EIZO have re-designed their direct hardware calibration software from the ground up with their new Eizo ColorNavigator Version 7.
Changes from version 6 are significant (we have a guide to version 6 here if you're still using that - and in many ways it's easier to get started with so feel free!).
The new ColorNavigator Version 7 really combines both their previous calibration software version - ColorNavigator NX (used mainly in the video world) and ColorNavigator 6 (used mainly in the still imaging world). Eizo sees these two roles increasingly overlapping, and that's a direct reflection of what we're seeing out their in the real world - with creatives now crossing disciplines more often than ever before.
Ok, before we start any calibration process, it's important to make sure all the basics are in place and that we're fully ready to go.
Here's a checklist of what should be in place before you start:
It's important to be aware of what we're trying to achieve through calibration.
At a basic level, we're trying to make your monitor as accurate as possible for the display of colour. But what IS accurate? As with just about everything, the answer depends on context.
In reality, we're trying to make your monitor the best possible tool
for you to produce your work accurately. In practice, this generally means making
your monitor be the best predictor of the final output form of your work.
Here's a few possible common scenarios to consider:
Still Images - Print
If you're working on still images, and the final destination is print - be it fine art print, or commercial - we want to match the screen's display as closely as possible to this final output, so that we can get as close to 'working directly on the print' as is possible - that is, what we're seeing is very much like the final print, so that any adjustments we make are reflected on the screen just as they will be in the final print.
This generally means that we want to, for example, match the white tone of the monitor fairly closely to the white tone of our paper. And we want to drastically reduce the monitor's high native contrast to something that is a better visual match to the much lower contrast of print (prints don't use power to emit light, they only reflect light, so where modern monitors might have contrast of 1000:1 or more, prints will at most have about 200:1 contrast).
Still Images - Web
the other hand, perhaps we're preparing our work for screen output -
most like on the internet. In this case, we want our monitor to be a
predictor of that output (in as much as this is possible since not
everyone has such a lovely monitor on their desk as an Eizo ColorEdge).
In general this means full contrast, relatively high brightness, and picking sensible defaults such as a whitepoint of 6500K and a gamma of 2.2. We might want to set up two calibrations for this - one with the narrower, sRGB gamut of older monitors and phones/tablets etc, and another with a modern wide gamut like P3 (as found e.g. on most current Macs). We can't match every monitor in the world, but if we choose sensible defaults and get things looking good on those, we should be in good shape generally.
Video Output - Web
If you're producing video output for the web, you'll want to keep things very standard most likely. The bulk of footage in this context is HD - 1920 by 1080 and in the Rec.709 colour space. Reasonably high brightness and contrast, but people don't have their computer screens jacked up to quite the levels of their home TVs.
Video Output - TV UHD
Modern video standards are moving to 4K (well, UHD 3840 by 2160) - and also to new colour standards like Rec.2020. Plus there's HDR to consider.
TVs in real lounge rooms are invariably very bright, very contrasty and very saturated.
And TV gamma is often more like 2.4 in practice. If we're mastering for this environment, then we want to make sure out stuff looks good when viewed on these screens.
Before we really start, it is worth noting ColorNavigator comes with fairly comprehensive in built help, available via the question mark, top right of the main application panel.
Whilst it lacks a nice getting started tutorial, if you're looking to get in to the nitty-gritty or more advanced aspects of ColorNavigator, you will find pretty much all functionality documented here.
And of course if you want some human help, and you bought your monitor from Image Science, you're always welcome to get in touch with Image Science for support.
So, we will have at least one calibration scenario, and typically more.
Each of these scenarios becomes a calibration target in Eizo ColorNavigator V7.
A calibration target is a set of settings to which we will adjust our monitor's appearance such that our monitor becomes a better predictor of our final output.
For each calibration scenario we create a calibration target. In each calibration target we will define the colour and brightness of white displayed by the monitor, the monitor's blackpoint (and by extension the monitor's contrast ratio).
We will also define the gamut and gamma used.
To actually define a new calibration target, we visit the Target Management section of ColorNavigator Version 7 - found under the Monitor Settings menu at the top of the main application window.
When you first open this window you will experience a quite annoying series of flashes and monitor colour shifts as ColorNavigator cycles through each active mode and confirms the current settings for each (and you will also experience this again when your close ColorNavigator).
(Side note - For the life of me I can't work out why they can't just read those settings without causing the monitor to actually change into each mode - given Eizo design all the electronics and software themselves, but there you go...just one of life's little mysteries!).
The Target Management window has a series of defined targets on the left hand side, and the associated settings for whichever target is selected on the right hand side of this panel (with more information, including calibration history, available via the Details button in the bottom right hand corner).
(Note that each target is labelled as either STD (standard) or ADV (advanced). Essentially, the two types of target differ in how long calibration takes and when calibration is done. standard targets do less and calibrate more quickly than advanced ones).
To get started, let's define a new target using the menu accessible from the bottom right corner:
The window that comes up, used to define a new Calibration Target, is quite complex. Note the scroll bar on the side of the window - there are quite a few settings to go through each time you make a target.
Fortunately, once our targets are set up, everything is mostly automatic from then on.
