What I have learned since getting a new screen

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
i use a spyder 3 pro - on my fairly decent laptop screen - and recalibrate every month, but i don't really see a difference month-to-month. the diffreence calibrated to uncalibrated is extraordinary though

i think it's one of the best (most useful, sensible, helpful) photography-related buys I've made
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
pdh said:
i use a spyder 3 pro - on my fairly decent laptop screen - and recalibrate every month, but i don't really see a difference month-to-month. the diffreence calibrated to uncalibrated is extraordinary though

i think it's one of the best (most useful, sensible, helpful) photography-related buys I've made
Thats interesting... monthly use would provide justification for buying. I'll look into cost, locally, soonish. (First next big purchase is a new iphone... I have to save for these things, these days, dammit)
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
Thanks, Andrew. Yes, I know that most people probably saw it as it really is - or maybe not, if they have screens that saturate colour (mine clearly did), and thats why its difficult to show what I mean, here... but for Luke, I'll try :)

Original flickr, and its on redbubble and PPG as well... like this, and to my eyes, washed out. It always looked a bit that way once posted to the web. But not here, in iPhoto or PS (it does now!!)
View attachment 56143
Big Surf by kyte50, on Flickr

The just edited version with more saturation, that day the ocean wasnt a pale blue it was a deep green blue. I still don't have the colour right, but its all I am doing right now and I hope that ppl will be able to see a difference.

bigsurf1 by kyte50, on Flickr

Fingers crossed.

When I uploaded originally, to me, the second version here is what I thought I was uploading. But once it got to its destination, it looked like the first. Does this make any sense at all?
A few things...

Several years ago when my crt monitor was going bad, and they like to go gradually, I had no clue. When it finally went out and I got a replacement, everything I had done in web layout graphics, in general art.. it was all messed up. Contrasts, colors.. all of it. I tossed it all. I KNOW.. seriously.. that when your monitor is going bad and you get a new one and vivid is really vivid [insert squeal] it's almost impossible not to overdo.. because it's all like wow. So if you aren't being wowed above and getting saturation happy, and it is okay to admit if you are, then you do need to calibrate.

Something else I discovered while doing the may photo challenge. I'd mentioned that I had updated my software from PSE 2 to 10 and got Lightroom/Nik.. so I was trying things out then while I was shooting daily. Anyway I found that if I processed in LR and then exported to PSE.. when I finished what I wanted to do in PSE which was generally re-sizing for the most part but an occasional clone/heal.. and I went to save the image, all the adjustments that I had made short of the obvious re-size seemed to.. vanish. I uploaded to SC several times, I remember the "In the Kitchen" gave me fits because the vegetables in my fridge were all washed out, I kept seeing vivid in the software, I saw vivid when I saved and in the folder, and when I uploaded it.. washed out. My circuitous route past this was to export out of LR and then open in PSE.

Now I know this was happening because of however PSE was compressing the tiff file that LR sent to it.. and there is probably a way to set that up properly.. but if you still have washout issues after you calibrate, be mindful of how you are saving things when you process them, double check that there isn't some adjustment you should be making or a box you should be checking.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
I need to learn more about all of this stuff. I just read several articles about the relationship between exposure and saturation. A lot of stuff I understood and a lot I didn't. And most of it I wasn't even bothering to pay attention to even if I knew it. I like the colors better in the 2nd shot, but it looks out of gamut and oversaturated (which could very well be my garbage laptop screen). I think you should advance with caution regarding the delete button and be sure you're not just enjoying the new more for its' newness. Have you calibrated your new screen? Also, it may be useful to view histograms while working on the images. I barely know how to use them myself, but it would be interesting to see if certain channels are clipping in the newest processing (and that may actually be desired if that's what you're going for).

I know you've made me give a little more thought to using RAW (which I almost never do), exposing to the right and spending more time in processing and trying my best to get it right instead of just rushing it out.

Keep us in the loop with your progress.
Luke, mate, you've hit on the very reason that saw me stroke my beard a little more vigorously, tug on my bib-n-brace, shoulder the scythe and move back to film.

