Color Management for Photographer: Monitor Calibration, Part 2

For those of you who missed the previous article, I’m actually doing a series of articles about color management. In the first part, I explained the theory of monitor calibration. I also covered how the software works with a monitor calibrator and how ICC loads the monitor profile in the operating system.

Just before the actual calibration, the software will ask you to set targets for gamma and white point or color temperature. The gamma settings you choose will be the basis to set your brightness and contrast while the color temperature will correct the rendered white point of the monitor.

Monitor calibration target white point copy

Monitor calibration target white point copy

Gamma settings are used based on the encoding of the operating system to display an image. In cameras, this is calculated as dynamic range. How much highlight and shadows will be displayed based on the limitation of a human eye can perceive.

Mac computers often use 1.8 as standard gamma while Windows uses 2.2. Make sure to set this correctly when before calibrating. Once the brightness and contrast is set, you’ll move to adjusting your white point. Your target color temperature will be the basis in this stage. Typically, the target options are 5000K and 6500K. This is the same unit used in setting you white balance in your camera.

At this stage, the monitor calibrator will help you achieve your target white point by asking you to adjust your monitor color temp settings until the value read is nearest to your target value. The unit of measure of this temperature is measured in kelvin degrees. The higher the values, the bluer it becomes and warmer or yellow on the opposite side.

Onced the gamma values and color temperature is at its closest, your monitor is now ready to be profiles. Profiling is the process of knowing how the monitor renders colors. The only way to know this is to send preset colors to the monitor, read the displayed color using a calibrator or colorimeter and compare the result from the sent values.

The value and the differences will then be processed and saved under a file format named ICC. The format was taken from the international color consortium who established the color standards for all devices. The ICC generated will be saved and loaded in your operating system.

A typical monitor would keep an accurate color for about a month depending on the built of the device. For color sensitive projects, calibrating your monitor every month is recommended. Otherwise, quarterly intervals would be enough for standard use.

Monitor calibrator would range between P5,000 to P15,000. Try checking these devices at Macys in A.S. Fortuna, PRG Photoshop in Baseline or from F8 in Gorordo cor Rosal Street. Keep on shooting everyone!

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