Jump to content

help with MacBook Pro monitor calibration?


Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I switched to a Mac when I got my M8 a couple of months ago, buying an Intel MacBook Pro and a copy of Lightroom to go with it. I've just used Lightroom to create a web gallery of a party I shot recently. I was very pleased with the results as I saw them on the MacBook, but when I looked at them on the web through a friend's PC, all the pictures were a good half-stop too bright, and the colours were off. I tried looking at them on another PC (I use one in the day job) and saw the same problem.

 

I'm trying to work out what would have caused this, and my first thought was monitor calibration on the MacBook. My second thought was that maybe Mac laptop screens just aren't great for digital darkroom work. Before I fork out for a calibration package, has anyone come across this before? Would I be better off spending the cash on a cinema display screen?

 

Any advice greatly appreciated.

 

Kind regards

 

Adrian

Link to post
Share on other sites

Macs are generally calibrated for a gamma of 1.8, whereas Windows prefers 2.2; that should account for the difference you are seeing. You can select 2.2 (or, as a compromise, 2.0) on the Mac, too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that there is a gamma difference between a Mac and a PC.

You can configure your MacBook to have a native PC gamma (usually darker) by adjusting the monitor settings.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between calibrating your machine for print work where you can control the final product (the printed work, page, sample, etc.)

 

You can't, however, control all the variables when it comes to other people's PCs - they all have different resolutions, color settings, etc. You'll drive yourself mad trying to get a consistent look. It's one of the many frustrations of web designers.

 

Find a setting that works well for you and your workflow and realize that it won't always look the same on other people's machines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Adrian--

Question: When you access your uploads on the Web from your Mac, do they show similar symptoms to what you see on the PCs, or do they look the way they did in Lightroom? If they look similar to what you see on the PCs, they are probably not uploaded in sRGB.

 

Always save to Web in sRGB (convert before uploading) if you've been using a different color space.

 

If I'm not mistaken, Macs are still the only fully color-managed system. That is, IIRC, all software running on a Mac can take advantage of its color management facilities. Safari does this, but I think someone said Firefox does not. Last I heard, Internet Explorer also doesn't have color management capabilities.

 

Keep in mind as well that LCDs are less consistent and harder to manage than CRTs, but all the systems you looked at probably used LCDs.

 

Instead of buying color calibration equipment (eventually you may want to do that), you can use the Mac System's included color management:

 

System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate -- and follow instructions.

 

As mentioned above, Macs ship with a different gamma from PCs. I believe most people calibrate their Macs to match the PC gamma, since most Web surfers will just use the factory preset. When you're asked to choose a basic color temperature for your monitor, I think most folks recommend either 6500 K or 6000 K.

 

For PC, Adobe furnishes a similar 'tuner,' which they call Adobe Gamma. No need to do that with Mac since it's built in. (Microsoft is moving in that direction as well, as I understand.)

 

It's even possible to get by with just the Mac calibration software, if your output doesn't need to be matched to a client's spec.

 

Remember as well, a calibration is only good in the same light in which you made it. In other words, if you're processing at a number of different locations, you'll find that the variations in ambient light will bring about a major deviation in output.

 

Many people on the forum know more about each of these points than I, by the way, so I'll probably soon be corrected.

 

I hope this is helpful and not too basic.

 

--HC

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello

I often visit this site for the pictures, but also for the work-throughs on calibration, and colour calibration at print time.

 

The calibration tutorial using Colorsync has some recommendations regarding gamma. He likes 2.2 even on a Mac.

 

He mentions a software product called Supercal, which I used and it seemed OK.

 

For what its worth, I use the standard calibration on both my Apple cinema display and on my Powerbook, and I keep the gamma at 1.8 if I experiment with different calibrations.

 

I am considering a hardware calibrator that I think would be a bit more scientific than the above, but I am very happy with what is on the screen.

My wife's Macbook did need calibration - and agian I used the colorsync software and kept gamma at 1.8

 

Computer Darkroom

 

run by Ian Lyons, who seems to know what he talks about (Which is why I'll shut up now)

Hope all that is of some help

Link to post
Share on other sites

HI

 

Yes, as Ron pointed out, Macs have been using a 2.2 gamma for years. Ian Lyon's computer darkroom site is well respected.

 

I'm not sure why you're having this problem with the apparent brightness shift between what you see on your MacBook Pro and the PCs of your colleagues (did you get to see your images on anyone elses Mac?).

