Need Assistance Calibrating NEC PA242W

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I recently took advantage of an absolutely fantastic price for a NEC refurbished PA242W ($248.00 USD + shipping and tax) to update my current two-monitor set-up. My set-up prior to this update was a NEC refurbished 2090UXi and an NEC refurbished 20WMGX2 monitor (sense a theme here). Both monitors are sRBG and calibrated with a Datacolor Spyder5Pro puck and software. I would like to replace the 20WMGX2 with the new PA242W and keep the 2090UXi as my secondary monitor. I have a number of options to re-calibrate these monitors and have a number of options about how to proceed, so I will try to post them below in some reasonable fashion.
  • First question is around software choice(s). I can use Datacolor's software with their puck to calibrate and leave it at that. Or I can purchase Spectraview II and use that with the puck. My PC has 24GB of RAM and uses Intel's HD 530 for video/graphics. NEC also offers Multiprofiler software (for free?). It is not clear that I can create a full 10-bit workflow throughout my entire system, so I am not sure what is the best way to proceed ahead with software selection/combination? Any advice or pros/cons to the various configurations would be greatly appreciated.
  • Next, how do I calibrate the PA242W? It has multiple gamuts and I am not sure if I need to calibrate both sRGB and Adobe RGB, or does calibration in one take care of both? Do Spyder5Pro and Spectraview II handle multiple gamuts differently? Does the Multiprofiler software impact this?
  • Last, when do I want to be working in Adobe RGB? My output is either web (sRBG) or printing (usually sRGB), so should I stay in sRBG all of the time, or is there an advantage to working in LR (currently v.5.7) with the monitor in Adobe RGB, but then exporting my images in sRGB and then switching the monitor gamut back when outside of LR?
Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated as while I understand the concept of wide color gamuts, the practical issues of setting up my equipment are still a bit fuzzy.

Thanks,

--Ken
 
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If you can afford it just get the Spectraview software - just confirm that the particular modal of puck you own is actually supported by the software - most but not all Datacolor pucks work with Spectraview.
Spectraview allows setting up multiple profiles.
You don't want to work in a narrow gamut if at all possible. Your last point betrays a common misunderstanding about colour management. Most printers have a gamut that exceeds AdobeRGB - never mind sRGB - so you are throwing away a lot of print quality if you softproof using sRGB for printing.
I cannot fully explain the ins-and-outs here but I make sure that I work in ProphotoRGB. It does not matter that the a monitor cannot fully display such a large colourspace and it does not matter that a print also cannot display the full gamut of the ProphotoRGB colourspace.
The bottonline is this - never artificially restrict your options in colour management.

Ken I would strongly suggest obtaining a high quality book or video series dealing with colour management with respect to photography and printing - this way you will be able to maximise the investment you have made in those very fine monitors you have acquired.

Tony Jay
 
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Thanks, Tony. I may just spring for the software for the convenience as I believe that it does support my puck. Regarding printing, I ship most of my work out to custom labs, and I will double check, but I believe that most have requested sRGB files, but I could be mistaken as that was my default workflow. I do work in in ProPhoto in LR, as that is how the program was designed for best performance. Having a wide gamut monitor is just going to take a bit of time to work into a new workflow, thus all of the questions. Have you used the MultiProfiler software from NEC as well?

--Ken
 
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My version of Spectraview software is a few years old. It does support multiple profiles that can be switched at a mouse click.
Whether this exactly parallels the experience with a possibly newer and updated version I do not know.

With respect to your printing service it sounds like they are catering for rank amateurs and snap-shooters.
Personally, I would look for a service that provides ICC paper/printer profiles for their printers that allow one to softproof properly.
However, if ones expectations concerning prints are very modest then they might satisfy.

Please don't take this the wrong way: It just seems to me that to go to the expense of buying top-of-the-line monitors designed for high-end video and image editing just to send images edited using those monitors to a printing service where the result (in terms of colour management) is a pure thumb-suck is plain crazy. There is nothing to be gained since there is no relationship between your edits (and expectations) and the resulting print...
This is one of the reasons I suggested that you learn a correct and reproducible colour-management workflow - it isn't that hard (most of it requires unlearning a lot of gibberish picked over the years).
So, find a printing service in your town that caters to the commercial market that expect professional (colour-managed) results. You may think that it would be very expensive but it is not - the chances are also very good that they will teach you a lot of practical colour management since it is in their interest to give you excellent results!

