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The Eye One Design
A package of software to go with the Eye One Spectrophotometer
The Eye One spectrophotometer from GretagMacbeth is a sophisticated measuring device that can measure detailed spectral information from emissive sources (ambient light or a CRT/LCD display) or reflective sources (print samples or just about any coloured object)
It is available with different software options which enable different functionalities in the supplied software.
Eye One Design
GretagMacbeth provide a range of colour management hardware and software aimed at professional users.
The product that Keith looks at here is the 'Eye One Design' package, which offers monitor calibration, emissive and reflective source measurement and basic RGB/CMYK printer profiling.
We also have a review more advanced printer profiling in the Eye One Photo package elsewhere.
I've used a Spyder Pro colorimeter for calibrating and profiling monitors for some time and have been very happy with the results.
The equipment here is quite a step forward in capabilities (and price).
The 'Eye One Design' package provides a spectrophotometer and numerous accessories, pictured below with my Apple 15" G4 PowerBook prior to profiling it's screen.
If you are completely new to colour management I'd suggest you might like to have a look over my Introduction to colour management article and Spyder 2 Pro review on this site before going too much further into this review.
However, I have added links to articles and information on this site and others explaining some of the concepts mentioned here.
Photo contents from left to right
You also get a reflective target for profiling scanners, but since the software isn't included (it's an upgrade). I assume it's just there for marketing purposes ;-)
Since it is not included in the basic package I've done a separate review of Eye One Scanner Profiling.
Note - If you just want monitor profiling and ambient light measurement, there is the Eye One Display 2 package (reviewed here) which is a colorimeter (like the Spyder) and not the Spectrophotometer shown above. (Article on what the difference is between a Colorimeter and Spectrophotometer)
I often get asked for suggestions about learning more about the nuts and bolts of Colour Management.
My usual suggestion is Bruce Fraser's Real World Colour Management. My own copy is well thumbed. It's my first port of call if I'm asked a question and I feel I don't quite understand an issue well enough to be absolutely sure of an answer.
Check latest price/availability from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.ukRWCM 1st Edition RWCM
RWCM 2nd Edition RWCM
See some other books Keith has on the shelf, on our Books Page
There are two main aspects of getting your monitor set up correctly:
Firstly, how do you characterise the actual performance of the display. For example...
This is 'Profiling' your monitor
Secondly, making the monitor perform as a 'standard' device
This is 'Calibration'
It's worth remembering that you are actually measuring the whole monitor/display card combination, since some aspects of monitor display can depend on the capabilities of your video card.
Installing the software (Eye One Match) is a simple operation, and opening it up gets you to a common interface for printer and monitor profiling. It also shows more things your software can't do (without upgrades :-) as well.
Here, I've selected monitor profiling. You can pick an easy 'set it all up for me mode' or a more advanced set of options giving control over many more calibration parameters. There is useful help available throughout the process.
I've an example of using this software in advanced mode in my review of the Eye One Display 2 calibrator
Next I've selected my monitor type, in this case I'm profiling my laptop.
You need to calibrate the unit with the white patch in the base.
Sensor and calibration target
The LCD attachment device rests the sensor up against the screen. It usually helps to tilt the screen back a bit to get better contact.
Don't use the CRT attachment device (a big suction cup) with LCDs -- you will probably damage them.
The process takes a few minutes, so be careful to disable any screen saver that might cut in and ruin the calibration process. The screen should have been on for a while (at least 20 minutes) to stabilise.
At the end, you get a graphical representation of the LCD response curve and an indication of Gamut. The profile is calculated and you can save it and make it the default monitor profile.
Response and gamut for Apple 23" LCD Cinema display
Note the better response and larger gamut of the high quality Cinema Display. As I write this I'm using that 23" display and since the screen shots were captured in the screen colour space and converted to sRGB for this web article, the colours are more intense in the lower of the two pictures above.
The easy defaults I've accepted for my LCD monitors are 'Native' whitepoint and a gamma of 2.2
Advanced mode is shown below where you can pick more details about how you want your screen calibrated.
