Ideal lighting for digital studio?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by j._scott_schrader, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. My question concerns the optimal (if there is such a thing)
    quantity and color temperature of a room for viewing images and
    graphics on a calibrated monitor. Background: I am working
    with a local university who has recieved a rather substantial
    grant to set up a high end imaging lab. Hardware and software
    decisions have already been made as well as both digital still
    and digital video cameras for check out. We are now working on
    the physical space. It will be used by students who will need to
    refer to their notes and other research materials while actually
    sitting at an imaging station. (In other words...a darkened room
    is out of the question.) I realize that the color of walls, flooring,
    furniture and all of the other physical properties of the room can
    and will affect ones color perception while viewing a computer
    monitor. My question is concerning levels of illumination (we
    intend to have track lighting on dimmer switches), and color
    temperature of the lamps that the track lights will house. Any info
    you may have or suggestions for places find this type of
    information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your time,

  3. Hi JSS,

    Track lighting is about as poor a choice as you could make for several reasons. Overhead track lights will be hard (or impossible), to find good color index rated bulbs for. Tracklights no matter how well laid out will cause shadows, glare and surface screen glare for someone in the room. Look for clamp on or weighted desktop lamps with high color index rated bulbs with low output levels and deep hoods or lamp shades. You should also see if the manufacture of your CRT monitors (you are using CRT's aren't you? LCD's while convenient have too many problems to offer the best possible image quality), offers fitted hoods for the selected monitor. Failing that you can always get good deep hoods from HoodMan.

  4. Chip,

    Can you further define "good" when you said "good color index
    rated bulbs". What is a "good color index rated bulbs" in terms of
    color temperature? Is it the closer to "daylight balanced" the
    better with "daylight balanced" being the optimal situation?

  5. The two right people to ask are Bruce Fraser and Andrew (AKA "the digital
    dog). You can reach either of them of them through or

    Bruce is
    the author of Real World Color Management and co-author of the "Real world Adobe
    Photoshop" series of books. I very rarely make flat and unambiguous statements but
    here is one: There is no one else , including inside Adobe, who knows the ins and
    outs of high end digital color and color workflow and setting up these enviroments
    more thoroughly than Bruce Fraser. he
    is fluent in both technical jargon and and plain English. Andrew is a color
    consultant who knows almost as much as Bruce but comes at the problem from a
    different angle.
  6. Hi Scott,
    The actual lightinng set up depends in the seating configuration. However, this is what I see at some pro-shops and labs:
    - Use full spectrum neon lights at perimeter walls or directly above/behind the monitors for basic lighting. The neon tubes should be installed to be an indirect light source. A diffused light source provide better viewing of both the CRT and printed materials. The full spectrum neon light generates less heat (which is great for computer lab), has the correct light spectrum, and being used by many professional graphic srevice providers.
    - Use a monitor visor to cut glare and preserve the CRT's contrast/luminance.
    - Install a print viewing box with a color corrected light source or an OTT light at the workstation. This light provides higher light intensity for critical viewing of printed graphics.
    - Install a non-reflective/neutral colored covering material on the walls.
    - Calibrate the monitors monthly is about the best thing you can do to prolong the monitor's life, ensure what you see is what you print, and reduce the external lighting factor.

  7. Calibrate the monitors monthly is about the best thing you can do to prolong the monitor's life
    Profiling and calibration of a monitor hasnothing to do with prolonging a monitors life. But it has everything to do with the ensuring the accuracy of the monitor an ensuring that what you see on screen is what you get on print. with CRT monitors it should be done every couple of weeks and jsut before you start a large project. In general the areas behind the monitors should be a neutral (not warm, not cool) shade of gray. I am not sure exactly as to how bright or dark the room should be lit but a comfortable shade of dim is a good physiological description. the area where prints are evaluated should be lit to certain standards and glare should be minimized if not eliminated on the monitor screens. check out:
  8. These might help:
  9. Thanks to all for your response. Ellis thank you for enlightening
    me on Bruce and Andrew's expertise in this area and their
    contact info. ... I appreciate all of your generous and
    knowledgeable contibutions to this site.

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