How to Test Monitor Color

by Fatima Farakh

Testing the monitor color is very important as this will allow you to view images as they were designed to be viewed. If you are a professional photographer, a designer or an artist who depends on the monitor's accuracy for displaying true colors, you will have to perform this simple test. This will help you avoid mistakes made during printing and give you a better idea of how your work truly looks on other monitors and screens.

Download a monitor color test. These tests allow you to easily test your monitor color and lead you through different smaller scale tests to determine the accuracy of your monitor's color display. A good color test is available at Photofriday.com. A simple search online will yield other monitor calibration tests.

Verify if your monitor is in 24-bit mode or high color. If you monitor is in 16-bit mode there will not be enough depth of color for the calibration test. You can do this by right clicking the desktop on Windows and then choosing Graphic Properties. For Mac users first go to Preferences, click Displays and select Colors: Millions.

Check to see if your monitor is displaying grayscale properly. This grayscale chart should come with your monitor color test or you can use a grayscale chart separately, also available online free on many websites.

Adjust the settings of your monitor if you don't see any difference between different points and cannot distinguish subtle differences in shades of whites, black and grays. Use the grayscale chart.

Analyze the gradients of color you see across the spectrum. For example a red should have distinct color gradients ranging from very dark red to the lightest. This will show you if the monitor is displaying the colors correctly. Also check different colors individually against black and notice if each color is true. This color spectrum should also be provided with the online monitor color test.

Check the whole screen color displays for any spots on the screen or dead pixels that might alter the images displayed on screen. A dead pixel is any place on the screen that will appear to have no color. For example a white spot on a whole black screen means that there are dead pixels on the screen.

Perform a print test. Print a photo on a good quality gloss printer paper using the highest settings. Make sure to use a high-quality printer as you do not want any mistakes made by the printer to interfere with your test.

Compare the printed image to the one on the screen. Check to see if there are any subtle differences and adjust your brightness and contrast settings on the monitor to match the two.

Calibrate using a calibration software such as Adobe Gamma if you have Adobe Photoshop 7 or below, Apple ColorSync, Monica for Linux or Quick Gamma which is free. This software should automatically lead you through different steps to adjust your monitor color.This is best for casual users of Photoshop.

Purchase a specialized calibration software specifically designed for professionals like photographers. This is optional and recommended for professionals. Some good ones to use are ColorVision Color Plus, Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display and ColorVision Spyder 3 Pro.

Tips

  • check Let your monitor warm up for 10 to 15 minutes before you test is for color accuracy.
  • check Find the online monitor color test that suites your type of computer.
  • check Get a professional to calibrate your monitor if you want accurate results and feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.
  • check Try an auto calibrate button if it available.

Warning

  • close Make sure there is no outside glare or extra brightness in the room when testing monitor color. A dark room is preferred.

Items you will need

About the Author

Fatima Farakh has been writing professionally since 2001. Her articles have appeared in "The Gazette" newspaper in Maryland and in other publications. Her areas of specialization are health, technology and home improvement. She is currently a copywriter for businesses, including private and public schools and online corporations. She holds an Associate of Arts in journalism and history from Montgomery College.

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