“An inexpensive scheme for calibration of a colour monitor in terms of CIE standard coordinates” by Cowan

  • ©William B. Cowan




    An inexpensive scheme for calibration of a colour monitor in terms of CIE standard coordinates



    The Commission Internationale d’Eclairage system of colorimetry is a method of measuring colours that has been standardized, and is widely used by industries involved with colour. Knowing the CIE coordinates of a colour allows it to be reproduced easily and exactly in many different media. For this reason graphics installations which utilize colour extensively ought to have the capability of knowing the CIE coordinates of displayed colours, and of displaying colours of given CIE coordinates. Such a capability requires a function which transforms video monitor gun voltages (RGB colour space) into CIE coordinates (XYZ colour space), and vice versa. The function incorporates certain monitor parameters. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the form that such a function takes, and to show how the necessary monitor parameters can be measured using little more than a simple light meter. Because space is limited, and because each user is likely to implement the calibration differently, few technical details are given, but principles and methods are discussed in sufficient depth to allow the full use of the system. In addition, several visual checks which can be used for quick verification of the integrity of the calibration are described. The paper begins with an overview of the CIE system of colorimetry. It continues with a general discussion of transformations from RGB colour space to XYZ colour space, after which a detailed step-by-step procedure for monitor calibration is presented.


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