Tony Jay
 
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My version of Spectraview software is a few years old. It does support multiple profiles that can be switched at a mouse click.
Whether this exactly parallels the experience with a possibly newer and updated version I do not know.

With respect to your printing service it sounds like they are catering for rank amateurs and snap-shooters.
Personally, I would look for a service that provides ICC paper/printer profiles for their printers that allow one to softproof properly.
However, if ones expectations concerning prints are very modest then they might satisfy.

Please don't take this the wrong way: It just seems to me that to go to the expense of buying top-of-the-line monitors designed for high-end video and image editing just to send images edited using those monitors to a printing service where the result (in terms of colour management) is a pure thumb-suck is plain crazy. There is nothing to be gained since there is no relationship between your edits (and expectations) and the resulting print...
This is one of the reasons I suggested that you learn a correct and reproducible colour-management workflow - it isn't that hard (most of it requires unlearning a lot of gibberish picked over the years).
So, find a printing service in your town that caters to the commercial market that expect professional (colour-managed) results. You may think that it would be very expensive but it is not - the chances are also very good that they will teach you a lot of practical colour management since it is in their interest to give you excellent results!

Tony Jay
Hi Tony. Thank you for the reply. While I agree with you on not throwing money away or leaving IQ on the table, I did want to clarify a couple of things. First, I went and looked back at the labs that I use - White House Custom Color, Bay Photo and Miller's Professional Imaging, and all accept Adobe RGB files for printing. As I was an all sRBG work flow until the new monitor, I did not bother to to re-check their file standards as I was not going to submit any Adobe RGB files to them. ICC profiles are also available for download, so I do not think it would be fair to characterize these labs as catering to rank amateurs and snap-shooters. All have very good reputations and serve large markets and it does not seem fair to discount them because of my oversight. There are some boutique labs that I am familiar with, but the above labs, especially WHCC, have been easy to work with so I have not found a need to switch at this time.
As I alluded to in my OP, I am just now trying to incorporate Adobe RGB into my workflow, and like my initial migration to LR many years ago I want to take it one step at a time so I can understand as I move forward. The first step is dealing with calibration, and that is what I would like to resolve before addressing later steps.

Thanks,

--Ken
 
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Hi Ken,

You are still missing the point: It is not about what colourspace they accept - not at all.
Any printing service offering a professional service should make available ICC printer/paper profiles for softproofing.
Unless one can softproof using those profiles then any result from a print is just a guess on everyones part.
There is also no way of getting consistent reproducible results.

I mentioned that you need to learn about a proper colour-managed workflow. Your thinking that submitting an image in AdobeRGB will get "better" results than an image submitted with the sRGB colourspace is quite wrong. In each case the printing service has no idea what that image should look like. They are just guessing what your creative intent was.

I understand that you need to learn and deal with things sequentially but your current problem is really that your presuppositions are wrong.
I am drawing attention to all the things that need "unlearning".
As I said before the printing services that you do business with are catering purely for snap-shooters who want the odd print.
These people have no interest in real quality and to apply the phrase "creative intent" in this context is just a complete misnomer.

Spectraview software will calibrate your monitors and produce monitor profiles that give you accurate colour and tone - this is the entire rationale of the package - it is easy and requires very little on your part. Perhaps the most important decision that you need to make is what luminance settings to use - most people use luminance settings that are far too high for the purposes of printing. Luminance settings as allow as 90-100 cd/m2 are usually required.
The great advantage of these NEC monitors (this sets them apart from consumer-grade monitors) is that they still produce accurate colour and tone at low luminance as well as consistent colour and tone across the entire panel.

