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Monitor & Colour Management Terms

Monitor & Colour Management Terms - Wondering what some of the colour management and monitor terms mean? Well read on.

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Category : General Photography
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We all know that colour management is important but not all of the terms used to describe processes and monitor options are that straight-forward to understand. So, with this in-mind, we've decided to go through the alphabet, listing an explanation of a term linked to colour management beginning with as many of the letters from A-Z as possible. 

EIZO monitor

A - Adobe RGB

This is a colour space that was introduced by Adobe. It's an improvement on the sRGB colour space's gamut, mostly within cyan and green tones. An increasing number of electrical devices used in the re-production of images (scanners, cameras etc.) are now compatible with this colour space. When a photographer uses Adobe RGB for the image data, it's important that their monitor supports the wider colour gamut of Adobe RGB such as some of the models available in the EIZO ColorEdge range.

B - Backlight 

This is the light source that illuminates the display screen and it's positioned behind the LCD panel. See how a backlight flickering at high-speed could cause eye fatigue in our article

C - Calibration

The process of adjusting the brightness, colour temperature and gamma (characteristics, curve or tones) on a monitor to compensate for its natural and gradual loss of colour reproduction properties. The process also involves adjusting the colour temperature of a monitor to target media white. EIZO recommends calibration be performed after about 200 hours of use (or once per two weeks).

Have a look at these articles for more advice on colour calibration:

D - Delta E

Delta E is used to measure the colour performance of a monitor and is something we've covered in more detail in a previous article: What Is Delta E? 

E - EyeCare Mode

This mode, available on select EIZO models, lowers the brightness to 4cd/m² or less and is suitable for environments with very dim lighting. This feature is just one method EIZO are using to help prevent the problem of physical fatigue some users have reported when working on a computer. 

F - Fine Contrast

This is an EIZO original feature that allows users of selected LCD monitors to quickly optimise the display settings for any application. It's the name given to a group of preset modes which can be accessed from the 'Mode' button found on the front of the display and they include: Text, Browser, Picture, Graphic, Movie and sRGB. Each mode changes the monitor's settings in different ways. For example, 'Text' dims the screen and is ideal for word processing while 'Picture' brightens the screen and is ideal for graphics applications.

G - Gamma

This is the relationship between a computer's inputs and the brightness or luminance displayed on a monitor. Gamma is something we've covered previously so you can find more information on what it is, how it's corrected and Gamma checks you can carry out in these articles:

Gamma check


H - Hardware Calibration

Hardware calibration is the method of adjusting colour directly by changing the settings inside the monitor via a calibration function. EIZO's ColorNavigator software, which is included with ColorEdge monitors, uses this method of calibration.

I - ICC (Profile) 

The ICC was founded by 8 companies with the purpose of promoting the use and adoption of open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform colour management systems. The ICC encourages vendors to support the ICC profile format and the workflows required to use ICC profiles.

ICC profiles consist of data sets for devices such as cameras, printers and scanners that relate to the standard colour space defined by the ICC. This allows devices, operating systems and software that uses ICC profiles to correctly reproduce the colours (input) of devices such as scanners and cameras with the colours (output) that are displayed on a monitor or in print. 

J - Judder

Unwanted motion picture artifacts caused by inconsistencies between the frame conversion process and playback speed. Motion picture artifacts commonly occur during a process called "pulldown," when film frames are converted to match the display and playback speed capabilities of a TV or monitor. Motion picture film is generally shot and projected in cinemas at a speed of 24 frames per second (fps). Monitors and TVs, however, typically do not display moving images as this speed and this discrepancy can cause judder.

K - Kelvin 

Colour temperature and keeping colours consistent in the photography studio will help produce better results from first shot to print. One way that's easy for photographers to get the ball rolling with this right from the get-go is by having the colour temperature of 5000K in-mind when taking photos in a studio set-up. The 'K' stands for 'kelvin' which is a unit used for measuring the colour temperature of a light source. We've used the 5000K figure as daylight has a colour temperature of around 5000-5500K which means the colour reproduction in photos will be closer to that perceived by the eye when a camera's white balance is set to this figure. 

For more tips on colour temperature, have a read of these: 

Colour temperature


L - Look-Up Table (LUT)

The look-up table (LUT) plays a key factor in an LCD monitor's ability to display tonal grades and transitions. It's a subject that's slightly beyond what an average user would look at when considering a monitor purchase, however how a monitor reproduces colour is something that the LUT can change so it's worth having a read of our previous articles if you're serious about colour management.

M - Monitor Hood

A monitor hood is attached to the top and sides of a monitor to reduce the effects environmental lighting has on the screen.

For more information on monitor hoods, have a read of these two tutorials:

N - Native Resolution

To sum it up quickly, Native Resolution is the number of pixels on an LCD screen. For more information on this subject, have a read of this: Monitor Native Resolution

O - Orientation

Did you know that some monitors can be adjusted so they not only work in the normal, landscape format but offer the user the opportunity to switch the viewing angle to portrait mode? To find out how and why to do this, have a read of our previous article: How To Use A Monitor In A Portrait Orientation

EIZO ColorEdge CG276
P - Pixel Pitch 

Pixel Pitch is the distance between the pixels on your screen. For more on this subject, take a look at this article: Monitor Basics - Pixel Pitch & Enlarged Mode 

Q - Quality 

We all know that quality is an important factor for all things we purchase and there are a number of factors that determine image quality, including the colour gamut of a monitor. There are also a series of tests you can carry out to check the display and image quality of the monitor you're currently using. Here they are:

R- (Adobe) RGB

This is a colour space which was introduced by Adobe in 1998 and in some parts of the colour reproduction area it has a greater range than that of sRGB. Have a read of the following articles for more information on Adobe RGB:

S - Software Calibration

This involves using a general-purpose calibration kit and the monitor's standard colour-adjustment function to calibrate the device. Users adjust monitor colour themselves, following the instructions of the software included in the kit. An ICC profile is then generated automatically.

T - (Colour) Temperature 

Colour temperature can dramatically affect the picture quality of an LCD monitor, but many people generally stick to the default settings. However, with a good understanding of what colour temperature actually means, users can adjust the picture quality of their monitors much more successfully.

In basic terms, since colour temperature settings affect colour reproduction significantly, to display an image with the appropriate colour cast, the correct colour temperature must be chosen.

Monitors

U - Utility Software

There are plenty of utility software products that will work alongside an EIZO monitor. These are pieces of software that aren't crucial for the actual running on the computer but will help enhance the experience some-how. For example, your ColorEdge EIZO monitor will perform without ColorNavigator 6, however by using the software to calibrate your monitor the amount of time you spend on matching prints to what you see on screen will be reduced. 

V - Viewing Angle

The maximum angle measured in degrees at which an LCD monitor's screen can be viewed at a minimally acceptable level. A viewing angle is a measure of the contrast ratio and usually corresponds to a contrast ratio of 10:1 or 5:1. Generally, the steeper the angle from which the LCD screen is viewed, the more the contrast generally declines. For more tips on Viewing Angles, take a look at this feature: Viewing Angle Check For Monitors

W - White Point

White Point is the colour emitted by an LCD monitor's backlight and shown on screen. The native white point (the natural colour emitted without filtering) within an LCD panel will vary depending on the monitor. Custom white point levels can be configured by increasing or decreasing the Kelvin degree setting which corresponds to the screen's colour temperature. EIZO's ColorNavigator Software includes a feature to adjust white point and is something that's discussed here: Adjustment Targets In ColorNavigator 6

For more glossary terms, visit the EIZO UK website where you'll find a link to EIZO's glossary under the 'support' tab.

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