Just wondering how many of you does display calibration

I see many washed-out images around, specially on Blendswap
this usually happens when people don’t make display calibration

do you make display calibration ?
do you apply any color space tag to rendered images ?

just curious about it … bye :slight_smile:

Display calibration: No.
Assign color profiles to rendered images: Yes, sRGB

Yes, this is what I supposed, I guess the most of the people around here does the same as you.

The big issue here is that if you don’t at least check your display gamma, and then assign sRGB, it is very likely that the assigned color space is wrong, especially if you use a laptop.

I mean, good quality lcd displays are about sRGB and you don’t need to calibrate them. I mean Eizo and the likes. But common lcd displays NEEDS to be calibrated, they are unlikely sRGB by default.

For example when I got my new Lenovo laptop, its default gamma was about 2.0, while the sRGB space has a gamma of 2.2. There is a big difference trust me.

To adjust a display gamma is not that hard. For anyone interested below is a good link.

Just a very important rule to follow. For TN LCD displays an important factor to consider when adjusting your display gamma is the display angle. Since TN LCD gamma depends on display angle itself. TN LCD are mounted on most laptops, but even on many standalone displays.

So how to get the correct angle ? Simple. The black backdrop in the gamma meter image must be uniformly lit. It is very easy to distinguish light variations in a black image. So move the laptop panel until the black color is uniform all around.


From my understanding Blender creates by default sRGB based images, but simply does not embed any color profile into the files. So, assigning a sRGB profile afterwards seems to be a logical choice, no?

Other than that I don’t work in an area that requires total color fidelity, so I’m quite positive that I’m not willing to invest time and money in color calibration. It’s so easy to go over the top…:wink:

And btw: Did the thought ever occur to you that all those images on the internet only look washed out on your display because it is color calibrated? :smiley: If hardly anyone calibrates their displays anyway, what good is calibrating mine? After all I want my images to look good to my audience and not just to me, so I actually think it might be better if I used an equally badly calibrated display…:yes:


this forum calls itself “Blender Artists” for a reason I guess. And anyone who just try to become half an artist should have some minimum sensibility to colors. Of course this is my personal opinion.

As for the “time and money” point. It takes about ten minutes to adjust a display gamma. And you just need a gamma meter image that you can download anywhere. So I don’t understand what “time and money” we are talking about.

If you don’t even adjust your display gamma, then it is true as you say that anyone with your same display will see the image the same as you. But anyone else will not.

For the sake of completeness, I add that adjusting the display gamma is not a real calibration. But at least shots the gross weight and you get a minimum of decency in your image colors.

Of course do as you wish anyway. I understand that if you just have fun with Blender then this color topic doesn’t make much sense to you. Though my suggestion is to get some sensibility in this field.

My fear is that the “I don’t care” mood is a general behavior among blender users. And with this post I’m just trying to sell some very minimum light on the subject accessible to anyone.

Well thank you for your answer anyway and happy blending :slight_smile:

It’s not just people here. I worked for a firm whose sole business was creating architectural visualisations and virtual reality walkthroughs. The monitors were not regularly profiled and calibrated. As far as I know, none of them were. Of course you could set up your own monitor however you liked it, but there was no set general rule or practice.

I do calibrate and profile and as padone said it’s not a lot of expense, or a lot of time. Many hardware calibration devices have ‘hobby’ and ‘pro’ versions. Often the hardware is identical and the cheaper versions are limited only by the software provided with them, but you can use something like argyll and dispcalGUI (http://dispcalgui.hoech.net/) to ‘unlock’ the ‘pro’ features on the cheaper versions.

Having a properly set up monitor is very common with photographers, possibly because they have control over the final viewing format - paper prints. Where digital art is to be viewed on someone else’s monitor, digital artists seem to not care as much about the accuracy of their output. This may different in companies whose output goes to cinema, for example, where the final viewing conditions are relatively predictable.

