cycle, they had that feature too, but degaussing only took maybe 25 seconds max)

Apple ColorSync monitors (1, Redundant)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11730252)

Apple had high end "ColorSync" CRT monitors, just before the days of LCD. Their top end model had a calibtration button. Pressing it would cause the monitor to flash and buzz and flicker for a few minutes before finally settling down. Apparently it also had some sort of auto calibration like the Barco monitors.

No, this wasn't a deguass cycle, they had that feature too, but degaussing only took maybe 25 seconds max

Different users will always see colors differently (5, Interesting)

jonadab (583620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11727977)

> I need to be able to have a bunch of users see the same color on any monitor?

If you wanted to have the _same_ user see the same color the same way on
different monitors, that is theoretically achievable with good quality CRTs,
assuming you can put them in identical settings and so on.

But with different users, there is going to be a difference in perception.
Some people see *significantly* more color depth than others, for instance.
Also, some people's retinas are more sensitive to light than others, so they
have most of their color resolution in the darker ranges; other people have
eyes less sensitive to light and distinguish brighter colors better.

I've discovered that most of my coworkers can't tell #305050 from #294D4A,
even when they're side by side. To me, they're noticeably different in
character, and if you show me one of them by itself, I know which of the
two it is. (This is probably attributable more to the difference in
blue/green balance than the slight variation in brightness, but anyway, I
can tell.) One time I asked for a coworker's opinion on the brightness of
a certain background, and she said it was too dark, so I grabbed the V
slider (in Inkscape) and lightened it up a bit, then looked at her; she
obviously didn't realize I'd changed it at all. So I dragged the slider
over a bit more, and a bit more... after a bit I asked her how that was,
and her response clearly indicated she still didn't see a difference. I'd
changed it by probably 20 or 30 units per channel. (I quit asking for her
opinion on colors after that.) She's an extreme case, obviously, but the
basic phenomenon is universal: people don't all have the same eyes.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11728107)

I've discovered that most of my coworkers can't tell #305050 from #294D4A, even when they're side by side.

You've got to be kidding. Are they perhaps blind? That's a brightness difference of 3 in the green channel (the channel to which humans are most sensitive).

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11729106)

BTW: there's an even a bigger difference in the red channel.

They could have crappy monitors. OR the monitors aren't adjusted correctly. On mine 294d4a is darker and greener.

Which brings us back to what the story is about. Even if the people can't _perceive_ the difference at he/she wants them to see the same things on their monitors.

It's not such a dumb request. But I still don't see the point yet. Since if it's for a product, is that colour thing going to go all the way to the customer end? I suppose it could save time making actual samples and flying them here and there.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11729213)

I suppose he's building something like a multi-monitor wall or an art installation where multiple monitors form a single or repetitive image. In that case a monitor with different color reproduction would stick out like a bad pixel on a TFT screen.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732316)

> You've got to be kidding. Are they perhaps blind?

That was my immediate reaction when I discovered this, but it appears to be
fairly common.

> That's a brightness difference of 3 in the green channel (the channel to
> which humans are most sensitive).

I don't think all humans are quite equally sensitive to the respective channels.

The one coworker, who couldn't see a difference of less than about 30 on the
V channel (using an HSV color model), even when watching it change, is
abnormal, as far as I'm concerned, but the others appear to be fairly
ordinary, albeit, not graphics artists, and all over 40. (But, I'm 30, a
programmer/sysadmin/math geek, not a graphics artist, yet I see the colors.)

One even has pretty good visual/color/decorating sense, usually, but she
doesn't see as much color depth as I do, apparently -- at least, not in the
darker ranges. (She might see better in brighter colors than I do, however;
I tend to go snowblind pretty quickly if there's too much white.)

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11728210)

I've discovered that most of my coworkers can't tell #305050 from #294D4A,
even when they're side by side.


Uh, this depends on the monitor you're using as well.

Most of the time people are just just lazy, they're not really paying attention to the differences because they don't care. Those colors look similar enough that most people just ignore the differences. That doesn't mean they can't see the difference, they just don't want to.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732380)

> Uh, this depends on the monitor you're using as well.

It's a pretty decent quality nineteen-inch CRT, and I don't have any trouble
seeing the colors on it.

> most people just ignore the differences

When I said they can't see it, I didn't mean that they didn't mention noticing
a difference; I was pointing out how one object on the screen was a different
color from the other, and they couldn't see it, not even when I put them side
by side.

