Confused with calibration

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matt_matt_matthew New Member • Posts: 13
Confused with calibration

Trying to wrap my head around an issue i have with calibrating my monitor, I'm an artist and have started again to print my own prints of my work to sell instead of sending to a lab. I have a Macbook Air and an Epson P700, i thought i'd try out a spyderx pro to see what the calibration would look like on my macbook, it changed so much that colours actually look like different colours. I understand that the macbook is by no means a high end monitor to be calibrating, and i've weighed up all the pros and cons of lab vs home printing, i don't have a problem with understanding that side of things. When i've printed in the past i've always been quite successful with the hard proofing method and trying to match print to screen with trial and error, and really enjoy having full control.

The majority of customers i get probably don't have a calibrated screen, and by analytics a lot of my online store gets hits on mobiles and tablets. If i look at my work on my uncalibrated macbook, ipad, or any phone, the colours are pretty similar, in the same 'ballpark', you would say reds look like reds.

As an experiment i edited an image once i calibrated the macbook screen and then looked at it on my phone and tablet and it was just totally different, like the reds you would say were closer to green and so on.

If i were to calibrate my macbook (dramatic change) or buy a higher standard monitor and edit my work on that, will that then make my work appear correct to me but wrong on my customers uncalibrated monitors, phones and tablets? Or is the calibration of the macbook just way off and completely wrong and macbooks can't really be calibrated properly?

Thanks in advance.

panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,615
Re: Confused with calibration
2

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

Trying to wrap my head around an issue i have with calibrating my monitor, I'm an artist and have started again to print my own prints of my work to sell instead of sending to a lab. I have a Macbook Air and an Epson P700, i thought i'd try out a spyderx pro to see what the calibration would look like on my macbook, it changed so much that colours actually look like different colours. I understand that the macbook is by no means a high end monitor to be calibrating, and i've weighed up all the pros and cons of lab vs home printing, i don't have a problem with understanding that side of things. When i've printed in the past i've always been quite successful with the hard proofing method and trying to match print to screen with trial and error, and really enjoy having full control.

The majority of customers i get probably don't have a calibrated screen, and by analytics a lot of my online store gets hits on mobiles and tablets. If i look at my work on my uncalibrated macbook, ipad, or any phone, the colours are pretty similar, in the same 'ballpark', you would say reds look like reds.

As an experiment i edited an image once i calibrated the macbook screen and then looked at it on my phone and tablet and it was just totally different, like the reds you would say were closer to green and so on.

If i were to calibrate my macbook (dramatic change) or buy a higher standard monitor and edit my work on that, will that then make my work appear correct to me but wrong on my customers uncalibrated monitors, phones and tablets? Or is the calibration of the macbook just way off and completely wrong and macbooks can't really be calibrated properly?

Thanks in advance.

The calibration of the macbook is just way off. Maybe the Spyder doesn't work properly.

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Panagiotis

Howard Moftich Veteran Member • Posts: 9,961
Re: Confused with calibration

Agreed. Does the Spyder allow you change the setting for the backlight type of the display?  Wrong backlight type can cause significant issues.

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OP matt_matt_matthew New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Confused with calibration

It does give you several options for the display, i've set it on standard LED as from looking it up i'm pretty sure thats what this macbook is, comparing the calibrated profile and factory profile i'd say its something to do with the white balance, calibrated profile seems to shift dramatically towards green. I've had better luck just using the advanced calibration assistant built in to the macbook but this is just calibrated by eye.

panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,615
Re: Confused with calibration

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

It does give you several options for the display, i've set it on standard LED as from looking it up i'm pretty sure thats what this macbook is, comparing the calibrated profile and factory profile i'd say its something to do with the white balance, calibrated profile seems to shift dramatically towards green. I've had better luck just using the advanced calibration assistant built in to the macbook but this is just calibrated by eye.

You can keep the calibration by your eye and let the Spyder do the profiling only to see if that works better.

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Panagiotis

jrkliny
jrkliny Veteran Member • Posts: 4,328
Re: Confused with calibration

I have calibrated several monitors.  The change is minimal.  The biggest issue is often screen brightness which needs to be dialed back for a monitor used for post processing.  The color changes should be subtle with the overall warmth of the colors increased modestly.

The second consideration is color space.  When posting to the internet you need to post in sRGB color space.

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Howard Moftich Veteran Member • Posts: 9,961
Re: Confused with calibration

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

It does give you several options for the display, i've set it on standard LED as from looking it up i'm pretty sure thats what this macbook is, comparing the calibrated profile and factory profile i'd say its something to do with the white balance, calibrated profile seems to shift dramatically towards green. I've had better luck just using the advanced calibration assistant built in to the macbook but this is just calibrated by eye.

What are the options it gives you and what exact model Macbook do you have ?

And what values (target #s) are you setting in the software?  Temperature, contrast ratio, brightness?

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dmiller62 Contributing Member • Posts: 621
Re: Confused with calibration

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

It does give you several options for the display, i've set it on standard LED as from looking it up i'm pretty sure thats what this macbook is, comparing the calibrated profile and factory profile i'd say its something to do with the white balance, calibrated profile seems to shift dramatically towards green. I've had better luck just using the advanced calibration assistant built in to the macbook but this is just calibrated by eye.

That's the wrong setting. All modern MacBooks (Pro and Air) have wide gamut P3 displays. Unless you have an extremely old MacBook Air, you should be using the "Wide LED" setting.

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OP matt_matt_matthew New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Confused with calibration

It's an early 2015 model, i've experimented with different options but i can only see gamma, brightness and colour temp to change.

I usually leave everything recommended gamma 2.2, brightness around 120 cd/m2 and colour temp 6500, but have tried various and all coming up with a horrible green cast as the result.

