I have had the opportunity to try X-Rite i1Display Pro. In this review I will share my experience of it, how to calibrate your monitor and create an ICC profile. Before introducing you to the colorimeter I believe it is essential to first understand WHY we need to calibrate a monitor. Just like the “Start With Why” – Leadership Guru Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it”. So let me explain WHY calibration and profiling is important.
When you work on your images, you want to be sure that you are seeing the real colors that your camera sensor was able to capture. Unfortunately, our displays and graphic cards (including mobile devices) are made by different technologies and materials, so the colors displayed can be affected by that. As an example, have a look at the same image in your tablet and in your laptop: you will most likely notice for some differences. For this reason, in order to have an image ready to be printed or just shared online in our social medias, the first step is to be sure that the device we are using for the post production and visualization is correctly calibrated and use an ICC profile: this is where X-Rite i1Display Pro becomes relevant.
Thanks to the combined use to a software (iProfiler) and a hardware (the colorimeter sensor i1Display), you will be able to create an ICC profile that will let your monitor to display colors correctly. The workflow is very simple: at the beginning you will be able to perform the calibration, that is when you set your monitor to specific values of white point, luminosity and other basic parameters. Once this has been completed, you will move to the step of Profiling, where the software and the hardware will determinate the accuracy response of your monitor. The final output will be an ICC profile that once installed in your computer will let your monitor to display colors correctly taking into account the specific response of your device.
Put in simpler words, with a calibrated screen and an ICC profile different monitors can communicate with each other by numerically describing the colors that are displayed in screens or other digital devices such as printers etc. You can see the ICC profile as a translator only used by your computer helping your screen to read other languages (colors) correctly.
i1Display Pro by X-Rite
The X-Rite i1Display is a colorimeter, also called a probe, that is used to read the screen and together with a software, i1Profiler, to be downloaded here, that is used to do the calibration and creating the ICC profile.
Some of the features of the colorimeter are:
- Fast measurement speed
- High color accuracy on modern display technologies such as LED, Plasma, OLED and Wide Gamut
- High level of on-screen accuracy for screens including projectors and mobile devices
- Ambient Light Smart Control – a function that adjust or notify you of changes of ambient light conditions.
- Flare Correct a function that measures and corrects the profile when there is a reflection on the screen.
- Multiple Display and Workgroup Matching – allowing consistency among multiple monitors by re-using profile settings
Prepare your monitor for calibration and profiling
Before starting the fun of calibration and profiling it is good to prepare your monitor to ensure the processes are accurately performed.
First of all, make sure to clean the screen of your monitor properly. When creating an ICC profile the probe (colorimeter sensor) will be placed on the screen and dirt or fingerprints on the surface can cause improper ICC profile. Secondly, reset your monitor if you have made any manual changes. And also make sure to that the monitor has been turned on for at least 30 minutes before starting the calibration, this is important in order to stabilize the components thermally and get the best out of the calibration.
I use a MacBook Pro, if you also are using a Mac then I would suggest below shared settings in System Preferences:
- Uncheck “Automatically adjust brightness”
- Uncheck “True Tone”
- De-activate “Night Shift”
- Set “Monitor Contrast” to “Normal”
In Energy Saving:
- Disable the different energy saving models
Let the fun begin! Connect the i1Display Pro probe to the computer and launch the iProfiler software (download here).
When iProfiler appear on the screen selected the Advanced User Mode and click on Display Profiling.
Here you will be asked what screen you wish to profile. Usually the iProfiler will detect the screen automatically so there is really nothing to do here but in case this doesn’t happen you can simply select your screen manually from the drop-down menu.
As you can see in the printscreen I went for White LED as my MacBook Pro is with a retina display.
Next on, select “White Point”. Here you can make different choices depending on what your objectives are with the monitor. If you intend to do post-production then choose CIE illuminant D65 but if you will do print you should rather opt for CIE illuminant D55 or D50.
If your objectives are both post-production and print simply make two calibrations and ICC profiles ;-)
In Luminance I select 120 cd/m2 when I want to work on images that will be just published online. For print purposes, set between 100cd/m2 and 80 cd/m2 according to the paper you will be using for the printed image.
Contrast Ratio – here we will select Native for post-production purposes however if the objective is printing it depends on the paper so it would be necessary to run a few tests.
Flare Correct and Ambient Light Smart Control – disable both ( in case if you like me have a workstation with controlled ambient light and no reflections) If you move to different places and there is always a risk for reflection then make sure to activate both of these options.
When we have completed the Display Settings we can proceed to the next part of the Profile Settings.
Select the first parameter “Chromatic Adaptation” , here I chose the classic Bradford, but its of personal choice.
Then we need to select the “Profile Version”, either v2 or v4. I would suggest v2. This will let you have the greatest compatibility of your profile with the various software and applications
Tone Response Curve choose 2.2 that is already pre-selected. As Profile Type select Table based.
Creating an ICC Profile
When the calibration of the monitor has been made next step is to characterize our monitor, this process is performed by the colorimeter that will do a serie of measurements. First select “Patch set size” Large and proceed to next step.
We have reached the Measurement step, here select ADC Automatic Display Control and then click on Start Measurements. This process will take up to 20 minutes depending on your settings.
When the measurements have been completed you will simply have to name the ICC profile (suggestion would be to save it under the date of the day in order to easily keep track of the latest profile). Before saving the profile you can choose between two different settings Profile Distribution and the recalibration reminder. If you use a Mac I would suggest to select the User Level and System Level if you are working with a PC. How often should one recalibrate? Usually 3 to 4 weeks interval would be a reasonable period.
If you have followed above steps you can see that the process of calibrating and creating an ICC profile of your monitor is very easy with the X-Rite iProfiler and i1Display Pro.
The interface of the software, i1Display Pro could have some esthetical touch ups but it is still intuitive and easy to use.
To conclude I find the X-Rite iProfiler and i1Display Pro a great combination of tools in order to calibrate and creating an ICC profile of a monitor. A trustworthy choice for any professional photographer who aims for perfection of their photos, in digital and printed form.