We often get asked; “what is achieved by calibrating a computer monitor, and is it something I actually need to do?”
Well, monitor calibration (and profiling) is important if you use your computer monitor for the assessment and preparation of photography or graphics – where producing something accurate is really important. In addition to the fact that an image will simply look brighter/darker depending on the level you set the brightness button, the brightness and balance of colour varies between different monitors, even with identical new models.
Calibration and profiling of a monitor gives you the ability to accurately set your monitor to an accepted colour balance and brightness.
This means if a picture looks too dark and blue on a calibrated monitor and you spend time making adjustments, it will be for the right reasons and you will achieve your objective of improving the image. It will then look similarly correct on other calibrated monitors and prints.
Whereas, if the image was actually correct but just looked bad due to the current balance of your monitor, your time will have been spent destroying a perfectly good image, which will subsequently look wrong when viewed or printed under correct conditions. Calibration is not just for controlling subtle colour differences, but will also correct highlight and shadow detail. Basically, what you get is an image on-screen that is more accurate, and a better reflection of the image you originally photographed or created.
So, what if you’d spent a lot of time painting out an image background, then when you see it displayed on a friend’s computer there were bits of people in the background which you thought you’d removed – you check back again on your computer and still can’t see what had been missed…?
This is a frequently highlighted problem, and is an excellent real life example of what can easily happen if you don’t have a calibrated monitor. Had your monitor been calibrated all the background would have been visible to you and removed as originally required. Even if you pictures are then subsequently viewed or printed on an un-calibrated device – the images may not look as good as you had intended – there is no way unwanted areas you removed can reappear.
Monitor calibration is frequently the first step we recommend to producing more accurate images, and is often one of the simplest things to do to start people on their way.
Have you ever thought about calibrating your monitor? Perhaps you’d like to, but don’t know which one is best for you?
Drop us a line or post a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you out!