If I continued with digital then I'd need a new CPU, monitor, pad, software, calibration tools, printer, IIC profiles, etc., etc. Then I got to thinking who and what are the output for? Flickr? Getty? Magnum? Nope just me and my intimate own. And with that it's the printed image that's most important. So it got me to thinking that I can get me a good deal on enlargers, trays, chemicals, etc., and play mad scientist in the dark. Then my biggest challenge will be colour, doing colour chemically. :eek:

Digital photography is so instant but seems to perpetually need peripherals!

But I suppose I'm a make hay while the sun shines sorta guy. :blush:
 

flash

Veteran
May 6, 2011
103
Gordon
Sue,

Without being harsh... Any screen, regardless of price is pretty much useless without hardware calibration. It mat be sharper, cleaner and more detailed, but you have no idea how the colours are being mapped compared to the known standard. And the biggest problem is in the saturated areas that are at the edges of the displays gamut. It's the deep greens and blues that are going to shift on an uncalibrated system. You're only going to have to do them again when you start using a puck.

Secondly SRGB is not a hardware profile. It is a working space (ie: software defined). There may be a canned profile about the same size as the sRGB working space. Unfortunately that maens that every device with an "sRGB profile" is going to display things slightly differently as the device tries to map the sRGB working space to it's own capabilities. And even then a device needs to becalibrated to show accurate colours.

sRGB is a relatively small colour space in modern times and cannot display any where near the deep saturted colours that your camera can capture, your display can show and your printer can print. Unless you are working for a purely web based end result (where sRGB dominates) you need to get out of the sRGB working space and start doing your fine art stuff in a more suitable space. Part of the reason you're having trouble getting the deepest, most staurated colours to be properly displayed is that you'e working in a colour space to small to show them and in an uncalibrated space whice is, by definition, unpredictable. If you're not going to do this you'd be better off with a cheaper monitor and a puck, rather than an expensive one and no puck.

Colour management is not easy and it isn't fun. I spent a couple of years being frustrated in the early days of digital (pre Canon D30). Back then there was very little information and no hardware a consumer could afford. Now it's relatively easy and cheap to get a decent colour managed system, but you'll still need to have a solid colour management workflow to get truely top end results. The good news is once you have that in place it's easy to maintain and you'll have lots of confidence in your gear and images.

1. Get yourself a hardware calibrator for your screen. Print calibration is less neccessary now days as paper and printer manufacturers are providing some very good paper profiles. Better quality labs will also have print profiles you can use for external work.

2. Working spaces. If I were you and I wanted top end results I'd be working in a much larger working space and in 16 bit. If you were only outputting to the web then a small working space like sRGB is fine. But you're printing and there is lots more information that can be put on paper than can be seen on most cheap monitors. Even the iPad is better than most computer screens, including the MacBook Pro and iMac (which has an ips screen, just not a very good one). And even a $80.00 inkjet printer can print more colours. And since you're dealing with output devices that have different gamuts and carachteristics it leads us to the next thing which you'll need. And that is....

3. Soft proofing. You'll need it because you're outputting to different mediums. The file you send to the web will need to be slightly different to the file you send to print. And since paper and screens can't display an image exactly the same way you'll need to start interpreting what will be different. A noisy image on screen isn't neccessarily noisy in print, for example. I wouldn't be throwing away images based on your current setup. Since you have better than average monitor and will be working in a wide colour gamut, soft proofing will allow you to simulate those smaller spaces and optimise files for them, without chucking information away.

Do yourself a huge favour and get a hardware calibration system as soon as you can. I'd be more than happy to give you some time to get it installed and set up properly and answer any questions that come up (either here or by email/phone). I can't describe how much my output changed for the better, mainly in consistancy, once I installed, maintained and understood colour management.

Gordon
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Gordon's post. Like unless you're willing to turn into a color management guru, you're really just pissing into the wind. I should effing buy an old Polaroid.
That was the exact point of my missive mate.

You know this (my thoughts and conviction with film) all started when my printer 'shut' itself. It was a crappy one but it did little 6x4s OK - just barely OK mind. So I sent a bulk lot to a consumer camera place and the results were utter rubbish! So I sent the 'best' of them to a better and more expensive boutique mob and they turned out a more crisper level of rubbish. We toed-and-froed on email about why I didn't get what I wanted and it was the fault of my calibration and ICC profiles and...