I would encourage everyone to at least be aware of it, and just for fun, here are some additional ‘issues’:-

I calibrate my monitors when I first set them up, and will calibrate them again if something starts looking wonky. It’s a bit easier to notice something’s off when you have two monitors side by side.

But I don’t do routine calibrations.

Many blender users come into the community through modeling, where color is somewhat important, but not critical. It becomes more important as people strive to create photorealistic images (if indeed they ever do). There are plenty of sub-specialties in 3D computer graphics that don’t involve color to any great extent (rigging, game programming, animation, modeling) all of which are complicated enough to master that adding a gloss of photographic color considerations may not make sense.

It’s not the time and money involved in doing a brief monitor calibration, it’s the time and money spent learning about color, how to create and manipulate it, how to use it in images, that is daunting.

Some computers … Macs … are calibrated. But, even so, many rendered scenes do appear washed out. That, to me, is probably something that the artist simply overlooked when designing the render, or simply didn’t want to go back and fix because it would take hours more than s/he already spent.

I always would suggest a compositing-based workflow that allows you to adjust color temperature and saturation after the render has been completed. The histogram tool is a fundamental measure; less so the color-scope.

Plus another friendly tip: treat shadows as though they were a form of light … which, in a real sense, they are (or, in CG, can be). To get a good-looking scene, you need a combination of three things:

  • Good, even, base illumination that fills the scene more-or-less evenly with light.
  • Specular highlights and key (spot…) lights that are, really, only slightly(!) brighter than the base.
  • (Only …) the shadows that are needed to provide the 3D illusion and clear separation of objects along the camera-Z axis.

Shadows can be projected into the scene using a shadow-only spotlight, which casts shadows but adds no light. (The shadow can be tinted in compositing.) These shadows can be constrained to specific objects by using layer-specific lights. The actual scenery lights themselves might cast no shadows at all, and are therefore much faster. Key lights also don’t have to cast shadow. And it’s simply beautiful that the camera can’t see a light.

And … measure these things. As Ansel Adams would have said in his Zone System, the base light gives you “Zone 5,” the highlights push to “Zone 6” or “Zone 7,” while the shadows pull down to “Zone 4” or “Zone 3.” There are clear segments on the histogram display corresponding to each of these zones. And, finally, if you use compositing to merge these things into the finished shot, your “digital darkroom” gives you total control over the shot.

Thank you for your reply. I see there is someone who cares at least.

@sundial @organic
very interesting … thank you :slight_smile:

Yes I agree. Of course I understand that for someone exclusively interested in modeling or animation too much color “sensibility” is not required. And this is why I posted the topic in the “Lighting and Rendering” subforum.

Nevertheless, even if someone has just to present his/her model in a picture, or an animation exercise in a short video, some quick basic display adjustment really does the difference. At least you don’t sell a 2.0 gamma for sRGB to other people. And you get a minimum color consistency to work with.

I am terrified with the most of the images I see on Blendswap for example. They are clearly rendered with default low quality displays without even a simple gamma adjustment. And it is a real shame since Blender has a good render engine and many models there are just great. So I just hope to spread some sensibility around that’s all.

Again thank you all for your reply and for the interesting topics you linked here :slight_smile:

Color accuracy is one of the reasons why I now have a 27 inch LED IPS monitor that’s capable of holding quality over a wide array of viewing angles.

The first thing I did was go into the settings and tweak everything to maximize color visibility, brightness, and contrast according to very image guides found online. This is especially important since I also sell work as matted and framed prints and maximizes the chance that it will look good printed if it looks good on the screen.

If you’re an artist, you want color accuracy and you want bright whites and dark blacks. Otherwise you risk making pictures that always look a little ‘off’ and as such need tweaking in a paint program. I know that before my current monitor I had a cheap 18 inch LCD screen, and I always have to lift my head to a certain angle to see the colors at its most accurate.

