Highs and Lows of Calibrating and Profiling Mac screens

Getting the story right with colour calibration and profiling on iMac and MacBook Pro screens is not a simple task. As I’ve discovered the work-flow is let down by the inability of the user to adjust the iMac or Mac Book monitors RGB balance. Mac only offers options to adjust Native Gamma, Target Gamma and Target White Point.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 12.35.58 PM

All this first came to a head after purchasing DataColour’s Spyder 4 Pro and noticing that after calibration/profiling, despite the significant improvement, my iMac monitor still had a distinct green cast when looking at both colour and or black and white images and that my MacBook had a distinct blue cast. I started asking some questions.


Visibly evident green and blue cast after Spyder 4 Pro/ Dataclour calibration.

A friend of mine recently put me onto DispcalGUI, which is open source.  DispcalGUI provides customizable settings for “whitepoint, luminance, black level, tone response curve as well as options to create matrix and look-up-table ICC profiles, with optional gamut mapping” as well as providing a very extensive array of colour patches.

Running the first calibrations using DispcalGUI on the iMac and MacBook made it obvious that I was out on a ledge in terms of getting the best response curves because the initial white point and RGB measurements revealed things like this…

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 12.43.30 PM

You can see on the iMac that blue and red are under whilst green is significantly over in the balance. Unfortunately on Mac systems there appears to be no way to adjust the RGB gain controls manually or via 3rd party software. Even Argyll CMS, which runs fine under Windows was not able to talk to Mac.

After running a second calibration and profile using DispcalGUI on the MacBook you can see a more neutral response to to the black and white image below. However it’s not perfect and still tends to be a little on the blue side which was shown as still being off target in the ‘Interactive Dispay Adjustment” panel prior to the Calibration. I was able to get above 100% of sRGB but only 75-78% of RGB.


Running Colour Eyes Display Pro (fully functional trial) did little to alleviate the cast and the software began to glitch quite badly after the first two runs. I understood that it should be able to talk to and adjust the RGB settings for Mac monitors. But there was little to see that supported that and measuring RGB using DispcalGUI afterwards indicated little change.

Colour Munki looks like the next stop.

Nikon D600 | The Last Post?

Somewhere between 1000 and 1066 shutter activations a mild form of chaos appears to have broken loose inside the D600 body and the sensor now has a healthy covering of oil. Nikon replaced the shutter mechanism and a seal under warranty in a camera that Harvey Norman at Penrith refused to acknowledge had a problem. It’s worrying on a number of fronts. The first being that there seems to be some issue with the quality of the components in the shutter mechanism. I understand the issue is not common to all D600’s. it appears to affect about 1 in 4 cameras (based on reader comment). The second is that the retailer from whom I purchased the camera seemed to be reluctant to acknowledge that there was a production or component issue that affected some but not all D600’s, despite cameras going in for servicing and part replacement under warranty.

The reference images clearly show a big increase in oil on the sensor between 1012 and 1066 actuation’s. The 50mm f1.8 lens has not been off the camera since I collected it from the service center at Nikon Sydney. Nikon have acknowledged the fault and repaired it; however, the problem is back and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life putting this camera in for repair.

I’ve added an adjusted image image below the original after looking at the results over at Kyle Clements blog. He was still getting oil after 5000 shutter activations.

I’ll be happy if Harvey Norman honour their 3 Year Replacement Warranty?

sensor check @ 1000a

Image (5014 x 3346) shot at 1066 shutter actuation mark.

sensor check levels2@ 1000

Levels and curves adjusted image. More marks are visible (circled in yellow)

Using Photoshop Lens Blur with depth map

This looks pretty interesting….

– “Using the Lens Blur Filter on an image Sequence in Photoshop CS6
Even with the fantastic new Blur Gallery in Photoshop CS6, the Lens Blur filter is an essential tool when a high degree of control is needed to selectively (and realistically) blur an image. In this video tutorial, Julieanne uses the Lens Blur filter with a depth map to to create a series of images that appear as if they were captured with a tilt-shift lens. Julieanne also demonstrates how to quickly apply this filter to multiple images using actions and batch processing”.

Watch the tutorial here


This is a guest article for Planet 5D, written by Phil Arntz ( talented young filmmaker from England) on how to make a time-lapse on a minimal budget.

The full story is very extensive and gives a rounded insight into the making of the time-lapse, plus you get the added bonus of some very detailed process information.

Read here

Dustin Farrell | Timelapse

I simply had to re post this after viewing it on Planet 5D.

Some stunning time lapse photography here and best of all a very concise overview of the process by the man himself. Read it here


FL Studio Mobile

Great to see FL Studio availalble as a mobile app. I’ve been using FL Studio since version 5 and back then, this was an impossible dream. Anyone who has worked with FL Studio will know why its as popular as it is. I use it alongside Cubase and Logic and this development is about as good as it gets in the mobile arena. Will certainly be enjoying the screen real estate available on iPad2.

Great work @Image Line, everything works as advertised.

read all about it here and download the app from the iTunes store

Aperture 3.1.1 update solution

The following actually works in terms of allowing an install of the 3.1.1 update for Aperture, where the update is downloaded from Aperture support.

