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About monitor calibration

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About monitor calibration

Post Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:32 pm

One of the first topics you will find in any training book about lighting and rendering or about photo editing will be basic monitor calibration. In a calibrated monitor you can see dark and subtil shadows that might not be seen in an uncalibrated monitor, and 'out of range' monitors is one of the main causes of exposure issues in renders posted in forums like this.

There are a lot of material about monitor calibration on the Internet. In general, in terms of complexity, there are three kinds of monitor calibration: basic, advanced and professional.

Basic monitor calibration
The 'Calibration' section of Craig Wells' site is a good example of a basic monitor calibration, in which only monitor's contrast and brightness settings are involved:

Advanced monitor calibration
If you are interested in a more advaced monitor calibration that does not need the usage of specialised hardware, the best source of information is undoubtely Norman Koren's website. The method explained by Norman Koren consists in four steps:

- Whitepoint:
Whitepoint consist in changing the white color that your monitor shows into a color more according with the white of the sun light.

- Contrast:
Contrast is set to 100%

- Blackpoint:
Blackpoint is set by estimating the Norman Koren special chart, but there is an alternative and probably better method to set the black point of a CRT monitor, which is explained here: ... ntrast.htm

- Gamma:
Gamma is correctly set by using a litle piece of software called Quickgamma, which I strongly recommend. Operating systems' gamma are:
Windows= 2.2
Linux and Mac= 1.8

See Norman Koren's page for more details:

More info about gamma correction:

Professional monitor calibration
This type is usually performed with help of specialised hardware and it is used in professional enviroments like studios and printing shops, where colors shown in monitors should match color control systems like Pantone. In the past these devices used to be expensive, but more competition in this field with more brands and devices has brought prices down quite a bit. Now you can buy a monitor calibration system for around 100 €/$. Google 'monitor calibration hardware' for more information.
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