Thursday, 17 April 2014

calibrate your monitor

How to tweak your desktop or laptop display using free test patterns or the built-in utility in Windows or Mac OS X.

Before you get started:
Turn on your monitor and let it warm up for 30 minutes or so.
Make sure your monitor is running at its native resolution, which is the highest resolution it supports.

Both Windows and Mac OS X feature utilities that step you through various calibration settings.

On Windows, open the Control Panel and search for "calibrate." Under Display, click on "Calibrate display color."

A window will open with the Display Color Calibration tool. It steps you through the following basic image settings: gamma, brightness and contrast, and color balance. For each, the tool will show you an example of what the ideal level should look like and then will provide a slider to make adjustments with a test image. For brightness and contrast, however, you will need to locate the controls; sliders aren't supplied.

When you have finished with your tweaks, the Display Color Calibration lets you compare your current settings with the previous calibration. Click Finish to move forward with your new calibration settings and Windows will make a pitch for you to turn on ClearType, which attempts to make text more readable. If you select this option, you will then jump through five quick test screens to fine tune ClearType for the clearest, crispest text.
Mac OS X

On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Display and click on the Color tab. Next, click the Calibrate button, which opens the Display Calibrator Assistant. It walks you through calibrating your display and then creates a calibrated color profile.

There is a box you can check for Expert Mode. If you leave this option unchecked, you will access only two settings: target gamma and white point. And, really, it's only one setting because target gamma -- a fancy term for "contrast" -- in most cases should be left at the standard 2.2 setting. And in my experience, the white point setting didn't offer much of a range of options. The D50 warm setting was too yellow while the cool 9300 was too blue, and the D65 neutral white and Native settings were indistinguishable from one another.
 let's go back and check the box for Expert Mode. Now, we can access five test patterns to tweak the native gamma -- or luminance -- of your display. Next, you have more options for the target gamma, but the Mac standard gamma of 2.2 is still recommended. Similarly, there are more options for the white point, which adjusts the overall color tint of the display. Again, unless you are engaging in particular graphics work that requires an odd setting, it's probably best to use the native white point. Lastly, Expert Mode lets you act as an administrator and choose whether to allow other user access to this calibration profile.

To finish up, give your profile a name and click Done. Your new profile will now be listed as an option on the Color tab of the Display option in System Preferences.


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