  1. Open the Applications folder.
  2. Drag the Aperture application to the Trash.
  3. Open the Utilities folder within the Applications folder.
  4. Open the Terminal application.
  5. On the command line, type the below command (which is case-sensitive) and then press Return:  (or copy and paste)
    sudo pkgutil --forget com.apple.pkg.Aperture
  6. When prompted, enter your user password and press Return.
  7. Insert your Aperture disc and install Aperture.

Then run the update installer package,


Have yet to find a solution for Aperture crashing on opening…..have done everything possible.

Getting Service

After an extensive search of the App Store I find what I have overlooked, the little Support button on the main page under Quick links.

Once you get to the Mac App Store support page you only have two options for Contact; Applications, which drew zero result, none of the FAQ’s related to my problem, and there was no option for Contact, and Accounts and Billing.

So it was off to Accounts and Billing.

Whilst Accounts and Billing may seem to be an odd place to end up with a problem like this, it was the only place where I could post information, and get some sort of response. Maybe it will end up in the right hands further down the line, wish me luck.




Clicking on the Applications link simply gives you this

and there is not much you can do with it. Can you imagine trying to explain the content of the last two posts over the phone?

So I had to provide a brief outline in the space provided and a link to this post, what are my chances?

Apple App Store Blues

I’d read about it and periodically heard first and second hand accounts about people experiencing problems with Apple products and services and sat back thinking wow… that’s never happened to me, at least not until today. In 7 or so years of using Apple products and software, not so much as a hiccup has come my way. Faith in all things Mac justified. Yesterday (10th Jan) in the early evening, unknown to me,  all that was about to change. The new Apple App Store was open and software was going at ridiculously cheap prices, but my radar was down and my default “hang on a bit, why so cheap’ warning light failed. Seduced by the possibility of obtaining the updated version of my much used and heavily relied upon, Aperture, for a song, I succumbed to temptation and made my purchase from the newly proclaimed ‘Queen of Cloudland’.

Suspecting all was well and that Apple would have all bases covered, I completed the transaction and the paid for the upgrade which seamlessly downloaded and installed without a glitch. I upgraded the libraries, despite the warning that upgraded libraries would not be accessible to earlier versions of Aperture….trusting soul that I am, what could possibly go wrong? Once installed, Aperture 3 exceeded my expectations and I can certainly say that if you are considering the purchase, do so with complete confidence, just not from the App Store.

Day 2

Prepared for a substantial rework of some of the 15,000+ images stored across a number of drives/libraries, I hit the Aperture icon and it bounced away happily and then died. I waited about 10 minutes just in case this was a one off anomaly, but nothing……
I checked the status of the app and found that it was open but not responding, just my desktop staring me in the face, waiting, like someone outside a closed bank. Force quit and re open, the ritual seemed endless.

Maybe I need to re-install, where’s the dmg from yesterdays download and install? There is none!
Despite the App Store Help site touting that a saved copy of the app could be used to reinstall, no option for saving the install dmg appeared at any time during the download and install of Aperture 3 and a thorough search failed to locate it. Not only did I not have a dmg of my purchased software, you also don’t get a serial number. Whilst you get an order number on your receipt, an order number does not prove you have the product, where as a serial number does, so how are you supposed to obtain support for a product that you can’t prove/verify you own? What if the serial number is on the splash screen? Great……but I can’t even raise the splash screen. A better option is required for crashes like this.

Things were not looking good. Suddenly the extra you pay for the boxed version began to make sense, more outlay but….you have the install disk, serial number and a support ID number. My options were getting thin. After a thorough scouring of the App Store support site I scored a zero return, what happened to the traditionally good backup provided by Apple?  Bright idea…what if I download the 3.1.1 update and reinstall this over the existing installation. Back to the App Store, follow the links for Aperture to the in-store page that has the updates, download and install, error message “you can only install updates for this product from the App Store”, hadn’t I just done that?
I realised I was lost in glitch city, what to do next?

Search installation problems where Aperture crashes on opening, only an old one that was resolved in Aperture 3.0.1

What if I copy the app form the applications folder to an external drive aka the ‘save your copy to an external drive’ song from the help pages. It was an outside run that I know to be risky, but with no other options available at the moment…… Copy and transfer back, half way through the process ” you do not have permissions required”
Back to the applications folder and try to re open “You can’t open Aperture because it may be damaged or incomplete”
Suddenly I’m in no man’s land.

What if I re-install my copy of Aperture 2 and download my purchase from the App Store? Aperture 3 is no longer on my system, so if the “if you delete your software you can reinstall it from the App Store as long as it’s still available” is correct advice, I should be able to remove and re-install.
So I re-install Aperture 2, update it to 2.1.4 so that it runs on OSX 10.6.6. Back to the App Store, click on purchases,  ‘Aperture 3 is already installed’ ……….no it’s not. Aperture 2.1.4 is,
and no option available to re-download the software that I had paid for.

$100 down the drain. Only option now is to purchase the boxed edition and get on with life, otherwise my libraries become coffins.

If you use this application professionally and you are considering upgrading or purchasing for the first time, stay away from the App Store, buy it boxed online or from a local retailer.  I’ve certainly taken a hard lesson today and won’t be back under any circumstance until Apple get their act together and provide the basics, like most other online traders that allow you to purchase via download, do.

It’s irresponsible for Apple; and ultimately damaging to their reputation, to offer software that is used professionally without appropriate backup and support. Great software, lousy delivery and support from the App Store for this application.