Category Archives: Monitor Calibration

X-Rite support BCRF with the launch of limited edition pink products

EN_XPE_Pink Campaign bannerTo mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, X-Rite are supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in fundraising efforts for finding a cure. X-Rite have created a pink, limited edition ColorMunki Display and ColorChecker Passport Photo and will donate 20% of all sales to BCRF.

“Nearly everyone has been touched by breast cancer, and we are proud to leverage the ColorMunki and ColorChecker brands in our creative communities to help find a cure. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a tremendous organisation dedicated to the support of doctors and researchers worldwide,” says X-Rite Vice President of Product Marketing, Chris Winczewski.

“In becoming the symbol for breast cancer, the colour pink spurred conversation and ultimately action,” says Sadia Zapp, Communications Director at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “It sparked a movement and today we are closer than ever before to eradicating the devastating disease. By uniting with BCRF, the highest rated breast cancer organisation in the country, our partners are committed to bringing the end of breast cancer.”

With each purchase of a pink limited edition ColorMunki Display and/or ColorChecker Passport Photo, X-Rite will donate 20% of product sales to BCRF. The products are available to purchase from the Color Confidence website.

These products are great as a collector’s item, replacement product, or simply if you would like to support a worthy cause.

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Colour Management Interview with Simon Prais, Technical Director at Color Confidence

Colour Confidence

Simon Prais, Technical Director at Color Confidence

How many years have you worked in the photo industry? 30 years

What is your current location? Birmingham

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A creative professional

Do you prefer dogs or cats? Neither, but if I had to choose – cats

Can you briefly sum up what Color Confidence offers? Color Confidence is Europe’s leading colour management specialist into the digital imaging markets. We offer the widest range of products and services from the world’s leading manufacturers including X-Rite, DxO, NEC, BenQEIZO and ExpoImaging, amongst many others, together with our own brand range of calibration and colour management essentials for photographers, designers and anyone with an interest in colour.

How important is colour management to photography enthusiasts? Do they really need to engage in the subject, for instance, if they never print but only post pictures on social media websites?

If you spend any time visually adjusting the colour or contrast of a digital image, regardless of its final use, that decision needs to be made on a colour calibrated monitor. Although it’s unlikely that even 1% of viewers on a social media site would have a calibrated monitor, there are at least two factors to consider:

  • If your monitor was too warm, and you adjusted your images based on the assumption that what you see on the screen is correct, anyone with an un-calibrated ‘cool’ monitor viewing the images will see a massive difference to your intended colour balance. Whereas if your monitor is calibrated, you are limiting the range of colour difference across the range of un-calibrated monitors.
  • Your original image may have been perfect, but if you view it on an un-calibrated monitor, you could end up wasting your time whilst also destroying your image.

How difficult is colour management? Do you need good IT skills, for example? It was complicated fifteen years ago, but nowadays it is straightforward and automated.

Where would you recommend someone start if they want to colour manage their workflow? Is it, for example, necessary to start with the camera and work all the way through to the output device?

The most practical point to start from is monitor calibration. A calibrated monitor enables you to determine deficiencies in your camera, printer or viewing conditions.

There seem to be a great many colour management devices on the market. With a limited budget, what is the first item to buy, why, and do you have any specific product recommendations?

To back up my previous answer, it would have to be a monitor calibrator. A properly calibrated monitor is essential for colour critical work such as photography. A profiled screen gives you a trusted source for viewing your images so that you can be confidence in the results. If budget allows, I would recommend the X-Rite i1Display Pro (RRP £216 incl. VAT), which offers the highest standard of on-screen colour accuracy for displays and projectors. Alternatively, I would recommend the X-Rite ColorMunki Display (RRP £150 incl. VAT), which has slightly less features but is still sufficient for achieving consistent colour accuracy. If you can justify a new monitor, high-end monitors are frequently offered with the benefit of a discount off a calibrator, if purchased at the same time.

The monitor is clearly important, but many people stick with what came with their PC bundle? Is that okay or should they consider an upgrade?

