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For those who want to get the best color out of their digital imaging endeavors
When it comes to any form of communication where color is as important as the content, Pantone is the standard color language to which graphic designers, print professionals, publishers, and almost all other industries turn to for accurate color reproduction. There is no other standard. The company, which offers tools primarily to the professional graphics market, has brought a colorimeter to the masses with a new product that is designed to assist those aspiring photographers and other digital imaging enthusiasts in obtaining accurate color from their digital images. The notion of calibrating a monitor has previously remained in the domain of graphic designers and others in the creative community who absolutely must have an accurate representation of colors transfer over to their printed documents.
Pantone is targeting the ColorPlus colorimeter to those who have a digital camera, those who want to reproduce color photos, those who want to get the best color out of their digital imaging endeavors, and anybody who is tired of looking at dim monitors with a color cast. The ColorPlus is a Windows-based hardware color sensor that calibrates CRT, LCD, and notebook displays to ensure accurate color representation. It is comprised of software and a hardware colorimeter that hangs from an LCD or notebook display, and is attached to a CRT via suction cups. Connection to the computer is via USB.
The ColorPlus ships with the USB Colorimeter, the ColorPlus calibration software, QuickStart Guide and manual on CD, and Adobe Photoshop Album standard edition.
The Calibration Process
Digital designers such as graphic artists, digital imagers, and CAD specialists calibrate their displays in an effort to ensure that the color representation on the projects that they work on are accurately reflected on the final project, be it viewed on the display or print. Because CRT and LCD displays are made of components that eventually wear out, and fade and deteriorate over time, the color output by the display eventually gets out of whack. This is where the importance of calibrating the display comes into focus. ColorPlus is designed to help mitigate the issues mentioned above by making adjustments to your display to ensure accurate color representation. It calibrates by automatically correcting via its preset profile;
- The display's contrast and perceived color saturation Gamma corrections
- The display's White point or color temperature
- Contrast and Brightness, which is also known as Luminance Targeting
After the software determines what values the display's characteristics are, it then calibrates the display with the color hardware sensor and software. One of the benefits to calibrating your monitor is the profile that the ColorPlus generates is compatible with ICC aware applications, so you can work in your favorite ICC aware imaging application with the assurance that your colors are correct.
How it Works
Calibrating your display with ColorPlus is very straightforward. After you install the ColorPlus monitor calibration software, the software prompts you to adjust the display to the factory default settings using the controls on the monitor. The software then prompts you to hang the colorimeter in the upper portion of the display that coincides with a color box within the software's interface. On an LCD display, you can adjust the colorimeter's location via the LCD Baffle, a plastic enclosure, cable and fly hook that is attached to the colorimeter. The other end of the cable is weighted down. This end of the cable hangs on the other side of the LCD as a counterweight.
If you are calibrating a CRT display, you need to use the CRT baffle, which is a rubber foot that attaches to the back of the colorimeter. This, coupled with the suction feet on the colorimeter housing, enables you to attach the colorimeter to the CRT. After you do this, the software runs through a series of steps, where it analyzes the different colors and shades of colors that appear in the box. The entire calibration process, from the time you attach the colorimeter to the time it takes to get the before and after selection, where the software shows you how the monitor displayed colors before calibration and how it displays colors after calibration is approximately 12 minutes. After I ran the test on a 19-inch FPD1830 Gateway LCD display, the last screen enables you to see how your display looked before calibration and after calibration. There were slight variations between the two different looks of the display, with calibration showing more realistic flesh tones in the image. Calibrating a CRT involves a bit more tweaking of the display's settings. You need to set contrast, brightness, and adjust luminances. With the monitor I tried to calibrate, a five year old, 19-inch HP display, the calibration didn't achieve the results I was looking for. The images remained washed out, as was the case before calibration. In this case, I believe the display is already beyond any help the ColorPlus can offer due to its age and well used condition.
That is it and you are done. It is really a quite simple process to achieve accurate color. The company recommends that you calibrate your display twice a month for professional use and once a month for home use. Pantone recommends that you calibrate your display if you make any changes to the display's brightness, contrast, or any other changes.
The Pantone ColorPlus is priced at $119. For a limited time the price is $99. For more information, visit, www.pantone.com
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org