During the editing and processing of digital images, the goal is to tailor imagery in order to communicate a specific intention. Color calibration is the process of fine-tuning a monitor in order to accurately display colors and shading, so as to synchronize what you see on your screen with what it will look like as a finished product. Calibration can be envisioned as the difference between using a tape measurer to judge length as opposed to just using your eye.
What’s the use in taking time to create great imagery if it’s not going to be seen that way? As your monitor is going to be your strongest ally during the digital editing process, it is important to ensure that the color output on your monitor is a precise replication of the finished product intended. When color output on your monitor is not calibrated correctly, inconsistencies in the color output of your monitor will arise. As a result, any effort put into tweaking and fine-tuning images will to go to loss, as the finished product will not come out consistent with the way it was designed when displayed on the monitor. This loss comes at the expense of valuable time and effort that could otherwise be put to use on other projects and can create a bottleneck in the workflow.
In fact, profession and enthusiasts photographers as well as graphic designers working from non-calibrated display monitors take up to three times as many print iterations to achieve an acceptable sample as those working from a calibrated display in a safe color viewing environment. In essence, working from a calibrated display serves as a means to boosting efficiency and reducing wasted resources such as time and costs, making the difference between guessing how a finished product will look and knowing how it will look.
Monitor color and luminance will change naturally over time for a multitude of reasons.
Displaying color in a linear way can create errors for matching while trying to find the correct shade values for each color. 3D LUTs are much better because they produce color using a volumetric color space, which is more accurate and reduces calibration errors. 3D LUTs are needed to help create better color graduation and help express the non-linear values that exist in real life. A wider color gamut and saturation are expressed while having the ability to better match shades of colors that create better color reproduction, especially during the editing process or when users manipulate chroma, hue and brightness. Converting one color space into another color environment is done better. When converting one color space to another, 3D LUTs are more precise, reducing lost color information from the original color gamut. Intermediate color gradation is improved due to the nonlinear behavior of 3D LUTs, enhancing gray scale accuracy.
As the types of profiles created with hardware calibration are independent of the graphics card, this method allows for access to the profile anytime regardless of the host computer. Since hardware calibration controls the monitor directly, this type of calibration offers good gradation characteristics with high precision. There are a range of different controls that can be controlled with high precision depending on the type of digital image creation required. Accessibility to the hardware look-up table (LUT) allows for a more customizable color mode to fine tune colors and make further adjustments. Precise control of the monitor’s gamut is available with the ability to simulate Adobe RGB or sRGB with very high accuracy. Black level can be controlled with precision and is of major importance during the soft proofing process. Precise calibration through the full luminance range of the display without the loss of digital resolution is another benefit of this method.
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