Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts

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    Topic: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts Read 152 Times
  • Jonathan Cross
    Jonathan Cross
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    Computers & Displays
    on: March 12, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I have just watched the excellent video of soft-proofing.  I have queries which may have been answered in earlier videos in this series, so sorry if they have.

    The comment was made that the screen should be calibrated with a hardware ‘puck’.  I have an 24″ M1 Mac Desktop about 7 months old and a Canon Pro-300 pigment printer about 2 months old.  On an Apple website it says that my screen should not need calibrating.  Do people agree?  If not, I have read that it can be quite difficult to calibrate this screen, so how do I proceed?  What is a suitable calibrator for this screen?

    In the Mac System Preferences/Displays, I can select a color profile, currently set to iMac.  I am aware that LR Classic uses Prophoto.  (I prefer LR to PS for most of my processing, but do have the latest versions of both.) So should I set the color profile in Displays to Prophoto?  I am also aware that printers cannot print the full Prophoto gamut, so how does softproofing cope with this.  Should I set my screen to a different gamut such as Adobe RGB when soft-proofing?  When printing, I often use the Canon Print and Layout plug-in rather than the Print module in LR and have profiles for my papers.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan

     

     

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 274
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #1 on: March 12, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    NEVER set your display for an RGB Working Space! Those are divorced by design from the display and are made for editing your images. Your display should be calibrated for a goal as calibration is placing a device into a desired and repeatable condition. IF you print, you’ll want a display calibration that matches the print while soft proofing.

    This may help:

    Why are my prints too dark?
    Why doesn’t my display match my prints?
    A video update to a written piece on the subject from 2013
    In this 24 minute video, I’ll cover:

    Are your prints really too dark?
    Display calibration and WYSIWYG
    Proper print viewing conditions
    Troubleshooting to get a match
    Avoiding kludges that don’t solve the problem

    High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Why_are_my_prints_too_dark.mp4
    Low resolution: https://youtu.be/iS6sjZmxjY4

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Jonathan Cross
    Jonathan Cross
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #2 on: March 12, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks Andrew and for your point about RGB.  I have looked at your video.  I do not have any problem with my prints being too dark.  All our house lighting is LED at 4000K.  This is the best compromise for us between coolness and warmth.  I always process in LR with due regard to the histogram.  I guess what I am looking for is colour rendition between display and print.  In my Mac’s System Preferences/Displays the screen is set to ‘Automatically adjust brightness’ and ‘True Tone’.  Perhaps I am being too nit-picky.  It is just that I have invested in the computer and printer and want the best they can produce, and to make sure I am not doing anything stupid.  In practice I am reasonably happy with the results I have.  I do not wish to invest in a screen calibrator if it either won’t work or is difficult to work on my M1 screen, or will not make a noticeable difference.  I liked Jeff’s softproofing with different papers that I have to get the best for the image, and accept that there is subjectivity.

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan

     

     

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 274
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #3 on: March 12, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    I do not have any problem with my prints being too dark

    It’s more than about ‘dark‘, it is about calibration to match your soft proof.

    Setting any automatic adjustment for brightness or otherwise is a big mistake.

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Erik Brammer
    Erik Brammer
    Participant
    Posts: 180
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #4 on: March 20, 2022 at 2:29 am

    Hi Jonathan,

    yes, you will want to get a colorimeter. I use the Calibrite ColorChecker Display Plus with DisplayCAL (rather than the software that comes from Calibrite). Unfortunately my iMac 27” 2020 doesn’t offer RGB gain controls (and I doubt yours have them since iMac displays are purely controlled through Mac OS) but it is what it is. I have learned that the best screen luminance setting for where the prints hang in my house is 90 cd/m2.

    If Apple claim that the iMac monitor  doesn’t need calibration and profiling, this is complete nonsense.
    And as Andrew says, make sure to disable auto screen brightness, True Tone, Night Mode and all other such gimmicks.

    Best regards,

    Erik

    Jonathan Cross
    Jonathan Cross
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #5 on: March 21, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Hello Andrew and Erik,

    Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.  Following your suggestion, Erik, I contacted Calibrite.  I am happy with the default profile on my M1 iMac (Monterey) for non-photographic work, but would like the appropriate profile for softproofing.  I had seen in Settings/Displays that there are a list of profiles and that you can customise some settings.  I asked Calibrite if I got a puck and produced a profile, would it be added to the list of profiles in Settings/Displays, so I could switch from the default to theirs and vice versa.  They have replied,

    ‘Apple has decided to remove the ability to use System Preferences > Displays to select and/or switch the default display profile.

