As is now well known, Calibrite has taken over the X-Rite business unit dedicated to products for the photographic market, and for some time now the excellent new Calibrite-branded colorimeters and spectrophotometers for calibrating and profiling our monitors (and profiling our printers in the case of the spectrophotometers) have been available on the market.
These new Calibrite probes can work without problems with the “old” ccProfiler software (about which you will find several articles and practical guides in this Blog), but Calibrite has decided to develop a new software called Calibrite PROFILER to make the calibration and profiling process easier and even more accurate.
In this article we will see how to use Calibrite PROFILER to achieve perfect calibration and profiling.
Both a Windows and a macOS version are available, and installation is effortless as you will have to follow the steps suggested on the screen.
While downloading the software is free, using it is accessible only for owners of the new Calibrite probes, and then with:
ColorChecker Display ColorChecker Display Pro ColorChecker Display Plus
If you have an X-Rite probe, the software is fully compatible, but Calibrite requires a one-time fee of €9.99 (at the time of writing). Compatible X-Rite probes are:
X-Rite ColorMunki Display X-Rite i1Display Studio X-Rite i1Display Pro X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus
No doubt the first question you will ask is: but is it worth it to pay for the upgrade if I have an X-Rite probe? I think you will get a clearer idea at the end of this guide, but if you are a spoiler lover, in my opinion, it makes sense to upgrade since:
The upgrade price is negligible
X-Rite will no longer update ccProfiler (the old software)
Calibrite PROFILER is significantly easier to use and contains a few more features
To upgrade and be able to use Calibrite PROFILER with X-Rite probes, you launch the software, connect the probe, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Preparing the monitor for calibration and profiling with Calibrite PROFILER
As always, before using any calibration software, doing preliminary work on your computer is a good idea.
First, let’s clean the monitor. It sounds trivial, but dirt or fingerprints at the surface where we will rest our probe could compromise profiling.
If, like me, you are profiling your monitor through a Mac, here are some suggested settings to set in System Preferences before you start calibrating:
Disable the screensaver
In Display, make sure that “Night Shift” or “True Tone” is not active
Under Power Saving, disable the various power-saving modes
If you use Windows, do similar operations: in fact, we want to disable any white point correction and automatic adjustment of light intensity.
Another crucial thing, before doing the calibration, leave the monitor on for at least half an hour: this will thermally stabilize all the components, simulating at best the conditions in which we will work later.
This done, we are finally ready to calibrate with Calibrite PROFILER!
How to Calibrate and Profile Your Monitor with Calibrite PROFILER
The time has finally come for calibration and profiling with Calibrite PROFILER.
First, we connect the Calibrite or X-Rite probe and launch the Calibrite PROFILER application. As you will see, the interface is completely revamped from ccProfiler and is more pleasant and intuitive.
On the first screen, we immediately identify how the application is structured:
At the top, we have an area in which we can see the progress of the various stages of calibration, and we can move back and forth as needed
The largest area is dedicated to the various settings selections
On the right-hand side, the Help Centre will help us if we have any doubts or need to learn more about specific functions.
So first let’s make sure that our probe is recognised correctly (in my case, I connected a Calibrite ColorChecker Display Plus) and let’s select what we want to calibrate and profile. So in our case, let’s select “Monitor” and select Advanced mode in the drop-down menu below.
Step 1: Selecting Technology, Presets and Specific Settings for Calibrite PROFILER.
Once we proceed to the next step, Calibrite PROFILER asks us which monitor technology we use. Unlike the old X-Rite ccProfiler, Calibrite PROFILER accurately detects the technology we are using, even with Apple panels that were hard to detect correctly in the past.
The next step is, in my opinion, the one that gives Calibrite PROFILER value: we can select from some standard presets or recall a preset we have previously saved. It’s true: this could also be done with X-Rite ccProfiler, but the difference is that the profiles are immediately usable for real and do not require any further substantial customization since they were developed with experts in the field.
Suppose I select the preset related to Photography, as in the image below. In that case, you will see that the top progress and selection bar populates with all the information related to the loaded preset. One click, and we see everything we need on the same screen!
If we want to change a setting, we can do so either by pressing “Next” and reviewing the settings individually or by using the progress bar at the top of the GUI and pressing directly on the setting we want to use!
