Monitor calibration tool recommendation

NukeULater

Gawd
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Sep 12, 2006
Messages
913
I bought an x-rite colormunki a couple years ago and works reasonable well for a single monitor or laptop. I'm running a triple now and it doesn't really work well for this type of setup since it does everything in the icc profile instead of on the monitor level. What's the go to tool for monitor calibration hardware that calibrates through monitor settings as well as creating icc profiles?
 

Farkle

Lurker
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Jan 1, 2007
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1,608
You can have an ICC profile per display. ArgyllCMS+DisplayCAL is what you should be calibrating with in regards to ColorMunki -- it's basically an i1Display Pro, after-all. At a monitor level, you should at least adjust the factory color settings/brightness/contrast where you're very close to ITE 80 gray standards without hardly any deviation, like you would an external TV, then software calibrate from there. That way, even though you can create a 3D LUT from your calibration, if a game, or fullscreen app doesn't apply said ICC profile, or give you a chance to use your 3D LUT (there are OpenGL and Direct3D injectors for this... but they aren't worth it), your monitors will still be in the ballpark.
 

NukeULater

Gawd
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
913
You can have an ICC profile per display. ArgyllCMS+DisplayCAL is what you should be calibrating with in regards to ColorMunki -- it's basically an i1Display Pro, after-all. At a monitor level, you should at least adjust the factory color settings/brightness/contrast where you're very close to ITE 80 gray standards without hardly any deviation, like you would an external TV, then software calibrate from there. That way, even though you can create a 3D LUT from your calibration, if a game, or fullscreen app doesn't apply said ICC profile, or give you a chance to use your 3D LUT (there are OpenGL and Direct3D injectors for this... but they aren't worth it), your monitors will still be in the ballpark.
Thanks for info on those programs. I've used the i1Pros before, but the software has far more features than the colormunki. I searched around for a bit but didn't see any 3rd party software that would enable hardware level calibration. Ended up having a really screwed up color cast on a monitor that was swapped from ccfl to led backlight.
 

XoR_

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 18, 2016
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Monitor have to support hardware calibration and monitors which do are quite rare and usually very expensive. There are some more basic models eg. Dell U2713 comes to mind but these might not work with your device. Said Dell support i1 Pro so you might have some luck with it and your Color Munki. Options and accuracy of calibration on these devices are purposefully limited by manufacturers.

If your current monitors do not have hardware calibration then you are limited to RGB sliders to correct white point to as close to target as possible (presumably you want D65) and then rely on GPU LUT for gamma correction and programs own implementations to do gamut remapping. Which the way this all is implemented sucks badly imho.

Since you have Radeon 7950 (if sig is still accurate) you might want to enable EDID (there should be a checkbox on driver page related to color temperature) which will read EDID gamut data and do gamut remapping. If this data is accurate and does not define white point then it will correct gamut, even in games. How it works though you need to check yourself because this is monitor specific. Also EDID encoding have limited accuracy so there might be some error even if manufacturers put proper gamut data into monitor. Another point is: when you do gamma correction using graphics card LUT you either need at least 10bit connection to display on NV or you get banding. Radeons use A-FRC and do not have this issue and even on 8bit output wont produce banding. On neither GPU manufacturer cards gamma calibration will work for for full screen applications like games.

There are devices called 3d LUT Boxes which can enable hardware calibration on any display but those are very expensive, especially if you run anything higher than 1080p
http://www.displaycalibrations.com/lut_boxes_comparisons.html
Because of high price you probably do not want those...

All this nonsense could be avoided if Microsoft designed calibration system properly making gamut correction a system wide DWM feature. GPU manufacturers could implement loading ICC profiles independently and support it even on games. Current state of affairs is that even AMD which is already superior and obviously have hardware support for it didn't. Nvidia and Intel just suck at it terribly not even being able to calibrate gamma properly on 8bit displays and lack any gamut remapping. All that despite basic gamut remapping requiring just multiplication of RGB 3x3 matrix by 3x3 correction matrix which is computationally quite easy and very easy to implement into hardware. It is so easy all monitor scalers and GPUs even from early 2000s could easily have it integrated.
 

NukeULater

Gawd
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
913
Interesting stuff Xor_. ICC profiles have always been a pain in the neck, I'd love to see better implementation on an OS level but unfortunately it seems that most people don't care.

Appreciate the advice that has been posted so far. My monitors look way better than before and I finally have decent control over my colormunki. The stock x-rite software sucks.
 

XoR_

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 18, 2016
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I spend a lot of time researching this topic ended with the best monitor money can buy because all this software calibration is a total mess. Two to be sure I will be left without A-TW panel :p And if two broke I will grab thist which I gave to my brother :p

Microshit implemented CMS as registry key with list of locations to ICC/ICM profiles for each display. This made sense in Windows NT/95/98/2000/XP times but Vista Aero required DX9 shaders and these could do full screen gamut correction and gamma correction with dithering. Performance impact would be significant at the time for slower GPUs but not really for the CPU. They could do it but they didn't... (n)
If they did all you would need to do was to calibrate screen and set profile and forget about whole thing until colors on monitor drifted or when upgrading monitor just like you do on hardware calibrated monitor.

Pixel shader code to do gamut correction it is very simple. It can be injected into games or Media players eg. MPC-HC
There is also 3D LUT gamut correction which is much more computationally and video RAM expensive but usually not really giving any significant advantages over simple 3x3 by 3x3 matrix multiplication when it comes to correcting gamut.
People are generally confused about gamut conversion. Often you hear it needs 10bit or even much less to do properly which is simply not true. Gamut correction even done with limited precision and no dithering at all make absolutely no visible banding artefacts. Gamma correction on the other hand while simpler need higher precision or you get banding.

Imho it should be implemented in hardware in panels themselves just like A-FRC is and it would imho even allow to cut some manufacturing cost by using cheaper W-LEDs and color filters while providing superior colors matching standards properly
 

Pandur

Limp Gawd
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Apr 4, 2000
Messages
325
Your calibrator is a decent device. If you start using the ArgyllCMS and DisplayCAL combination, mentioned above, properly you will see great results. DisplayCAL is not a tool that works well out of the box though, you need to learn what settings you need to use for your displays to be well calibrated. Also make sure you install the systray profile loader for DisplayCAL, it works much better than the built-in profile feature of Windows.
 
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