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Tour: Monitor calibration with Pantone Huey Pro

An annotated tour through the Pantone Huey Pro's monitor calibration software.

LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg
LoriGruninNewHeadshot.jpg
Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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You must calibrate your monitor on a regular basis, and all good profilers have nag windows to remind you.
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The Huey's first calibration task is to take a reading of the current lighting conditions. At each step along the way, the software provides very easy-to-follow instructions.
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This is the part of calibration that separates the pros from the amateurs. Relying on visual brightness and contrast settings introduces too much variability into the system. For one thing, I think the Huey is assuming you'll have a really bad monitor (or really bad eyes); on the screen where it asks if I see three rings, I actually saw five, and there's no way to adjust the controls to see fewer. Setting the brightness and contrast values to 75% and 50%, respectively, is a suboptimal solution.

The directions can be a bit vague, as well. First you set contrast (the white/gray circle), then you set Brightness (the black/gray circle). But until you realize what each screen is for--they're not labeled as such--the instructions for Contrast are confusing. What does "it" refer to in the second sentence?
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Once you've adjusted the brightness and contrast, you place the calibrator on the display so it can measure color and gray values. Pantone includes a cleaning kit for LCD monitors so the calibrator's little suction cups adhere better.
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This is the screen the software runs through; the calibrator sits over the big cigar-shaped spot, which runs through a sequence of color and gray values. This part of the process takes a surprisingly short time--less than 5 minutes.
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Huey can poll your environment for changes to lighting at regular intervals, but it's optional. If you have a window nearby (lucky you) or move lights around (as I do, to view print samples), then it comes in handy.
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One difference between plain old Huey and Huey Pro is the ability to pick a color reference temperature and gamma. This seems too basic a feature to leave out of the lower-end version.
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The Pro version also supports profile creation for multiple monitors. You simply drag the dialog oval to the second display and start the process again.

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