    They have replaced the usual display profile selection with a set of inbuilt presets. These cover different fixed white point and luminance levels together with custom options.
    <br style=”box-sizing: border-box;” />Our application is capable of creating a profile for the display but the operating system does not allow the profile to be set for the internal display.’
    They also supplied a long article on the Profiling Procedure for M1 MacBook Pro systems with the XDR Display.  My M1 desktop has a Liquid Retina screen but I cannot find if it is XDR, and think it is not.  Anyway it is all every complicated and they advise before starting on their procedure with the puck to make some initial settings through Settings/Displays including setting the Color Gamut to P3, white point to D65 and the SDR Transfer Function to Pure Power and 2.20 for the Gamma.  These should be the preset prior to using the puck.  A display profile made using their puck is only available through the Color Sync Utility, and this is where others are listed (but not it seems the default that I have in Settings/Displays).
    I am concerned that what they have sent me may not be quite right for my M1.  I do not want to spend money on a puck if won’t do the job for my setup.  I am quite happy with the print results if I ensure the histogram has a good distribution.  You comment in your video, Andrew, that there is subjectivity, so I will live with a bit more than perhaps I should, but remember to turn off Auto adjust brightness and True Tone before printing images !
    Thanks for your help.
    Jonathan
    Erik Brammer
    Erik Brammer
    Participant
    Posts: 180
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #6 on: March 21, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

     I can’t comment on your M1 iMac but on my iMac 27“ 2020 System Preferences -> Display running the latest Mac OS release still shows the profile dropdown and the latest profile I created in mid Feb 2022.
    I will create a new profile and let you know whether I face any issues selecting that profile.
    Best regards,

    Erik

    Erik Brammer
    Erik Brammer
    Participant
    Posts: 180
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #7 on: March 21, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    Just profiled and calibrated my monitor using DisplayCAL (rather than Calibrite’s ccProfiler), and it worked as usual: profile generated, installed and activated.

    So not sure which specific profiling software they are referring to and whether that alleged limitations only affect MacBook Pros or any M1 Macs in general, but thank god I am not affected by all this. I still have the dropdown for color profiles, and I can select profiles from the list, including the new one which I just created (actually it was already selected since DisplayCAL activated it).

    Best regards,

    Erik

    Jonathan Cross
    Jonathan Cross
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #8 on: March 22, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks Eric.  I am glad your calibration is working with the profile showing in Displays.

    I am finding it all rather confusing. I did have a problem with my Canon printer which has a plug-in “Canon Print and Layout’ for both LR and Photoshop.  It is very good, particularly for B&W in terms of the ink usage.  It worked fine in LR but did not appear in the plug-in list in Photoshop.  Canon were at a loss to know why.  It all got sorted when Adobe issued a minor bug fix update and the plug-in magically appeared.  I have looked at the DisplayCAL list of supported hardware and Calibrite does not appear, though some Xrite models do.     Until I know all the ducks are in a line, I am reluctant to spend money on a puck.  The paperwork that Calibrite has sent me is for MacBook Pro screens with the XDR display not an M1 iMac, and I am not at all sure my screen is XDR.  I need to be certain that the hardware and software will work on my machine, so I think I will sit on my hands for a while.

    I certainly appreciate your help and advice.

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan

     

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
    Gold Member
    Posts: 94
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #9 on: March 23, 2022 at 12:17 am

    So, to be clear, you seem to be conflating two separate actions; calibration and profiling…

    Calibration is adjusting the display, generally with the video LUTs to a known state of white point, gamma and luminance…profiling, which comes AFTER calibration is the act of measuring the white point, gamma and luminance and creating a profile that is used to describe the state of the display when profiled.

    In the old CRT days, calibrating and profiling was super critical…because CRTs drifted and changed with age. These days, todays LCD or LED displays are much more stable and potentially higher quality. To the extend that in many cases one doesn’t need to actually calibrate a display simply profile the state of the display.

    When I use my NEC display I don’t force a white point or gamma onto the display, I simply profile it at it’s native settings…I do measure the luminance I use 160 cd/m² as my base.

    And yes, I just recently profiled my M1 MacBook Pro 16″ running 12.3 (Monterey) and one doesn’t manually select the Display Color Profile anymore…but Photoshop DOES pick up the correct display profile which can be seen (but NOT set to) in Photoshop’s color settings. You still want ProPhoto RGB in 16 bit as your working space..

    BTW, I set the internal LCD to the Photography (P3-D65) preset and profiled that.

    Erik Brammer
    Erik Brammer
    Participant
    Posts: 180
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #10 on: March 23, 2022 at 1:50 am

    Jeff, certainly you are right: First calibration, then profiling. Don’t know why I mentioned it the other way around.

    Jonathan Cross
    Jonathan Cross
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    Re: Screen calibration, softproofing and color gamuts
    Reply #11 on: March 23, 2022 at 4:04 am

    Thank you, Jeff, for your input; the mist is clearing!  Embedded in my mind is probably a memory of long ago when I got involved with the army equipment calibration branch.  They were calibrating radios, which involved ensuring that they performed according to the settings – it was all just calibration.

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan

     

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