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X-Rite i1 Display Pro Advanced Mode Tutorial

X-Rite’s i1 Display Pro is one of the most popular monitor calibration and profiling products on the market, however many users don’t venture beyond the Basic user mode and so don’t exploit the full potential of the i1 Profiler software. This X-Rite i1 Display Pro Advanced Mode tutorial will take you through the Advanced user mode and explain all the different options that you get offered – when to use them, when not to use them and how to use them.

However, before you start make sure your monitor has been on for at least half an hour, that it’s clean and that the ambient light in the room is low, or that there is no strong light falling on the screen. Also familiarise yourself with the controls on your monitor.


Display Settings

With Advanced user mode check on the home page of i1 Profiler click on Profiling under Display to start the process of calibrating and profiling your monitor.

The Display Settings page sets the calibration targets and a few other options and features. Monitors can be calibrated to different luminance, colour temperature and tonal curve values. The options that you choose may depend on your industry, any standard you are trying to match, personal preferences and the viewing light for your prints. You can see in my screenshot that I’m using an EIZO ColorEdge CX270. I normally calibrate that screen using EIZO’s ColorNavigator software with my i1 Display Pro colorimeter which then does a fully automatic hardware calibration. I’m only using the i1 Profiler software for the purposes of this blog. If you have a ColorEdge you should use ColorNavigator.

Technology Type: The i1 Display Pro colorimeter can compensate for different LCD backlight technologies such as CCFL, Wide Gamut CCFL, White LED, RGB LED, Projectors and more. If you know what type of backlight your display uses then select it accordingly. If you don’t know then start with White LED and make your first profile. If you are not happy with the result then try the other technology types. Most LCD screens now use white LED backlights, however some with wider colour gamuts use GB LEDs (green and blue) and a few even use RGB LEDs. The choice does matter as it improves the accuracy of the measurements and gives you a more accurate calibration and profile.

The White Point or colour temperature of the screen can be set to one of the CIE D (daylight) standards. You can also choose a white point based on a colour temperature, x,y co-ordinates or a measured value from view-booth or other viewing light, your ambient lighting or even a piece of paper in a view-booth. D65 will suit most users. If you get a slight colour cast or colour banding after calibrating then try Native.

Luminance can be set some predetermined presets, a custom value, or Native to leave luminance as set on the screen, or again you can measure viewing or ambient light. 120 is a good starting point for most users, those trying to match print to screen may want to go a little lower to 100 – it’s worth experimenting until you get a value you are happy with.

Gamma: This should be set to 2.2 in most cases. You can also choose sRGB if that’s the RGB working space profile that you use, and actually Lightroom users may also want to try sRGB because the working space profile that lightroom uses in the Develop module has the sRGB tone curve (and the colour gamut of ProPhoto RGB). Matching the gamma curve here to that of your RGB working space will maximise the smoothness of colour gradations.

Contrast Ratio should usually be left at Native. It is function of the ratio of the darkest black to lightest white, however you can enter a value and this may help when matching one screen to another. You can also choose a black point or load the contrast ratio from a printer profile, but that would very much tie the monitor profile to one particular printer and paper combination.

Flare Correct compensates for light falling directly on the display. The best thing is not to have any light falling directly on your monitor. I would leave this unchecked.

Ambient Light Smart Control measures the ambient lighting and then adjusts contrast, tone response and saturation of the display based on the ambient light. Again it is much better to control ambient light than to try to compensate for it varying. The best environment for image editing is quite dim. I would recommend not using this feature either.

Click on Next to continue.


Profile Settings

ICC Profile Version: This refers to the International Color Consortium specification used to create your monitor profile. Version 4 is the most recent but Version 2 is compatible with a wider range of applications. You only see the benefit of using version 4 if all the profiles in your workflow are version 4 and you will find that most working spaces and printer profiles are version 2. So it’s best to this set to version 2.
Chromatic Adaption: This refers to the mathematical method for adapting between one white point and another when certain tables in your profile are calculated. Bradford is the method the ICC recommend.
Profile Type: Table based profiles are generally more accurate than matrix ones, but some older software will not support table based profiles. Use Table based if you can.


Patch Set

i1 Profiler uses the ‘Small’ set of 118 colour values or patches to create a profile by defualt, but you can increase this by using the Medium or Large options. You can also add in more colours loaded from Pantone Color Manager software, a CxF file or an image. You can access these features by clicking on icons above the colour patches. Adding more patches won’t necessarily increase profile accuracy and will increase measurement time. I almost always use ‘Small’ and have not seen any benefit to doing more.

Measurement

Automatic Display Control (ADC): Automatic Display Control allows the i1 Profiler software to take control of your monitor and adjust it to the desired luminance, contrast and white point targets whilst measuring. I have found it to be a little unreliable as it does depend on support from the monitor hardware. It can work well with some Apple displays where there is only a brightness adjustment but generally I prefer to uncheck this and use the manual option instead. That way you can be in full control.

Adjust brightness, contrast and RGB gains manually: Check this box to adjust the screen manually, but make sure you know what controls your monitor has and how to use them
Click Start Measurement when you are ready. The software will ask you what controls your monitor has, and ask you to rotate the diffuser head on the i1 Display Pro and place it on the screen ready for measurement, just follow the instructions.