You also have the option of checking the ambient lighting in order to get a guide to the suitability of your lighting for comparing prints. There is a desk lamp near my own monitor which I checked (details below) -- you should be able to see why I keep it switched off most of the time I'm working :-)
When you check the ambient lighting in Eye One Match you need to calibrate the sensor for ambient lighting
and then check the lighting
The information is in a simple guide format. From the picture above you can see that the colour temperature of 4500K is within reasonable bounds (the green part of the bar graph), but working area is a bit bright at 136 Lux. The help panel explains more about these values and where they come from (article on ISO 6664 and viewing standards)
I've gone into some detail on printer profiles in the review of the ColorVision PrintFIX I've written, but essentially they are the translation between the image you want to print and the capabilities of the printer you are using. If the printer prints out greys a bit too blue, then the profile 'corrects' this to give an even neutral grey. You generate profiles by printing out coloured patches of known colour and then seeing what colours appear on the print. Software takes the measured values, compares them to what they should be and generates a profile. Of course, it can get a lot more complex than this in real life, and profile building is a skilled job needing plenty of patience. One of the nice features of the PrintFIX was how it automates this process and makes the generation of profiles quite simple. This software and hardware is considerably more expensive, so I was keen to see how it worked in the real world.
I should add that I'm just looking at the 'Easy' profiling process that you get with the Eye One design package. Some of the more detailed options are covered the review of Eye One Photo printer profiling.
Selecting the print profiling option brings up the reduced colour patch chart for 'Easy' profiling. This is quite a reduction on the 700+ patches of the PrintFIX solution. In general, the more patches you measure, the better the profile is...
...but it does depend on how the colours are chosen, measured and analysed by the profiling software.
The 'Easy' RGB target.
For a printer I picked my Hewlett Packard K80 fax/printer which is networked with a 'JetDirect' box and driven using the HPIJS drivers and the CUPS printing system on my Mac (OSX 10.3). The printer is not officially supported on the Mac by HP, but works a treat using the open source drivers (available here). I printed the pattern above using a setting of 'Photo - Photo paper' and some cheap (unbranded) photo paper that I had a pack of laying around.
After letting the print dry (this is important) I placed the guide template over the print and followed the instructions on the screen.
The software prompts you to make measurements, and will complain if a strip is not scanned correctly, so you can do it again.
The plastic guide ensures that you scan a single row of the target at a time.
Each row should be scanned in 4-5 seconds. It is important that you start and end each scan on plain paper.
Before long, I had a profile, which I saved with a suitable meaningful name (do remember this, and also to write down paper, ink and printer details).
I then printed a test image from within PhotoShop, setting the output as 'same as source' for the first non profiled print, and then printing with the new profile I'd created using perceptual rendering intent (more info on rendering intent and what it means).
I knew that the K80 was very prone to printing greys with a distinct cool blue tone, so I was not surprised with the first print.
Note. The pictures below are photos (in sRGB) of the actual prints viewed in daylight. The image is part of the Kodak Colour Management test kit I've reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Those icy cool greys were an inspiration for me to write an article a while ago on using PhotoShop curves to create good greyscales. Not a printer for my finer work!
The example below shows the results using the 'Easy RGB' profile
Not at all bad overall, but rather too much contrast. The shadows are blocked and the highlights burnt out.
A simple contrast (reduction) adjustment to the image before printing produced a much more pleasing result
For reference, I also photographed the test print, but bear in mind that this is a slightly darker paper and very glossy (hence the slight reflections, since I couldn't find where I'd left my polarising filter :-)
Notice the RHEM strip on the test print - this shows up bad lighting conditions (more info)
Note -- Thanks to Thomas Holm for reminding me that the RHEM strips are for visual use (ie looking at them by eye) and other devices (scanner, film, digital camera) may 'see' stripes where none are visible or vice versa.
Now, I'm not going to be using the K80 for exhibition quality prints, but that was pretty good for a small target patch number. The point was to take any old printer, with any old driver (actually very good) and see how the profile turned out.
With that done, I turned to ambient light and coloured patch measurement. This is handled from another software package called Eye One Share...
This is a different software package and brings together all the functionality of measuring light and coloured objects together. It offers mechanisms for saving sets of colours together and sharing them with others. Whereas Eye One Match felt comfortable for me as a photographer, this package is firmly aimed at the graphic design and printing industries.
This software is actually available for free download and I quote from GretagMacbeth
If you use it in conjunction with an Eye-One device you can:
The results are shown as part of the Eye One share interface
Pointing the device out of the window (blue sky, no direct sun) we get the following
The spectral response curve shows you a lot about your light source and is very useful in showing why not all light sources look the same and render colours in different ways (think yellow sodium streetlights for an extreme example)
The software also includes spectral data on several Pantone colour sets which can help you decide how they will change under different lighting conditions.
