Dan Margulis Applied Color Theory

LCD v. CRT
 
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 22:54:12 -0400
   From: Dave Badger
Subject: LCD vs CRT Monitors

Was wondering what the latest thinking was on using Apple's current LCD
monitors in a color critical prepress environment. Seems the last time I saw
this discussed, many thought a CRT monitor could be calibrated much more
precisely. But they tell me the LCD is much easier on the eyes.

Any links on the subject would be appreciated also.  Thanks

Dave Badger
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 22:52:05 -0600
   From: Chris Murphy
Subject: Re: LCD vs CRT Monitors
 
There are some people saying that certain LCD's, most notably the Apple Cinema Displays, that are simply outstanding. I've seen them in action and they are indeed impressive. But in all cases the displays were new - as in at most a few months old. I have yet to see one in even a "color important" environment, used 8 hours a day, calibrated and profiled, that was older than a few months.

This is important because LCD's don't have gain or bias controls, so it's not possible to set white or black in the hardware for one. And second, with only a couple of exceptions, the luminosity of the display at white is not even mentioned in calibration/profiling software. So how can you be sure you are calibrating to the same luminosity every time? If you aren't, the dynamic range is changing on the display and the profiling process doesn't compensate for that. This means the contrast of your images is effectively changing (they themselves aren't, of course, but the way they are displayed this month compared to next month or next year is different).

If you are going to depend on a display in a critical fashion for tonality as well as color, then LCD is probably not for you, and chances are even CRT isn't for you either because while white color temperature and luminosity can be controlled in the hardware, black at this point isn't.

For color critical, I recommend the Sony Artisan. The price/performance ratio is astounding. It's literally so consistent over time as to treat digital images displayed on it as "the original" where no other original exists (in a digitally captured workflow). They're dealing with issues that the ICC is not dealing with effectively in my opinion: luminosity of white point and black point, i.e. dynamic range.

If all goes well I'm hoping to conduct a serious analysis on this very issue sometime over the summer, no details yet however...

Chris Murphy
Color Remedies (TM)
www.colorremedies.com/realworldcolor
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:09:06 EDT
   From: Dan Margulis
Subject: Re: LCD vs CRT Monitors

Dave writes,

Was wondering what the latest thinking was on using Apple's current LCD
monitors in a color critical prepress environment. Seems the last time I saw
this discussed, many thought a CRT monitor could be calibrated much more
precisely. But they tell me the LCD is much easier on the eyes.

Here's some recent correspondence I had with someone with much the same question, and his post-purchase report.

Dan Margulis  
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: Dan Margulis, 76270,1033
Date: Wed, Apr 30, 2003, 11:35 AM
RE: LCDs vs. CRTs

 Dear Dan,

If I could impose upon you for a minute, I would greatly appreciate
your advice on the type of monitor I am about to purchase. I don't do
really critical color work, but, of course, I would like the color I
see on the screen to be as close to the printed output as possible.
Apple's flat-screen LCDs are sexy, compact, and energy-efficient, and
I'm leaning towards the 17" model for my first system purchase in 5
years. I'm just not sure how the LCDs stack up again CRTs. What do
you think about the overall viewing experience and color accuracy of
the Apple LCDs?

And if you think LCDs are not adequate for even medium-quality print
work, could you recommend any 21" CRTs off the top of your head for
less than $1000?

Thank you kindly for your help!


Best,

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Dan Margulis, 76270,1033
Date: Thu, May 1, 2003, 10:58 PM
RE: LCDs vs. CRTs

>>I'm just not sure how the LCDs stack up again CRTs. What do
you think about the overall viewing experience and color accuracy of
the Apple LCDs?>>

There are different opinions about this, but the next time I'm buying I'm
going to go with the LCDs, particularly if the price keeps coming down.

There are only two downsides that I know of, both transitory. The LCD display
gives a much higher-contrast look than you're used to. Also, if you look at
it from a sharp angle, there will be color variation. I had to work on one of
these for a week at a client site and it took me around four hours to feel
comfortable, thereafter no problem.

Best,
Dan

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: Dan Margulis, 76270,1033
Date: Sun, May 25, 2003, 1:55 PM
RE: Follow-up to flat-panel monitor purchase

Dear Dan,

I just want to thank you again for your opinion on the Apple LCD. It
took me a while to get used to it (and the hi-res and brightness are
still kinda hard on my old eyes), but there's a world of difference in
Photoshop work. In general, going from a 604e-based clone with an old
NEC monitor to this (until recently) state-of-the-art dual-processor G4
system with 2GB RAM and the sharp, compact flat-panel monitor is like
entering the antechamber of heaven--at least for geeks and production
artists. I'm also switching from Quark to InDesign2 and the difference
there is almost as radical. So thanks again for helping me decide on
the monitor.