It did my head in. I just want nice prints!!!!.:alcoholic:

But I have no printer, it doesn't have the right profiles, my computer's slow and crashes, the screen is too low resolution and isn't calibrated properly. So effectively I will not be able to make manifest my vision until I invest at least $3k in perpherials....and I only use this set-up for photos. So this is completely separate argument to whether I have the right camera from a UI and IQ perspective, let alone whether I have a little too excessive an amount of RAM to play Minesweeper...which all these things are good for other than browsing the web of course.:wink:

Then folks say Leica's too pricey! Well, shall we do the sums on their tried and true analog gear :dash2:

But I'm with you mate. Polaroids and a scanner. Hmmm...the thought has more merit than you realise.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
124
bart
I may be wrong here, and I don't mean to derail the thread, but isn't sRGB more suited to, for instance, skin tones than AdobeRGB, because it uses the same number of tones for a smaller gamut, leading to more nuanced differences in colours which lie inside the gamut?

Regarding screen quality, I recently changed from a Samsung N150 netbook to a Toshiba C670 netbook, and images have really come to life! Not only because of the much larger viewing size and resolution, but also due to much better contrast. The Toshiba, according to manufacturer specs, has a 500:1 contrast ratio screen (I read many reviews that raved about its screen quality, which is one of the main reasons I bought it). I can't find a reliable contrast ratio for the Samsung netbook, but I notice that, to get good blacks on the netbook, I had to darken the image so much that on my new laptop, many of my old photos have shadows that are way too dark. I also noticed this when I was using computers at my university. So apparently, the netbook's screen was pretty washed out! I still don't know how good the new screen is on colours (they seem a bit cooler now), but I hope to do something about that some day and find out what's what.

I've been thinking, shouldn't it be possible to come up with certain items that look the same all over the world, and use them for calibration? For instance coca cola can red, McDonald's M yellow etcetera, and find the sRGB values that should match those colours on a properly calibrated monitor, so other users would only have to collect those globally same-coloured items to see if their colours are correct?
 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
That's just depressing.
It really should not be depressing, because it is not all that complicated once you have it all set up. Without getting into the level of detail of Gordon´s excellent explanation, this is what works for me:

1. Make sure your monitor is calibrated with hardware calibration. I have the Spyder 4 Elite and it works wonderfully.
2. Set your black and white points as close as possible to 0.20cd/m2 and 90cd/m2 respectively. This you do during calibration using the calibrator's software.
3. I always work using the Adobe RGB working space. Since I process all my files from RAW using ACR and PS CS5, my ACR and PS are set up to Adobe RGB and 16 bit output.
4. At the printing stage, I always choose for Photoshop to manage colors. I also choose the appropriate printer profile for the paper I am using.

That's about it. Once you have your monitor correctly calibrated and your system correctly set up, printing is a breeze.

Cheers,

Antonio
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
OK.....Mark, Kristen and Antonio have talked me off the ledge. It's really only mildly frustrating to me. It's just a hobby. And it's not like I ever really print anything anyways (at least of consequence). So I'll continue puttering on totally uncalibrated and save my RAW for some time in the future when I may care to get my color space correct so that what I see on screen is what I get on a print.

In the meantime, I'll just keep soaking in all of your great works.....every last one of you.

Now it's time for a cocktail, I think.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
Thanks, Bob, I'm really beginning to realise the need for a calibrator. How often do you think it needs doing? I'm on the brink of rejoining the photography club in order to connect with others and the club has a Spyder I can borrow when the time comes.

Also I have a number of profiles, one downloaded, some built in, and one for my printer (didnt even realise Epson provided profiles, well done Epson) which is actually not too bad in terms of how the print comes out compared to whats on screen. Shame the printer itself is crap.
calibrating once a month is good, we calibrate everytime I shoot, but I have to admit I am either lazy or forgetful and usually calibrate every two months at home
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Now it's time for a cocktail, I think.
Great idea, just tipped past 1pm here so that's a civil enough hour to commence the inebriation process....surely! Not that fussy Luke, just make sure whatever it is has a little umbrella in it. I'm in that sort of mood right now :wink:

Chin chin :drinks:
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
..
Do yourself a huge favour and get a hardware calibration system as soon as you can. I'd be more than happy to give you some time to get it installed and set up properly and answer any questions that come up (either here or by email/phone). I can't describe how much my output changed for the better, mainly in consistancy, once I installed, maintained and understood colour management.

