How to Calibrate a Monitor
With an i1Display 2

Part 7 - Building the Display Profile

The next step is building the display profile which will occur when you click the right arrow.  This will take 3 or 4 minutes while colour patches are displayed on screen and precise measurements taken.  I usually go and boil the kettle while it does it’s thing! Once complete you will see a summary screen, containing all the key information about your newly created profile and how well it achieves your target settings. Here is a crop of a summary screen.

Calibration Summary

As you can see, this monitor is bang on target in terms of Color Temperature, Gamma and Luminance. The graph (top, left) is a plot of the gamma correction curves the profile will apply in order to display accurate colour.  This professional grade monitor was almost linear in it’s nature and calibrated very well. The profile is having to do only a little more work in the 3 color channels.  The important point to note is that the lines are smooth and the adjustments relatively small. A graph like this should leave you confident that you are going to get accurate colour from your profiled display.

And so should this result from a good but not professional grade monitor...
Calibration Summary2

As you can see the profile is doing a fair bit of work in each channel but the curves are nice and smooth.

With only the very best professional graphics monitor is it possible to get a result like this...
Calibration Summary 3 
Believe it or not this graph is showing a separate plot for the Red, Green and Blue channels but this monitor is so well behaved that the profile is making only very small adjustments and the 3 lines appear to merge into one.

Conversely the lower quality your monitor, the more work your profile is going to be doing for you.  Off course some monitors are so non-linear in their behaviour that you can get a result like this!...

Calibration Summary 4

The lines here are jagged meaning the profile is having to do too much work.

This is not a workable result and you will need to repeat the calibration process using different parameters (Monitor Calibration Troubleshooting). Ultimately if you can't get your monitor to behave better than this then it is simply not up to the task of accurate digital imaging.  This is a problem with the cheapest monitors that are only good enough to show spreadsheets and word processing documents.

Finishing Up

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Assuming your graph shows reasonable curves and the 'Target' and 'Current' figures compare well your calibration is nearly finished. By default the newly created profile has the name format: 'Monitor_DD-MM-YY_1.icc' but you can click on it and change it if you wish. The word ‘Monitor’ should really be replaced with ‘Display’ but I usually stick with the default naming.

Above the 'Finish Calibration button' there is a drop down box with options ranging from 1 week to 4 weeks, this is the reminder frequency (when you next need to calibrate).  4 Weeks is usually fine, unless you are doing very colour critical work or your monitor is on the low quality side which means it is likely to wander sooner from it’s calibrated state. Make a choice and click the ‘Finish Calibration’ button.  You should get a message like this.

Finish Calibration

The profile has now been saved to your operating system ready to be accessed by any software that uses colour management. 

Between now and the next time you re-calibrate; do not change any of the physical settings of your monitor or video card.

If you are not sure how often to re-calibrate your monitor read Part 10 of this article for further information.