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Crash course: HP DreamColor Display

Crash course: HP DreamColor Display

June 2015

In some offices, the displays people use at their desks only need to handle standard business fare like spreadsheets, documents, and email. Monitor specs and consistent performance are important, but not critical. For others, like those in visual effects or animation, the type of display they use can be the most important thing on the artist’s desk.

Imagine you’re on a team of artists creating digital effects for a new movie. You spend countless hours working on a scene before you hand it off to be integrated with the rest of the team’s work. But your display shows colors and shadows differently from those the rest of the team uses and, as a result, the shots you worked on don’t match the rest of the team’s shots. When the color and shadow detail doesn’t match between shots, it can take the audience “out of a scene” and ruin the final film.

What’s the best way to solve that problem? HP decided to go straight to the source—animation and visual effects artists, compositors, color scientists, and post-production supervisors—and worked with them directly to help solve their industry-related display needs.

During these sessions, HP learned that the critical need for animators and visual effects artists was a highly accurate display where the colors matched from artist to artist, yet was affordable enough to be deployed at all of the color-critical seats across the production and post-production pipeline. At the time, LCD technology didn't come close to the color accuracy and precision of the soon-to-be-discontinued CRT (cathode ray tube) display, so HP was asked to develop a trustworthy display that could replace CRT technology.

The end result of these efforts was the first generation of HP DreamColor Displays brought about through collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and other major feature animation and visual effect studios worldwide. Since the original product launch in 2008, HP DreamColor Displays have been used in the creation of countless films that have generated billions of dollars at the box office and won multiple Academy Awards®. HP DreamColor Displays helped bring color to life for a magnitude of award nominees and winners, including all DreamWorks Animation’s films since 2008.

And the award goes to...
This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award to HP engineers John Frederick, Bob Myers, Karl Rasche, and Tom Lianza for the impact the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Display technology has made in film.1 HP was honored with an award that typically recognizes advancements in camera technology, not computing, for providing affordable, consistent, and stable color throughout the film production process. Indeed, 1972 was the last time a computer company had their engineers awarded with a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award.

Why HP DreamColor?
There’s a reason why the vast majority of films with visual effects or animation are crafted using HP displays—and that reason is the technology.

One of the core capabilities of HP DreamColor Displays is color accuracy. There’s a lot of collaboration that goes into film and animation, making accuracy essential for continuity in the final product. But the technology doesn’t just benefit the film industry. Professional photographers and businesses that collaborate to create marketing materials like brochures or print ads, all need to see the same colors, so they need a display with consistent calibration that they can trust.

HP DreamColor Displays have the features that color professionals need to excel in their work. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 14-bit internal color precision: so your colors and shadows stay accurate from computer to screen
  • 98% of DCI P3 and 100% AdobeRGB coverage: ensures that the maximum number of colors are available for use
  • Support for Windows, OS X, and Linux: rest assured that you will see accurate color—no matter what operating system you work on
  • Integrated Calibration Engine: includes support for customer-requested professional measurement instruments2
  • Integrated Remote Management and Control: allows deep integration into IT systems2
  • The most color workflows for any industry: period

The business benefits
HP DreamColor Displays can help a variety of industries with their unique challenges.

  • Animated feature films: Animated content often requires dozens of artists (including animators, texturers, lighters, and compositors)—and each one could be working in different sites around the world. HP DreamColor technology enables users to display results identically from artist to artist. It even allows teams to create their own custom color presets and calibrate all displays accordingly.
  • Graphic arts: Having a display that is capable of presenting the layout and imagery precisely as it will appear on press is a requirement for the print and pre-press industries. The HP DreamColor Z27x Studio Display ships with a D50 white point color preset and all HP DreamColor Displays can be custom-calibrated to any specific workflow requirements, ensuring that colors are accurately reproduced and match those on press as closely as possible.
  • Post-production: HP DreamColor Displays ensure that editors and colorists see accurate images in the color space they will be delivering in, eliminating the surprises and frustrations that come from using standard computer monitors.

The best is yet to come
Curved displays, 3D experiences, interactive virtual reality displays, 4K/5K resolutions, and future new display technologies are all creating exciting possibilities. HP continues to adapt to these trends by evolving their technology to accommodate businesses’ changing needs. One such example is the new HP DreamColor Z32x UHD Display3—the first 4K Ultra High Definition HP DreamColor Display—demonstrating HP’s ongoing commitment to develop and deliver customer workflow-focused display solutions across a wide range of industries.

The same technology used by the majority of award-winning visual effect and animation studios can benefit your business, too—for a lot less than you think. HP DreamColor Displays have the features you need to excel in your work and can provide a level of performance comparable to studio reference monitors, and in some cases, even exceed them.

Shop HP DreamColor Displays today
HP DreamColor Displays
See how graphic artists and photographers use HP DreamColor Displays in their business


[1] HP thanks the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the recognition. We congratulate John Frederick, Bob Myers, Karl Rasche and Tom Lianza for winning the Scientific and Engineering Award for developing the HP DreamColor Professional Display. In the words of the Academy, “This cost-effective display offered a stable, wide color gamut, allowing facility-wide adoption in feature animation and visual effects studios.” This unrivaled visual precision powered the creation of four of the five Best Visual Effects nominees this year. Learn more at hp.com/dreamcolor
[2] On the HP DreamColor Z27x Studio Display.
[3] Available Fall 2015 in the U.S. Information subject to change without notice.

“ACADEMY AWARDS®” is the registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “OSCAR®’” is the registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.