I've also done a little checking within my family, and I'm pretty sure I see
*significantly* better color depth than either of my parents or my first
sister. (My second sister, I haven't asked. She doesn't like being
asked silly questions and can be grumpy at times, so I've left her out of
this.) My parents can by handwaved because they're over 50, but Sarah's
four years younger than I am -- what's that make her now, 26? Granted,
she can't see jack without her glasses or contacts, but still... you'd
think color depth would be a different issue from focus.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

LuckyStarr (12445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11738448)

Maybe you you are a tetrachromat. As in: A human with 4 distinct color receptors on his/her retina.
Most humans are trichromats. Most (if not all) tetrachromats are females.

Look here: TetraChromat [c2.com]

ps. I had a very hard time telling those 2 colors apart, but could. I doubt I would have noticed if I
hadnt known beforehand.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11740808)

I rather doubt I'm a tetrachromat, because tetrachromacy, from what I have read, requires two X chromosomes.

On color perception on various CRTs (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742822)

My parents can by [sic] handwaved because they're over 50
I'm 50, and can easily tell the difference between the two colors (if one is painted directly on the other).
In fact, if I look really closely, I can tell the difference between #305050 and #304E4C on my monitor.
This may be partly due to brightness and contrast settings, but I think (like some others) that different monitors may display different characteristics.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (2, Interesting)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728468)

This is one of those ambiguous uses of the English language.

When I read it, I took it to mean,

I want any given user out of a set of users to see the same colors on all monitors.

It appears that you took it to mean,

I want every user out of a set of users to see the same color on any single (or) on all monitors.

Since the phosphers are fairly standard from monitor to monitor in the same manufacturing run (ie, red gives of a certian wavelength across a range of monitors) then it's easily possible to make it so that any group of monitors made at the same time produce the same color regardless of the user's perception. Blue may look different for user A than for user B, but user A will see that same blue on the other monitor that they saw on the first, and user B will see the same blue they saw on the second monitor that they saw on the first.

I imagine that phospher emission wavelength is fairly standard within a narrow range, but I suspect that different models, even within the same original manufacturer, may have slight variations in emission. Therefore to get the best matching color you'd really need to purchase high quality (meant for imaging applications) monitors from the same manufacturer at the same time. You can usually tell that they're high quality and meant for imaging applications by inflated cost and included calibration device, though it's not universally true (ie, if you don't know any better, then this is about as close as you're going to get without a lot more research)

-Adam

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

papaskunk (718169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742596)

Obviously you don't know anything about applied color and calibration. Calibration is one of the biggest issues in any segment of the communication industry, most notably printing. Even the same monitor (CRT of course) can display color noticably different after warming up for an hour, and especially from day to day, week to week, and so on. If you're designing anything for print that involve a corporate logo, spot colors, or product matching, you have to calibrate your monitor *every single day*. And that's no good unless all your input and output devices (scanners, printers, filmsetters) are calibrated as well. Basically, color is about the most difficult thing to control across the entire workflow, from the minute the photographer opens the shutter until days after the piece is printed and the ink is dry.

Not to mention the fact that different monitor manufactures use different white points and temperatures. X-Rite, GretagMacBeth, and Pantone are three of the most popular providers of color management systems, and believe me, they're not cheap.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11728536)

Well I put them side by side and couldn't tell the difference, although when I wrote text in one colour with the other as the backgound I could read it just fine.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (1)

jordie (604519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11730161)

Ditto.

Re:Different users will always see colors differen (2, Informative)

Calsat (861132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733930)

Different people really do have different amount of the red green and blue sensitive cones in their eyes, in fact, 1/1,000,000 has a mutation where they have 2x as many green receptors as any other color receptor. There's an exhibit at the Exploratorium where there's an orange dot that's really an orange wavelength of light, and then surrounding it there are differently proportioned red/green light mixes, and different people see that central orange dot to match WILDLY different surrounding mixed color dots. The exhibit's in the seeing section, for those that care. It's striking to take a group to that exhibit and see the variety of responses! So based on that exhibit, and the nature of monitors (being an amalgam of red/green/blue to approximate continuous color), I believe it to be impossible to calibrate a set of monitors to look proper to everyone. One might be able to get them so they all look the same to everyone, but they could all look very wrong to some of the people, etc...