The software will do a contrast test that almost all monitors pass and then go onto measuring the white point of the screen. It will display a few tones and then bring up the White Point Adjustment window. A graphic will show you if the red, green, or blue values on your screen need adjusting. You are trying to get all three to have a green tick. The arrows indicate which way each colour needs to be adjusted. I normally start by using a Kelvin value adjustment on the monitor to get close and then switch to adjusting the individual RGB gain values, starting with the red. Remember these are not real gain values like they were in the days of CRT monitors but just look up tables in the monitor firmware. They are signal adjustments not real hardware adjustments, but on a good quality monitor they will get the screen to a certain white point better than adjusting the graphics card look up table will. Always pause for a second or two after making each change to allow the measurement to refresh. Once I have three green ticks I usually carry on until I get the Target and Current value as close to the target as I can. Once you’ve hit the target click Next to carry on. The software will then to a similar check for the screen brightness. Once you have achieved the correct level of brightness you can click next again and the software will start displaying the 118 colours to further check the calibration and measure the colour performance of the display.

ICC Profile

Give the profile an appropriate descriptive name, including perhaps the options that you used. Depending on your operating system you may get the option of saving the profile at the user or system level. You can choose to get the software to remind you to recalibrate after a certain amount of time. I’d recommend setting the reminder to 4 weeks. Leave the Monitoring mode off. Click Create and save profile.

Gamut, LUT and Before and After Comparison

Once the profile has been created you will see a graph of the colour gamut of the monitor. This can be rotated and zoomed in or out of, you can also load other profiles for comparison. If you click on the line graph symbol above the gamut you will see the corrections made in the graphics card Look Up Table. If you have adjusted the RGB and luminance of the monitor correctly you should see nice straight 45 degree lines all on top of each other. If the lines are separated or curved then corrections are being done in the 8-bit look up table of the graphics cards. On some displays, such as iMacs, this is all you can do to hit a given colour temperature target but on screens with good RGB controls you should be able to do better.

Clicking the image symbol allows a visual before and after comparison that shows the effect of your calibration. As most changes may have been made to the monitor hardware the before/after switch will often not show much. All it is doing to turning the graphics card LUT on and off. It does give you a chance to evaluate the profile with an image though. A range of default images can be used or you can load your own custom image from the menu. Click on the arrow next to Display QA to access further tests to judge the accuracy of your profile.


Display QA

Patch Set Type can be set to Standard to load one of the default patch sets. i1 Profiler will then evaluate how accurate your monitor is against those reference values. The patches from the ColourChecker, IT8 charts, and FOGRA media wedge are all included in the selection of industry standard targets. Alternatively under Patch Set Type you can select Spot to load colours from Pantone Color Manager or Image to load colours from an image.
Click Start Measurement to start evaluating the accuracy of your monitor. The software will display various colours and use the i1 Display Pro to measure them. It will then compare the predicted colours with the actual measured colours.

After measuring you can see a summary of the results. By default the tolerances are very high so you’d almost always get a pass. Delta E is measurement of colour difference. The higher the numbers the more different the colours. It’s difficult to say exactly what tolerances you should be aiming for but generally you should get an average delta E of less than 1 or perhaps a touch more, and a max of less than 4 on most good screens.
Reports can be saved or added to the Trending data. The trending graph shows the average delta E figure achieved after each QA report where you’ve clicked to add the data to the trend. It can be a useful guide to how a monitor alters over time, but you have to be careful to use the same profiling options and settings otherwise the comparisons won’t mean very much.

Display Uniformity

Calibrating and profiling your display with the i1 Display Pro will have no direct effect on the uniformity of colour and luminance of your monitor but the i1 Profiler software does have a module for checking the uniformity, and this could be useful for evaluating a screen you’ve just bought or judging how well one has aged. All screens have some uniformity variation so don’t expect each of the nine points measured to match exactly. The default tolerances are quite high so you may want to reduce them. Unfortunately screen uniformity can’t be fixed so if a poor report backs up what you see visually it may be time to buy a new monitor.

So, i1 Display Pro gives you all the tools you need to get the very best out of any display. It is the solution that I mostly recommend to my customers. If you want on-site training or help calibrating monitors then please get in touch.

Rob :

View Comments

  • Thanks for this post!
    I was wondering why you recommend using eizo's coloredge software for calibrating eizo monitors? I would have assumed that i1Profiler's ability to build profiles based on a much larger number of patched might be an advantage? And on the other hand, with i1Profiler I'm a bit at a loss, deciding which technology type to select for my coloredge cg241w (and it's manual isn't very helpful on this point)

    • Measuring and creating a monitor profile is the easy part. The key to getting an accurate monitor is in the calibration stage that happens before the profile patches are measured. EIZO's ColorNavigator will communicate directly with the monitor via the USB cable. The software, colorimeter, and monitor work together to get the monitor to the colour temperature, tonal curve and luminance that you've set in your targets using the high bit look up tables and controls in the monitor itself. In contrast i1 Profiler relies upon you manually adjusting the monitor or doing automatic corrections through the video look up table in the graphics card. i1 Profiler does have very limited support for hardware monitor calibration on some monitor models but it is not very good and doesn't do the job as well as a manufacture's own software, some correction will still be done in the graphics card. The reason that i1 Profiler displays lots of patches for the profile is because it knows the monitor may not be precisely calibrated and so needs more measurement points. Whereas ColorNavigator can do far fewer because the monitor will have hit the calibration targets more accurately. The only software that does as good or even slightly better job than ColorNavigator on a ColorEdge is BasicColor Display, and that does use the monitor hardware correctly.