I don’t use a hardware calibration device, but I make sure to do all I can without it. Actually, I used the site you linked to, lagom.nl/lcd-test/, to set up my recently bought IPS monitor. I put special emphasis on Gamma, which I find essential to get light and shadows right and like I want them.

I think even if monitors are often factory set up wildly different, calibration is still important to have some common ground.

Edit: ah, Ace Dragon, 27 inch IPS panel sounds nice. Which one did you get? As my first non-CRT, I settled for a nice Eizo 23 inch. I like it so far, view angle is very stable, nice monitor overall (speaking from my still limited experience with non-CRTs, that is).

Hah, the same one I bought. I liked it enough to go back for a second one when my ‘spare’ died. Image quality is pretty good - and a five year warranty !

It’s made by Samsung, another nice thing about it is that it comes with automatic image sharpening which can be a good assist in figuring out which parts of the image need denoising after a Cycles render.

I really can’t have a screen any bigger than that because it maxes out the space for it on my desk.

Cool, we are monitor buddies. :slight_smile: Since it’s my first non-CRT, I was pretty nervous because of some posts on the net about color patches or light bleeds on IPS panels in general, but all went well. Nice to get positive words about it from a fellow Blenderhead, so thanks.

Haha, I can relate. I also don’t have much space. I could go some inches more, but I didn’t want to spend too much for my first flat monitor, so I went with 23 inches. It’s still much bigger than my last CRT, so I’m happy for now.

I heard good things about Samsung monitors too.

I still have a CRT around just to compare LCD quality and colors, eh … CRT was great :slight_smile:

But I feel IPS are good anyway. Though a little slow on response time so not excellent for hd videos or game testing.

On the contrary TN are fast but what a mess on colors … Unfortunately I see TN everywhere specially on notebooks but also many standalone displays. Anyway they are not impossible to work with … just somewhat annoying for the view-angle limit, and a little flat/bluish on colors.

Just out of curiosity if I may ask … what is the default gamma of the displays you work with ? I mean, if you leave the default factory setting.

My old CRT had a default of about 2.3, close enough but I had to manually set it up for 2.2 sRGB using the card driver.

My new Lenovo laptop has a TN panel with a default of about 2.0 ! I almost didn’t believe it when I first checked it up. To fit it to the 2.2 sRGB standard was a little messy it looses on dark tones. But anyway it is workable.

Also for anyone interested look here to see how intel drivers (from pentium to i7) mess up the windows color management. Actually anyone using an intel processor is affected (me too).


@Ace Dragon
The view-angle limit of your old monitor is exactly what I was pointing out in my second post. To setup a TN it is important to first find the correct angle.

for anyone interested
I found some notebook reviews including the display infos (X-Rite Pro)

as you can see the default gamma is very variable on different models
the range is about from 2.0 to 2.8 (with the standard sRGB being 2.2)

so anyone that don’t make at least a quick gamma adjustment is very likely to get bad renderings
you know who you are … you’ve warned :wink: (joking)

hope this is useful, bye

The term calibration here is misleading. Apple computers do not ship with any degree of profiling, and rely on the panel’s state. Further, there are some nuances with OSX that have made Apple machines absolutely infamous regarding their handling of colour. Don’t rely on urban fiction with regards to one’s own work.

Transfer curves are often workable. The primaries on the other hand, across the vast range of panels these days, frequently isn’t even remotely close.

The quality of many panels is often decent, but they are very frequently well off of the sRGB target. This applies to even more expensive displays with the capability of displaying sRGB.

This is why I frequently encourage people to skip calibration and instead characterize / profile only.

Not only is calibration relatively useless regarding colour and transfer curve, it is more frequently subject to video cards dropping the VCGT tag through issues just as the one you linked.

During output of colour critical work, it is impossible to achieve anything even remotely close by eye, and requires a colorimeter or spectrophotometer, which can be had for a very, very, very small investment. Anyone that believes one can gauge colour by eye without a hardware instrument is wasting their time.