If you dont have any professional calibration tools or a copy of Photoshop its still possible to calibrate your monitor visually using free tools and your own created test images

black point test We're using the Gimp (www.gimp.org) for this example, as it's free. Create a new image with the same dimensions as your desktop and fill it with black, then create a new square somewhere within the image, out of the way of your monitor's OSD. With this square selected, open the Color Curves dialog and drag the starting point of the line from the bottom-left (0,0) position up to the (0,5) position. Click OK - the colour of your box will change to a slightly lighter colour, although this may not be visible at this point. Save the image. Open your monitor's OSD, reset to factory settings and choose the colour temperature 6,500K, or choose Native, Natural or your monitor's equivalent. Set the contrast level to 100% and then gradually decrease the brightness until the coloured box is only just visible over the black background.

white point test Open the Gimp again and create another canvas the size of your desktop, but this time colour it grey. Create a medium-sized box within the image and colour it white. Then create a smaller box inside it, open the Color Curves dialog and drag the right end of the line from (255,255) down to (255,250). Click OK and maximise the image across your desktop. You should be able to distinguish between the shades of the two boxes; if you can't, decrease the contrast of your monitor in the OSD.

go back and readjust If you had to change your contrast level, this will have thrown the black test out a little. Go back to the black test image again and readjust the brightness until you can just make out the lighter box over the black background. Open the white test again to check that it hasn't altered results at the top end; if it has, readjust the contrast and keep going back and forth between the two tests until the results for both are satisfactory. If you have the time, it may be simpler to combine the two in one image, as shown below.

use quickgamma Download the free QuickGamma tool (www.quickgamma.de/ indexen.html), install and run it. Adjust the gamma level using the up and down arrows at the top right. The ideal is to have the patterns indicating a gamma of around 2 - that is, the patterns on the left converge at around that point on the scale, and the Black A bar only becomes visible over the black background at around that point. You can also adjust the gamma for each individual colour.


Simple enough, but it can be fiddly to get absolutely right


Don't get too obsessed - half an hour is fine.


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