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Author Topic: Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)  (Read 3732 times)

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Phyllomedusa

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Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)
« on: October 07, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »
As I do photograph a lot, but let me pictures print outside, I was in need for some (more or less) useful calibration tool.

Short introduction:
color isn't color. Our displays mix light through red, blue and green light (additive color) to get Black, white or inbetween. So if you open a Jpg (which is 8bit) on Photoshop and check for a color you see something like R:123 G:181 B:208 which represents the intensity of the color in Red, Blue and Green.
Every display has slight differences in the manufacture process and therefore the color isn't really accurate. The same problem applies to printers, TV's, beamers and so on.
To minimize this problem there are color profiles which match a display to a standard or show you (in case of printers) how it would look in the end.

Therefore I bought a Colormunki Photo(by x-rite) some years ago and was pretty happy (apart from the software which got not further developed somehow).
Recently I gave a freeware/Open source command line tool a try.... Argyll CMS. Maybe not as comfortable and easy as the standard software, but much more powerful!
The Original Software by X-rite lets me choose some basic parameters (like brightness, Display Type, color temperature) and then renders about 40 defined color patches and measures its spectral curve. Then the software calculates the deviation between the reference color and what the display was printing and writes a correction table.
For prints it's more or less the same principle, but the printed colors are illuminated by a built in reference lightsource.
In Argyll I can now choose how many patched I want to read out, how many grey and white shades, and so on. Takes much longer, but there is really a visible change....


As I was reading through the Argyll documentation I found some nice extra functions. With Argyll it is possible to read a spectralcurve of the light/or a printed color, save that one as reference and so on.....Wow! Neat extra feature for toying ;)
I gave it a try with my Laptop display, to see how the emitted light is built up compared to daylight. Right now it is pretty clouded with quite a warm colortemperature here. As reference I marked what is green, red, blue (well.....I just used the Landsat spectral ranges/bands as reference).
Sadly the Colormunki has a built in UV-Filter and therefore isn't able to read UV. I may check with some sunglasses or so how strong it is. The same with IR-light. I may check that one with some leaves, as the red-edge area should be partly in the recored spectrum.
All in all this could be pretty interesting for checking LED's or Fluorescent bulbs (how white is the white, or compared to daylight). I also want to check the transmission curve of my Polarizing and neutral Gray filters to check for color tints.
Anyone interested in the Agilent U1272A Background light :D..... I just love toys ;)

________________________________________________________________________________________
More infos on colormanagement? Check out the x-rite website. They have a lot of information and some really nice webinars.
http://www.xritephoto.com/

Check your eyes? Are you color-blind or where are you weeknesses? Take the color-IQ test (pretty interesting)
http://www.xritephoto.com/ph_toolframe.aspx?action=coloriq

Offline Kiriakos GR

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Re: Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 02:00:38 PM »
This topic reminded me:
a) My first touch with  Adobe photoshop, and the wild chase to find color profiles of PC monitor / scanner / printer.

b) My old Sony 19" G420, 1000 euro worth CRT, which was having great colors that my printers was not capable to reproduce with their basic profiles.

c) My long investigation about getting a replacement LCD monitor 11 years later that the Sony CRT died.
And I end up to Dell UltraSharp U2311H 23"W, mostly because it has In-plane switching (IPS) technology for remarkable color consistency from virtually any angle , which gives a 70% correct color compared to a black Trinitron analogue Sony, which was considered as the king about colors. 

About the Colormunki Photo system.... tell us the price Son  ;D

Converting such a setup to a chroma analyzer is a very smart idea, thanks for sharing.
 
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Phyllomedusa

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Re: Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 02:52:46 PM »
A) printer profiles are mostly not a problem. Big manufacturers like Hahnemühle or Kodak supply them for download....but for really accurate results you need matching profiles (printer/paper/ink/settings)
That's why I didn't buy a normal Display profiler (maybe later I'll fetch a nice LFP printer)

b) Yes...CRT's had lovely colors, but often the resolution and long-term stability was not that good. Todays modern LCD's are pretty nice about giving dark blacks and color rendition.....but they are also pretty expensive if you want a wide-gamut panel

c)The dell is pretty known in Germany as cheap entry level with good results....not a bad decision ;). I mostly use my Laptop (almost everybody is crying then), but I had put my eye on the Dell 2408WFP as it is pretty cheap now (used.....so I don't know) and can render the whole AdobeRGB 98 which I mostly use for processing prints. The U2311H can render roughly 70% of the color gamut.
Maybe it will become a 2410, which is not as good in terms of color as the 08,  but seems to fit 98% of AdobeRGB.

About the Colormunki spectrometer: I bought it for 320Euro (new) a while ago. Now it's about 350Euro (and there is 50Euro cashback going on the the moment). On the hardware you doesn't have to alter anything.....it's just the software that is crippled that much by X-Rite.
It is probably not something you buy for a toy (expensive), but if you have it anyway ;)....
I also used it a while ago, because we were repairing an old Porsche and the Aircooling-Hood should be repainted. I measured the color and searched for the corresponding RAL color. That's been a pretty close match ;).
 All in all I ended up using it and the money was well invested. Matching prints, nice working laptop monitor, and so on.

So I highly recommend taking some time and learn about Argyll if you have a basic Colormanagement System
http://www.argyllcms.com/

Offline Kiriakos GR

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Re: Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 03:54:50 PM »
And so,  now we do color matching too..  LOL   ;)

Personally by working as IT mostly about making networks infrastructure, I have come close to professional color matching systems, and even to 3D printers that uses wax.

But it is a huge chapter the color analysis, and so I prefer to just scratch the surface.  ;)
   

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Phyllomedusa

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Re: Technology reused (X-rite Colormunki for Spectral-readings)
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 04:51:27 PM »
Well, something must be always remembered when you start a Color-Managament-Workflow:
It won't fit for most users on the internet

Just a few people calibrate their monitor, but most people use the factory default that was made to give a bright appearance.
So the average monitor is a lot cooler in Whitebalance, more saturated and has higher contrast.

It is getting tricky if you want to order a quality print with such a monitor. I made some prints on Canvas as a present for my brother some years ago. These were pretty high in contrast (some old Porsche's on a black background ;)) and so I didn't want to waste 70Euros because the results don't match.
Calibrated, worked on the pictures, made a softproof in Photoshop (with the supplied profiles), adjusted the image for the print and sent it to my preferred lab.
The results came back great and matched what I expected.


So back to the tech ;)
I will try to see how good the colormunki responds in the near Infrared area tomorrow. Leaves have the ability to reflect most of the IR they receive and that happens quite fast after the visible red light region. This behavior is known as the red-edge effect and often used in Remote Sensing technologies to check the health of vegetation (Fields, Forests)

 

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