ou’re headed to the beach andbring along your laptop with theintention of doing some work color-correcting images for output to yourlarge format printer. You figure — hey,it’s a beautiful, warm, sunny day, why not catch some rays while I’m working? You arrive at the beach and pull your Armani sunglasses out of your Guccibag, pop ’em on your head and shuffletoward the dunes. You set up yourbeach chair and umbrella, smear onthe sunscreen, pour out a cool piñacolada from your thermos, launch Adobe Photoshop
and start hittingthe keys. What’s wrong with this scene? Aside from the possibility of gettingsand in your piña colada and sunscreenon your keyboard, there are someserious consequences with trying to docolor adjustments in the beach work-space environment.First, intense sunshine provides way too much ambient light for good colorcorrection. It reduces the brightnessand contrast of what you see on-screen. You’ll barely be able to see the image.Furthermore, sunglasses filter thecolors that your monitor displays. No,everyone knows that the beach is notthe ideal location to perform color cor-rections.However, it’s almost as bad as per-forming color corrections on an un-calibrated monitor!
STABLE AND OPTIMIZED
Calibration is the ground zero of color management. A monitor that hasbeen stabilized and optimized will dis-play a screen image that can beadjusted with confidence. AdobePhotoshop comes with software thatlets you analyze the hardware charac-teristics of your monitor. This software, Adobe Gamma, which is accessedthough the Color Management assis-tant in the Help menu in Photoshop, will set the characteristics of your mon-itor with only limited accuracy becausethe adjustment is based on
ability to see color variations. The human eyeis an excellent optical device; however,the possibility of different interpreta-tions can effect the accuracy of themeasurement.If you are interested in a more accu-rate system you might consider using acolorimeter, such as the PhotoCal mc7made by Color Vision, priced ataround $300. A colorimeter, is aninstrument intended to measureradiant energy emitted, transmitted,absorbed, or reflected under controlledconditions.I found the system to be compact,accurate and user friendly. It is availablefor both Windows and Macintoshenvironments. It comes with a hard- ware device that attaches to your screenthat measures the temperatures of itsphosphors.The software component, calledPhotocal, presents an interface that walks you step by step through the cal-ibration process and uses the hardwaremeasurements to write a custom RGBprofile for optimum display.
The first step is to turn your monitoron at least one half-hour prior to cali-bration to allow the colors of the mon-itor to stabilize. After you’ve installed the Photocalsoftware, you can access the interface
Ground Zero: Color Calibration
Color Calibration with the Photocal colorimeter.
Select monitor from the Photocal folder to begin the Calibrationprocess.
Photocal’s Gamma selection window.