Ok, today we bring to you something that is just the tiniest bit technical. It’s the most overlooked aspect of any content creation cycle, but yet makes all the difference in the final result. Monitor calibration.
Why do you need to do it?
Because chances are, your monitor is geared for looking great on the showroom floor of a brightly lit department store. It’s likely over-lit, and the contrast is probably way too high. The colors are usually more saturated than normal as well.
This matters when you are editing pictures and videos because what you see on your monitor won’t be what everyone else sees. When you think you are editing to compensate for contrast etc. in your media, you will often be editing to compensate for your monitors settings. This leaves your media looking… off, and sometimes even colored oddly. The Tumblr contest has plenty of examples of photos that come in looking very HDR, when its usually not the intention of the contestant for it to look that way.
So if you want to take your pictures from a 7 to a 10, then calibrate your monitor for accurate editing! Here is a simple how-to that has proved invaluable for many editors out there right now. You could spend a few hundred dollars on a device that does this for you, but why do that when you can take 20 minutes and do it yourself?
So here are a few easy steps to follow, to give you that professional edge over the competition!
1. Let your monitor warm up for about a half an hour before you start.
2. Make sure there is no direct glare on your screen, and that the lighting conditions around you are the same as when you usually do your editing.
3.Set the resolution on your monitor to the recommended setting. You can find this setting in the control panel in windows under “appearances”. Check this handy guide for color calibration location in windows.
4. pull up this link, and check out the black to white graduations. Can you see each individually shaded rectangle distinctly? Adjust the contrast on your monitor until you can. If the contrast setting doesn’t do it, you can look for a more advanced gamma setting. This will usually do the trick. Make minor adjustments, and only make one adjustment at a time, so that you can always undo what you just did!
5. Pull up this link, and check out the color spectrum. Can you see the difference in color for each individual rectangle? You will want to make sure that your color setting is as high as possible in your computer settings. Usually this is (32bit). If you can set your color range higher, then you should do so. This is all we recommend doing for your color settings, unless your monitor has a “saturation” setting. If it does, you can adjust this setting slightly to get greater range in color resolution. Higher is NOT better in this situation, but neither is too low. You will want to achieve accurate color balance, and this can be done best by taking a picture to walmart, or kinkos, and having it printed. Then you can compare the printed picture to the same picture on your screen and adjust until the two match perfectly. Don’t use your printer at home, as most of the time each printer has it’s own calibration issues. Spend the $1.50 and have the photo professionally printed instead. Protip–Use a photo of yourself for best results so that you can adjust your monitors color spectrum for accurate skin tones specifically.
If you take the time and effort to do this, we promise that you will get noticeably better results in your edits, and you will also get the great side effect of having your movies and games look a million times better.
Another friendly how-to from the folks here at TMGFR.