Tools We Use - Datacolor's Spyder5PRO

Tools We Use - Datacolor's Spyder5PRO
High Monkey profile picture

By High Monkey, Our random thoughts collected

Categories: Tools

My grandparents used to have a huge projection screen tv at their house near Roseau, MN. It was a solid tv, but over the years my grandpa began to complain more and more about how hard it was to see the ball during the broadcasts of tennis matches.

The broadcasts weren’t to blame, and although it may have had something to do with his eyes, it also could have had something to do with the fact that his tv screen was YELLOW. Imagine putting on a pair of old 3D glasses, but instead of one lens tinted red and the other tinted blue, both were tinted yellow. Got those glasses on? Now you are seeing the world as my grandpa did for around 5 years before he bought a new LED tv. We don’t really know how it got that way, but a couple things were obvious to my family every time we made a trip up north; A.) this tv was ridiculously yellow, and B.) to my grandpa it was normal because it was the only screen he knew.

Although the worst thing that happened to my grandpa was occasionally losing track of the ball in a tennis match, screens with poorly displayed color in the world of design can lead to much more dire consequences. Before I talk about the Spyder5PRO color-calibration tool from Datacolor, a quote from the 1999 classic dystopian science fiction film The Matrix will put you in the right frame of mind:

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Now here are some questions to ponder…Have you ever had a terrible monitor, that you were so sure was displaying color correctly? What if your whole office was filled with the same monitors? How would you know the difference between a good monitor and a bad one?
Morpheus holding red and blue pills - the Matrix
In this scenario, your red pill is the Spyder5PRO tool. The Spyder is a color-calibration tool that offers to max out your monitor’s color displaying potential, and also offers a ton of insight into what your monitor is capable of. After going through some set-up windows, the Spyder will rest on your screen and begin cycling through a series of diagnostics. Taking into account many factors such as screen brightness and the lighting of the surrounding environment, Spyder will be able to set your monitor up to display color as accurately as possible. In a broad sense, the tool gives you the ability to see the world as clearly as possible, and make sure that any content that you produce as a designer is seen by others exactly how you intended.
Spyder5 tool calibrating monitorA fair warning, before you take the red pill you need to make sure you understand the consequences. They say that ignorance truly is bliss, and when you reach the last step of color-calibration and see the range of color your monitor can properly display, you may not like what you find out. If your monitor is of the older variety and isn’t capable of accurately displaying an acceptable range of colors, the only solution may be buying a new monitor. In an office this could warrant buying a slew of new monitors, and if that’s not possible, living every day being fully aware of your garbage monitors but not being able to do anything about it. With that being said, another pearl of wisdom from Morpheus is helpful…“Remember…all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”