Pantone calibrator (4, Informative)

whoda (569082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728036)

Get a Pantone compatible monitor calibrator and software.
Like this one [ephotozine.com] .

I know, I know... (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728056)

It's called the old 'mark 1 eyeball'

Can be used in situations such as correcting dented leading wing edges on fighter jets, and damaged theodolites, just to name a couple of the less important uses. :-)

Why this isn't really what you should be doing (4, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728098)

Not all monitors have the same range of brightness/contrast and colour* gamut (range of colours they can display). If you do achiveve your stated goal, it will only be by making the best monitor you have display the brightness/contrast and gamut of the worst.

Colour perception depends a lot on environmental conditions. On identical perfectly calibrated monitors, colours will not look the same if one is in a room with white walls and the other isn't... and the same goes for one being in a room with flourescent lighting, one being in the shade, one with a window behind it, or one being somewhere there is a pretty sunset happening outside the window.

Users will disagree about the extent of variations caused by environmental conditions, and will disagree about colours. If you do calibrate with the best calibration tool on earth, users will simply not believe that you've done it right, and will resent their monitors being 'wrong' (ie different to the way they were before calibration).

Monitors drift, especially cheap ones... as they warm up, as room temperature varies, and as they get old. Calibration is a neverending job.

* I'm English, from England, and I know how to spell English words. It's not my fault the founding fathers didn't take a decent dictionary to America.

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728249)

They did to Canada though... and those bloody Americans have been trying to subvert our perfect spellings! I mean, honestly, "color"... maybe in Spanish, but English, no...

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11755767)

gaol

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (0, Flamebait)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728479)

* I'm English, from England, and I know how to spell English words. It's not my fault the founding fathers didn't take a decent dictionary to America.

Interesting that you should say that, since Noah Webster was the person who did the most to reduce the illogical spelling which, like measles, chicken pox, typhus, typhoid fever, dysentery, scarlet fever, diphtheria, bubonic plague, and whooping cough, survived the journey from England. His dictionary of 1821 included the following:

* musick became music (musick spelling is no longer in use today)
* publick became public (publick spelling is no longer in use today)
* cheque became check
* colour became color
* plough became plow
* favour became favor
* phantasy became fantasy (phantasy is now only used as an old-fashioned affectation)

I suppose that you are still mourning the loss of "musick", "publick", and "phantasy"...

Beginning in 1934, the Chicago Tribune adopted many simplified spellings for words, many of which have become widely accepted:

* hiccough became hiccup
* interne became intern
* mediaeval (or mediæval) became medieval
* gramme became gram
* sulphur became sulfur (dominant spelling in American English, IUPAC-adopted spelling)

Unless you think that "hour" rhymes with "whore," there is no logical reason for having a "u" in the word "color."

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (1)

mikemacd (84328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728767)

Just to thow some more petrol on the fire.... ;)

The poor yanks don't even know how to pronnounce the words they do have.

For example, they pronnounce Lieutenant as "loo-ten-ant" instead of the proper "lef-ten-ant". After all what could be more obvious? ;)

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11728853)

I blame it on the french

What?!? No diesel? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11729022)

Petrol, eh? I thought diesel was hot stuff over there. Or is that only Europe and fog in the channel has cut off the continent?

Calibrating the English language :-) (1)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11729153)

Unless you think that "hour" rhymes with "whore," there is no logical reason for having a "u" in the word "color."

Except colour is pronounced kol-ur rather than kol-or, at least where I grew up. And you seem to be implying that english is vaguely consistent - try the following on for size (it's a standard speech synthesiser nasty):

Lawn mowers are thoroughly tough though.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Re:Calibrating the English language :-) (1)

Artichoke (34549) | more than 9 years ago | (#11735092)

kol-ur to mean Pepsi or Coke? I'd (Nat.Geog.) transcribe colo{u,}r as: kull-uh. So, to kill off this debate, colour should be spelt: culler.

Re:Calibrating the English language :-) (1)

Anomalous Cowturd (673181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11739122)

There's a really neat old Dr. Seuss (yes, that Dr. Seuss) book called "The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs The Dough" that illustrates this quite well.

And in San Francisco, we have Gough Street, which is not pronounced, as you might guess, to rhyme with "cough" or "rough" or "slough" or "through" or even "dough", but with the "off" in "coffin". Confused he bejezzus out of me the first time I was given directions to "Goff Street".