Someone just mentioned i may have the wrong screen type set, i'll try a different one and see if that helps. As i say i wasn't sure if calibrating a screen should just 'tweak' and make slight shifts, where as the results i'm getting make everything green.

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,980
Re: Confused with calibration

1. Most uncalibrated displays have a distinctive blue bias. So yes you may see a dramatic color shift from blue towards yellow/red.

2. The primary purpose of monitor calibration is to make sure what you see on your monitor matches your print.

3. Most people live in an uncalibrated world and will definitely see your colors differently than what you see on your calibrated monitor and there's nothing you can do about it. Even if you don't calibrate your monitor you still can't be certain that you will now see what others are as each monitor will have a different uncalibrated look.

4. You must have a calibrated monitor even if you have your photos printed elsewhere as all printing services use a calibrated workflow.

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dmiller62 Contributing Member • Posts: 621
Re: Confused with calibration
1

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

It's an early 2015 model, i've experimented with different options but i can only see gamma, brightness and colour temp to change.

1a. An early 2015 MacBook Air doesn't have a wide gamut display. (I looked it up). They didn't add wide gamut P3 to the Air until 2018. So in SpyderX software, the proper choice would be Standard LED (see #3 below), because it's going to be a standard gamut LED display with an LED backlight.

1b. An early 2015 MacBook Air also doesn't have a "great" display, particularly in comparison to other Macbook Pros of the same era, and even more in comparison to both Pros and Airs of the past few years. The early model Airs had standard gamut displays (sRGB) that weren't as bright as the Pros (to save battery life; thinner Air had less battery) and which also suffered much more from color shift due to change in angle of view. With an Air (and also with the Pro, but to a much lesser extent), you need to be looking "straight at" the display to see the best possible color. Tilting the display up and down and maintaining your head and eye position would prove that to you. (Sensors used to measure and calibrate the screen are always looking at it "flush on", but in the real world, the tilt of the screen with respect to your physical viewpoint changes that.

1c. Are you sure that you're using a SpyderX, rather than an earlier Spyder5 or Spyder4?

SpyderX software always provides a choice of backlight setting, there's a user interface specifically designed for that, with the choices being: Wide LED (the default); Standard LED; General; and GB-LED. Spyder5 (and the earlier Spyder4) software doesn't provide that choice.

I usually leave everything recommended gamma 2.2, brightness around 120 cd/m2 and colour temp 6500, but have tried various and all coming up with a horrible green cast as the result.

Shouldn't happen. Make sure the sensor is flush and snug up against the screen. (I'm trying to anticipate what tech support would tell you if you opened a ticket).

One thing that would be critically important (more so with newer Apple laptops) is to make sure that automatic brightness and color adjustment is turned OFF in System Preferences:Displays. On recent Mac laptops, which have built-in ambient light sensors, you can turn on TrueTone (as with modern iPads) to adjust the color temperature of the screen automatically, to more closely match the color of ambient light in the room. For a calibrated screen, you want to turn this OFF. Even older laptops will likely have an automatic brightness adjustment. Turn that off, too, at least when you're measuring and calibrating. ALSO, in System Preferences:Accessibility:Display, there are additional controls that affect color on the screen, all of which should be turned OFF for a calibrated display, and there's a Display Contrast slider which should be set to Normal.

Also make sure that you're running the latest software. (Versions 5.7 for SpyderX and Spyder5; Spyder4 is 4.5.9 and is no longer supported or updated)

Someone just mentioned i may have the wrong screen type set, i'll try a different one and see if that helps. As i say i wasn't sure if calibrating a screen should just 'tweak' and make slight shifts, where as the results i'm getting make everything green.

It "should" just be a slight tweak, although more so on an older Air. Typically, the color temperature of Mac laptops is too high, in the 7000's, and calibrating to 6500K will warm the screen up slightly. But this wouldn't result in a greenish cast.

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Datacolor

Charles2
Charles2 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,500
Re: Confused with calibration

You might try an external monitor, perhaps a friend's monitor known to be calibratable without problems. Does the same thing happen?

If you sell enough prints, you could then get your own.

OP matt_matt_matthew New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Confused with calibration

Thanks for all the info it's much appreciated. Still can't seem to get a correct looking calibration on the Air after checking all the options are what they should be.

I can't see it being that the Air 'factory calibration' is so far off that in fact the new calibration that looks so wrong to my eyes is in fact correct, because when i edit an image with the new calibration and then transfer that image to my phone or tablet it just looks horrendous and nothing like what it's supposed to be. Which would mean the majority of people browsing my prints online would be seeing an image nothing like the hard print.

I understand that the Air screen really isn't a good choice for editing but i'm happy with 'hard proofing' if i cant get the calibration correct for just now until i get a decent external monitor.

dmiller62 Contributing Member • Posts: 621
Re: Confused with calibration
1

matt_matt_matthew wrote:

Thanks for all the info it's much appreciated. Still can't seem to get a correct looking calibration on the Air after checking all the options are what they should be.

I can't see it being that the Air 'factory calibration' is so far off that in fact the new calibration that looks so wrong to my eyes is in fact correct, because when i edit an image with the new calibration and then transfer that image to my phone or tablet it just looks horrendous and nothing like what it's supposed to be. Which would mean the majority of people browsing my prints online would be seeing an image nothing like the hard print.

I understand that the Air screen really isn't a good choice for editing but i'm happy with 'hard proofing' if i cant get the calibration correct for just now until i get a decent external monitor.

Let's try this - I'll put on a quick "tech support" hat. Send me an email at dmiller@datacolor.com and we can go back and forth a little to see what's going on.

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David Miller
Manager/Lead Developer, Consumer Graphics Software
Datacolor

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