Several weeks ago X-Rite introduced four new solutions for color management and calibration. These professional accessories are used to calibrate your computer display, your printer and even your beamer. Depending on the version you want to buy, you’ll get more/less possibilities in the complete kit to control the colors in your workflow. X-Rite was so kind to send me the i1 Photo Pro version for a test.
In the box
Before this test, I used the X-Rite Display2 to calibrate my screen, and therefore I thought I was going to receive a similar device adapted to the more recent technology of 2011. When the courier company delivered a large box, it was a real shock for me. The cardboard box is a nice black bag with a nice interior space for each part of the X-Rite i1 Photo Pro. Every piece has it’s own place in the perfectly cut foam. This seems perhaps less important, but it makes me feel happy to see that a manufacturer also paid attention to this aspect.
All parts in the kit
The X-Rite i1 Photo Pro includes the following components:
- i1 Pro Spectrophotometer
- i1 Profiler software
- PANTONE Color Manager Software
- ColorChecker Profiling Software
- Proof ColorChecker target
- ColorChecker Classic Target (mini)
- i1 Pro Spectrophotometer Calibration plate
- ... Etc.
After unpacking the various components, I couldn’t wait to install the software to calibrate my screen, an Eizo CG243W. The package contained a software CD, which was clearly, to inform me to “First install this software and then update”. After the first was version installed, I opened the program and the system asked me automatically to update to a more recent version.
When opening the i1 Profiler, I got a screen full of possibilities. So it's important to clearly understand what you are doing, if this is your first time, you better first watch all instructional videos.
To calibrate your screen you have the possibility to select "BASIC" or "Advanced" mode. As I like to see all the possibilities, I chose the latest option and proceeded to the next step by clicking the "Display Profiling” button. If you have multiple screens connected (which can be either CRT or LCD or even laptop screens), you can now select on which screen you will perform the calibration. Further down on this page, you will need to set your white point (I leave the default value off D65) and the brightness, which I keep on the default value = 120. In this screen you can also have the system check if you suffer from flare. As a final option, the system can even automatically adjust the brightness to the brightness of your room.
The next page is dedicated to your profile settings and I prefer to leave these settings as default.
On the following page you can determine how many colors you want the system to scan, where I choose for “large (478)”. This means that the system will show 478 colors on the screen and the calibrator will measure the differences and create a profile with these specifications. Alternatively, you can also import Pantone colors or even a photo. The system will then take out the primary colors and have these scanned.
The fourth page is (finally!) the page where the calibration starts. You will have to make another choice here, i.e. does the system automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of your screen or do you change it yourself? I chose for manual adjustment.
Calibrate your i1 spectrometer with the special support and click the "Calibrate" button. This should take about ten seconds. If the i1 is calibrated, the software will show “Calibrated” sign on this page in the yellow / green window. Now you are ready to start the final calibration. Click "Start measurement" and have some patience ... because I chose the highest number of colors, the scanning process took about 20 minutes.
When everything is scanned correctly, you should now see a page where you should get some choices regarding the naming of your profile and the validity.
The name of your profile is not that important as long as you know which profile to which screen is linked and when it’s made. For example, I always call my profiles: SMP_CG243_20110901 where the "SMP" stands for the abbreviation of the name of my company, "CG243" is the name of my screen and "20110901" is the date the profile was created.
If you work on a mac, you can choose for "User level" and "System Level" which gives you the opportunity to have your profile used by yourself or by anyone working on your computer.
Calibration isn’t a process you only need to do once in a lifetime, you have to repeat it frequently. By default, you can choose between 1-2-3-4 weeks to remind you to redo the calibration process. I choose a re-calibration every 4 weeks.
Don’t forget now to "create and save profile”!
Remember however that your screen is calibrated, but your entire workflow isn’t calibrated at all! The camera needs to be calibrated and your printer as well.
CONTINUE TO PART 2 ...