Getting Started: macOS, Mac Pro, 6 displays

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  • #22331

    ylluminate
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    I have a Mac Pro with Catalina and 6 monitors attached.  I’ve got a ColorMunki Display for calibration.  I’m having a rough time getting started and was hoping for some practical first steps.

    First, do I need to “reset” my monitors to some base level to get them all at some point of commonality?  I work in a dark studio area that has a low / limited light source.  I could say I work at about 10% lighting about 90% of the time.  Unfortunately none of the monitors I use have any kind of brightness auto adjustment capabilities like an integrated Apple display and thus I usually adjust the brightness down on these things manually via the monitor settings.  This seems to lead to some rough gamma problems and so I’m wondering if there is some optimal way to determine these settings for various monitors before jumping into actual calibration.

    Second, perhaps this will go away after I get #1 above resolved, but when I’ve started to run the “Calibrate & profile” tool, I get this message after it seems to try to monitor things via the ColorMunki:

    Is there a general tutorial that I should follow that would essentially get everything to an expected base line and then move through the process of getting things fully calibrated?

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    #22352

    Florian Höch
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    Hi,

    First, do I need to “reset” my monitors to some base level to get them all at some point of commonality?

    No, although it may help just for book-keeping sake (i.e. so you have an easier time remembering which monitor settings you changed).

    Unfortunately none of the monitors I use have any kind of brightness auto adjustment capabilities like an integrated Apple display and thus I usually adjust the brightness down on these things manually via the monitor settings.

    You don’t want any form of automatic/dynamic adjustment on the monitor (or OS side) in a tightly controlled environment if accuracy is a concern.

    When it comes to brightness, you should set all monitors to produce the same peak luminance cd/m² (by adjusting the backlight, e.g. during interactive adjustment where you have a luminance readout that is updated in real time).

    when I’ve started to run the “Calibrate & profile” tool, I get this message

    Like the message states, your computer seems to send the wrong output levels (i.e. the monitor is expecting 16-235, but the computer sends 0-255). You can change output levels in Resolve (through the configuration of your output card if you use a dedicated one), or change the monitor input levels (if it has such a setting).

    #22355

    ylluminate
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    Hi Florian, so I did try to set all brightness levels to roughly the same value. Unfortunately this seems to provide some deliterious effects on a couple monitors so I’m trying to figure out how to address these. The biggest issue I’m having it seems is that the lower quality monitors seem to have serious problems with the contrast level in that they are both too dark and one cannot see nuanced differentiations.  I’m not yet sure how to tackle these problems.

    Also, on two of my main monitors (both are Asus VZ27A) I’m having issues with black not being close enough to black – more of a very dark grey and white being a little too grey.  On my 3rd “main” monitor (Acer G257HU) this worked out fine and it looks great.  All of the brightness levels, like I said, were set pretty much the same.

    I did these settings with “Fix output levels using video card gamma table” which may be the root of my trouble.  I’m really not following what you’re saying there and by extension the original message.  I’m using an AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 on macOS and I’m really not seeing any way to adjust these with my video card – or on OSD of the monitors… Is there something I’m overlooking?

    #22358

    Florian Höch
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    Also, on two of my main monitors (both are Asus VZ27A) I’m having issues with black not being close enough to black

    IPS panels usually have poor black levels, or your input/output levels (see above) are configured wrong.

    I did these settings with “Fix output levels using video card gamma table” which may be the root of my trouble.

    I do not recommend this, as it requires the calibration to be applied to the 3D LUT (and the 3D LUT then to be active) for it to have any effect. You should change this through Resolve or monitor (input/output levels) settings instead.

    #22360

    ylluminate
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    Just to clarify, I see no “Resolve” function, menu item, or any such text in the application anywhere (a gif just looking around for the term “Resolve”):

    #22365

    ylluminate
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    Perhaps since I replied so quickly to that (I was apparently replying while you were reply) you didn’t get notified. Just making sure you saw this.

    #22366

    Florian Höch
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    If you are not using Resolve, check if the monitors have an input level setting.

    #22367

    ylluminate
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    Whoa, so you’re talking about DaVinci Resolve – not some other “Resolve” function or application within the DisplayCAL suite… Wow. Hmm, I can use Resolve – but I have no physical/dedicated cards or such for it. And I don’t see any way to adjust input level settings for the monitors I have… Hmm, can you point me to an example of some sort that would elaborate on this process of using Resolve if it is possible without a dedicated device other than my video card + monitors?

    Regarding looking for input level settings for the monitors, is there specific verbiage that I would look for?

    If not then it seems that I must have to work without either of these options if I’m to get DisplayCAL to work at all…

    #22369

    Florian Höch
    Administrator
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    Regarding looking for input level settings for the monitors, is there specific verbiage that I would look for?

    Input levels, input range, dynamic range come to mind.

    If not then it seems that I must have to work without either of these options if I’m to get DisplayCAL to work at all…

    The problem is not calibration related. With the wrong input/output settings, levels 0-16 are crushed to black and highlights are clipped, or your blacks are too light (as you reported) and highlights are dim. This affects uncalibrated state as well. Unfortunately, as macOS does not offer any way to set correct output levels in the OS itself, if your monitors do not provide such a setting, they may not be compatible with the version of macOS you’re using. You can try using different methods of connection (DisplayPort vs HDMI) if possible and see if that helps.

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