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Author Topic: Mac: Adjusting Monitor Contrast and Saturation  (Read 2730 times)
David Eichler
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« on: May 04, 2013, 01:59:36 PM »
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Is there a way to adjust the contrast and color saturation of the monitor with a Mac, that doesn't remove the monitor profile I have created with xRite software? When I go into the advanced monitor controls
on my 2009 iMac, it removes the profile I have created with xRite software, and there appear to be no controls in the xRite software for this. I am thinking of getting a new iMac, but I find the default saturation and contrast to be too high for my taste.
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MarkM
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 02:45:59 PM »
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David, what do you mean by the default saturation? Default saturation of what? If you fill a photoshop canvas with 100% red, a color that should be very saturated, don't you want the monitor to display the color in all its saturated glory? If you've profiled your monitor, it should be showing you saturation and contrast that reflects the image you are looking at. If that's too saturated then the image should be adjusted, not the monitor.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 02:52:49 PM by MarkM » Logged

howardm
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 06:30:54 AM »
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I'm sure I'll be corrected by those more knowledgeable but.......

The profile is the profile and once you start trying to 'adjust' it after the fact, it becomes invalid basically.  You don't mention which Xrite product or exact software suite you're using but I'd think that adjusting the luminance and black point would give you control over the contrast (I set my contrast ratio to about 300:1 which at 100cd/m2, is a black level of approx 0.333 or whatever the math works out).  I suppose you could pull in the primary color triangle a bit too but saturation is what it is based on the image at hand.  I think once you get the lum and contrast under control, the rest would mostly fall into place.
If the Xrite software doesn't allow that, then look at something like BasICColor Display software.

Is there a way to adjust the contrast and color saturation of the monitor with a Mac, that doesn't remove the monitor profile I have created with xRite software? When I go into the advanced monitor controls
on my 2009 iMac, it removes the profile I have created with xRite software, and there appear to be no controls in the xRite software for this. I am thinking of getting a new iMac, but I find the default saturation and contrast to be too high for my taste.
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David Eichler
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 06:31:41 AM »
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David, what do you mean by the default saturation? Default saturation of what? If you fill a photoshop canvas with 100% red, a color that should be very saturated, don't you want the monitor to display the color in all its saturated glory? If you've profiled your monitor, it should be showing you saturation and contrast that reflects the image you are looking at. If that's too saturated then the image should be adjusted, not the monitor.

Mark, the most recent monitor I have calibrated is a 2009 iMac's. I don't see any major difference in contrast and overall color saturation between the default Mac profile and the profile I get using my Eye1 Display 2. The default look of the new iMac monitors looks very contrasty and saturated. Way over the top for my taste. Are you saying that, if I profile such a monitor with, say, Xrite software and hardware, that will tone down this over-the-top look?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 11:20:12 AM »
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I'm sure I'll be corrected by those more knowledgeable but.......
The profile is the profile and once you start trying to 'adjust' it after the fact, it becomes invalid basically. 

Absolutely correct. The profile is just that, a view or fingerprint of the behavior of the device. While it isn't obvious when doing this work, there are two processes: Calibration and Profiling. Calibration is putting the device in a known and hopefully ideal state. Profiling just defines to the CMS this state. If you profile a display, then change the calibration, that profile is basically wrong.
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Andrew Rodney
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MarkM
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 01:54:40 PM »
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David, it's possible the new monitors are capable of producing more saturated colors—but I don't really keep up with the iMac monitors. If that is the case then you might notice more saturated colors in non-color managed areas such as images with no profile attached or even user interface graphics in the OS. But color-managed images should still display consistently if the screen is profiled correctly. The exception being where images have saturated colors that are out of the gamut of the old monitor but reproduce correctly on the new monitor.

Unless there is really something off with the old monitor—backlight fading or drifting—the difference shouldn't be gigantic and only noticeable in specific saturated images. It's also worth noting that many computer/monitors are way too bright out of the box for most situations. This can give the impression of a much punchier display. You would normally bring that down to a reasonable brightness when you calibrate the monitor.
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 08:26:45 AM »
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Hi David.  Just want to add a little to what's already been presented -- with apologies in advance if this is ground you have already traversed. 

First, it appears to me that Apple has changed something in OS X's overall handling of color that makes it slightly more "Disney" and noticeably less natural (as in smoothly graded across saturation and luminance transitions, and weighted towards the perceptual centers little clustered on the edges).  There is not much you can do about it (if it even is true).  If you use Aperture, you should consider saving a custom setting in the "RAW Fine Tuning" Brick for each of your cameras.  I recently purchased a Sony a77; after a week I significantly lowered the "Boost" and the "Hue Boost" in my default for that camera (this was not needed for the a900/a850).  Similar to all monitors being sold with a default brightness that is too bright for color-critical work, it _seems_ that Apple is producing software with default settings that are too saturated (and too contrasty) for color-critical work.

Second, the iMac is not a "good" monitor for color critical work.  I suggest borrowing a monitor that is good (the better NECs, etc.), hooking it up as a second monitor, calibrating it with your X-Rite device (which one?), and then comparing the two monitors.  Be sure to calibrate to the same cd/m^2 setting.  I use 85, which gives me the best correspondence from image to print for my equipment and environment.  HTH.

--Kirby.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 08:41:58 AM »
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First, it appears to me that Apple has changed something in OS X's overall handling of color that makes it slightly more "Disney" and noticeably less natural (as in smoothly graded across saturation and luminance transitions, and weighted towards the perceptual centers little clustered on the edges).  There is not much you can do about it (if it even is true). 

I don't think it is true but I'm open to evidence of this.
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Andrew Rodney
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 11:57:10 AM »
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I don't think it is true but I'm open to evidence of this.
Andrew -- I don't see any practical way I can support my observation with evidence.  I don't have the time or the means at present to set up a system with older versions of OS X and other software to compare.  I'm sensitive to color (trained and worked as a painter for decades), and have been using Macs with a color-calibrated workflow for about three years (Color Munki, not the best for accuracy, but generally considered reliable).  On the advice of an NEC technician I limited my old machine to the ICC v.2 settings/profiles.  I mention this not only because it may be important, but to illustrate the shortcomings of my own technical skills.  It _seems_ to me that with every OS upgrade, with some of the Apple RAW upgrades, and with nearly each new machine, Apple more closely hews to a default presentation that I think is meant to be "cinematic", i.e.: dark darks, high-contrast, and "richly" saturated colors.  It is tangential to this thread, but I am interested in hearing from others, in support or opposition to my contention/observation.  I am also open to doing some testing, if you can give me some direction of how to measure what I'm seeing.  I should have some time over the summer.  (Right now I am struggling to recover from an rMBP failure (2 logic board replacements; finally Apple replaced the machine.)

--Kirby.
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MarkM
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 12:12:12 PM »
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Kirby, it's not clear if you are talking about overall color management on the OS level or the way raw files are rendered by default in applications like Aperture.

I doubt there's a bias happening at the OS level—this would be pretty easy to measure and would cause all sorts of problems. I don't use Aperture, but I imagine there's a lot more room for subjective color interpretations when it comes to defaults for processing raw files.
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