Have you ever been disappointed when what you get does not match what you had in mind or screen in this case?
For me, I have had a couple of experiences like this.
Firstly, having had the experience of printing a photograph at a shop and not getting the correct colour was just wasted effort and money. I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to go through again especially when I print my fine art photographs on a regular basis. The colours were overly saturated and too dark for my liking. It wasn’t even similar to what was being displayed on my screen at that time before I had any colour calibrating tool.
Another example was when I had edit and send a series of images to a client. I edited the images on my desktop but the horror began when I sent it over to my laptop and I realised that the exposure was so different to what it looked like on my desktop. I was so confused and did not know which screen was displaying the right exposure and so I tried to send it over to my iPhone.
At the end of the whole episode, I left clueless as to which exposure of my images is the correct and accurate one.
Colour Calibration of the BenQ SW320 monitor
This is where colour calibration is so important. If the colours in your photographs are not represented correctly in the screen of your workspace, this can be a huge problem especially if you are presenting your pictures professionally, for your viewers or clients.
Also, if your workspace has several monitors, I’m sure you would not want each screen to display different colours for a particular photograph. Which will make you wonder then, which screen is indeed displaying the right screen colour accuracy. But the fact is, it is common for it to happen because when a monitor is not calibrated, you will tend to get different and inaccurate results.
With so many advancements in terms of technology and innovation, difficult and tedious tasks are being simplified with the right tool and the correct knowledge on how to use them.
So, what is colour calibration and what does it do for you? Read on to find out!
Why Colour Calibration?
As different monitors display different colours and with colours shifting over time, you can’t depend solely on your monitors or your eyes as there may be so many external factors that may affect the accuracy of the colours that you are looking at.
When the colours in your photographs are not true to real life, it may take a longer editing time and overcompensation that may affect the final outcome and results of the entire image. And the worse part may just be when the print does not match what you see on your screen, which was what had happened to me.
All these reasons include factors that are inevitable such as inconsistent lighting and when a monitor loses its quality over time because of its depreciating nature.
Why The Need For Hardware Calibration?
Colour management is vital for every photographer in the post-production workflow especially for printing and displaying your work online. It helps to improve the workflow of photographers as we all know too well, the timely process of post-production after we are done with our photoshoots. This includes editing, colour correcting and retouching. A photographer would know that post-production such as photo editing, plays a huge part in making or breaking an image.
Therefore, what colour calibration does is that it facilitates and improves the photographer’s workflow efficiency. Who doesn’t want increased work efficiency right? Hardware calibration gives you a more accurate calibration as it has a 3d look up and operating at a higher bit depth which gives a great colour precision.
The key is in making your monitor look like a print so that you are able to get what you are after in an image print. Consistency is key, be it working with different monitors or sending your images over to your clients who have a different monitor from you, which will affect the result of the images. Our job as photographers is to provide excellent quality and resolution to our clients with the most precise accuracy even if their screens do not display the true colours of the image, you know that you have taken good care of that with the help of your hardware calibrator and calibration monitor.
X-Rite i1Display Pro Specifications
The hardware calibrator I am using is the X-Rite i1Display pro which is compatible with the BenQ monitor. It is in the Mid-High range with great and outstanding features that I have listed below:
- Advanced filter and optical systems
- Compatible on all modern display technologies
- Advanced in filter and optical systems
- High-speed measurement speed
- Spectrally calibrated
- Ultra-modern ergonomic design that incorporates ambient light measurement, monitor profiling, and projector profiling
- Intelligent iterative profiling which has an adaptive technology, producing optimized results for maximum colour accuracy
BenQ SW320 Monitor
BenQ has a calibrating software that is called palette master element and it is compatible with the X-rite i1Display pro hardware calibrator.
Sunlight and external light sources may be inevitably present especially when you are in a dark or low lit condition. However, the BenQ monitor has high-quality shading hoods that block off excessive light on the screen, giving you a controlled lighting area where there is no unnecessary light hitting your monitor. It also has top quality display panels throughout the monitor.
coming out of your screen for it to produce the most accurate colours for your monitor, working hand in hand with the colour calibration software that BenQ provides. This measures both the inside and what comes outside of your monitor in terms of the colour and light that it emits.
Being a perfectionist with a keen eye for detail, this is perfect for me and my workflow in post-production. The colour precision, speed, and controls for the highest levels of on-screen colour accuracy make sure my photographs are well produced in the most effective and efficient way possible. My goal is to produce visually pleasing photographs with consistency in colours throughout the devices, equipment, printer, deriving the final outcome.
How To Set Up the Calibration of the BenQ monitor?
Allow me take you through briefly, the steps to having a functional calibration set up for your BenQ monitor along with the X-rite hardware calibrator. For a more detailed and thorough information, do check it out on BenQ’s website. (I will try to simplify this as much as possible, here it goes)
Part 1: Setting Up
- Allow the monitor to warm up by letting it run for a while ( 5 -10 mins)
- Connect the BenQ monitor to your computer using a USB cable.
- Have your calibrator plugged into your display ( you may find guidance on how to connect it in your monitor’s instructions)
- Remember to tilt the monitor upwards/ backwards to ensure that the calibrator sits properly on the surface of the screen
- Important note: Disable all energy/ screen savers/ night shift as you would not want your monitor to dim the screen during the calibration process.
Part 2: Launching the Palette Master Elements Software
- Download and launch the BenQ’s free Palette Master Elements Software (You may refer to the Quick start Guide that came with the monitor)
- Recommended setting: Advanced option
- Choose the Profiling option
- 3 modes of default option: Photographer, Graphic Design and Graphics. (I picked Photographer)
- Recommended configuration by Mark Wood: Profile version is set to v4, using 16 bits LUT and a patch set size to Large
- You may click Start Measurement
Part 3: Finishing up
- The Software will then do the work on its own as it runs through cycles of configuring the LUTs (Look Up Tables)
- Thereafter, the calibration will end and the software will display a calibration report. You may verify the results by clicking
- Validate Calibration
- End of Calibration set up
In conclusion, I believe in giving the best quality and resolution be it for my clients, customers, in my fine art prints or my personal work. With inaccurate colours, you will tend to overcompensate with colour correcting and giving the wrong result. Your monitor plays an important role in viewing your digital images and it is crucial to set the display of colours and tones of your images accurately.
Therefore it is an important reminder to make sure you calibrate your monitor from time to time and make sure it is accurate. With the BenQ SW320 monitor, the set up is simple and quick. The whole process is not at all complicated and the information is readily available on the net with a touch of a button to guide you with everything that you need.
A big thanks for BenQ and the X-rite i1Display pro for providing me with the best equipment that I can trust to get the job done well.
BenQ will also be sponsoring the SW 320 calibration monitors for the Masterclass Workshop that I will be conducting for Asian Geographic Images of Asia Photography Competition. It is happening this Saturday, on the 24th of November 2018 at the National Design Center, Singapore. Register for your tickets and head on down to have a look at the monitors!
Hope you have enjoyed my reviews so far, let me know in the comment section below what other review and content you would like me to write for you guys!
See you soon!