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i1 Profiler Monitor Calibration and Profiling

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i1 Profiler Monitor Calibration/Profiling review

Part of X-Rite’s colour management software



X-Rite has recently released version 1.0 of their new application i1 Profiler. It’s been widely trailed since last year, and has appeared at several trade shows.

Keith has been testing it for a while, and looking at different aspects of its use.

This article looks at its monitor calibration/profiling capabilities, using the i1 Pro spectrophotometer.

using i1 profiler

Other functionality is listed at our i1 Profiler main page, where we’ll include detailed update information and related resources we come across.

June 2011 – this software now supports the new i1 Display Pro hardware and has been updated to Version 1.1.1
December 2011 – V1.2 Additional ADC and profiling support

The examples that will be shown here are using Apple Macs, but the software generally works in the same way on Windows machines (Win7 is supported). i1 Profiler – download

i1 profiler for monitor profiling

I’m going to assume that if you’ve got this software, you’re pretty serious about colour management.

If you’re new to it all, I’ve written quite a few more introductory articles and reviews that explain -why- you might choose different options, as opposed to pointing out details of functionality

See our Monitor setup page for links to more general information.

The software supports multiple monitor systems and measurement with the i1 Pro spectrophotometer or i1Display Pro (right)

i1 Display ProSee also our review of the new i1 Display Pro hardware, for more details about monitor profiling.

Note that it does not support the i1Display 2 colorimeter or the ColorMunki.

Features (from X-Rite)
  • Display true colours on each of your LCD, CRT and laptop monitors in basic or advanced mode
  • Create profiles for any ambient light condition for optimal viewing for colour critical work
  • Unlimited gamma white point and luminance settings including native gamma and measure luminance as target
  • Workgroup match utilizing reference profiles to match all monitors
  • Grey balance optimization for more neutral and better defined greys, in any lighting condition
  • Chromatic adaptation formula for a closer visual match of different monitors (or of different settings on one monitor) with different white points
  • Preview before and after results with supplied image or your own
  • Monitor Quality Assurance – validate and trend monitor performance
  • Profile summary report ideal for post profile analysis
  • Automatic Display Calibration (ADC) support for leading industry monitors
  • Profile reminder to ensure true and reliable colour over time

Projector profiling is not supported in the basic version of the i1 Profiler package. I’ll look at this aspect of the software in a future article.

If you plug in your i1 spectro, it can act as an activation ‘dongle’ for the software.

profiler startup in demo mode

basic packageHere’s the licensing screen after I’d plugged in my (USB) i1 Pro.

The green ticks show the activated modules.

Printer and projector profiling are not enabled. The ColorChecker Proof option is enabled (see the RGB Print profiling page for more on this)

The basic mode of operation of the software, offers simplified interfaces and options.

This is also where you can update your license and register the product.

Given that I originally did this with a Beta version of the software, I can’t comment on how easy the process will be, but you do have the option of both on and off-line registration and upgrades.

basic monitor workflow

There are ‘help notes’ in the left side panel, or you can access more detailed help (and videos) from the home page.

Note the little icons, in the left bottom corner. One expands the screen to full size, whilst the other takes you back to the startup or Home screen.

In the main screen area you can see that I’ve two monitors attached, and a brightness of 120cd/m2 is selected with a D65 whitepoint.

The screen also shows another important aspect of the design of i1 Profiler – Workflows.

Almost anything you do has a sequence of large icons in the workflow panel – these show where you are in a sequence of steps. Workflows can be saved, and you can jump into them at any point, if the appropriate data is available (a set of measurements for example)

For monitor calibration/profiling, I’m using the i1 Pro, which needs calibrating.

calibrate i1 pro

A set of coloured patches will fill the screen, whilst the device measures what light is actually coming from your screen.

coloured patches for monitor calibration

Note that V1.1.1 of the software adds the following features

  • Added the ability to do small (119), medium (220) and large (478) patch sets when doing advanced display calibration.
  • Added the ability to specify a target contrast ratio for the display to match the ICC standard PCS black point (287:1).
  • Added the ability to use the contrast ratio of a printer profile as the target contrast ration for a display profile.

A full screen view appears before the first stages of calibration – the graphic shows how to place your particular measuring device.

device attachment

The picture below shows the new i1Display Pro colorimeter in place on my MacBook Pro

screen calibration - i1Display pro and macbook pro

luminance checkDuring the first stage of the measurement process, the brightness of your screen is measured and compared to what is desired.

With the screen I was using, you have to adjust this manually, but the software will set the brightness level itself, if the display supports it.

It takes a few minutes for the measuring process to run.

After the measurements are completed, the measured values of the target are shown alongside what they should be.

You can save these measurements if wanted.

Note the left/right arrows under the display – this moves you in to the next stage where the profile is built.

measured screen values

I’ll give the profile a name at this point.

I’m testing on a Mac, so I get the choice of whether to put the profile into my user settings, or system settings – since I’m the only person using the computer, I use system-wide settings for all my profiles.

Normally the default profile name is just fine, but with various testing work that I do, I want to know what profile is from what software.

There are a whole load of test images available to look at in before/after fashion.

All the screen shots above were in the ‘Basic’ mode.

Switching to ‘Advanced’ gives many more options, and also shows the Assets panel.

Assets are the name given to any set of data that you might use or create in the process of using the software.

