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calibrating color on a laptop?
Old 10-21-2005, 05:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm about to buy my first laptop, mostly for transferring CF card files and burning DVDs on location, and internet connecting when I'm out of town, which is rare. Although I don't plan on using it for any retouching or serious output, I know I'll be tempted to review images on it from time to time and want the color to look right. So the question is, can the color/density be calibrated on laptops, and if so, how is this generally done, with the video card or some third party software? My desktop monitors have external controls, but I've never noticed them on laptops. I'm closing in an HP because of the combination of features, price, value, and the screen (its not a high-gloss screen). Also, I can buy it at Costco which has a great 6-month return policy if I don't like it.

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Andy Pearlman
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Re: calibrating color on a laptop?
Old 10-21-2005, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I my laptop I just used my SpyderPro device which I also use on my desktop monitors. It controls the color of the LCD on the laptop and you don't really need to fiddle with any settings. But every laptop does have a control to change brightness and contrast. It is usually done using two of the function keys and a function override key that is usually marked FN or something like that.
I have a HP laptop that I bought a couple of years ago at SAMS which is similar to Costco.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: calibrating color on a laptop?
Old 10-21-2005, 09:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a Eye-One Display 2 to calibrate my laptop display (it's the same calibrator I use on my monitors). The viewing angle on a laptop display is significantly less--anything other than straight on, the brightness won't appear correct.

Laptops with ATI video cards include a gamma adjustment control panel applet, but I don't find them to be as accurate as hardware calibration.
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Re: calibrating color on a laptop?
Old 10-22-2005, 03:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yep,....same here... the "editing" monitor that I use, is adjusted to be in-step with my lab's printers.. my iBook's LCD looks awful,....even at the closest setting to how my editing monitor looks... i have "learned" what to expect out of it,...but I don't rely on that monitor for critical editing.. Like you said... unless you look at it strait on,...it's off,...and even if you look at it strait on,... part of the screen..like the corners will be different.. and the contrast...is just nasty.. I just use mine like Andy plans to use his... as a way to download on location...and to "preview" the shots... other than that,... it collects dust.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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But here\'s the question....
Old 10-22-2005, 10:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Aside from contrast and brightness, how do you control the color? The Spyder tells you when its correct, but it doesn't do the adjustment, that comes from the controls on the monitor (desktop, if you're using one), but where are the controls on a laptop?

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Andy Pearlman
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Re: But here\'s the question....
Old 10-22-2005, 10:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When I use the Spyder it does not have me adjust controls. I just put in on the screen and I run its software. After a while it is done, and the monitor is now calibrated. It didn't ask me to make any changes to the settings. It builds a profile that controls the color of the display.
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rfs
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Re: But here\'s the question....
Old 10-22-2005, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What software does it run? Every calibration device/software I've seen runs through its protocols, but at some point asks you to adjust the 3 colors (line up arrows or something) to bring it within tolerances of the color temp you're looking for. So there's no adjustment for each color?

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Re: But here\'s the question....
Old 10-22-2005, 11:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The software I was using was called PhotoCal and these are the directions for a LCD monitor with no color controls:

For LCD Monitors with No Color Controls:
a) Identify Display Controls: choose Has no color controls. Click ‚ÄúNext.‚Ä?
b) The photograph shown earlier in the Guidelines section of this document
shows the LCD baffle and hanger. The triangular baffle must be on the
Spyder. The hanger needs to be clipped onto the top of the Spyder to
suspend the Spyder from the display. Never fasten the Spyder with the
suction cups. It could damage the LCD screen. Click ‚ÄúNext.‚Ä?
c) Hang the Spyder via the hanger and make sure that the Spyder is right on
top of the Spyder in the picture and resting flat on the screen. If
necessary, lean the monitor back and/or adjust the USB cable so that the
Spyder lays flat on the screen. Click ‚ÄúNext.‚Ä?
d) The Spyder will now initialize and take measurements.
e) Remove the Spyder when prompted. Click ‚ÄúNext.‚Ä?
f) Name the profile. On Windows, make sure that your name does not
include slashes, backslashes, colons, asterisks, question marks, double
quotes, less than symbols, greater than symbols or vertical bars.
g) Click ‚ÄúOK.‚Ä?

That's it. From that time on the LCD looked different after the boot up was complete. In other words, it appears at the time the new color profile is loaded, that the screen is reset somehow to the proper calibration.

While the software runs, I see it create square of various colors under where the device is on the screen. I assume that the profile that gets created then can control the colors electronically. My regular monitor is a Philips 170B LCD and then I have the LCD screen that's on the HP laptop. Both are calibrated using the same device.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: But here\'s the question....
Old 10-22-2005, 11:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A second point of interest I should mention. I have my LCD monitor attached to the two main computers I work with using one of those devices that lets me share one monitor, keyboard and mouse between two computers. I have used the calibration software and device on the LCD only for one of the computers but not for the other. When I switch back and forth between the two, there is about 1 second that the screen goes black and then returns. I can view the same photo once from each computer and the color balance is completely different. So I think this proves that the profile can somehow control the visual aspect of what one sees on these LCD panels. I don't know how it really all works, however, to do that?
Let me know what solution you finally end up with!
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: But here\'s the question....
Old 10-23-2005, 12:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That's interesting, and I've not heard of that software. Its defintely making a profile for each monitor, but how/where its making the compensation I don't know, because usually the user has to input info like his white balance preference. Is this really expensive software? I'll see what my laptop looks like when I get it, and if I need your software, I'll get back to and ask you to help me find a source.

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Andy
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