Monitor Your Monitor Part 2: How to get Color and Brightness Right

The last post had screen shots that showed how two monitors drifted out of calibration and the benefit of re-calibrating them. That shouldn’t be any surprise — if your monitor is out of calibration then you can’t predict how what you’re seeing will look in prints or on other monitors. So let’s monitor your monitor to see if it needs to be adjusted.

The image below has 16 levels of brightness and each should appear to have a different brightness than its neighbors. The visual differences in the top row will be very slight but will be visible to healthy eyes viewing a well calibrated monitor. Likewise, the bottom row’s differences will be visually small but should be perceptible with correct calibration. If you can’t see all of the differences then I recommend recalibrating the monitor. Brightness Chart


The image of the spectrum should be continuous with no breaks or unusual patterns. If not, then calibration is warranted.

Some of us didn’t leave room in our budgets for calibration tools and software but fortunately free options exist. Follow this link to one of them.

If you have some spare cash and want the convenience and accuracy of tools built for the job then look for a colorimeter and supporting software online. Prices vary widely, so be sure to compare before committing to a purchase.

Once your monitor is calibrated make yourself a note to revisit this post in two to three weeks and use it’s images as a quick check on it’s calibration status. If everything looks OK then make another note and check again in a couple of weeks. Unless your monitor is very unusual it will need calibration before long.

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