Waaaaay off topic: The Seuss book is a collection of his early work, for adults, way before he started doing kid's books. It's full of things like "The Cutting of the Wedding Cnouth" and essays on "The Facts of Life" and Rube Goldberg inventions. What's really interesting is all the creatures that look exactly like sneetches and Horton sitting on an egg.

Fun book. Way out of print, I'm sure, but worth poking through a used bookstore for.

Very interesting. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11735010)


Very interesting. Where did you get that information about spelling changes?

Re:Very interesting. (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761491)

I did a quick Google search. I was aware of the basic fact that Noah Webster initiated many of the simplified spellings, but I wanted to have an exact year and a few more examples. I have to admit that I was not aware of the Chicago Tribune's roll until I did the search.

What you also might find interesting is Benjamin Franklin's proposed changes to not only spelling, but even to the alphabet. A bold, but failed, effort.

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (2, Funny)

djdead (135363) | more than 9 years ago | (#11736751)

*jackass became fmaxwell

Re:Why this isn't really what you should be doing (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11761438)

and...

*djdead became jackass

(as shown in parent post)

-1, Asshat (0, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728976)

Nobody asked where you're from, dick.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11728420)

I need to be able to have a bunch of users see the same color on any monitor? Does anyone have a good, accurate way of doing this?

Since no one else is, I'll touch the third rail.

Why do you need to do such a thing? As others mentioned, color perception varies with respect to person and environment. What you are going to do depends on what you need it for.

If you want people to agree on a color scheme, there is nothing for you but to all sit down together and look at it. If you want to set up a website color scheme, forget calibration - your users won't have a calibrated color monitor anyway. If it's consistency your after, give people numeric values and have them enter them in numerically. (i.e. The background will be "0x04,0x10,0x14") If you want to coordinate with printed goods, talk to your pre-press people - my guess is that they'll say you need to use the pantone system. In all cases, there really isn't a need for the monitors to be calibrated.

In short, I don't think you really need to do waht you think you want to do.

Re:Why? (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731530)

Why do you need to do such a thing?

If you're doing any serious printing or publishing work, having proper colour calibration is of key importance. There are standards now that allow you to avoid having to print proofs prior to press production.

This does require that you are using a suitable display technology (like the Apple Cinema displays [apple.com] ) which has the necessary characteristics (luminance and colour gamut) to display images as if they were on paper. Virtually all professional printing solutions are calibrated to a colour standard -- calibrating your monitor to the same standard allows you to produce content with colours that will look the same printed as you experience them on screen.

Admittedly, once again the person asking the question didn't provide enough innformation on what they're trying to do, but my guess is the need the calibration for proper colour printing.

Yaz.

color blind users (1)

cpangelich (843650) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728586)

Many people are partially color blind and are not aware of this fact which would make it impossible to please everyone with your adjustmaents. see: http://home.wanadoo.nl/paulschils/05.03.html [wanadoo.nl]

Calibrating Monitors in a broadcast setting (5, Informative)

Ropati (111673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728657)

Other posters have gone to great lengths to explain how color perception is environment and beholder dependent. So calibration is of little value. More importantly if you are generating images to be displayed on any users screen, then you have no control over their brightness, contrast, gamma or white balance or the end user's color experience.

But if you want to calibrate a monitor, I can tell you how I used to do it in broadcast.

First you set the black of the monitor: Generate a black screen image. Adjust the cut-off for each color so it just barely illuminates the phosphor. When finished, black is barely perceptable and has no pronounced color.

To calibrate white: Generate a full red screen, 100 hue and brightness, and then use a calibrated light meter to set monitor output to the color temperature of the red component of your final white. Do the same for green and blue. Display an all white screen and see if the screen is proper temperature. Check that the values of black didn't change. Get a feel for where your monitor best performs and run the monitor in a manner that doesn't cause blooming. In other words make sure that the full white value is not beyond the luminance output of your monitor.

Once black and white are correct, display a black and white stairstep signal. If all the channel gammas are correct, the steps should appear even to the eye and all the steps should be grey. If not, the trick is to adjust gamma of the color you don't see to correct the problem. Gamma correction can be very gross and you might not be able to make every step grey.

These steps correct the color balance of a monitor, but you still need to check purity, pin cushioning, convergence, horizontal and vertical linearity before you can be sure that the image on one monitor is the same as the image on another calibrated monitor. I can't image why you would go through this type of trouble.

