So this has so far been a week for having suspicions confirmed and a few pleasant surprises.
Many of you will now know that I am great fan of people having calibrated screens, not visually guestimated but properly calibrated with a device that reads a series of displayed patches and creates a proper icc profile.
The reason for this is mainly so that you actually know what your image looks like if you ever decided to print so that you can stand your ground if the colour is wrong and also when you get your prints back from me you don’t get a surprise when you see what your images really look like.
My system of choice has up to now been the Gretag I1system but recently there have been some nasty little problems that have cropped up with the system and judging from reports on the web, I am not the only one having these problems. Recently I have also been focussing my attention on the ColorMunki systems from Xrite and I must say that I have been pretty impressed with the Entry level offering the “Create” which IMO only lacks one critical feature, the ability to accurately control the brightness of the display.
The Create hasn’t got brightness reading so you can’t tell when you are at the desired brightness and therefore need to adjust your monitor by eye to where you think it should be. Other than that, it does a fantastic job and should really work for 90% of the people out there.
In my case, I am one of the 90% who needs that ability to fine tune and accurately control my colour and during the last few months, I have totally given up with the I1 system and the HP APS system which uses the Gretag system for monitor profiling. To make things worse, my Hp 30” monitor has no ability to control the white point and no OSD “on screen display” and the Gretag systems really make a mess of profiling it.
Fortunately this all changed when I borrowed a Colour Munki Design Demo unit form Direct Distribution Services who supply a lot of my equipment. The first thing to note is that the Design is a spectrophotometer whereas the Create and I1 are spectrocolorimeters. I am not going to go into great detail but using the Design has confirmed my suspicion that for the high end of colour management you need a spectrophotometer.
The profiling process with the ColorMunki design is pretty painless and the end result is that I have two different monitors that now accurately display the same colour. No prizes for guessing what is on my shopping list in the next few months and the added advantage for those of you who don’t have HP Z series printers is that the ColourMunki Design, can also calibrate printers.
So onto the surprise for the week.
As many of you may also know I am a great fan of PTGUI and IMO its one of the best if not the best panoramic stitching systems out there. The problem is that it seems to battle a little when faced with interior fisheye shots. For some reason, no matter how well my pano head is setup, there are always stitching errors that need to be fixed which is very frustrating and time consuming. Stepping back a bit, when I make a statement like “I think it’s the best available” this is usually qualified by the fact that I have tried the other options available and in this case I own most of them including a package called Autopano Giga. It’s a package that many have raved about but I have never found it to be as good, fast or as easy to use as PTGUI but I am glad to say I have now found something it is really good at, being the stitching of 360° interior panoramic shots.
It’s a nice feeling to know that its only Tuesday and my monitors are perfectly calibrated, my interior panoramic are getting done more efficiently and my investment in Autopano Giga is finally paying for itself. Hopefully this week will just keep getting better.