Free Monitor calibration software for you all!
Ok, what the heck am I talking about you will say?
Well, it's very simple. If you work with photography or digital art you are going to either PRINT (e.g. magazines, comic books ) or DISPLAY your result on screen (e.g. websites, ebooks).
But perhaps you have noticed that when you compare what you see on the screen with the print-outs of your home-printer the colours are different.
This is because all devices (printers, other screens) "speak" a different language", so to say. To solve this problem, we need a "standard language" for all devices. And this is provided by a monitor calibration software.
And because they are expensive you might look for a free monitor calibration software.
So the aim is make that what you see is EXACTLY what you pass on to another device (printers, other screens)
At the moment (8 October 2010) I only found this third RELIABLE party monitor calibration software for free by pantone (beta release). Pantone is offering the final release for free too to those who apply for testing.
The other only way to calibrate your monitor for free is using the already installed calibration tools that you might have (MACs have it, my Windows VISTA doesn't have it) and check by trial and error to calibrate it manually and compare it with your home-printer result. You can use the picture below for the purpose.
2 December 2010
Here above is a picture for testing provided free from Adobe. Download the larger file here!
Otherwise, you need to buy calibration hardware and "profiles".
Ok, but with some minor problems on a MAC
"... easy to use and learn product."
"I was having trouble seeing shadow details on both my monitors...."
For fine art printing. Colour calibration learning curve!
It's of paramount importance to decide if you want to work for printing or for screen-display because the files in ( Photoshop for instance) need to be in a different format:
The difference is visible. With RGB if you add the primary colours red, blue and green you get white (addictive) , with CMYK you get black (subractive)
Here is a practical example:
When you open a new document in Photoshop you can decide to have the file in 8 or 16 bits.
This means how many colors there will be in the picture and there is ' a mathematical logic behind it: 8 bit in computer language translates into 256.
8 bit means 256 Reds, 256 Green and 256 Blue (RGB mode) which gives you 256! = 16.8 millions possible colors
16 bit means 512 Reds, 512 Green and 512 Blue (RGB mode) which gives you 512! = 281 trillions of color combinations
Usually 8 bit is fine but for professional editing of images( e.g. using the Levels Adjustmentst) the 16 bit is better because you can altered colors back and forth, and use layers levels and gradients without loosing pixels and finesse. However, the size of the image will be higher and you need top performing computers to handle this quantity of data.
In case you want to learn more about monitor calibration, I bought this excellent DVD a couple of years ago and I recommend it. It deals with PHOTOGRAPHY and how to go from "camera to print".
But I stopped following this path because:
I bought myself a second-hand Nikon D70 with second hand lenses (for the price of an average pocket digital camera) and I don't feel I need more. The camera is excellent. It doesn't have video capacities and in this older model you can't look through the LCD screen before taking a picture but you do it the old way, with your eye through the viewer (so what? The batteries also take advantage and last longer!). And for the movies, you enter a field which needs a lot of computer power and it's very time consuming.Thank you but no thank you.
(PS: in my Adobe CS5 article you can see that Adobe addressed exactly this very problem with video)
To print your work, you might want to know the print stability and preservation of the ink and printer you are using.
A good resource is the Wilhelm-Research website