SpyderX and New Display Technologies

C. DAVID TOBIE has been involved in color management and digital imaging from their early days, developing affordable color solutions, and teaching users how best to utilize them. Photographers know him for his writing and tech editing of textbooks and periodicals including Mastering Digital Printing, and Professional Photographer magazine, and his seminars on color and imaging at photo expos and workshops around the globe.
New Display Technologies
There has been a broad array of new display technologies rolled out over the last decade. Most have been variations of the LED display category, though a few totally new systems have appeared, such as OLED; though OLED screens have not yet made it to a size and price-point to be used for image editing work. Many of these new display types have been developed in order to offer a wider color gamut, deeper blacks, brighter whites, and other visual improvements.

New Calibration Systems
In order to get accurate calibration for these new screen types, it is important to use recent calibration systems, that have software designed to support these screens, and with optical assemblies which replicate the human eye effectively, so that they calibrators see a given screen in a way that is similar to how the human eye sees it.
Advantages of a Calibrator
Calibrators have a couple of advantages over the eye. They can determine brightness on an absolute scale, while the eye adapts to brightness in a way that makes this impossible. Calibrators can also see color in an absolute manner, while the human visual system adapts to the whitepoint of our viewing environment, making absolute color determination difficult for humans.
To illustrate, two examples of how the human sensation deceives the perception of brightness or color.
Example 1

Brightness Perception
Take a look at the checkerboard pattern. The areas A and B differ clearly in their brightness, one might think. Just wait 10 seconds and we connect both surfaces with a gray rectangle. Now transitions should actually be visible.
Example 2

Color Perception
You can clearly see the complementary colors yellow and blue / cyan, which also draw through the picture. Now consider for about 30s first the top, then the bottom black dot. You will notice that the two halves “blend” and there is no clear edge between the cyan / bluish and yellowish areas of the image.
Seeing Like the Human Eye
Viewing the screen in a way that is similar to how the eye sees requires using a lens-based optical system, that stands back from the surface of the display, and reads it much more like the human eye than earlier contact-based calibrators did.

Optical system with integrated lens

Graph of the spectral sensitivity of the bright (red) or dark (white) adapted human eye.
It can be clearly seen that the sensitivity of the human eye during daylight is highest in the green range. In simple terms, therefore, humans perceive “green” as brightest in daylight. The sensor of the SpyderX takes this fact into account.
Optimization for Display Types
Calibrators also need to be optimized for screen types, a function that is mostly hidden inside the calibration software, though using some general categories, such for Wide Gamut LEDs, Standard Gamut LEDs, Green-Blue LEDs or Classic LCDs can further assist in dialing in the best results. This combination of a lens-based engine, and display classification are the techniques SpyderX uses to improve the accuracy and side-by-side matching it provides.

The Spyder software pull-down menu allows you to select your monitor class. In this way, the white point that differs depending on the monitor technology is preset accordingly.
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