If you've ever walked into a consumer
store and looked at the wall of TV's, all showing the same program,
and each TV picture looking different from the one next to it, you
understand the problem. No two brands of computer monitors look
alike. Also, different operating systems have different standards
for brightness, contrast and gamma. Not that very many monitors come
close to conforming to the established standards. Your monitor
doesn't display images the way mine does.
To facilitate the monitor setup process, the
background for this page has been set to black. This makes it
much easier to set the monitor correctly. In particular, it is
much easier to see the steps in the chart near the black end.
Contrast and Brightness
Below is a grayscale chart, surrounded by medium
gray. We will use it to adjust the contrast and brightness of
your monitor. Note: this adjustment may not work for LCD
- Wait for your monitor to warm up for at least
30 minutes before proceeding. Typically, monitors will not
show black properly until warmed up.
- Check your monitor settings to ensure you are
viewing at least thousands of colors (16 bits) or higher.
Ideal setting is 24-bit or 32-bit color (millions of colors)
- Adjust room lighting so the monitor is
somewhat brighter than the surrounding area. The room
should not be too dark (such that the monitor is much brighter
than the room) or too bright (such that the monitor is washed
out by reflections and by overall room brightness).
- Set the contrast of your monitor to 100%
- Adjust the brightness of your
monitor so you
can see a full range of black to white in the chart above.
You should be able to just barely distinguish all of the steps
from black to white, including the steps at both ends:
Each step is the same width. Note: the first two or
three steps on the black end will be the most difficult to
distinguish, and may be impossible to distinguish on your
monitor. The black should be completely black, and the
white should be completely white. There should be no color
cast to the gray.
Color adjustment is much more difficult without
the use of a colorimeter. Below are three charts of the
primary colors. Ideally, you should see a full range of steps
as in the grayscale chart above. However, they will be
difficult to distinguish at the black end of the chart. The
brightness of each of the primary colors on the right side of the
chart should be equal. Each step from maximum brightness
should be visible, at least until you get to the bottom third of the
chart. The falloff of brightness for each of the colors as you
move right to left should be equal. Adjustment of color is
often allowed either with a control panel or directly on your
monitor, using built-in controls. Note that the gray around
the color charts should not have a color cast of any type.