Free online monitor calibration.
[Color Depth]

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[Your Current Display Color Depth Properties]

The very best color setting (often called "color palette") for viewing high quality photographic images is "TrueColor" (32-bit). However, this setting may slow down display performance speed if your video card does not have a great deal of onboard memory (16+ MBs). Next best is "HiColor" (16 bit). 16 bit "HiColor" is more than sufficient for viewing most graphics and performs well with the average OEM video card. 8 bit color is referred to as "256 Colors". 8 bit color severely limits the ability to accurately view graphics and should be avoided if at all possible.

In order to see the following color charts correctly, you will need to have your system set to 16 bit "HiColor" or higher.

Mouseover the text links below to temporarily change the background color. This is useful to observe how different dominant colors can affect the perception of color.

Monitor color adjustment.

The colors on the chart above are from top to bottom: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. The patches decrease in intensity only, from left to right, by 10% on each step.

Red, green and blue are the additive colors that your monitor uses. Cyan, magenta and yellow are the subtractive colors that constitute the inks in your color printer. You can purchase a color calibration card with these same color patches from any professional photography supplier. You can then compare the card to your monitor display of these patches.

Monitor color adjustment.

The image above should appear as a rainbow beginning and ending with red. There should be a smooth transition from color to color with no banding and no pixelization.

Monitor color adjustment.

The image above is an SMPTE test pattern most commonly used with video applications. You may have seen examples of these late at night on TV stations that have signed off the air for the night. The transition from one bar to another should be sharp with no intermediary colors. Pay special attention to the various levels of gray below the red bar. You should see three distinct shades of gray there.

Monitor grayscale adjustment.

Monitor grayscale adjustment.

Grayscale is affected by your color depth settings as well. The top grayscale graphic above should be viewed as a smooth gradient transition from white on the left to black on the right. There should be no noticeable banding or pixelization. The bottom grayscale graphic begins with white on the left and decreases in intensity by 10% in each step to the right. Hold up an opaque piece of bright white paper next to the images on your display and look for any noticeable color bias. If any color bias is detected, color adjustments will need to be made.

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