Screen Calibration Kung-Fu: 3 steps to make your screen revealing every detail
Want to see as much detail as possible on your computer screen when doing photo retouching? Use this little diagram to add a YinYang-like balance to your screen settings. The goal is that you can differentiate between subtle nuances of black and white – just like the Pro’s can do.
Prepress professionals might work with hyper expensive special monitors. And they use professional metering hardware in order to calibrate their screens to a white brightness of exactly 175 lumen/sqare meter, a gamma of 2.2 and a color temperature of 6500K – as an example. This is clearly useful for working with photos. However, I made the experience that I can accomplish 95% of the screen quality by simply adjusting whatever screen I have at hand with the help of a little diagram.
Check out the video and then do it yourself:
It just takes 2 minutes. Give it a try yourself:
Make sure the room you are in is dimly lit. There should be enough light so that your eye can see every detail comfortably in your room. And it should be dimmed enough, so that your screen is the brightest thing in your room, at least when you have a lot of white on your screen.
So if behind your screen is this nice huge window which let’s you look into the bright sunny sky, then now is the time to let down the blinds. Really, whenever you work with photos on your screen, dim the lights in your room. Just don’t make it a real darkroom.
Bring the YinYang symbol completely onto your screen. Can you see the 1 and the 10? I won’t give you a hint where they are, you have to find them. Found both? Congrats – you are already done. If not, adjust the brightness of your screen so that you can see both, the 1 and the 10. Done! If you can only either see the 1 or see the 10, depending on your setting, then choose a setting in the middle of the two extremes and go on with the next step.
Dial back the contrast of your screen down to a point where you can see the 1 and the 10. Oh, and if you are on a Mac (like myself) and don’t find a contrast setting on your LCD, then press and hold ctrl+alt+cmd and press "," and "." to adjust contrast
Probably you still need to make little tweaks to the brightness in order to achieve as you gradually dial back the contrast. Choose a setting at which you are just about to see both, the 1 and the 10. If this is not possible even though you cared for the right room light in step1 and you adjusted the brightness in step2, well, then your screen is not really able to show you everything. In this case try this two steps focusing on the 2 and the 9. If that ain’t work, choose the 3 and the 8 and so on.
I wish you good light!
This video on Youtube: 3 steps to make your screen revealing everything
You really do not need the Photoshop version of the diagram. But just in case – there you have it: