Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Windows Doesn’t Always Load ICC Color Profile for Monitor

I recently installed a new EVGA GeForce 750Ti video card in an older machine.  I had some points on a credit card that would make a card in the sub $200 range “free,” so I did some research on video cards and upgraded my rather ancient GTX 260 (which I actually used while cutting our feature film in 2009!) to decrease my rendering times and allow for a bit more oomph when utilizing CUDA processing for effects and on-the-fly rendering in Adobe Premiere.

The GeForce 750Ti is basically the “sweet spot” for cost/power in gaming cards, which are the poor man’s video-editing cards (though, as of this posting, NVIDIA has released the GTX 960, which is the new sweet spot in this category).  I would have loved to install a higher-end “Adobe Approved” Quadro card(s), but this option is cost is prohibitive at the moment (we’re putting money into camera equipment), so this is a decent band-aid for this particular editing rig.

We use Xrite EyeOnes (i1) with EyeOne Match 3 (v.3.6.2) software to calibrate our monitors.  However, after installing the card, I kept getting the dreaded “pink screen” hue almost every time I’d reboot the machine after calibration.  The most common cause for this malady is a bad video cable (I’m using a super-thick (24AWG) and fairly long 15 foot DVI Cable, so this was definitely a possibility).  However, I checked my cables (using DVI, HDMI, and even Display Port), and the cable was not the issue.

I also checked my system defaults to be sure Windows was calling up the custom i1 color profile as the profile for the monitor.  The profile was marked as the default and appeared to be the active profile in the color settings, so I assumed it was being used.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I thought maybe it was the card.  I RMA’d the card, and Amazon sent a new one.  p.s. I really appreciate their policy of sending a replacement before they require you to send the defective unit back.  They give you a month to return the item once they send out the new one, so I didn’t have to go without a video card while waiting for the replacement (yes, I could have put the old one back in, but I was enjoying the decreased rendering times too much).

The new card arrived. I installed it and ran color calibration on the monitor.  For a couple of days, everything seemed great, until one day… the dreaded pink screen had returned.  I spent three more days researching the issue before I finally came across the solution.

It turns out there are not one, but TWO places where Windows 7 64-bit has settings for loading the monitor’s ICC color profile.

Yes, you can set your monitor’s ICC color profile at Control Panel>Appearance and Personlization: Adjust screen resolution>Advanced settings>Color Management (tab)>Color Management (button), but there is another place you need to do some tweaking in order to tell Win7 to actually USE these settings.  How stupid is that?!

So on the Advanced tab where you can select your defaults, there is a button at the bottom called “Change system defaults…”

Advanced Color Profile

In that panel, there is an “Advanced” tab, and at the bottom right of that panel there is a box called “Use Windows display calibration.” You must tick that box to get Windows to actually use your ICC monitor calibration setting each time it starts (even though it would appear, from the previous panel, that Windows IS using the default).  Unbelievable.  Why even have the option to set a default if the system isn’t going to USE that default without this “secret setting?!”  It’s not really a default if you aren’t using it, is it. Grrrrrr.

Color Management Advanced Defaults

Many thanks to user “badspell68” for posting the solution to this problem in this thread:


p.s.  I think it’s worth nothing that the “pink hue” we experience when the EyeOne custom ICC profile isn’t properly being utilized is a result of the physical monitor settings.  I usually just calibrate the monitors using the “easy” setting in the EyeOne software, but at one point I actually went through the “advanced” setup which involves calibrating your calibration device to the ambient light in the room (our room is currently fairly warm on the color spectrum) as well as adjusting the physical settings on the monitor (not just changing the settings using software).  When I did this, EyeOne had me set the red hue of the monitor higher than it had previously been (higher than what looks good to the eye), thus when the custom color profile is not being utilized (when the monitor is displaying “as physically set”), the screen has a pink (red) hue in the white areas.

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