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About Patterns for Mac

Introducing Patterns, the quintessential video test pattern generator for macOS. Backed by Metal, Patterns is the world’s first generator to support HDR on the Mac. It doesn’t stop there, Patterns is also color management compliant allowing for validation through the entire processing path.

What you need to know

Patterns is best utilized when paired with Portrait Display’s Calman software; however, please note that Calman is not included.

  • Requires macOS 10.12 or later.
  • Calman Home, Video Pro, Studio, or Ultimate required
    • Version 5.13.0. or later.

Color accuracy starts here and goes… there.

Accuracy is important, very important. Whether creating or consuming content having an accurate image ensure’s the artist’s intent is as intended. Photography, Visual Effects, Editing, Color Grading, Web Surfing, ect. color makes a difference.

Patterns is designed to test the system, not just the display. The app is designed to work in the color spaces you work in. While other solutions may test a single path, Patterns is designed to test many; after all, your web browser may be in sRGB but that movie you’re color grading could be in P3-D65 @ ST 2084, so why would you only calibrate or test sRGB?

Question? Nothing.

Creatives demand accuracy, just one question can delay a project minutes, hours, even days while engineers scramble to find solutions to problems that all come down to confidence in the display creative decisions are decided upon.

Bits, bits, and more bits!

Patterns operates in full float, or 32-bits per component, ensuring a high level of precision beyond your typical 8-bit or 10-bit pattern generator. As the signal travels through the system full float becomes half float, or 16-bit. For ultimate accuracy, we encourage our integration partners to call patterns at 16-bit.

Why does this matter? Well, the Perceptual Quantizer, or PQ, aka SMPTE ST 2084 utilized in today’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) system requires a bit depth of 12 in order for each code value to be below one JND (Just Noticeable Difference). In gamma, a JND of one requires approximately 15-bits of depth. Today’s test pattern generators and programs often operate in 8 or 10-bit natively, inherently introducing error into the system and affecting the accuracy of your measurement. Patterns was designed with this in mind and our API allows for our partners to integrate up to 16-bits to ensure a high level of precision. After all, what good is a measurement if the pattern is wrong.

General Theory

The Patterns application allows for quantification, calibration, and validation of displays connected to macOS. Patterns utilizes Apple’s API’s to render test images in various color spaces; by doing this, we’re able to test the system, not just the display.

The Goal: Optimize the built-in and/or external display to produce an accurate image for content rendered via macOS.

To achieve our goal, it is important to understand how Apple’s Color Management is designed. Traditionally, if a source is Rec.709 the display should be calibrated for Rec.709– the source matches the display and the artist’s intent is maintained. This process assumes only one standard is ever on-screen at a single instance, but what if there is content in sRGB, Rec.709, DCI-P3, or even HDR all on the screen at the same time?

It is not uncommon to have multiple windows with multiple standards onscreen simultaneously. To ensure these windows are rendered accurately macOS uses ‘Active Color Management’. This system allows for any content to be viewed on any display by actively applying color management to every pixel of every frame in real-time. During this process, a match is performed from the source content’s space to the destination space.

Since the source content could be from any color space it is best to set the display (destination space) to the largest space possible to maximize color volume. From there, macOS will map each space into the larger space rendering multiple windows with multiple spaces as accurately as the target display is capable.

Display Types

Apple SDR

  • Built-In Apple Displays that are only capable of SDR are calibrated via an ICC Color Profile created via Calman and Patterns.
    • This would include the built-in displays for the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air lines

Apple Pro Display XDR

  • Apple Pro Display XDR is optimized via the ‘Fine-Tune Calibration’ process utilizing Calman and Patterns.
    • Apple Pro Display XDR (2019)

3rd Party

  • 3rd Party displays should first be optimized at the display and then further tested and optimized at the macOS level.