Join Joe Brady for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing a monitor, the window to the digital world, part of Learning Color Management.
Let's talk a little bit about monitors. Monitors are really a window for your world. Every editing decision you make is based on what you see on your monitor. And it makes sense that this is one of the most important tools in your color workflow. Unfortunately, that is often not the case, and it makes the monitor the weak link. Stop and think about the gear we're discussing. An expensive camera body, an expensive lens, a powerful computer and then a cheap monitor? Where do you think the problem might lie there? There are a lot of things that go into producing a good to excellent display, so try to avoid shopping by monitor specifications, as most of them, with the one exception of color space, are pretty worthless.
Now, this could be a detailed debate, but understand that if you're after professional results, you're going to want to make an investment in a good monitor. Now there are many reasons, why some monitors are $349 and others are $1,800 and size isn't the only difference. Now in general, you going to need to spend around $700, or more to get a professional level monitor. As you do go higher in price you get that larger color space, usually Adobe RGB. You going to get better uniformity, from edge to edge, greater color bit depth.
And less variation, as your viewing angle changes to the monitor. You're also going to get better color and brightness stability and once calibrated, the monitor will stay accurate for a much longer time. Now all of that said, any monitor is going to greatly benefit by being calibrated and profiled. This process will make your monitor be as accurate, as it is capable of being. So whatever monitor you use, make sure you get it calibrated, and maybe you can put that beautiful professional graphics monitor on your wish list.
Oh, and one other thing, regardless of what monitor you're using, you probably don't want to have a real colorful wallpaper on your screen. You don't want to have bright colors there because that influences your eye when you are editing other colors. So first thing, go into your System Preferences, wherever it maybe in operating system, and instead of having that lovely picture on your screen, let's go to one that is more suited for our graphic editing and that is a mid gray. With your monitor background set to nice neutral gray, you've got a great space to start your color edits and you are ready to calibrate.
- Understanding color spaces
- Understanding the color workflow for photography vs. design and web
- Setting up a digital camera for the best image results
- Choosing a monitor
- Calibrating a display using ColorMunki or i1Pro 2
- Choosing color settings in Photoshop
- Understanding color workflow in raw processing applications
- Creating a custom printer profile
- Soft-proofing images for printing on your own printer and for sending to a lab