Macbook Pro (2011) and ATD calibration

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Itzamna, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Itzamna macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2011

    So, i got a Thunderbolt display today and was wondering if there is any chance to calibrate it to get the same (or near) colors as my Macbook Pro (matte display) using software only.

    Im using on both the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile, but the colors on the MBP are A LOT more cool. The grey'ish tones are really "aluminum kind of grey" in the MBP, but in the ATD are more warm and dark'ish overall. Plus, lots of other colors are more dark on the ATD, others more vibrante (like orange for example)

    I know one is matte and the other glossy, but is this difference between them normal?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
  3. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    sRGB isn't actually a display profile. It was made in reference to displays, but you would not actually set that as your display profile. Under your system preferences, you should choose your actual display profile. I don't care for the results of the built in assistant function. In any event, even if you bought a colorimeter, these are unlikely to match given that they're totally different panels. Apple uses LED backlighting, meaning many of the colorimeters on the market will not work well. Even the ones that do generate acceptable results aren't perfect. I'm just trying to save you some headaches attempting to get it perfect when it's unlikely to ever happen.
  4. Itzamna thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2011
    carlieegan3, thank you for that info. I've manually calibrated both of them, and managed to get close colors except for the grey scale. The ATD greys are still warmer and yellow'ish when compared to the ones of the MBP.

    thekev, i don't want a perfect result, i would be glad with similar colors, specially on the grey scale.
  5. JadedRaverLA, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012

    JadedRaverLA macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2008
    Long explanation -- but should work

    I recently made yet another attempt to try to get the built-in LCD on my MacBook Air to match my properly calibrated external monitor. I eventually figured it out, though the directions within Apple's Display Calibrator Assistant are pretty worthless for the task. The tool works, but getting it to work correctly is anything but clear. Here's what "should" work:

    1) Calibrate your separate monitor first -- especially if you have a high quality IPS or PVA screen. These are much easier to calibrate correctly than the TN+film screens used in notebooks.

    1a) When calibrating TN+Film screens (such as the screens on a notebook or most generic PC LCDs), you will also need to be extremely precise throughout this entire process at looking at your screen from the same position the entire time. Move yourself and/or your screen around until it's at a position you will use it at most of the time -- then don't move. Even slight movements can completely screw up your calibration on these types of screens.

    1b) When calibrating IPS or PVA screens that have hardware color controls, use the following settings in the monitor's on-screen menu. White point = 65k or "neutral." Color profile = RGB, aRGB, or custom RGB (not sRGB, NTSC, ITU709, etc). Gamma = 2.2 or PC (not Gamma = 1.8 or Mac). Choosing Gamma = PC instead of Gamma = Mac may sound wrong, but it's not. Macs were generally set to gamma 1.8 for a long time, but they switched years ago to the standard gamma 2.2. If a Mac option exists in a monitor's gamma menu, though, it is referring to the old standard.

    2) Make sure you don't have a light directly hitting your monitor (especially if you've got a glossy screen). Beyond that, try to getting your surrounding lighting to be as close to "normal working conditions as possible" and turn down the brightness to a reasonable level (comfortable, not blinding -- though we'll adjust this later). You should also turn off dynamic contrast if your monitor has a hardware control option for it.

    3) Open this web page in Safari. Scroll down until you see the "Gamma and black level chart." You'll NEED it later.

    4) Launch the Display Calibrator Assistant in "expert" mode. Go through the 6 images on "Determine your display's native response" getting the images as close as you can. The early one's may not be that close. That's ok. Once you've done all 6, DON't move on... you've been adjusting important settings at a sort of "macro" level, and now you can go back and fine tune. Go back several time until you see the first image again. You should notice that it's not as good a match as the first time you did it. That's because with the other images you've made modifications. Attempting to get the image to fade into the background now should allow you to get a perfect result. Go through the other five images again the same way. Then look at them all again one last time and make sure you've got them perfect.

    5) Go on to the "Select a target gamma" screen. This is where Apple's instructions become really bad. "In most cases, it is best to use the Mac standard gamma of 2.2" is what the directions say. What's correct is that you want to achieve a gamma of 2.2, but unless you are using a pro monitor that allows you full control of the gamma settings, you'll actually need to change this value in order to get the correction you need. View the gamma image on the website you loaded in Safari and attempt to get as close as you can to a solid gray line as possible at the 2.2 level by adjusting the "target gamma" setting in the Display Calibrator Assistant. Don't worry if there is no "pure grey" line yet, just get as close as possible. Then, looking at the "black level" level image (just to the right of the gamma adjustment), adjust your screen brightness according to the directions provided.

