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Colorvision Spyder 2 Software

Following their own instructions for Mac OSX, I installed the Spyder3Express software for use with my Spyder2 device. The installation was flawless. The software recognized my hardware and ran all the way through the calibration. When the calibration process said Measuring is Complete and I clicked Finish, I got the following error;

Colorvision Spyder 2 Software


Thank you SOOOO much! I was quite frustrated at not being able to use my Spyder hardware on my new 2013 retina display MacBookPro. You saved the day. I did NOT get any error messages. The Spyder3 express software worked perfectly with my Spyder2 hardware and OS X v10.9.2. Thank you for sharing your experience.

DisplayCAL is installed. ArgyII drivers are installed and the Spyder 2 is plugged into a front USB port (and enabled in the DC Tools menu). There are none free on the back. Device Manager shows it under USB controllers as a ColorVision Spyder2., but not under any Argyll designation. Do I have to uninstall all the ColorVision software?

CorrectionOnce the software knows how the display is behaving, it loads correction curves into the video card (or sometimes the monitor itself), to produce a smooth tone curve and neutral greys. This step also adjusts the monitor to the gamma setting and color temperature that you want. (The sRGB standard uses gamma 2.2 and a white point of 6500K.)

ProfilingWith the display producing smooth tones and neutral greys, the software can create a color profile describing the display's color characteristics. Programs like Adobe Photoshop can use display profiles to compensate for the known quirks of a display device, and insure accurate color rendering.

With the above as background, let's take a look at how you go about performinga monitor calibration with ColorVision's Spyder2PRO. The examples here are allbased on a Mac, but the same software works on PCs as well.

1) WelcomeThis is the Spyder2PRO's initial welcome screen, shown on an Apple 23"Cinema Display. There's not a lot to note here, but it does illustrate in passingone of the few limitations we found in the Spyder's software. Unlike some competingsystems, the Spyder2PRO always places the calibration window in the center ofthe display being calibrated. This might seem to make sense, since you're likelyto be most concerned about color rendering in the center of the display (ifthere happens to be any non-uniformity across the screen face), but we foundit annoying when working with monitors that had on-screen menus for making contrast,brightness, and color adjustments. With some monitors, the on-screen menus wouldoverlay the calibration window, interfering with the measurements. When thishappened, some steps of the process required us to move the Spyder, bring upthe on-screen menu, adjust the relevant control setting, dismiss the menu, andthen reposition the Spyder, for every adjustment. This made the calibrationcycle take longer than it might have, were we able to just shift the calibrationwindow an inch or two one way or the other, to avoid the monitor's menus. Infairness, this really was only an issue on the initial calibration of s monitor,since the monitor's controls generally don't have to be twiddled for weeklyrecalibration checks. It's still an annoyance that we'd like to see ColorVisionfix in future versions of the Spyder's software though.

2) Before You Begin:Before starting a calibration cycle, the software cautions you to make sureyour monitor is properly warmed up before proceeding. And yes, even LCDs needto be warmed up. The backlights on many units shift color balance slightly asthe warm up, and the contrast characteristics of the liquid crystals themselvesalso change somewhat with temperature. - So always be sure to leave your displayrunning with the screen-saver and power-saver mode disabled for 30 minutes orso before a calibration run. It should go without saying, but you should alsocheck to make sure that your monitor is in full 24- or 32-bit color mode. (Some older/lower-gradedisplay cards drop to 16-bit color at their highest resolution settings, sodon't just assume that you're running in 24- or 32-bit color; check it explicitly.)

4) Current settingsIf the selected monitor was previously calibrated with the Spyder2PRO, the software will display the last settings used, the date of calibration, the name of the profile, and the settings for Gamma, white point color temperature, Luminance Mode (more on this later), and the targeted Black and White Luminance values. It will also show whether you performed a Grey Balanced calibration or not, and whether you have the Ambient Light Compensation enabled. (More on these later as well.)

