Monday, April 6, 2009

Colourful Spyder

In February I scanned some fabrics for a client. He commented later that the light purples were a bit off which surprised me since I had adjusted the images comparing to the actual fabric viewed by an Ott Light. The following month, our speaker was Andrew Patrick of Epson who talked about modern digital printing and colour management.

This prompted me to finally get a calibration device for my monitor. I decided on the Spyder3 Pro since a friend of mine was pleased with the earlier version for his monitor. The installation and starting instructions were cryptic. It didn’t help that the initial palette on the Mac used Chinese to label the various buttons. Since the palette listed my applications, I assumed I was looking at the right folder and clicked the highlighted button. Installation was a success. Now what? Turns out only the utility program was open which has no screens. I tracked down the calibration application in my apps folder and we were off to the races. The end result was very satisfying. My monitor colours look much better.

As many sites and blogs have noted, the actual calibration steps are quite simple with a good set of help files in the program itself. When I finished, the before/after toggle on the sample images seemed to show a slightly darker image that before. On second look, the highlights were no longer slightly blown out. One of the samples in greyscale showed a yellowish colour cast had been removed. When I closed the chart, it was apparent that the whites on my screen were cleaner now. The discovered colour cast would have affected the pale purple fabric scans and as a result my adjusted files were indeed slightly off when viewed on a different monitor. NB. On my Windows XP computer all screens were in English and the utility icon in the tray had a menu item to start the calibration program. The calibration has given new life to my 11 year old Trinitron Multiscan 400PS. The change is remarkable.