The X-Rite (formerly GretagMacbeth) Eye-One Display 2 is an excellent monitor calibration device.
But the accompanying instructions leave a little to be desired. So I’ve prepared this article to help you get the best out of your monitor. There’s a lot of words and very few pictures, so brace yourself. I’ve made it as comprehensive as I possibly can.
Please note: I make several recommendations herein that the Colour Experts will not agree with. I ask you to trust my experience. If you want to know how comfortable a car is, do you ask the engineer who designed the seats, or the cabbie who drives it twelve hours per day?
Important update – please read
If you have a Mac running Lion, this tutorial doesn’t apply to you, I’m afraid. X-Rite have released a different version of the software for Lion users.
Before you start
1. Warm up the monitor
It’s generally accepted that your computer should be turned on fifteen minutes before calibration. If you can manage half an hour, that’s even safer.
2. Check your screen resolution
In the good old days of CRT monitors, we could choose a monitor resolution that we liked. Not any more. You must set your monitor to its maximum resolution – anything else will be fuzzy.
Access your display settings by right-clicking on your desktop (PC) or via your system preferences (Mac).
3. Uninstall other calibration software
If Adobe Gamma or any other calibration-related program is in your Startup folder, remove it. (Adobe stopped making their Gamma program way back at CS2, so if you’re relatively new to Photoshop, you won’t have it.)
4. Rein in your video card
If you are able to do so, reset your graphics card settings to their defaults. While you’re at it, check the manufacturer’s website for up-to-date drivers for your card.
Check your system (PC only)
At the end of the calibration process, your new monitor profile will be saved deep within the Windows System folder. 99% of the time, this happens automatically, and without drama.
But there are two things that can disrupt this process. It’s extremely unlikely that these will affect you, but it’s worth taking a moment to check before you start, just in case you go through the whole calibration process and it fails at the end – very annoying!
(If you’re a home user, this won’t apply to you.)
If your computer is administered by an IT department, they may have restricted your access to the System folder. This will block the i1 software from saving the profile.
To check, simply try navigating toC:WindowsSystem32spooldriverscolor. If you can’t get there, contact your IT department, and demand access. Explain the importance of calibration, and don’t take “no” for an answer.
2. Dud drivers
(If your computer is fairly new, this won’t apply to you.)
Some people with old or rebuilt computers don’t have the correct video card drivers installed, and aren’t even aware of it. This doesn’t matter for day-to-day computing, but matters a lot when it comes to calibration.
It’s easy to check if everything’s in place – just right-click on your desktop and choose Properties > Settings > Advanced. As long as you can access the Color Management tab, then you’re fine.
Install the i1 Match software
Your device probably came with a CD. That CD is almost certainly out of date (yes, even if you only just purchased the device).
So, head straight to here (under “Software Downloads”) to get the up-to-date version of the i1Match software.
It’s quite quick to install. On a Mac, you may be asked for an Administrator password. On a PC, you’ll need to restart after installation.
Plug in your device
Plug your calibrator into a USB port on the computer. Don’t use a port on your keyboard, because sometimes you’ll get a “Not enough power for this device” error.
On a PC, it will take a minute to install the drivers (you’ll need the CD in the drive), then it’s ready to go. On a Mac, it’s ready to go straight away.
Run the i1 Match software
Run the software. If you haven’t already done so, press the “Check for software updates” button to make sure you’ve got the latest version.
Choose the Advanced mode to begin. Do NOT choose Easy mode.
If you are calibrating a monitor that has lots of buttons, and gives you full control of Contrast, Brightness, and the Red, Green and Blue colours, click here to continue.
If your only monitor control is Brightness (eg Mac screens, laptops), click here to continue.