Calibrating your screen: why?

I received the following question:

At the Henry’s Show, you made reference to the importance of calibrating your monitor. Would you mind discussing that one day on your blog?  I’m utterly clueless about it. Thanks.  Enjoy your daily emails immensely!

Welcome, and the pleasure is mine. Solet me answer your question.

What does “calibrating your monitor” do?

It ensures that the colours it displays are as accurate as possible. So that white is real white, and so on.

How does it work?

You buy a “spider”: a light sensor that you temporarily hang right in front of your screen. Like a “Huey”, or various larger spiders. The software that comes with the sensor then makes the screen flash all sorts of colours. The sensor looks at these and can tell whether, say, red is a bit brighter than green. It then adjusts the output of your screen accordingly tp correct for this, and creates a new “monitor profile”. That ensures your colour is accurate.

Why should I do it?

Ah, good question.  Well, to understand this, imagine your monitor shows a bit more green than it should. When editing your images, say with Photoshop, you would decrease the green to make your images look good.

Now you send that edited image to a friend. Or you put it on a web site. The viewer look at it – and thinka it looks red (the absence of green makes it look too red)! Or if you print it, it would come out looking too red.

That is the reason you should really calibrate your monitor. It’s important!

4 thoughts on “Calibrating your screen: why?

    • They work. Why not? A laptop is just a computer with a screen.
      That said, it’s a long time since i have done this, since a. Laptops are usually well adjusted out of the box since they are supplied as one unit, and b. I do little critical work on a a laptop.

  1. Without a colour tint, I find that photographs with subtle colour tints are much more pleasing to look at. Calibration really does help me just enjoy any photograph. I also enjoy the feeling that I know my pictures are the colour I intended. Most people won’t know the difference, but for those that do (and have calibrated their monitors), I’d like to show my best.

    I’ve done my laptop, but need to do it again. I’m finding that certain photographs are showing too saturated. It also tends to be sensitive to photos that are too sharp and can make them look cartoonish.

    Of the monitors that I’ve calibrated, all show too bright, too contrasty and too blue out of the box. They seem to be set up to show well in a showroom display.

  2. Re: iMAC Displays

    For those with iMAC displays — the recommended “brightness” setting is 110-120. I find that excessively too dark. What do others use? Will my eyes adjust?

    For what it’s worth — the X-Rite Eye One Display 2 seems to be the winner when it comes to Hardware calibrators. I picked one up on Ebay for a little over $200.

    Does the Spyder systems work as well? Anyone?

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