Newbie looking for help...

I am ready to get into color management and I have a few questions, hopefully the people on this forum will be able to point me in the right direction.

First, my setup:

Operating system: I run Windows 7 Ultimate (32 bits but I am probably going to migrate to 64 bits).

Monitors: I have two Dell 3001WP-HC monitors connected to an ATI HD 4650.

Software: I use mostly Adobe Lightroom (latest version), Photoshop (CS5), Nikon NX-2 and ACDSee Pro for my photo work.

Color calibration device: I have an older X-Rite Optix XR Pro with the latest version (2.3) or their software (which they claim doesn’t work on Windows 7, but see below)

Almost forgot, I am a sports photographer, so color management is important but hasn’t been critical for me yet.

So… I have been trying to calibration / profile my monitors with mixed success so far.

The monitors are great, but they don’t have any controls besides a On/Off switch and brightness control (which has a rather limited range).

I have been able to load and run the X-Rite software on Windows 7 and create profiles for each monitors.

Then I use the Windows 7 color management utility to load the profile, but I really can’t see any difference… So either I am doing something wrong (likely) or my monitors are really close off as is (yeah!).

Anyways, I have a few questions:

  • The ATI graphic card control software (Catalyst) has the capability of adjusting the brightness / contrast and color (hue, saturation) for each monitor. Can I use this as a substitute for the lack of controls on the monitor? Is this even necessary?

  • How to I know that once I have created profile that they load correctly? To test that, I was thinking about creating some profile that would be really off (like swap color or really do something in your face obvious) to check that they load. Is that a good approach? How would I do that?

  • I have read a number of places (including on this board) that Windows 7 color management is a step above XP and Vista, but it still isn’t good (profiles not loading, unloading, etc.). Are there alternatives out there that would replace the Windows 7 built in management?



Hi Denis,

Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you. You happened to post this just as every color management geek in the country was getting ready for an annual color management conference in Phoenix.

Your questions are quite understandable. In the days of CRTs, it was best to adjust the color of the guns as well as you could before letting the software do its job of dialing in the color as close as possible. Nowadays the LCD is a different animal, and some manufacturers actually recommend leaving the hardware color controls alone, and just let the software do all the work of adjusting the color (via the graphics card). If you want, there is more information on this in one of our newsletter articles. Given your Optix software, you would probably need to use the Catalyst control in order to bring your monitor brightness down to the level that most photographers need. Just remember that those settings need to stay exactly as they are in order for your monitor profile to continue to be valid.

When you switch profiles on a Windows system, you are not instantly loading that information into the graphics card. You need to run a look up table loading program in order for that profile information to get loaded into the graphics card. Look for a little program called MonacoGamma or something that should be installed already on your system. This runs automatically every time you start up, but you can also go in and run it manually.

Using stunt profiles like you’re considering is a great idea. It would have to be an actual monitor profile though in order for your system to use it.

Tell us more about how you got the Optix software to work on Windows 7! I think people would like to hear about that.

Try to use the following open source software that really works (with your Optix XR Pro):
DispcalGUI (frontend for ArgyllCMS)
Download and Install the driver provided with ArgyllCMS
Install DispcalGUI and use the software

My recommended settings are:

The White Point in it, is really good

I have a few apps that will load & unload a monitor profile as Patrick described. PM me if you want & I can give them to you. If MonacoGamma is still working fine with Win7 as Patrick mentioned then you won’t have any problems using the apps I have. Pretty sure I’ve got MonacoGamma too as I use MonacoProfiler & it’s installed automatically by MonacoProfiler.