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Calibrating and Profiling the Display

The only truly effective way to calibrate and profile a display is to use a colorimeter or spectrophotometer. It is possible to buy a good colorimeter along with the necessary software package for under $250.

When you consider how much you might be prepared to spend on camera lenses, it really is not worth spending any less than $1,000 on the combination of a good quality display plus calibration package. It is possible to spend a lot more on a professional calibration kit that also allows you to measure color samples and build print profiles. But if

all you want to do is to calibrate and profile the display, these devices do not offer any significant advantages over what a basic colorimeter device can do, although some software packages can help you build better profiles using the same basic hardware profiling kit.

There are two stages to the profiling process. The first step is to calibrate the display to optimize the display output (Figure 1). The second is to measure various color patches on the screen with a calibrator.

Figure 1

Figure 1 I prefer to use the Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Photo to calibrate the display I use at work.

These calibrated patches are the source from which a profile can be built. On a CRT display there are often buttons or dials that allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast of the monitor and possibly some color controls that will allow you to set different white points and adjust the color output. These can be adjusted during the calibration process so as to optimize the performance and neutralize the display before making the profile measurements. Most LCD displays have only a brightness control that adjusts the luminance of the backlight

on the screen and that's it. So when running through the preliminary calibration steps, there is nothing you can adjust, other than the brightness, and you simply skip the steps where you are unable to make any adjustments to the display output.

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