They should definitely consider an upgrade. There is a considerable difference between a £100 monitor bundled with a PC and a £500-£900 professional monitor, and it’s not just the price point. Any editing or decisions on how accurate a photo is, depends on what you see on the monitor screen. That is why it is important to pick the right quality of monitor to suit your needs.

Is there such a thing as an ideal monitor? What should we look for when looking to buy one and what sort of budget will we need?

The NEC SpectraView, EIZO CG and BenQ PG colour critical range of monitors include all the key qualities of an ideal monitor. These are available in a number of sizes and resolutions to suit an individual’s requirements.

A quality monitor will have an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel type. IPS panels offer a much larger colour gamut than TN panels, which are frequently used in laptops. A further benefit of IPS panels over both TN and VA panels, used on standard grade monitors, is the colour consistency and viewing angle. Viewing such panels from even a slight angle causes a shift in the display, whereas IPS panel technology provides consistency from increased viewing angles. Professional monitors will also be validated for uniformity across the display.

Such monitors generally include hardware calibration software. This communicates directly with the monitor for optimised colour accuracy.

Budget constraints are often a factor, and although quality to achieve good colour accuracy over size is a good generalisation, there are some instances when some of the quality features need to be trimmed back, when a larger panel size is crucial. If you can’t justify both quality and the required size, is to worth consider retaining your old monitor for general use and using a second monitor for colour critical work.

With many people buying 4K televisions, is it feasible to use one of these as their editing monitor?

Although the latest 4K televisions offer a much higher resolution than standard HD TV’s, and look a tempting option as a computer screen, they are not suitable as an image-editing monitor. The 4K TV’s are designed to give high contrast, punchy images for primarily displaying TV, films and video, so will display images with increased contrast and saturation even when profiled. We recommend using an accurate colour manageable monitor, and with 4K monitors recently introduced, they should be considered for editing in 4K whereas 4K televisions should be avoided.

The final link in the chain is output. The photographic printer market is dominated by Canon and Epson, what advice do you have for people looking for a high quality photo printer?

Stick to the main photo market manufacturers, Epson and Canon and check that the model is categorised as a photo printer (avoid ‘all in one’ devices as they generally don’t have the colour quality required for photo printing).

When researching a printer, download the manual and look at the key features, especially the print driver colour management options, as this will indicate if the printer will be easily colour managed, and if you want to use third party paper, such as Tecco PHOTO and colour profiles, or create your own.

Printers range from having just 4 colour cartridges (CMYK), to 12 colours. A minimum of 7 or 8 colours that include Light Cyan, Light Magenta and Light Black/Grey provides higher quality prints without visually apparent dots in the light tones. Whereas the addition of Orange and Green increases the colour range with increased colour saturation.

Many people complain of the final print not looking anything like the image they saw on-screen. What advice do you have to get colour correct prints?

I would recommend they purchase an X-Rite ColorMunki Photo (RRP £487.27 incl. VAT) – an all in one entry-level calibration process that delivers fast, accurate matching from capture to display and print. However, even with that, such complaints still arise because the thing people overlook is the viewing light. If the illumination of your monitor isn’t matched to the illumination of your print, one will look lighter or darker than the other. If one can’t justify a viewing booth for standardised viewing conditions, a GrafiLite (£61.27 incl. VAT) will give you a daylight balanced consistent temperature and brightness level to be matched against your monitor.

Most people will have their computer and printer in a domestic environment. Have you any tips to help them get the best possible set-up?

Yes, ideally they should use a monitor hood and a viewing light or GrafiLite. Most professional monitors come with an option of a hood, if not, the PChOOD Pro (RRP £71.44 incl. VAT) is an adaptable hood, which will fit anything from a 15” to a 26” monitor size.

If you had to give just one piece of colour management advice, what would that be?

Ensure that you regularly calibrate your monitor. Your monitor will be gradually changing with time so without monthly calibration, it’s a constant moving target.

NEC enhances colour-accuracy control with SpectraView® II calibration software on PA Series Desktop Monitors

NEC-smallNEC is enhancing its award-winning MultiSync® PA Desktop Display Series with SpectraView® II calibration software, so that creative professionals such as photographers, designers and anyone who relies on colour accuracy, can more easily benefit from hardware calibration.