Best,


On Friday, May 2, 2003, at 12:26  PM, Dan Margulis wrote:

There are different opinions about this, but the next time I'm buying I'm
going to go with the LCDs, particularly if the price keeps coming down

_______________________________________________________________________

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 09:21:16 -0600
   From: Andrew Rodney
Subject: Re: LCD vs CRT Monitorsyy
 
Dear Dan,...I don't do really critical color work, but, of course, I would
like the color I see on the screen to be as close to the printed output as
possible.

This in itself is an interesting sentence. He wants the printed output to match the screen as close as possible. That means using 3calibrationist2 tools and solutions. You can1t get that out of the box without some profiles and hardware.

I agree with Chris that LCD1s don1t cut it (yet) for accomplishing the goal of 3I would like the color I see on the screen to be as close to the printed output as possible.2 The Artisan or Barco (and a far higher price) is the only way to get consistent previews and fixed stable dynamic range using the tools built inside each product. Make a Photoshop gradation from black to white in Photoshop and view it on your LCD. If it1s not smooth as a baby1s behind and dead nuts neutral from black to white (no color banding) and you can see the difference between level zero and 1, you1ve got a display condition that is required for the above goal. In fact with nearly every other CRT, you1ll be hard pressed to be able to produce the same quality since so much of the corrections are applied at the video card level. If you see banding on a file in Photoshop on an Artisan, the file is banded. If you see banding in a Photoshop gradient, that1s your display.

What Artisan does that1s pretty unique is have the ability at the internal, electronic control level, to calibrate the display into very precise contrast ratios but nailing black. If you can do this, you can control the dynamic range of soft proofing (using Photoshop and profiles). You can calibrate to several 3colorspaces2 or aim-points. From 500:1 (ideal for viewing fine art ink jet) to 150:1 (Newspaper). The display alters it1s black point behavior which isn1t recorded in a profile but is produced inside the display electronically. There is no control over black in an LCD at all. All the work is done with a profile and luts to the video card (which is what causes the appearance of banding in the gradient).

The viewing angle issue on LCD1s is still a concern. The 23 Cinema is still the best in this regard but open a black to gray gradient in Photosohp and move your head and you can produce neutral gray, magenta gray or green gray all up to you and your head position. Why not just pop color gels over your D50 lightbox to match the print and screen?

The Artisan is probably the last CRT worth buying. LCD1s or similar technology (which is coming down the pike and looking promising), will allow flat panel along with accurate color. But that1s not the case today. LCD1s are not quite as sexy when you pop a cardboard hood on one (and you need a hood).

Andrew Rodney
http://www.imagingrevue.com/
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:48:06 -0700
   From: Jan Steinman
Subject: Re: LCD vs CRT Monitors

  From: Chris Murphy

LCD's don't have gain or bias controls, so
it's not possible to set white or black in the hardware for one.

I think I disagree. When you use the digital connector, MacOS lets you set black/white point, etc. You are essentially performing the gain and bias functions digitally.

Cheap LCD monitors that do not have a digital interface have controls you can adjust.

What is it that is so special about analog adjustments?

--
: Jan Steinman -- nature Transography(TM): <http: //www.Bytesmiths.com>
: Bytesmiths -- artists' services: <http: //www.Bytesmiths.com/Services>
  _______________________________________________________________________

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 14:43:17 -0600
   From: Chris Murphy
Subject: Re: Re: LCD vs CRT Monitors
 
On Tuesday, June 17, 2003, at 11:48  AM, Jan Steinman wrote:

I think I disagree. When you use the digital connector, MacOS lets you
set black/white point, etc. You are essentially performing the gain
and bias functions digitally.

There are no gain or bias controls on an LCD because gain and bias are unique to CRT technology. These controls adjust the behavior of the red, green and blue guns on a monitor. All you have on an LCD is a single control for the brightness of the backlight. Adjustments for calibration are made entirely in the DAC LUT on the video card.

Cheap LCD monitors that do not have a digital interface have controls
you can adjust.

What is it that is so special about analog adjustments?

I think it has less to do with whether they are analog or digital, but what their granularity is. Most digital controls are more course compared to analog counterparts, especially when it comes to setting white and black in a CRTs hardware, compared to doing it with a video card LUT.

Chris Murphy
Color Remedies (TM)
www.colorremedies.com/realworldcolor

Adobe Photoshop training classes are taught in the US by Sterling Ledet & Associates, Inc.