Monitor Calibration

Monitors display in RGB (Red Green Blue) which renders a much bigger gamut (or range) of colours than is possible in print using (CMYK). The difference in the gamut of possible colours is shown here.

The fact that it is possible to view many more colours on screen than can be printed is a challenge when viewing work which will ultimately be produced as hard copy.

The aim of monitor calibration is simple. To ensure that what you are viewing on screen is an accurate representation of what will eventually be printed.

Before you start

The calibration we propose is designed to achieve this end result without investment in expensive calibration hardware. However it is necessary to have one of our Swatch sheets to hand before you can begin. These can be ordered here

Before starting calibration, or using your monitor to adjust images, it should be allowed to reach a stable state. This means leaving it switched on and displaying neutral ‘wallpaper’, without going in to stand by mode, for about one hour.

It is also essential to ensure that the lighting conditions in which you are working are constant. If you are working in conditions where the light changes (e.g. near a window) or where there is direct light shining on to your monitor it would be much better to make (or buy) a hood for your screen as shown.

Please keep in mind that calibrating your monitor isn’t a ‘do it once and forget it’ operation. Over time, monitors undergo subtle colour shifts. We recommend checking calibration by repeating the routine set out here once a month. To start please download the ‘Ole No Moiré’ jpeg, Click Here. Please right click this link and save the target. The system of calibration is different depending on whether you are working on a PC or a Mac. Please click the one relevant to your system.

Apple Mac Computer system Monitor Calibration
Begin by carrying out the Standard Calibration Routine. The Apple OS X system software includes a Monitor Calibrator. To access it, open the Displays preference pane and click on the Colour tab. When Calibrate is clicked, OS X launches the Display Calibrator Assistant, which includes a series of steps required to adjust your screen. At the bottom of the screen, turn on the Expert Mode option and then click on the Continue button.

The first series of tests addresses luminance —how brightly images appear. Use the right-hand control to make the colour of the gray apple as neutral as possible. Then use the left-hand control to adjust the colour’s intensity. The aim is to make the apple blend as seamlessly with the background as possible (See top screenshot). Often ‘squinting’ makes this adjustment easier.

When the apple seems to disappear, click on Continue. This process is repeated four more times, calibrating different aspects of luminance. The next test calibrates the target gamma—the setting that determines the Monitor’s contrast. Deselect the Use Native Gamma option, and then move the slider control to the 2.2 marker. The next test is to set the target white point. This influences the tint of the Monitor. The standard setting is 6,500 degrees. Get as close to this as possible, a small variance +/- 20 degrees is not an issue.

In the next screen, turn on the option that lets other users access this calibration. This will allow all users to access the profile. Give the profile a name (e.g. My_Profile) and click on Continue.

The Display Calibrator Assistant produces an overview of the ColorSync profile created. Click on Done to leave the Assistant. Next open the ‘Ole No Moiré’ image file using the photo editing suite which will be used to edit photos. Check how this image looks compared with the Hard copy provided in our Swatch Sheets. The match should now be good but if not it is necessary to ‘tweak’ the Calibration settings in the routine above until the image on screen and the hard copy match. Save any modification made. DO NOT adjust the image to match the Hard Copy!!

Use this Monitor Profile every time you are editing images or preparing artwork to be printed with us.

PC Computer system Monitor Calibration
Before starting calibration Right-click on the Windows Desktop and choose Properties to call up the Display Properties dialog box. Click on the Settings tab to see details about the computer’s display settings.

Check the Screen Resolution. This should be at least 800 by 600 pixels, and higher is generally better–as long as text doesn’t become too small to be easily readable. If the resolution is too low, it will not be possible to view very much on the screen. Experiment by increasing the resolution and clicking the Apply button. Keep the resolution comfortable; if things get too small, revert to a lower resolution. Generally 1024 by 768 is good for a 17-inch CRT display, and 1280 by 1024 for a 19-inch screen. (LCD Monitors have one optimum resolution, always use the recommended settings.)

Check the Refresh Rate. Generally, high-quality monitors are more competent than inexpensive models at displaying higher resolutions. Ensure that increasing the Monitor resolution has not degraded the refresh rate below72 Hz. Lower rates cause a perceptible level of flicker and often result in eye fatigue. Refresh settings can be found under the Advanced button on the Settings tab and checking either the Adapter or Monitor tab. If it is necessary to, reduce resolution to a level that brings the refresh rate up to acceptable levels it may be that the Display adapter is not set up correctly. Try downloading updated drivers from the internet. It may also be worth considering investing in a more up to date Monitor or powerful Adapter. Set the colour quality. It is important to set Colour Quality to 24bit. Experience has shown that 32bit is not needed for success and can slow down performance. If the only selections are 32bit or 16bit choose 16bit. This will be quite acceptable.

After the choices have been made in the Display Properties dialog box, click either the OK or Apply button for the changes to take effect. Next open the Ole No Moiré image in the programme normally used for image manipulation.

Go to Control panel and open the adjustment panel for the Display Adapter. If there is no panel for the display adapter then use the Brightness, Contrast and Colour adjustments on the monitor to achieve the best match possible between the image on screen and the same image in our Swatch sheet. If the match that can be achieved is not satisfactory it may be worth considering purchasing a new Display adapter which has software allowing more sophisticated colour adjustment. When the operation is concluded it is important to ensure that the monitor settings are not changed until you revisit the calibration.

If there is a Display Adapter Adjustment Panel then set the Monitors Brightness and Contrast to the centre position. Open the Adjustment Panel and change the settings until the very best match between the Hard Copy and Monitor view is achieved. DO NOT try to match the two by adjusting the image using the photo editing software!! Save this new profile. This is the profile which should be loaded each time images adjustment or design for us is carried out. When the operation is concluded it is important to ensure that the monitor settings are not changed until you revisit the calibration.

Comments are closed.