On slight thing to note – this software has a distinct ‘Not Invented Here’ attitude to profiles not created by it, so those four profiles you see listed are four amongst the 20 or so that currently clutter up my monitor profiles directory (I’ve some related reviews I’m finishing off in this respect)

monitor profiling - advanced mode

As you can see, there are more detailed options for many calibration/profiling settings.

You can save your chosen settings as an ‘Asset’ too.

Move your mouse over the image below to see more options.

Different Gamma settings (note no L* option – I don’t use it, but I know some people favour it)

gamma settings

Profile options.

chromatic adaptation options

There are a number of ways of looking at the resulting profile, as well as the before/after photos shown above.

Move your mouse over the image to see a graph…

The real world utility of these graphs and displays is perhaps debateable – the OSX ColorSync Utility shows a lot more details for example.

Of more use are the results of profile evaluation, where the profile results are compared to a target set, providing numerical data on the quality of the profile, although perhaps of more use over time for showing if you monitor is starting to fail.

Move your mouse over the image to see the results

Conclusions

i1 Publish upgrades

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found our articles and reviews of help please consider buying a calibrator, or any other items at all, via our link with Amazon.
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Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won’t cost any more (nor less we’re afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.

 X-Rite i1 EOBASUV Basic Pro UV
X-Rite i1 EOPHO Photo Pro
X-Rite i1 EOPROF Publish Software Only

Purchase From B&H (also helps us)

I’ll have to admit that although I’ve used ProfileMaker Pro for several years, I’ve never used its monitor profiling capabilities.

The lack of support for the i1 Display 2 colorimeter strikes me as odd, since there is a school of thought that favours colorimeters over spectrophotometers at low screen brightnesses. This was effectively explained when the i1 Display Pro appeared in June 2011

If you’ve an unusual set of profiling requirements then it’s useful to be able to save preset values as an ‘Asset’

The profiles and calibration produced on screens here were just fine for our Apple CinemaHD display and a second monitor I use for palettes and the like.

I also tested the profiling on an NEC SVR271 display – a very high spec 27″ display. Here, the profiling was fine, but didn’t make any use of the monitor’s hardware LUT adjustment.

Then again, if you’re spending £1500 on a monitor like that, you’ll be using more specialist software to set it up, and probably not an i1 Pro to calibrate/profile it.

I find some aspects of the profiler user interface a little quirky (on a Mac), but that’s more of an issue when it comes to printer profiling and I’ll leave a discussion until then.

So, overall it works quickly and simply and calibrates/profiles your monitor.

Projector profiling is an additional feature that you don’t get in the ‘Basic’ package, so I’ll also address that elsewhere.

If you’ve any questions or comments – please let us know, or leave a comment on our blog

Requirements

Macintosh

  • Intel CPU Mac OS X 10.5.8 or 10.6 [with latest upgrades installed] 1GB of available RAM
    2GB of available hard disk space
  • Monitor resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels or higher
  • Dual display support requires either 2 video cards or a dual head video card that supports dual video LUT’s being loaded
  • Powered USB port
  • DVD drive or high speed internet connect to download the software
  • Internet connection for software updates
  • User must have Administrator rights to install, uninstall the application

Windows

  • Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP or better CPU
  • Windows XP 32 bit or 64-bit, Windows Vista 32 or 64-bit, Windows 7 32 or 64-bit Latest service packs installed
  • 1GB of available RAM
  • 2GB of available hard disk space
  • Monitor resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels or higher
  • Dual display support requires either 2 video cards or a dual head video card that supports dual video LUT’s being loaded
  • Powered USB port
  • Network adaptor installed and driver loaded
  • DVD drive or high speed internet connect to download the software
  • Internet connection for software updates
  • User must have Administrator rights to install, uninstall the application

June 2011 – Updates for i1Display Pro and V1.1.1 of the software
December 2011 – Updates for better monitor support V1.2

X-Rite supplied information – i1 Profiler info

All our Profiler related info is indexed on the main i1 Profiler page.

The 3 versions of i1 Profiler are:

i1Basic Pro is a solution for high-end monitor profiling, monitor and printing quality verification, and spot colour measurement. Designed for imaging professionals, i1Basic Pro is ideal for an effective workflow in a colour-managed ecosystem. i1Basic Pro includes i1Profiler software, PANTONE Color Manager software and an i1Pro spectrophotometer.

i1Photo Pro is specifically designed for photo professionals to manage their RGB workflow from camera to display and projector to print. Thanks to the iterative profiling capability of the i1Profiler software, professional photo users will enjoy the highest quality colour results that especially target highlight and shadow details and delivers greater colour accuracy for more neutral greys and natural skin tones.

i1Publish (a standalone software package) and i1Publish Pro are the ultimate, fully-featured ICC profiling solutions for graphic arts professionals that need to organize and manage their complete RGB, CMYK and CMYK+N (CMYK plus any 4) prepress workflows, complete with new assurance validation and verification functions using digital standards. This includes a display QA function to check soft proofing for ISO (G7, SWOP, PSO, Japan Color) and a printer QA function to check print quality using ISO media wedges (IDEAlliance ISO Control Wedge or Fogra Media Wedge).

From http://www.xrite.com/company_press_room.aspx?Type=item&News=650

More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page. All colour management information is indexed on the main Colour Management page.

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

 


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