Why do I go on about needing ICC printer/paper profiles?
Without them there is an essential disconnect between what you see on your monitor and what the printer actually produces. Softproofing with ICC profiles allows one to see what the print will actually look like. It is very easy to adjust tones (especially contrast) and colour if required based on the softproof. Contrast is often lost in a print - not surprising since a print is a reflective medium with a much lower dynamic range than a transmissive medium such as one's monitor.
Some papers are cool or warm - what this means is that they impart a slight blue or yellow tint to an image.
Softproofing allows one to make adjustments to white balance or any colour as required.
None of this is possible without softpoofing.

Softproofing also ensures that your creative intent is preserved. Does the image need to look dark and moody or light and airy? Do the colours need to be intense and vibrant or have you gone for a desaturated pastel look? Without softproofing there is no guarantee that the printing service will not alter your image to get a "better" result (and they will do this because their business depends on getting a "good" result) but they are applying their own judgment to your image!
However, even if they do not alter your image, it is nonetheless impossible for you to know what the result will look like until you view the result yourself.
Softproofing allows one to get a very good idea of exactly how the image will look - before any prints are made. (A slight disclaimer is required here: it often takes bit of feedback over time using a particular printer/paper combination to leverage the best results but the principle of softproofing is absolutely valid.)

So, my strong suggestion is to find a printing service that caters to the professional market and will supply ICC paper/printer profiles to enable one to softproof.

Tony Jay
 
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Thank you for the detailed response. But, as I did mention above, the labs do provide their customers with ICC profiles. And I do not believe that I said that that I would get better results by submitting an image in Adobe RGB rather than sRGB. What I am looking to do is add the option of working in Adobe RGB in my workflow, and now that I have the monitor, nothing really happens until it is calibrated. But, as I mentioned above, there were many choices of software at my disposal, and I just wanted to understand my options, especially with NEC's MultiProfiler software.

--Ken
 
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You don't want to work in any other colourspace except for ProphotoRGB - this is the default working colourspace of Lightroom.
What the output colourspace one uses is determined by the output for a particular image.
If an image is to be used only on the web then a derivative image should be softproofed for sRGB.
If one is printing then a softproof using an appropriate ICC profile is the way to go.
If a hardcopy magazine wants an image they may request a softproof in CMYK depending on their printing process but this is unusual.
The only reason to create a derivative image using AdobeRGB as the colourspace is if a client or printing service specifically asks for it - there is no other good reason.
If a single image requires multiple outputs, perhaps to both the web and printing, then create separate softproofs from the original master image. One softproof uses sRGB (this for the web) and the other will use the appropriate ICC profile ( for the print).

If you can get hold of ICC profiles from your printing service then well and good.
Download them and experiment with them.
Some papers will not give you the result you want and that is fine - concentrate on the paper/printer combinations that resonate with your creative vision.

If you are using ICC profiles one does not then convert the image to an AdobeRGB derivative to submit it for printing.
That ICC profile becomes the colourspace for a submitted image - so to speak.
Most modern printers have a gamut that exceeds the AdobeRGB colourspace so it does not make any sense to do that.

I am sorry that I partially misread your post but the bottom line is that AdobeRGB should not play any role in a modern printing workflow. One uses ProphotoRGB as the working colourspace and the ICC profile as the output colourspace and that is that.

Tony Jay
 
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You don't want to work in any other colourspace except for ProphotoRGB - this is the default working colourspace of Lightroom.
What the output colourspace one uses is determined by the output for a particular image.
If an image is to be used only on the web then a derivative image should be softproofed for sRGB.
If one is printing then a softproof using an appropriate ICC profile is the way to go.
If a hardcopy magazine wants an image they may request a softproof in CMYK depending on their printing process but this is unusual.
The only reason to create a derivative image using AdobeRGB as the colourspace is if a client or printing service specifically asks for it - there is no other good reason.
If a single image requires multiple outputs, perhaps to both the web and printing, then create separate softproofs from the original master image. One softproof uses sRGB (this for the web) and the other will use the appropriate ICC profile ( for the print).

If you can get hold of ICC profiles from your printing service then well and good.
Download them and experiment with them.
Some papers will not give you the result you want and that is fine - concentrate on the paper/printer combinations that resonate with your creative vision.