As well as availability in the PA-SV2 Series, creative professionals can also purchase the SpectraView® II as stand-alone software to calibrate selected NEC displays.

The PA-SV2 Desktop Series, consisting of the PA242W-SV2, PA272W-SV2, PA302W-SV2 and PA322UHD-SV2, will feature the intuitive software as standard, enabling better management of colour calibration via the 14-bit internal look up tables (LUT). Industries that rely on colour accuracy, such as photography, videography, graphics and creative design will gain even greater control and benefit over this critical element of their work.

The software can also be used with many of the desktop EA Series monitors and the latest 4K UHD large format displays.

Christopher Parker, Product Line Manager of Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions Europe explains: “The importance and benefit of colour accuracy and colour management is connected with the rise of large format display applications in which image content branding and corporate identities increasingly need to be respected”.

Christopher continues: “Additionally, high-end photography is no longer limited to the professional studio, as ‘prosumers’ also seek more life-like results from their displays. We are delighted to welcome SpectraView® II software to the European market, with full confidence that it will continue the success seen in North America.”

The SpectraView® II calibration software is particularly easy to use thanks to its intuitive graphical user interface, with a focus on minimal menu levels and interactive graphical settings.

Even the more complex calibration settings are easy to access and provides advanced control, using the SpectraView® II software. Most standard external sensor calibration devices are supported, as is the latest versions of Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and popular Linux operation systems.

The new SpectraView® II calibration software is available on all PA Series desktop monitors, which are distributed by Color Confidence. The new monitors will be showcased by Color Confidence on Stand F21 at The Photography Show, in Birmingham, this week. For further information, visit www.colorconfidence.com.

Win A Colour Workflow Bundle!

Color-Confidence-bundle

This month, we are giving you the chance to win a huge bundle of prizes, including an NEC E223 monitor, Macphun Creative Kit software and an i1Display Pro, plus lots more!

This prize bundle, worth almost £700, is designed to help you manage and improve your colour workflow from capture, to edit, to print.

Up for grabs in this fantastic prize bundle are the following products:

  • ColorChecker Passport - Ensures the images you capture are accurate in colour.
  • i1Display Pro - Calibrator that ensures your monitor, tablet or projector is colour calibrated
  • Creative Kit - This award winning image editing bundle from Macphun includes Snapheal and Intensify Pro softwares
  • NEC E233 Multisync Monitor - A 22 inch high definition LED monitor
  • Tecco Paper - 2 boxes of A3 Sepia Satin Portrait paper for outstanding prints.

To be in with a chance of winning this brilliant colour workflow bundle, all you have to do is show us your best images of ‘Colour’.

These could be abstract close-ups, images featuring a strong, vibrant colour, animals with pretty colourings, or a beautiful natural occurrence, such as a sunrise or sunset. We want to see how you can incorporate colour in different ways into your images. Get creative and show us your best ‘Colour’ themed images!

The competition closes at midnight on 30 November 2014. For more information and to enter now, take a look at the Competition page.

Good Luck!

Color Confidence announces Digital Imaging Workshop

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Color Confidence, Europe’s leading supplier to the photography market, are hosting a Digital Imaging Workshop to teach both amateur and professional photographers how to get accurate colour from digital images. The event will take place at The REP in Birmingham on Wednesday 19 November and can be customised to suit a variety of needs.

The day comprises of a free morning session, with the option to book onto an interactive afternoon of activities and seminars (for a nominal charge of £10, which includes lunch and refreshments).

There will also be a trade and exhibition area open throughout the day where attendees can take advantage of exclusive offers and promotions from some of the world’s leading manufacturers, including NEC, X-Rite, DxO, EIZO, Macphun Software, Epson, Manfrotto and Tecco.

The morning session offers a seminar from Richard Curtis, Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe, followed by insight into Andy Kruzcek’s approach to Fashion and Beauty photography. There will also be an exclusive preview of the latest imaging software from DxO.

