Profiling & Calibrating CRT and LCD monitors - HashOut
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Profiling & Calibrating CRT and LCD monitors

Yesterday I discussed the importance of profiling computer monitors in order to get optimum printing results. Today let us look at the ways to get your CRT and LCD monitors profiled and calibrated.

The simplest way to profile your monitor is using Photoshop. If you are using Photoshop version 5.0 and above it comes packaged along with Adobe Gamma which can profile your computer monitor. However this isn't the best solution as it is too subjective and prone to user error.

The scientific way to get your monitor profiled is using a monitor-profiling package and a spyder - a tiny device that when attached to your screen works with the software to calibrate and profile your monitor. It produces objective settings for black point, white point and gamma as well as color balance. These packages are available for around US $300 and can save you a lot of time and money in producing accurate, reliably consistent prints.

How they work?

The spyder is plugged into a USB port and the software is installed and run. The software then asks to attach the spyder to the screen (or hold it in place). Once it is in place the program then proceeds to flash a series of colors for several minutes. The spyder reads these colors and informs the software of what it's seeing. The program then calibrates your monitor and creates a Profile based on this information. This profile is simply a text file which describes how your monitor displays various colors.

What to look for when buying a monitor-profiling package?

Before you set out to buy a monitor-profiling package, read this "open letter to monitor profiling software manufacturers" by Ethan Hansen which will help you get the right monitor-profiling package suitable for your job.

Is there anything more that needs to be done after calibrating and profiling my monitor?

Once you have calibrated and profiled your monitor, you need to set up Photoshop to work properly. Computer Darkroom has some must read comprehensive tutorials by Ian Lyons that will help you get all the settings right in Photoshop 5, 6, 7 and CS (a.k.a. version 8).

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