Of note: The same calibration issues can be applied to audio. Years ago I wired up a new audio system at a recording studio. The studio had done several gold albums including one by the Rolling Stones. All the mics were adjusted to remove bandwidth irregularities. The engineers recorded and set levels for all sessions by listening to the audio from huge JBL speakers set-up with perfectly flat amplifiers. However, when they went to generate the final mix, the did it by listening to the audio through cheap 5 inch speakers. In this manner, they could provide the best listening experience for the majority of users.

Use a colorimeter (1)

twzop (834798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728811)

I don't know what your budget is, but it won't matter if you have same monitors or different ones. Use a colorimeter and it will calibrate your monitors and will create color management files for each of them.

if nobody is going to answer the guy (3, Informative)

aderusha (32235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11728866)

after wading through a couple dozen posts of hopelessly useless pedantic crap, i figured i'd offer a reasonable suggestion: check out the colorvision [colorvision.com] spyder 2 [colorvision.com] calibration tool. it's relatively inexpensive, supports windows and mac, and is widely used throughout the industry for photo manipulation and graphic design workstations. combine with a print scanner, and you can get full start-to-finish calibration of your workflow process. here's a review of the previous model. [dpreview.com]

as some others have noted you can plan on recalibrating at least once a month, particularly with new monitors. if color accuracy is less important than precision (that is, it doesn't matter if the color is correct as long as it looks the same everywhere), make sure you are using the same model of monitor on each desktop as each phosphor combination used in a given model of tube produces a different color gamut. in all events, stay away from lcd - the gamut is crap and they don't hold calibration well.

Re:if nobody is going to answer the guy (3, Interesting)

ManxStef (469602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11729883)

Heh, well said - it's quite surprising how many crap comments there are on this story, you'd think more pro photographers/designers (or their IT techs) would chip in with some decent advise on colour workflow and calibrating to a specific target. Though, as is usual on Ask Slashdot, the submitter didn't provide many details, so it's harder to give him specific information to help him find a solution.

With regards to colorimeters -- these'll all allow you to calibrate to a "baseline" rather than the best that each device can display -- I've got a Spyder (mk.1) and it's not too bad, though the new ones look much better (increased sensitivity) - though no-one's mentioned so far that the software that comes with these (PhotoCal or OptiCal) requires a seperate licence for each machine they're installed on, so at 30-40 monitors it's not going to be as cheap as it first appears. The GretagMacBeth [gretagmacbeth.com] stuff seems like another good choice (e.g. the Eye-One), as do the Monaco/X-Rite [monacosys.com] calibration tools, but they're more expensive. Ideally you go for a solution that's not just limited to calibrating screens, but can do printers as well, but again it'll cost more (it's usually worth it though - you might as well do the entire loop while you're at it). Or, if he's really serious about it, standardise on the same model of monitor, such as the Sony Artisan [luminous-landscape.com] (with built-in calibration that actually adjusts the CRT guns, rather than just generate a profile).

Like another poster said, lighting's also an issue, too; hooding the monitors to minimise reflections is usually a good idea, and standardising on specific lighting such as Just Normlicht [www.just.de] fluorescent tubes or Solux [solux.net] halogen bulbs (fed with a specific regulated voltage) helps immensely.

get a color meter like ColorVision, GretagMacbeth (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11729839)

I am looking for a good way to calibrate multiple monitors (30-40), so that their color looks similar? It seems like everything I find is for profiling your monitor to your printer and scanner.

"Calibrating" a monitor means adjusting its gun controls until the color output matches a standard for voltage vs. color. "Profiling" a monitor means telling it to output color numbers (r,g,b) and recording the difference between the actual and expected colors for a given color space. The profile also records the range of possible colors that the device can output (the gamut).

When the computer has a profile for the monitor, it "knows" how the monitor behaves. It can internally adjust the color numbers so that a document can be displayed faithfully. It may attempt to map each color in the document to the correct output color, or it may transform the gamut so that the document *appears* similar to the original (perceptual matching).

How does it know what color is in the document? The document has it's own profile. Same with the printer and scanner. And they all have different gamuts.

A profile is a mapping between color numbers (e.g., RGB) and actual absolute colors (e.g., L*a*b), along with gamut information. So saying "profiling your monitor to your printer and scanner" doesn't mean all that much.. each device has a profile that translates from color numbers to absolute colors and hopefully after all that translating back and forth you get the results you want. Often the marketing materials will talk about "matching scanners to prints to the screen" but that's not exactly what you're doing when you create a color-corrected workflow.

