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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

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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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