The afternoon has three specific activities, with attendees having the option to choose two of the three sessions that best meet their needs. Activities include a Photowalk with professional photographer Andy Kruzcek and an Adobe workflow seminar with Richard Curtis. These intimate sessions will have a maximum of 15 people per group and allow attendees to gain greater insight into the guest speakers.

Alternatively, guests have the option to book specialist 1-2-1 training with vendors that will be exhibiting at the event. The technical specialists will be available all day to answer any questions or queries.

Color Confidence offer a range of professional training courses and consultancy services with packages to suit users of all levels, from individual photographers and imaging professionals, to large-scale publishing houses and multinational companies.

All attendees to the Digital Imaging Workshop will get automatic entry into a prize draw to win a brand new NEC monitor. The winner will be announced on the day.

For more information about Color Confidence, visit: www.colorconfidence.com. To register a place at the event, visit: diw.colorconfidence.com.

ColorMunki Display & Passport

Color Confidence will be exhibiting at an event near you!

Over the next few months the Color Confidence team will be exhibiting at a number of roadshows and open days across the country to showcase a range of specialist products from X-Rite Photo Europe and NEC.

The Color Confidence stand will include the complete X-Rite photo range including the ColorMunki Smile (Simple display calibration), ColorMunki Display (Advanced display calibration) and ColorMunki Photo (Advanced display and print calibration). As well as the i1Display Pro (Professional display calibration) and the ColorChecker Passport (RAW colour control and creativity for capture).

We will also feature a number of high quality professional performance NEC monitors for obtaining the best picture quality and colour accuracy, whilst maintaining value for money.

The events are free to attend and visitors will get the chance to see product demonstrations and get expert advice on how to get the best colour across all devices with colour accuracy in capture, on screen and in print. There will also be special offers and discounts on purchases made on the day.

Color Confidence will be exhibiting at shows as part of the Digital Imaging Show, Bigger Picture Roadshow and Calumet spring open days.

Come and meet the team on the following dates:

15 May – Calumet Spring Open Day – Birmingham
19 May – Bigger Picture Roadshow – Southampton
20 May – Bigger Picture Roadshow – Harlow
21 May – Bigger Picture Roadshow – Newmarket
22 May – Digital Imaging Show – Maidstone
22 May – Calumet Spring Open Day – Manchester Store
29 May – Calumet Spring Open Day – London (Drummond Street)
2 June – Bigger Picture Roadshow – Maidstone
3 June – Bigger Picture Roadshow – Oxford
5 June – Calumet Spring Open day – Bristol

For more information on the events and venues, visit:

Bigger Picture Roadshow
Digital Imaging Shows
Calumet spring open days

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 2

Welcome to the second part of our 2012 Autumn review, which this week looks at our range of colour management services and solutions.

The below extracts are taken from our autumn review mailing and dedicated webpages, a full ink can be found at the bottom of this post.

Developments in colour management solutions for home and business use have introduced higher standards and ease of use, whilst addressing the challenges of new monitor technology and quality of print.

Instruments, software and workflow settings all contribute to a correctly colour-managed environment. Our technical support team provides a range of services and training to suit your requirements – for further reading on matching your screen to print, see our “Light and Shade” document.

We’ve had a look at three aspects of colour management:

1) For home use – photographers and designers

We’ve examine the solutions available from X-Rite for accurate colour management for personal or home use. Here, we look at the ColorMunki Display, ColorMunki Photo and ColorMunki Design, as well as the new, simple monitor calibrator; ColorMunki Smile, which you can see in action in the below video from this year’s Photokina:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1IgI0eo7DE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

2) In the professional studio – from creative to print

We examine the solutions available for the discerning photo and imaging pros requiring more detailed colour accuracy with the X-Rite  i1 Display Pro and i1 Pro 2 solutions.

3) In the pressroom

We take a closer look at the high-end colour management solutions suited to the demands of the pressroom environment, with X-Rite 500 series Spectro/Densitometers. These devices aren’t for the faint-hearted though, so please contact us to discuss any specific requirements further!

You can read the article in full on a special webpage here – tune in next week for part 3!

Why don’t my printouts match my screen?

