xRite ColorMunki Photo - Monitor, Printer & Projector Color Profiler

Color MunkiColorMunki Photo is a color profiling tool that offers monitor, printer and projector profiling technology for a reasonable price.  Although the price is reasonable, it uses the same high end spectrophotometer found in the high end profiling devices sold by X-Rite.  A significant advantage over similarly priced competition is the ability to create custom printer profiles.  The ability to create printer profiles is important for digital photographers to allow them to create color accurate prints of their images.  ColorMunki also has color creation and communication tools that allow you to grab colors from virtually anywhere, including your entire image library, preview your color palettes under different light sources and even preview for PrintSafe production under a variety of different printing methods.

ColorMunki Photo includes ColorMunki spectrophotometer, ColorMunki profiling software, ColorMunki Photo ColorPicker and DigitalPouch software, ColorMunki protection bag/monitor holder, Quick Start Guide and USB power cord. ColorMunki Photo includes a limited seat license with exceptions for camera clubs and educational institutions

Color Profiling Software Installation

The ColorMunki CD has a link to an online download.  The PC version involved downloading 364MB of software and required .NET and Java installation (the actual ColorMunki software itself was 150MB).   The online download insures that you get the latest version of the software but can be a bit tough if you don't have access to a fast internet connection.  The software is available for both PC Windows XP and up, and Apple Mac OX 10.4 and later.   The combination of both the .NET and Java libraries was a concern for us--we didn't want to install ColorMunki on a production machine we use for .NET programming. 

Monitor calibration

The ColorMunki looks like an oversize tape measure.  The measurement sensor is in the central rotating part of the ColorMunki.  The white bar is set to a particular position depending on what you want to do with the device.  Straight up allows you to measure ambient light, toward the monitor allows you to measure a monitor and so on.  Before you calibrate the monitor you have to calibrate the device.  In other devices we have used you have to point the sensor towards a white tile.  A neat feature of the ColorMunki is that the white tile is built inside the unit--just point the bard down 45 degrees to calibrate. 

To calibrate the monitor you hang the device over your monitor so that the sensor is pointing to the screen.   The device is kept inside the soft case to protect the monitor and the long weighted strap is hung over the monitor as a counterweight.  A small protective shutter in the soft case is opened for taking any measurements.  By default ColorMunki will calibrate your monitor to 6500K and a gamma of 2.2.  The advanced mode offers various settings in relation to whitepoint, gamma, ambient compensation and pre-calibration.  ColorMunki offers dual monitor support. 

Once in position, the software produces a series of red, green and blue screens, followed by a white through to black screen with a series of greys in between; The Colormunki measures these colors, and corrects the difference between the colors produced and the actual colors. That difference provides the data that makes up the profile.  When completed, the ColorMunki Photo creates a profile for you and gives you the opportunity to see a before and after view before setting it as the default profile.

Projector Profiling

Profiling a projector works the same way as a computer display, but rather than placing the ColorMunki Photo on the screen, you mount it on a tripod using the built-in adapter, and point it at the screen.  For optimum results, place the ColorMunki at about the width of the screen away from the screen.  The ColorMunki software will then guide you through the calibration process. 

Printer profiling

ColorMunki Printer ProfilingColorMunki Photo breaks the profiling process into two parts. It creates a 50 patch chart which is printed and measured  and based on the results of that measurement, creates a second 50 patch chart. So, you're scanning a total of 100 patches. After you print the patch chart it is important to let it dry thoroughly--a 10 minute drying time is recommended but some papers take a bit longer.  Then, you measure the chart by sliding the device over the sheet.  The software will then create an ICC profile (both RGB and CMYK printers are supported).  When the profile is completed, ColorMunki Photo will automatically set that as the default print profile and add it to any of the Adobe Creative Suite applications.

System Requirements

Macintosh:

PowerPC® G4 or G5 or Intel processor (G5 and higher recommended)
MacOS X 10.4, 10.5 with latest update installed
512 MB RAM (1GB and higher recommended)
300 MB of free disk space
Powered USB Port
1024 x 768 or higher display resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features
Internet connection for software installation
Broadband Internet connection required for colormunki.com services
Network card required

Windows:

Microsoft Windows XP 32 & 64 or Vista 32 & 64 with latest service packs installed
Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, or Intel Core™ Duo (or compatible) or AMD Athlon XP or better CPU
512 MB RAM (1GB and higher recommended)
300 MB of free disk space (additional free space required during installation)
Powered USB Port
1024 x 768 or higher display resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet connection for software installation
Broadband Internet connection required for colormunki.com services
Network card required