Software varies greatly. Most software works with only one or two hardware devices. One of the software packages which is readily available for multiple hardware devices is Integrated Color Corporation’s ColorEyes 3.2. While the web presentation is very good, the software itself is more or less junk. I was unable to produce a useable profile on my Apple Cinema Display (somewhere along the line at least one colour was turned into an opposite). It was slow and clunky.
The hardware I was using was the basicCColor Squid, an early high-end device which went mid-market a few years ago and has now been superceded by other which allow you to measure ambient lighting when making the profile.
The software package which came with the basiCColor squid was basiCColor Display 2.5.4 originally written by Integrated Color Solutions (no relation to the cleverly named pretenders above) who sold the software and trademarks to German company basiCColor three years ago. State of the art, for a long time, 2.5.4 has dated badly in terms of profile speed (think ten to fifteen minutes to generate a single profile, with quite a bit of manual intervention). Amazingly enough the profiles are still quite good. I found them a little weaker on shadow detail and darks.
basiCColor display is a much easier user experience. You set a few parameters and you are off to the races. It even comes with a bunch of useful presets for completely new users (Notebook, Office, Photography, PrePress, Video and Web Design). A single profile takes less than 5 minutes.
Speed is important as it usually takes a fair number to get exactly what you want. Moreover making color profiles is like asking for direction. I heartily recommend running them until you get two or three in a row that match one another nearly exactly. Otherwise you could get sent the wrong way.
Happily basiCColor now includes a very useful profile validator which gives a pretty good indication if you are on the wrong track. (ColorEyes 3.2 also includes a validate but profile results were visibly inadequate so validation is not of much use.
Under Mac OS X, I can heartily recommend the basiCColor Display software with whatever hardware you already have or in a three license bundle with their display SQUID2.
But keep in mind: color calibration (for no very good reason but historical precedent as a specialised tool in the advertising agencies) is very expensive stuff. A single software license is 100 euros. The hardware and software three license bundle is a stiff 348 euros. There may be good cheaper solutions out there. After my horrible experience with ICC’s ColorEyes 3.2 while waiting for my upgraded basiCColor license, I’m not sure.
Unfortunately the experience of upgrading a basiCColor.de license is a total nightmare. The webstore doesn’t work for starters. It’s impossible to order it online. You need a live person. Next, although the package is sold as a bundle on the front end, they try to nab you on the back end on the upgrades. Your three seat license has to be upgraded seat-by-seat.
Why sell it as a three-license bundle on the front end, if it’s only to screw the consumer on the back end? With the inefficient, labor intensive backed involved in trying to do an upgrade (if you lose your password to your user account, the basiCColor.de website is not even able to send you a new one – you have to call them), no wonder they need triple license fees.
If ColorEyes 3.2 had been any good, basiCColor would have lost a customer due to the upgrade difficulties.
It’s a pity to see such good software so poorly marketed and sold. German engineering, bravo. German marketing, a big thumbs-down one more time.
Fortunately for North Americans, you don’t have to deal with the nightmare on the river Loisach (headquarters orf basiCColor is Penzach). Your representative is Jon Meyer of grafixgear who is attentive and personable. It’s a pity that we have to take up his time with processing basic license requests but he’s a very good guy.
The grafixgear.com website doesn’t work much better than the basiCColor site though.
On the upside, if you have any monitor calibration hardware at home you can try either of these packages yourself (basiCColor display for two weeks, ICC ColorEyes for one week) for free and decide which you prefer.