If you are using ICC profiles one does not then convert the image to an AdobeRGB derivative to submit it for printing.
That ICC profile becomes the colourspace for a submitted image - so to speak.
Most modern printers have a gamut that exceeds the AdobeRGB colourspace so it does not make any sense to do that.

I am sorry that I partially misread your post but the bottom line is that AdobeRGB should not play any role in a modern printing workflow. One uses ProphotoRGB as the working colourspace and the ICC profile as the output colourspace and that is that.

Tony Jay
I do not disagree with what you are saying, and I always have used the Pro Photo work space in LR since v.1.x. And I do understand the need to output to different spaces for different needs, like CMYK for certain printing processes. I guess maybe I should have re-worded my OP since what I am trying to do is set up my monitor to function as an AdobeRGB window to LR so I can see through a larger color space than sRGB (emphasis on the word "see"). I believe that all monitors being used for color critical applications should be calibrated, and I had the choice of software for calibrating the new monitor. I realize that a hardware LUT adjustment is the preferred method, but was not certain if there was much of a visible difference between that and having an ICC profile created for the monitor, and that was one driver of my OP. I am also aware that sRGB is the lingua franca of the web, so I was also a bit concerned about using a wide gamut monitor when just web surfing and not working with images in LR. Thus my questions about how to calibrate, and if there is a need to calibrate in each color space. I hope this clarifies my OP a bit and explains why I am focusing right now on trying to calibrate the monitor.

--Ken
 
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OK I will answer issues as they come to mind.
Probably the first misconception is the issue about surfing the web. As long as the application in which you are working is colour-managed the colour will look right whatever the gamut of the monitor (this presupposes that it is calibrated). If the application is not colour-managed then whatever colours you see are not the responsibility of the monitor or its gamut. Changing the monitor or its gamut will not solve anything.
The issue is whether the web-browser is colour-managed never the gamut of the monitor used for viewing.

The gamut of the NEC Spectraview monitors approximates the AdobeRGB colourspace. The key word here is "approximates": these monitors may be able to display colours that are outside the AdobeRGB colourspace in some parts of the spectrum and less in others. There is no need to try and calibrate the monitor to the AdobeRGB colourspace - it already approximates it. If you want the monitor to give you the largest possible gamut window then calibrate it to its native gamut - do not limit the monitor.

Tony Jay
 
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Ken,

I concur with Tony 100%, use the monitor native color space and then make your monitor calibration from that.

There is much confusion surrounding working spaces, device profiles and color management in general. And the vendor marketing departments to not help. If you would like to learn more about color management there are a number of excellent tutorials DigitalDog.net. This one would be a great one to start:

Video tutorial (37 min) covering Gamuts of working spaces, images and output devices.

-louie
 
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My apologies for not responding to your posts earlier but I was dealing with some health issues that kept me away from the forum. I appreciate the reference to Andrew's forum, and have been familiar with his site and his many posting at a variety of forums over the years. And digging back into the depths of my memory, I believe that we had an exchange on a thread a number of years ago, but I cannot remember the site for the life of me. He is a gift to the world of color management, and his videos are quite easy to follow.

I have decided to purchase the Spectraview II software and download the Multiprofiler software as well. SV will bring the hardware into calibration through the LUT's as necessary, and the Multiprofiler should be of value when softproofing as it supposedly can load the ICC profiles in and out with ease. Regarding programs that are not color managed, I probably have a few that are not directly photo-related, so I can switch the monitor to sRGB if needed. My understanding is that the best browser for color management is Firefox, as it does a good job of color management, and has the option to "tag" untagged images with sRBG, which is probably the space that should have been assigned, thus allowing for better viewing. I have not used FF in the past, but am willing to give it a try. Thank you again for all of your advice, Tony Jay and Louie.

--Ken
 

Zenon

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Glad you did before I noticed this. I had an NEC monitor and using a Spyder on it did not go well. Got Spectraview and was like having a new monitor. Not using NEC right now so I have an i1 Display Pro. I worked in print media for over 30 years and all they used was Xrite. World Leaders.
 
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