Here's an overview of the window but we'll step through each section in turn below:
The first step we take is to give our target two names.
The first is the name of the target as we will see it in ColorNavigator. You can make these names as technical or as human as you like - e.g. you can record the key settings in the target name, or you can give it something more digestible - it's really your choice, for example:
The second name you must define is the name of the mode. What this means is not obvious - but this is the name that will come up in the monitor's actual electronic menus and in the monitor's on screen display message when you change modes.
There's a limited number of characters here, so keep it simple & meaningful to you - for example:
Use the blue drop down arrow on the right to define whether your target will be a more basic/quick standard target, or an advanced target. Personally we always choose advanced - why have such incredible hardware if you're not going to take full advantage of the accuracy it can provide?
Next, we define the brightness and colour of white to be displayed, and the black point level (which effectively defines the contrast ratio of the monitor - as whitepoint divided by blackpoint = contrast ratio).
Here, for example and in the context of preparing fine art print work, we have chosen a warm white of 5800K to reflect the fine art papers we generally print on, a brightness of 90 cd/m2 for white and 0.4 for black. 90 divided by 0.4 is 225, so our contrast ratio is therefore 225:1.
The actual values you should use might be quite different, and will depend on your calibration scenario and also your physical environment (such as the brightness of your work space). You're always welcome to ask for advice on this, and we have a page with example hardware calibration targets that will give you some advice for typical scenarios:
Next, we define the gamma (AKA Tone Response Curve - basically how tones change from black to white along), the gamut (range of colour to be available) and the priority.
Priority is generally best left as standard unless you have a good reason to change it. Calibration is a multi-point optimisation problem, meaning as you optimise one part, you may de-optimise another area. In general, standard gives a good balance. However, if it's absolutely essential your neutrals are as neutral as possible, you can bias your calibration in that direction, for example. There are more notes on this in the in-built help 'Editing The Adjustment Target' - but 99% of the time we suggest using Standard.
Gamma - for print work this is almost always 2.2. For some video work, it might be 2.4. And more technical options such as L* are offered.
Gamut - in general, for print work, we use the monitor's native gamut - letting all available colours be displayed, but you might want to restrict the gamut for your domain, such as using only sRGB for web image work, or Rec.709 for video.
When you are finished defining your target settings, hit the OK button, bottom right, to save your new target and you will now see it in your target list.
In a baffling piece of user interface design, note that the star icon represents a method for 'locking' the target - if you click the lock, the target will then not be editable.
Now, close the Target Management window and you will drop back to the main application window.
Next, we apply our calibration target to one of the monitor's modes. (and again we can use the (bizarre) star icon to lock our settings in place).
Click on a monitor mode on the left, then use the drop down menu to choose your new target:
You will see the name of the mode change to the name you set earlier (here, 'IS Print').
You have now created a Calibration Target and set it up to be used for a particular mode in your monitor (and you can repeat this for as many modes and targets as you want.
If you don't need 9 separate modes/targets, note you can right click on modes and disable them to keep thing more simple.
Now, to actually trigger the calibration of your monitor to your new target at this time, click the calibrate button at the bottom of the window.
Now we get to the easy part!
Of course your calibrator should be plugged in (or built in!) at this point.
There are three steps:
Choose your calibrator.
With Eizo CG models, the in built sensor is very good and unless you have a special circumstance, is what you'd generally choose.
If your calibrator is external, it should come up in this list.
(If not, it was most likely not plugged in when ColorNavigator started, or you have another application running in the background that is connected to your calibrator, or you have a drivers issue)
Calibration itself takes a few minutes.
Perfect time to go make a coffee!
Use the blue arrows bottom right to click through to the next steps/warning messages (read them, of course!) - and calibration should begin.
At the end of calibration (may take up to about 5 minutes), you will get a results screen.
You should see result figures very close to your target figures.
Note the 'start validation' tick box.
Leaving this ticked will kick off a validation process that proceeds in a near identical manner to calibration. It's useful for re-assurance, but you'll probably want to skip this once you begin to trust the process more.
Monitors drift through use. You should re-calibrate to all your targets regularly. Humans being what they are, it is best to get computers to remind us when this is necessary.
Even better, if you're lucky enough to own a model with a built in sensor, you can automate this process. You don't even have to be there when it happens - as long as the monitor has power, it can wake itself up, calibrate, and go back to bed, all automatically!
Settings for Calibration Reminders and Automatic Self Calibration are found in the Monitor Settings -> Management Policy Menu.
We suggest calibration about once a month is an appropriate level for most use cases. In our case, we scheduled this for the first day of the month at midnight, but alternatively you can schedule after a certain amount of usage time or as frequently as you'd like.
This covers the basics of creating and using calibration targets in EIZO ColorNavigator Version 7.
But there's a lot more to it if you want to go beyond - from adding your own validation targets, loading 3D LUTs, automatic control and adjustment of light booths - this application can do just about anything in screen calibration you might need.
Again, the in-built help in ColorNavigator has a lot of information and that is probably the place to look next for more advanced information. And we're always ready to help with advice.
In addition, here's a few related articles to review, with further information: