How to Optimize Calibration LUTs in CalMAN Studio

How To Improve Your Reference Display Calibration Results (In CalMAN Studio)

November 10, 2017

Learn how to improve your display calibration results when using CalMAN Studio. And does using a 'Lightning LUT' compromise your final results?

Part 3: Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Calibration Workflows

Does Using CalMAN’s ‘Lightning LUT’ Compromise Your Results?

Do you know how you start your day with the goal of completing 3 specific tasks? And then the first task takes over your day and you never get to anything else? Display calibration is one of those tasks that can take over your day – and not because a 6,000 patch profile takes a few hours to perform… but because there are multiple options for you to test as you start optimizing your workflow to get the best results you can with the equipment you have.

For me, the decision to master display calibration feels a lot like this Alice in Wonderland quote:

“Be what you would seem to be – or, if you’d like it put more simply – never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”

– Lewis Carrol, ‘Alice in Wonderland’


In this Insight we’re following Alice down her rabbit hole to imagine your reference display to be what it otherwise would be not as others imagine but as you would have it appear to be otherwise. Or to put more precisely, we’re picking up where we left off in Part 2

Comparing the Lightning LUT to a 6,000 Color patch LUT

At the end of Part 2 we exported, uploaded to the display, and verified a Lightning LUT we created in just a few minutes. At the start of this Insight you see the 6,000 patch LUT I created overnight. We answer the question: Is the Lightning LUT a good idea or bad idea if you want to maximize your results? Or do you really need to invest 2-6 hours (depending on the speed of your colorimeter) and go the 6000 color patch route?

Once you digest those results, the Flanders Scientific reference display has a feature that allows us improve our results by adding a 1D LUT into the mix.

Does a 1D + 3D LUT calibration improve your results?

There’s another concept in display calibration that’s worth exploring: After putting your reference display into Wide Gamut mode, you do a grayscale-only 1D LUT characterization of your display. Uploading and enabling this 1D LUT optimizes grayscale tracking of your display’s native response. THEN, you do the 3D LUT characterization (with the 1D LUT active). In theory, the 3D LUT doesn’t have to manage grayscale RGB response and can focus solely on mapping your reference display’s native color gamut to your target gamut. We execute this workflow in CalMAN Studio.

What if you use an external LUT box to calibrate your reference display? If so, it may also support 1D + 3D LUT chaining and you can explore this workflow for your setup as well.

But does this theory work out in practice? And if so, does it improve the results enough to warrant the extra step?

Watch this Insight for the answers.



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Homepage Forums How To Improve Your Reference Display Calibration Results (In CalMAN Studio)

  • Thanks Patrick for your ultra thorough review. How do we determine display uniformity? Its really no point trying to calibrate a display beyond display uniformity errors, especially one cheaper computer displays. So what about determining display uniformity first so we don’t over-calibrate.

  • Patrick Inhofer

    To determine uniformity you take readings in different parts of the screen. Both CalMAN and LightSpace (coming later in this series) let you change the position of the square you’re reading. It’s a good point and I’ll show you how to do it in an upcoming Insight.

    Fixing uniformity is another issue entirely. Serious (meaning: visible) uniformity issues are solved by getting a new display. A 3D LUT can’t solve those problems. But I will reach out to some experts and see if they have anything to add.

    Also – this series is specific to external reference displays being color managed via something like a Decklink or AJA card. Not through the output of a typical graphics card. That’s a different series entirely (which I’ll get to once this series is completed).

  • amitabh d

    As a large amount of content is in the mid saturation /luminance areas, and traditionally this is where most LUT calibration has its maximum effect, it would be great to see the saturation sweeps with the lightning vs the 6000 patch LUT. Also i wonder if DEictcp is markedly different between lightning LUT vs 6000 patch LUT vs 1d+3D lightning. I find your videos very clear and highly informative – well done and thanks.

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