The Photography preset settings are in fact almost all correct, but since you never know what might happen in future updates, here are the settings I suggest for use in photography (and for which you can then save your own custom preset):
Panel Technology: the one detected or if in doubt, check your monitor manufacturer’s website
White Point: D65 (which is different from 6500K!)
Luminance: 120 cd/m2 (if you are calibrating to do post-production)
Chromatic Adaptation: Bradford
Profile Version: 2 (critical)
Profile Type: Matrix
Patch Number: 416 (profiling takes longer but is more accurate)
Once everything is set up, pressing “Next” prompts us to proceed immediately to the measurement step or save a new Preset first.
Step 2: Measurement
Once the measurement phase is started, we are first asked to activate the probe by removing its cover and placing it on the screen in the indicated area.
Next, we will be asked how to handle the Brightness, RGB and Contrast control. My advice is to leave the control of the Brightness manual (thus leaving the checkmark enabled in the box) and leave automatic control for RGB and Contrast. This means that once you start the measurement, you will be prompted to increase or decrease the screen brightness to reach the set target value (in our case, 120 cd/m2).
As you proceed with the measurement, the 416 colored patches (in our case) will appear in rapid sequence. Basically, now the software is making the monitor emit known colors, while our probe will go and check what is being emitted from the screen. In the end, the software will create an ICC profile that can correct that difference allowing us to display the colors correctly.
When finished, we will first be shown a visual summary of the difference between emitted and detected color for each patch, and then we will be asked to save our profile. I suggest you give the profile an exact and unique name, perhaps including the creation date. This will always allow you to locate it within the operating system, if necessary, uniquely.
Once we press Save, the profile is automatically saved to the correct folder on our computer and is automatically activated. No need to do anything else: just enjoy the colors now correctly displayed!
Step 3: Validation
Once the profiling is finished and the profile saved, we can perform the so-called Profile Validation, which consists of going to make a new measurement of colors emitted to verify precisely that read from the probe this time is as close as possible to what is emitted by the Calibrite PROFILER software.
For technical reasons which we will not go into here, this difference can never be zero. The measured residual difference is expressed as “DeltaE”, and if this value is less than 3 we can be satisfied, especially if we are using a generic monitor. I will never tire of repeating that, unlike what I unfortunately often read online, the DetaE is an index of the quality of the profile, not of the monitor.
Once the validation operation is launched, we are asked what to project for the operation. Without complicating your life with custom patches, I suggest you select the target called “ColoChecker Digital SG – 96 Patches.”
After a few minutes with the usual output of colored patches, the process ends, and you will have a validation report. In this report, you can set the DeltaE acceptability limits on average and maximum values. If you want some guidance on a generic monitor, I will accept an average DeltaE of less than 2 with allowed maximum peaks at 3.
Once done, we can put our probe away and close Calibrite PROFILER!
Where is located the profile created by Calibrite PROFILER?
As I told you the profile installation operation is fully automated and no manual intervention is required on your part. However, in case you want to do profile cleanup or other advanced operations, it is good to know that profiles are saved here:
Windows: X:\Windows\system32\spooldrivers\color (to be verified with a quick Google search, I don’t use Windows)
MacOS: Mac HD/Library/ColorSync/Profile.
If you use MacOS, I remind you that the best way to check which profile is active and possibly force another one manually (or reset the original) is through ColorSync Utility.
Calibrite PROFILER is an excellent solution for calibrating and profiling our monitors with Calibrite and X-Rite probes.
Compared to the old X-Rite ccProfiler, Calibrite PROFILER is intuitive and easy to use. While full of customization possibilities for more experienced users, thanks to the presets, it is immediately usable even by those new to these operations.
The completely revised interface allows easier navigation between functions, and it is definitely more pleasant to look at as well.
The result of calibrations and profiling is always precise and accurate, as the profile validation process confirms us.
Calibrite PROFILER is free for all Calibrite probe owners and at a ridiculously low price for X-Rite probe owners, and it can be downloaded from HERE.
Do you still have any doubts or want to learn more about Color Management? Don’t forget that we can arrange individual classes on the topic. Take a look HERE!
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