This is a review about Huey, an inexpensive ($89.00 US) monitor calibration device by Pantone.
When it comes to lighting and texturing, I believe that a well calibrated monitor is a requirement. Otherwise, any effort to balance lights and color is more or less a shot in the dark.
I've worked in the e-Learning and multimedia industry as both a designer and project manager for 13 years and I know that when everybody have differently calibrated monitors, it is very difficult for a team of artists to work on the same project. One artist would produce darker graphics while the next one would produce brighter graphics because each artist would see different colors on theyr own monitors.
In those times Macintosh monitors all had the same very specific color settings and so it was the computer of choice for doing graphics work because at least this guaranteed that everybody was more or less seeing the same colors and contrasts on their screen. But when we entered a PC system in the loop, all hell broke loose.
In the PC world, there is no such thing as a standardized monitor setting. Monitors are just not calibrated by default. And in those days, there was no affordable devices that could allow to calibrate the PC monitors. Several of those cheapest monitors just couldn't be calibrated anyway. Ther exist several gamma charts that will allow some form of calibration but nothing very precise. With experience, though, one can get a well enough calibrated monitor. But for the inexperienced, this calibration thing looks more like black magic.
BTW, today Macintosh computers are more or less in the same situations as the PC concerning color calibration since Apple let go with enforced software / hardware monitor calibration with OSX several years ago.
Thanks to Pantone, we now have an inexpensive and automatic solution in the form of the Huey. I just bought one and installed it today. This little device is pluged in a USB port and is first used to analyse the colorimetry of the monitor and later, sits on the desk, picking the ambiant color in the room and readjusts the monitor calibration on the fly. Really neat.
I installed the Huey on my laptop where I have a secondary high quality Benq 21" LCD monitor connected. Since the primary laptop screen is a cheap isotropic LCD screen, I have no hope of getting it calibrated.
I had to resort to some dual monitor setup tricks to get the Huey to calibrate the secondary monitor because the Huey will only display the test colorimetry procedure on the primary monitor. I just turned dual monitor OFF for a while and used the Fn-monitor key to switch the display to the secondary monitor instead on to the laptop screen. There I could perform the colorimetric calibration.
Once this procedure was completed, I could turn the monitor setings back to its dual configuration. When I checked in the MS Color Monitoring control pannel applet, I could see that it is using the Huey profile for the Benq monitor. When I change lighting condition in my workroom, I can see that both monitors are being readjusted though. But I don't really care for the laptop screen calibration. What I really care is the secondary monitor calibration. And this is working great.
I would recomment this little device to anyone serious about color.
For a more detailed step-by-step review of the procedure of using the Huey as well as appraisal, see this page at Northlight Images.