Color calibrating with Ubuntu 11.10

This post is a little lengthy. If you just want color calibration to work in Ubuntu 11.10 just scroll to the bottom of the full post for a quick version!

A color calibrated screen is essential if you want your screen to match your prints. It’s also makes sure your photos looks relatively good on other screens to. If your monitor is way to blue, then your pictures may look way to red on another badly calibrated screen. While you may find a color profile that nearly matches your monitor on TFT central, you need a colorimeter to get it correct.

I finally invested in a Huey Pro from Pantone. I was considering a Spyder 3, but a little goggling revealed that they no longer provided tech specs that allowed for development of linux drivers. Since I run Ubuntu on my workstation I went for the Huey.

The Pantone comes with a CD with drivers for MAC and Windows, but no linux drivers. However this isn’t a problem as it is natively supported by the linux kernel and Ubuntu. It’s just plug’n’play. However I was a little disappointed as it first didn’t work. Ubuntu has spoiled me. I expect things to work out of the box with no driver or software installation necessary.

Color profile managerI opened system settings. Clicked the Color icon. and selected the monitor (I have two) I wanted to calibrate. The calibrate button was not active. Then I plugged in the Huey, and voilà, it became active. However nothing happend when I clicked it. Ubuntu needs to make it check if the color manager package is installed. If I weren’t a linux nerd this is where I would have been lost. However I opened a terminal and typed:

sudo apt-get install gnome-color-manager

Then the calibrate button starts the wizard:

Ok, now we are on track…

OK, that’s easy…

Ok, I have 20 minutes to invest in accuracy.

I have a (actually two) LCD monitors.

Ok, D65 whitepoint it is…

Ok, lets continue…

And trouble hits again. A grey square flickers on the screen, and the wizard exits. A little googeling and I find that it’s already a bug report about this, and it has been fixed upstream.

Happy again that I am a linux nerd, I add Pascal de Bruijn PPA to my software sources along with signing key. Then a quick ‘sudo apt-get update; apt-get upgrade’

Now It all works…

So the grey square changes colors some times and after 20 minutes it’s finished. I repeat for my other monitor and now the colors match as perfectly as possible. As the Samsung is a ten year old tn panel and the Dell is a brand new e-IPS panel with full HD the latter has a bit better contrast and is slightly sharper.

Quick version for the lazy:
Add software source(system settings –> software sources –>Other Software –> add) :

http://ppa.launchpad.net/pmjdebruijn/gcm-release/ubuntu

Then the tab “Authentication” and “Import Key File”
Download (right click –>Save Link As) and select this signature

Then run these two commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-color-manager