Thursday, March 29, 2007

The right tools

As most of you probably already know, I like to chronicle my SL experience with photography. It's a natural extension of my own photography skill and experience irl; I went to school for photography and worked as a professional photographer for a while, then moved to the graphics/printing industry with prepress production, graphic design, and most importantly, scanning and photo correction and retouching, which is my forté. At work, I have a very nice, top-of-the-line 22" Mitsubishi CRT to do color correction on, but at home I never had anything even remotely as nice. Until now, that is.

I recently purchased a very nice Acer 22" widescreen LCD, which was a huge improvement over my cheapie X2Gen 19" non-widescreen monitor. The only problem I've had is that LCDs seem to be more difficult to manually calibrate than the CRTs I'm used to. I got a reasonably good calibration out of it manually, but if I wanted to be serious about doing photoshop work at home and taking consistent SL photos, I had to bring in the professionals. So, I bought a Colorvision Spyder 2, which arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

For those of you who don't know, the Spyder 2 is a combination of software and hardware. The hardware portion is a sensor that mounts on your monitor and plugs into a USB port. The process takes about 5 minutes and is easy enough for even the most novice user and requires a minimum amount of input during the process. Once it's finished, it gives you example images that you can view "before and after" with your old settings and the new, calibrated settings. You can use the Spyder 2 on a CRT, LCD or even a LCD projector.

Let me tell you, after calibrating, the difference is striking. There's no way I would have been able to calibrate the monitor this accurately manually. I highly recommend this to anyone who is into SL photography, using photoshop, or regular photography or scanning. The model I bought was only $57.99 from (whom I highly recommend for computer parts). At that price, there's no need to struggle with inconsistent color. Just buy it, spend a few minutes calibrating once a month, and you're done. I might bring it into work to see what it can do on my "pro" monitor since it did so well on my reasonably high-end LCD at home.


Chloe Streeter said...

I once had a spider on my monitor. Quick swat with a newspaper took care of that.

Hee-hee, I am so lame :)

I did have a friend who had one of those Spyders, and he swore by it. He offered to use it on my monitor, but it never happened :/

If I get serious about doing image stuff again, maybe I'll pick one up :)

October Hush said...

Hey Chloe, even if you don't do any hardcore photoshopping, having a calibrated monitor makes the SL experience that much better as well. It's pretty nice, and for the cost, I think it's worth it.

Chloe Streeter said...

Hmmm . . . you may have talked me into it. One of the desktop monitors happens to be our HDTV, so I'm guessing we'd get the added benefit of our TV being color calibrated, right?

sighs More ways to spend money :)

October Hush said...

Yup, definitely!