Over years I had moved from CRT display to dual-monitor and finally to TFT alone. I got used to things looking slightly different. Since I neither work or play with graphics much, it was ok to stick with budget monitors and skip precise tweaks.
Until I had got new TFT at work and suddenly there were quite a few small details on different sites I simply didn’t see at home. It was time to shake some settings.
Bad news – there is freaking mountain of color theory and good chunk of it can apply to computer screen. Parts of those tweaks won’t even work on budget display or aren’t achievable without special hardware. Other are simply too hard to understand fast without background in the field.
For color stuff it is best to hope that manufacturer bothered to provide driver with decent color profile. Rest of basic settings must be adjusted.
Brightness and contrast
These are most basic and predate computer displays. There is confusing part about how they now mean different things from what they are called. I won’t even go there.
Overall they must ensure following:
- black color is nice and deep;
- there are no details lost in dark or light areas;
- between black and white there is nice spectrum of grey shades.
Simple way to adjust
I first tried adjusting display settings in on-screen menu, but it was way too stubborn and image got only worse. In the end I had to reset display to defaults and made further adjustment in Intel drivers for integrated video of my Asus P5Q-EM motherboard.
As for test image best I had found are these simple and efficient grey patterns, especially one with 16x16 squares.
- adjusted brightness until darkest square was close to black, without blending with surrounding;
- adjusted contrast until lightest square was close to white, again without blending;
- tweaked it back and forth a bit so squares are clearly distinct and transition from shade to shade looks nice.
Ok, I am no closer to properly calibrated monitor. But now I see that:
- Twitter has grey rollovers on interface elements;
- gHacks comments alternate background;
- WordPress dashboard looks 50% less boring;
- tables in Opera interface are zebra-striped;
- Wikipedia search page has light blue tint…
I will probably make few more discoveries in following days.
Do you care about proper monitor settings? Share your way to adjust them in comments!