Review Pantone Huey

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5,463
Name
Andy Jones
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#1
Before receiving a Huey for crimbo I used to calibrate my monitor by eye, tweaking the gamma curves in the gfx driver settings to match various charts available online. The results were pretty good and prints from Colab etc. matched well but the fine tuning often took hours until I was happy.

Huey just makes the whole process childs play. Take it out the box, install the s/w from the CD and plug the Huey into a USB port. The calibration process starts by measuring the ambient light falling on your monitor after which you "stick" the Huey in place on the screen and sit back as the software displays a series of coloured patches for the Huey to measure.

I found the Huey prone to falling off midway through the process, possibly because I wasn't keen to press it too hard onto my LCD panel. Tilting the panel back and letting gravity help soon solved this.

Once the calibration is completed you're asked to select a colour setting, these have simple names such as Web/photo editing or Warm, medium contrast. Web/photo mode is actually sRGB and the one to pick for photo work but you can change mode on the fly via the systray icon. The final option is deciding if you want Huey to monitor your ambient light or not. I'd seen a couple of reviews that said to turn this off and initially I did. But after some experimentation I've turned it back on as I found it did improve the calibration to sRGB charts.

After the calibration is completed Huey does 2 things. First it adjusts your display properties to match the target mode as closely as possible. Secondly it creates a profile for you monitor so that colour aware apps such as PSP and CS2 can make finer adjustments to get an even better match.

It's worth knowing that before calibrating you should disable/reset any other tools you might be using for display correction such as Adobe Gamma. Further you should set your monitor up for good brightness/contrast levels before starting. Huey can only darken your display not brighten it so bear that in mind.

Overall Huey is very simple to use and the results are impressive. I wouldn't say they were perfect but are far better than you can get calibrating by eye.

Unless you are extremely fussy about your colour matching I think the Huey is a ideal calibration solution that avoids the technicalities of the process.
 
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12,031
Name
Janice
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#2
Thanks for that in-depth review. I think lots of us have calibration problems ... which are sometimes only evident when sending to online printers, photobox, colab etc.

This review will prove helpful to anyone thinking about buying a Huey!! Thanks (y)
 
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pxl8
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5,463
Name
Andy Jones
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#3
Thanks Janice.

Calibration can be a bit of a head scratcher the simplest was I can think to explain it is as follows:

The image is floating around inside a bubble. That bubble is the "working space" which normally sRGB or AdobeRGB.

If you want to display the image on a device such as your monitor or printer you need to tell the bubble what shape it needs to be in order to fit on the device. In simple terms your monitor might be a triangle whilst your printer is a rectangle, the profiles tell the software how to re-shape the bubble to fit.

If you don't have a profile for a device (or use the wrong one) then the bubble will end up the wrong shape which means the colours, brightness, etc. will be wrong.

To make matters worse sometimes the profile shape for the device means not all of the bubble will fit, bits will either get left behind or squashed to fit (this is out of gamut).

Of course it's a bit more complicated than that but that's how it works in general terms, hopefully it all makes sense ;)
 
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