This is probably the most frequent question we get asked at CC HQ…

Whether on the phone, at Focus on Imaging, or at one of our Drop-in days; “why does my printout look different to what I see on-screen” is a frequent query from photographers and designers alike, particularly those that are starting, or wanting to print from home.

There are no single reasons for this, there are often multiple factors coming into play, such as; an un-calibrated screen, your working environment lighting conditions, system set-ups on your monitor or printer, the list goes on…

Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem in the shape of the X-Rite ColorMunki Photo.

ColorMunki Photo has been designed to be an all-in-one spectral device for monitor, printer and even projector profiling – basically, a device that will ensure what you see on your screen is replicated as closely as possible when you print out.

It does this by calibrating/profiling both your LCD/CRT monitor and your printer.

Firstly, working like a ‘conventional’ monitor calibrator, ColorMunki Photo will create a custom profile you can save and apply to your monitor. It will integrate your display contrast settings and brightness into your workflow, giving you accurate on-screen colours.

Secondly, ColorMunki Photo will calibrate your RGB or CMYK printer by getting it to print out a series of test charts. The ColorMunki will scan the first test chart, learning how your printer behaves with these colours. Once this is done, a second chart is produced and scanned by the ColorMunki, thus creating a printer profile to save to your printer.

That’s it.

Colour accuracy is now achieved across your workflow from monitor to printer.

Learn more about ColorMunki Photo and how it can benefit your workflow here.

Colormunki Smile – monitor calibration that puts a Smile on your face

Today marks the release of the X-Rite ColorMunki Smile…

A name which lends itself to a host of puns and cheesy marketing gimmicks – although to be fair, I think we were fairly restrained with our efforts at CC HQ!

Anyway enough of that…

If you are completely new to the world of colour management, image editing or photography and are starting to require a solution to produce greater on-screen accuracy, then this is the solution for you.

Have you ever wondered why the pictures you took on your camera don’t look the same when displayed on your monitor? Well, monitors aren’t prefect; displayed colour can vary from monitor to monitor or even drift over time. This means the image you view on screen might not be a true reflection of what you actually captured.

Monitor calibrators are designed to solve this problem by optimising your monitor to display colours as accurately as possible.

The ColorMunki Smile has been designed with simplicity in mind. Unlike its bigger brothers; ColorMunki Display and i1Display Pro which offer a host of advanced features to play with, the Smile is as straight-forwards as plugging into your USB and letting it get on with calibrating your screen. This means you don’t need to have an expert knowledge of colour science to get the results you want.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYeXdpL6HNY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

In a nutshell – this is the ideal monitor calibrator for a beginner.

In summary you get:

  • The ability to calibrate one, or multiple LCD & LED laptop or desktop displays
  • An easy and intuitive wizard interface – simply plug in and click
  • Powerful calibration technology found in X-Rite’s professional calibration solutions
  • Before and After image comparison
  • Easy to follow help videos and guides

You can learn more about and purchase ColorMunki Smile here.

Happy calibrating!

Bundle Power

Greetings from Color Confidence

The last few weeks and months have been pretty hectic at CC HQ, going some way to explain our slight decrease in blog posts in recent weeks.

Anywho…

This weeks post should be interesting to all you photographer’s out there, particularly those of the amateur variety who are perhaps looking to increase your colour accuracy from shoot to screen.

X-Rite are one of the flagship colour management brands, producing both the ColorChecker Passport – which has become the essential accessory for accurate input calibration – and ColorMunki Display, replacing the older i1Display 2 as the benchmark for display and screen calibration.

And now, these stellar colour management solutions are available as a bundle item.

This means you can combine the advanced calibration solution to deliver accurate on-screen colour accuracy with the must-have, stand alone DNG profiling solution for RAW workflow pre and post shoots. And better still, you can save a few pounds too!

These are the perfect solutions for any amateur photographer looking to take their shoots to the next level, particularly if you need that extra accuracy or colour verification within your work.

The below video is well worth a watch for a more in-depth look at the ColorChecker Passport:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V39n1J8IgpA?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

You can view more about (and purchase, nudge nudge…) this bundle here.