    4) Go on to the "Select a target white point" screen. Like the gamma screen, the software makes it seem like you just want to select D65 and move on, but that can horribly throw off your colors. Again, if you are adjusting a pro level external monitor, you can likely set 65K as your white point, and not need much adjustment here, but other monitors (and definitely those on notebooks), can be WAY off from 65K. Again looking at the gamma pic on the website, adjust the "target white point" slider until you achieve a solid grey across at some position on the chart. If you can't get it perfect anywhere on the chart, get it as close as you can.

    5) If your grey line was absolutely solid with color shift then skip this step, otherwise click the "go back" button in the Display Calibrator Assistant until you are all the way back at the first of the 6 color images. Go through the 6 images one last time and make sure they ALL blend into the background as perfectly as possible. Skip the target gamma screen for the moment and go forward to the white point screen again. You should now be able to get a solid grey line across somewhere on the chart on the webpage you loaded. If not, play with the 6 color settings and the gamma setting a bit, making the smallest adjustments possible, and you'll just need to get it through trial and error.

    6) Make a note of where your solid grey line is on the webpage. If it's right at 2.2, you're gold. If not, go back on the Display Calibrator Assistant to the Select a Target White Point screen. Now when you adjust the slider, the webpage should show the solid-ish grey portion moving up and down the chart. (Unfortunately by going back, you lose your white point setting, so if it's much off from 65k, it's still not going to be solid grey). Play with the slider until you get the solid grey section to be right at 2.2. Click continue to go to the white point screen again. If your solid grey bar is now right at 2.2, you're done. If it's off at all, go back and move the gamma slider slightly, and then continue to the white point screen again. This can take a bit of trial and error. Just as a note: this is where what I mentioned earlier about TN+Film screens becomes very apparent. On a pro IPS or PVA monitor you should be able to move your body around considerably and still have the grey bar at 2.2. On a TN+film screen, though, even slight movements will throw everything off. Moving your head up or down will cause the grey bar to move up and down on the chart.

    7. At this point, your monitor is about as good as you can get without hardware calibration. As most of the settings are dependent on one another, however, you might go back to the first image and make absolutely sure that each one is adjusted exactly right -- and that the webpage gamma image shows a perfect solid grey line all the way across at 2.2 (any color variation in that line means you need to adjust). Finally, scroll down slightly on the webpage and look at the Gamma 2.2 and gamma 1.8 images in the monitor test section. Again, the Gamma = 2.2 should show perfect grey lines running across, while the Gamma = 1.8 should show a color shift throughout each line. If not, go back and fine tune some more.

    8. If everything checks out, click continue and save the profile. Select your calibrated profile as the profile to use on the "Display Profile" control panel to always use your corrected settings.

    9. Now, go back to the beginning and do it all again on your notebook's screen. This one is going to be harder, and it's very important that you find a position and stick with it. Also, if you REALLY care about having the correct colors and you work in a variety of environments, you'll need to calibrate multiple times, creating profiles for different lighting situations, brightness levels, or screen angles.

    10. If you run Windows in Bootcamp you'll have to calibrate your screens separately there. For that download the free Quick Gamma software linked to at the website you loaded. Use version 4 for Windows 7, or version 3 for XP or Vista. That software works similarly to the built in Apple software, but I find it much faster and easier to get set correctly. Windows 7 does have a calibration utility built in, but it doesn't really work as well (and isn't designed well at all for wide color gamut monitors, like many recent IPS or PVA pro screens).

    Anyway, it is a lot of work, but you should be able to get a very nice match even from very different screens. You can check out different sRGB images from the website you loaded earlier to see how close of a match you have. It should be mentioned that TN+Film screens generally can't display the full sRGB range and are 6-bit per channel panels that use dithering to "fake" a full 8-bit per channel image, whereas IPS and PVA screens use 8-bit (or, in a few cases, even 10-bit) panels. Many of them also have a wide color gamut, meaning they can display many colors that the TN+Film screens cannot. That's not a flaw in your calibrating, it's just the way it is. For the most part, the screens should match (especially with sRGB images and basic desktop/website stuff), but comparing full range RGB photos and the like will still show a broader color range on the better screens.

    Hope that helps.
  6. iLukeJoseph macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
    I am actually working on this as I type this. I have a late 2011 MBP connected to a thunderbolt display.

    For one, you will never be able to do this without a colorimeter. Get a i1display pro/3. The included software (i1 profiler) is OK. But BasicColor5 is much better (14 day trial). I also own CalPc, it is windows only. But GREAT for validating.

    There is a a lot of trial and error. Once I find what works I will let you know. Can even post the icc profiles if you like.

    FYI out of the box, the TBD is calibrated MUCH better than the MBP. So if anything you should be trying to match the TBD not the other way around. The MBP stock color temp is very much on the cool (incorrect) side of things.

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