 

No laptop screen (and Macs are among the very best) is as good as a decent desktop monitor. The colour gamut is noticeably smaller. I have a MacBook Pro and my images look a bit flat and washed out on it compared to what I see on my desktop monitor and both are profiled/calibrated regularly. So yes, getting a desktop monitor would help you evaluate your prints colours. But even if you stick with your laptop screen you should profile/calibrate it monthly at the minimum.

 

The classic cause for the problems you describe may or may not be your problem. Because most web browsers (safari being the notable exception) have no way of knowing the colour space of an image (ie, AdobeRGB or sRGB) they just pass whatever the image file numbers are direct to the monitor for display. What happens is that without having a way of interpreting the context for the numbers (ie AdobeRGB, ProPhoto, etc) the web image loses its more saturated colours and becomes flat. Since most monitors have a colour gamut close to sRGB, the solution most people adopt is to CONVERT their images to the sRGB colour space before saving them for the display on the web (this is not a good solution for printing however!). By CONVERTING your image, you wind up throwing away information that you might want in other situations (like printing) but at least the context for the numbers is there for the viewers computer.

 

Now its my understanding that if you generate a web gallery through Lightroom that Lightroom does automatically convert your files to sRGB first. However, I'm not positive about that. On the other hand, if you're exporting your files from the web part of Lightroom, make sure you choose the sRGB colour space. If this is your problem, it will fix it.

 

Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I have used the built in calibration in OSX for years, but, after complaints from a PC using senior member on this forum, who claimed that the images he saw on his calibrated screen were off, I went and bought a Spider.

 

Having calibrated the screen with the Spider, and swapped between the two profiles, I am pleased to say that there was no difference at all in the colour, and only a slight difference in the gamma. I could, and should, have saved myself the £70.

 

He admits to having his gamma "turned up", so I have no idea what he sees at his end. I have stopped trying to please other people, and now please myself. My Mac gamma is now set to 2.0

 

Safari does make use of the calibrated profiles, but Firefox doesn't. Internet Explorer doesn't either.

 

In the real world, I have yet to come across a calibrated PC screen, btw.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the real world, I have yet to come across a calibrated PC screen, btw.

 

I have a small colour management consultancy and a surprising number of my clients (40-50%) work on PCs, something I personally don't understand but there you go. These people range from working professionals in advertising for the big UK media mill (fashion, beauty products, etc) and design agencies to those who shoot weddings or work in specialised areas like motor racing to amateur photographers of various stripes. These people who probably number in the 100's over the past years are working on PCs with calibrated screens.

 

The variability of screens can be seen by standing in a shop full of tellies and seeing how many variations one sees of the same show. You may have been lucky. Don't know but I know lots of people who see the improvement resulting from calibration/profiliing. I can certainly see a noticeable difference on my monitor between various profiles I make for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, that's very helpful. I'd forgotten that the default Mac gamma was 1.8, but in fact I changed the colour settings to display a 2.2 gamma a while back. So I'm not sure whether gamma can be the culprit

 

I've been trying to re-calibrate the colour settings in OSX System Preferences, but I'm finding it very difficult to blend those apple shapes into the striped boxes! Maybe practice makes perfect, but my first few attempts have made the blacks look very brown.

 

For now I've gone back to the "Phase One - Mac Monitor" setting that I have in the System Preferences. That gives me very good blacks, but the whites tend to look blown. If Spyders are around the £70 mark, I might just invest in one (a heck of a lot cheaper than a new Mac cinema display, much as I would love one!)

 

I don't see any difference on my Mac screen between looking at the files in Lightroom, or looking at them on the web through Safari and Firefox. Only on the PC through IE do I see anything different, and yes they were all LCDs. I must admit that I haven't looked at the images on another Mac, though - might see if I can borrow one next week.

 

I'm trying to get to the bottom of whether Lightroom automatically uploads to the web in sRGB - I think it does, but I can't find that written down anywhere, nor any sort of menu to confirm/change the settings.

 

cheers

 

Adrian

Link to post
Share on other sites

Adrian--

Checking on another Mac (preferably a desktop) is a very good idea; there were some loud arguments a few months back over whether Apple had cut back on monitor quality in some of their recent MacBook Pro models. Definitely check before spending on the calibration hardware. Your display may be defective.

 

Something I found helpful in trying to match the colors and tones in the Mac calibration software is leaning back from the screen and squinting, making it easier to concentrate on the gross patterns rather than the details.

 

 

Andy--

Just to follow up on your and my use of the Mac OS's color synch:

 

A Photoshop course I took was taught by a commercial photographer who uses PC and calibrates only with Adobe Gamma. He mentioned that he would invest in a calibration device if he did weddings or products, where exact color matching would be a necessity.

 

--HC

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...