The best thing to do, after learning a little about how it works of course, is to get an inexpensive color meter like the ColorVision Spyder or the GretagMacbeth Eye-One and using it to calibrate and profile each monitor. You won't be able to "calibrate" it fully of course unless you can individually tune each gun, like on the Sony Artisan.

I have a Spyder, it's "ok". The software for the Mac is garbage that looked like it was ported from Windows by a 2-year-old, but it's "good enough". The Eye-One is a good choice.

You will find that this is a *very* subjective activity. If each monitor is in the *exact same* environment, you may achieve your goal of color uniformity. But if one monitor is in a sunny office, the other in a darkened room with only 5000K ambient lighting, people will *perceive* different color on each. Your users will just have to learn how to mentally adjust, just like a recording engineer learns his room and speakers, etc, etc.

If you can put all 40 monitors in a big rack and see them all at once, then at least you can get them all close to the same baseline. You'll have to repeat this every 2-3 months, preferably every month.

Color Matching... (1)

paploo (238300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11729886)

If color is important, find a good professional art monitor, and buy one for everyone (or two if they need it). Then buy a color calibration device, stick it on your monitor, and calibrate. This should get all the monitors to output the same colors.

The real problem comes when you have different model monitors. At the (small) print company I work at, we have different model monitors on every computer. At some point I went around and color calibrated them all, but found that some monitors gave *horrid* color response, while others were pretty good. For example, our cheap ViewSonics (which fortunately are on a computer where color isn't terribly important) show 100% MY Red as being orange on the screen.

Color bars? (3, Interesting)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731244)

Once upon a time we used to adjust 20+ monitors in a television control room manually by following these steps:

1. Send colorbars from the same source (if possible) to all the monitors;

2. Kick each monitor into blue-only mode, which turns off the green and red guns;

3. Adjust the contrast, brightness, tint and color (saturation) so that all the bars look the same;

(You see, color bars are set up so that, when viewed on the blue gun only, adjusting the tint adjusts the brightness of two bars in opposite directions, the brightness another two bars, and so on. To adjust the contrast, you twiddle the contrast knob and look at the two associated bars -- one gets brighter, one gets dimmer. You set it such that the two bars appear to be the same brightness. Repeat for the other controls.)

4. Pop out of blue mode, and all the monitors look essentially the same. Piece of cake.

Of course, computer monitors don't come with a blue-only mode, and I believe even component monitors pull the sync signal off of green, so you couldn't just unplug the red and green.

So perhaps this advice isn't helpful. But if anyone out there is trying to calibrate TV monitors...well, glad I could help. ;)

Re:Color bars? (1)

sith (15384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733078)

In my studio, we'll often use a stack of blue gels to calibrate monitors that don't have a blue only mode. If you can get a gel (they actually sell filters just for this) that has very low transmission anywhere except blue, you can hold it up to your eyes to do the calibration. Rough, but not too bad...

Don't forget about doing your brightness and contrast too (see: Pluge Pattern)

obviously a guy asking. (1)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731538)

The solution is easy, buy a woman. They're so much better at telling colours than guys.

This device... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732620)

And it isn't cheap - but if you're doing this for a living, you should be able to write it off:
VP401 [sencore.com]

Or, the software version - Displaymate [displaymate.com]

the total solution [sencore.com]

More:

http://www.hometheaterspot.com/htsthreads/showfl at .php/Cat/0/Number/636446/page/fpart/all/vc/1

Re:This device... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11741449)

I was going to make a reference to these guys, but you beat me to it...

I used to work for Sencore a few years back, although I did not have any contact with this part of the product line.

My co-workers (who did work with and develop these products) never said anything bad about them, though. I take the lack of a negative as a pretty big positive, if that makes any sense...

On the cheap... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733488)

Have the colors you want to calibrate to printed. Cut holes in printed sheets. Place sheet on monitor. While looking through hole, adjust color on monitor to match color on paper. Repeat on other colors. Repeat on other monitors.

So I guess this poster is frQuestioning convention (1)

one-egg (67570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733628)

Obviously this poster must be from the San Fernando Valley? That's where the teenage girls end every sentence with a rising tone? I guess he can blame the California educational system for his ignorance of punctuation? Oh, well, I guess he'll make it easier for my PDA to pass a Turing test?
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?