Very useful for checking out lighting conditions for prints. Although I check locations and alter print profiles use accordingly, it has always been a bit hit and miss - this could well be useful :-) If you use the much more expensive ProfileMaker Pro software then you can include the spectral information when building your profiles to allow for lighting. This however, is far beyond what we are discussing here...
The package reviewed here is the Eye One design. You can add modules as needed. When you need additional colour profiling functionality, you can purchase an access code for:
Note, this was the first of my Eye-One related reviews, written in 2005.
In subsequent years I've learnt a lot more about colour management, but I've left the articles as written.
Whilst I'd not suggest the 45 patch profile targets for serious profile generation, it does produce an improvement for many printers.
There are many more products in the market now, so do have a look on the main Reviews page for all the equipment and software we've looked at.
Oh and I still think the interface design of Eye One Share sucks ;-)
The monitor profiling is easy to use and produced excellent results. People are bound to ask how the profiles compared with my SpyderPro, and I'd say there was very little difference, slightly more difference on the laptop (but I wouldn't want to use a laptop for colour critical work anyway) The differences were minimal on the 23" Apple Cinema display - there was a slight difference, but without some detailed measurements I'd be hard put to quantify it.
The printer profiling greatly impressed me with both its ease of use and quality of profiles. I even tried it with plain photocopier paper on the K80 and it produced a real improvement (but with the enhanced contrast as in the examples in this review). If you want better quality printer profiling then you might want to consider the more expensive Eye One Photo package (Keith's review) although the design package does contain an upgrade voucher for special upgrade deals (check with your dealer for details)
Reviews: i1Pro 2 Basic - i1Pro 2 Photo
April 2010 X-Rite ship V1.0 of i1 Profiler - Full i1 Profiler reviews and information
May 2010 X-Rite annouce new profiling software for Q4 2010 - i1 Match and ProfileMaker Pro will be superseded by i1Profiler later in 2010. We have some notes and press info in the X-rite information section of the Northlight blog. For purchases after April 1st 2010 here will be free upgrades, along with other offers when the software is available.
Sept. 2008 X-Rite and the i1 range
From Sept. the range is simplified to two options. The functionality is the same as we have reviewed, but exactly what you get varies. As a result of this rationalisation, the i1Photo, i1Photo SG, i1Proof and i1XT have all been discontinued, and the i1 range now consists of:
With the i1XTreme you can calibrate and profile:
*Requires Digital ColorChecker SG Chart - available separately.
Buying the i1
We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the info on our site of help, please consider buying an i1 (any version), or any other items at all, via our link with Amazon.
It won't cost any more (nor less we're afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.
Purchase From B&H (also helps us)
The interface for Eye One Share is an all together different matter, it is full of icons and options with various settings all over the place. The software has a lot of (useful) functionality and extensive help files too. Unfortunately the interface falls into the 'Clown car' style school of interface design. User interfaces are not the place to try out novel designs, without an awful lot of usability testing. Look at the two examples above. Do you have any idea what the small light bulbs or the 'lightning bolt' are for? no, neither did I. Download it for free and see what you think -- I have a low tolerance of poor interface design (it gets in the way of actually doing stuff) -- your mileage may vary! I used to do usability research and consultancy - and yes, this one irritated me :-) :-)
Lovely piece of kit, it even feels nice to hold :-) Good monitor profiling and excellent 'quick' printer profiling. I'm currently also using it as a densitometer for measuring some specialist inks for black and white printing. This is covered in my review of the PermaJet MonoChromePro ink set.
Eye One packages are available from a wide variety of suppliers, however, the unit tested came from Colour Confidence in the UK at £575 +VAT. It is available for Macs and Windows PCs
Note - I've seen companies advertising on the web, offering profiles made using Eye One Match. My own opinion is that if you want someone to make you a profile, you would do far better to spend your money with a company that uses professional grade profile making software and knows how to use it. The Eye One spectrophotometer is a top quality bit of equipment, but to consistently make -really- good profiles you need both the advanced software and the skills/understanding to use it. If you see someone selling targets made with the 45 patch 'easyRGB' target, then the alarm bells should ring. The 45 patch target is quite good for what it does, but I just wouldn't have the nerve to try and sell such profiles - others are not so scrupulous ...
The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
Keith is always happy to discuss matters raised in his articles. You can Email Us
Northlight Images prides itself on its independence when giving advice. We do not sell hardware or software and have no direct commercial links with any of the software or hardware vendors that may be mentioned here. See our Review Policy for more information.
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