5) Select Display TypeDifferent display types have different adjustment options, and also place different demands on the calibration software. This screen is where you tell the software what type of display you're working with. (Note that the Spyder2PRO can handle projectors, as well as LCDs and CRTs.)

6) Select Target ValuesThis screen basically tells the software what you want your monitor calibrated to. A number of presets are available, but if you're like the vast majority of users, the "2.2-6500" preset is the one you'll want to use. These are the gamma and white point values for the sRGB color standard. (Note: Don't use the "sRGB" preset though, as that preset limits white luminance (brightness) to only 80 cd/m2, which would give you a rather dim screen.)

7) Select Ambient Light CompensationThis is a feature that seems to be sweeping the monitor calibration world of late, but it's one I don't personally favor. The idea is to have the Spyder's sensor look at the ambient light in the room, after which the software will make recommendations for how to change your target settings so the display will look right to your eyes, given all the light bouncing around the room. I guess that's OK if you have no options available for controlling the light levels in your work area, but if you're doing critical color work, it's crazy not to try to control the ambient lighting. Ideally, you want lighting that's on the dim side of normal relative to typical office illumination, and that approximates the 6500 Kelvin of your monitor screen. That will help you see the full tonal range of the images, and avoid having your color perception skewed by an overall color cast in the room lighting. My strong advice is to leave the Ambient Light Compensation option disabled, and to just make sure that you have a reasonable light level in your workplace.

11) Identify ControlsDifferent displays have different controls available, this is the first of two screens where we tell the software what controls we have available to twiddle, so it'll know what adjustment steps to guide you through. My Apple Cinema Display has no brightness or contrast adjustments, only an overall brightness control that adjusts the backlight -- so I've only clicked on the "Backlight" checkbox.

If I'd told the Spyder2PRO software that I was calibrating a display with separate contrast, brightness, and backlight adjustments, this step might involve manipulating one or more of those controls as well. If the display had a contrast control, we'd see the same screen as above, only with the directive to adjust the contrast as appropriate. If the display had a separate brightness control, we'd get a second screen showing a series of very dark blocks, with the instruction to adjust the brightness level until we could just make out all four blocks.

13) Identify Color ControlsThis is the second screen where you tell the software what controls your monitorhas, this time controls having to do with color. Here again, my Cinema Displayhas none of the options listed. As just noted though, I recommend a conservativeapproach in twiddling the settings on LCD monitors, as that's often a recipefor failure, or at least difficulty. (This isn't the case with CRTs though.While I appreciate the svelte proportions of LCD monitors as much as anyone,I really mourn the passing of CRTs for critical color work: The tonal renditionof a good CRT easily surpasses that of all but the most extreme high-end LCDscreens.)

14) Make sure LCD baffle is attachedIf you're calibrating an LCD screen, the software will remind you to check thatthe LCD baffle is attached to the sensor body. This is a spacer that lifts theSpyder's suction cups off the display surface, substituting instead a set ofthree flat pads and a ring coated with a felt-like covering. This avoids thesuction cups leaving marks on the LCD's surface. The LCD baffle also insertsa pale blue-green filter between the sensor and display surface that helps theSpyder evaluate the color spectra of LCDs more accurately.

16) Reading black and white points, multiple color swatches.The software will now start the calibration process, beginning with measurement of the black and white points, followed by a series of color swatches across the full range of brightness levels.

17) Adjust backlight for white point.If we were trying to match this monitor to another, this is one place wherewe might need to make an adjustment. Since we left the black and white luminanceboxes blank in the setup screens, the software just made the set point hereequal to the value it measured.

18) Reading black point, reading RGB samples again.After the white point adjustment (if any), the software repeats the measurementsequence, stepping through the full brightness range for each of the RGB primaries,as the prior values may have changed after the white point adjustment. Thistime, it also measures a series of gray samples as well, to insure that neutraltones will remain neutral over the full range of output.

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