Gordon
Gordon, thank you so much for your lengthy and very helpful post. Its actually clarified a lot in my mind (not the least of which is borrowing that Spyder ASAP)... but also giving me a bit more comprehension of the difficulties in managing colour. I'll keep working on a) understanding and b) getting it right. FYI My old iMac did not have an IPS screen, it was the mid 2007 20" and was widely known to be a fairly rubbish screen by comparison with the 24" and any since then.
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
It really should not be depressing, because it is not all that complicated once you have it all set up. Without getting into the level of detail of Gordon´s excellent explanation, this is what works for me:

1. Make sure your monitor is calibrated with hardware calibration. I have the Spyder 4 Elite and it works wonderfully.
2. Set your black and white points as close as possible to 0.20cd/m2 and 90cd/m2 respectively. This you do during calibration using the calibrator's software.
3. I always work using the Adobe RGB working space. Since I process all my files from RAW using ACR and PS CS5, my ACR and PS are set up to Adobe RGB and 16 bit output.
4. At the printing stage, I always choose for Photoshop to manage colors. I also choose the appropriate printer profile for the paper I am using.

That's about it. Once you have your monitor correctly calibrated and your system correctly set up, printing is a breeze.

Cheers,

Antonio
Thanks for your input too, Antonio, very helpful, esp with regard to the specifics of what you do.
 

flash

Veteran
May 6, 2011
103
Gordon
Gordon's post. Like unless you're willing to turn into a color management guru, you're really just pissing into the wind. I should effing buy an old Polaroid.
It shouldn't be depressing. It's just like learning any other photographic technique. You need to learn the craft to get the most out of the art. Just as when you learn about exposure, light and DOF you get to be able to produce the images you had in your mind in camera, learning a little bit about gamut, bit depth and profiles allows you to get the prints you envision. You learn it and if you keep using it it becomes second nature.

I'm no colour management guru. Andrew Rodney and guys loke him are the real "gurus". They're on a whole other level. I've read, extensively, papers and discussions by the real gurus and I get about 20% of it. However that 20% is enough for 90% of the colour management any photographer needs and 100% of what I need. I may know a little more than some as I was trying to set up a colour managed workflow when the Kodak DCS 760 was released and from scanned film. Then you did need to learn about writting scripts and profiles and a colorimeter was $2-3K. Then yu need to write a script to get it to work with the software you had.

Nowdays all you need is a mid range puck for a hundred dollars or so. And the whole profiling package is automatic and takes a few minutes. All the major OS's are colour management enabled by default. It's interesting that we'll spend a grand on a marginally better lens but we won't drop a hundred on a spyder. Especially when 90% of all photographic output is via a computer. We'll spend days exploring focus stacking but we won't try and absorb the single A4 page of information you need to understand the basics of colour management. In a couple of hours you can be producing consisitantly superior prints.

The consistancy of production of modern printers and papers means you don't need to but a paper profiler any more unless you're using some very weird papers. It's one peice of hardware an automated piece of software, some simple information and a slightly modified workflow.

Not employing colour management does NOT mean you can't get great output. It just means it's far more difficult to get CONSISTANTLY great out put. Colour management eliminated variables which makes problem solving a whole lot easier when it comes to issues with colour and output.

Sue has shown that she wants something more from her images than many. It's a matter of what"good enough" means for any individual. But the original query is directly related to colour management and without it she will continue to be frustrated.With it she'll get a fatsre, easier and more predictable output.

Gordon
 

thekeddi

Top Veteran
Aug 15, 2011
68
South Australia
Blimey!!! this has made my head spin!

I figure for myself that unless I am making a nice living from my photography then I'll just be happy with what I think it looks like and not worry about all the new screens and such. I have my macbook air and iPad for doing photos on and that's enough.

If I like them at the time that's enough for me, They are not unusable by any means.

Sure if that's your thing to get it right according to calibration then cool! but most people who do look at online stuff don't have anything near calibrated monitors or laptops.

PS, I am saving for the retina macbook pro for my photos tho, so maybe everything I just said is meaningless, :)
 

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