September 09, 2015

How to Calibrate Your Display

Have you ever bought yarns online and found upon receiving them that the colours were significantly different to the reference picture? Happily, the most common reason for the visual discrepancy is one you have control over: the calibration of your monitor.

While the visual fidelity of computer and television displays has dramatically increased in the past few years, one thing remains unchanged: the default settings for a variety of LCD/LED screens are not optimized for the viewing of images (specifically, the accurate rendering of colour).

In order to fix this shortcoming, you need to calibrate your screen. Right, so you're about to get really techy now, I hear you thinking? No! Luckily, both the Windows and Macintosh (Linux, too, but its users are invariably tech savvy) operating systems contain calibration tools that are easy to use:

Windows: Calibrate Display Color
- To access, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Display (or press Windows key + R, then type 'DCCW.exe' into the 'Run' box).
Mac: Display Calibrator Assistant
- To access, go to System Preferences > Displays > Color.

One thing, though: for the best result, ensure that your monitor is set to its native display resolution - often 1360x768 (laptops) or 1920x1080 (desktops) - before running the calibration tool. Also, some recommended that it's better to run the tool around 30 minutes after powering on your screen.

For an overall guide on PC and MAC screen calibration, see this helpful CNET article.

Tablet and smartphone displays cannot be calibrated. However, the IPS panels used by the major brands generally display colour more accurately than their computer counterparts. In some cases, fiddling with the brightness slider can make a difference. For example, with some displays the 100% setting makes yarns appear to be lighter than they actually are. You can get around this problem by setting it to 75% or thereabouts on some devices. One way of verifying that your tablet or smartphone is rendering colours adequately, is to compare and contrast a yarn image with one displayed on, say, a laptop screen you've just calibrated. If they look significantly different, try adjusting the tablet/smartphone's brightness setting until you reach parity with the calibrated display.

That's pretty much it - happy calibrating!