We’ve all heard it right? Calibrate your monitor otherwise, your colours will be different from what they should be, and your photographic work will become a potential mess without you even knowing how badly.
I recently sold my ASUS 27″ 4K monitor and side-graded to a 27″ Dell U2713H 1440p one instead. The main reasons being a wider colour gamut, a resolution easier on my eyesight (4k panels in Photoshop are just way too small for me, and the 200% option makes them far too big), and a way to gain some cash back.
On setting up the Dell for the first time at my house, I immediately noticed the extreme difference between my old calibrated 4K monitor and this new uncalibrated one.
However, this was quite a shock just how badly it was off by. It came with a piece of paper from Dell telling me that it was factory calibrated and was “smack on the money”. After doing a factory reset the monitor went from interpreting every colour as a variation of green (people looked like the incredible hulk) to a somewhat “I could work with this, but I wouldn’t trust it”.
Forward a couple of days and a good friend of mine Maarten De Booer shipped over his XRITE i1 pro for me to use to calibrate the new Dell.
The embedded video above shows you just how badly a factory reset monitor can be with regards to colour. And despite any amount of paperwork telling you it’s perfect, any pre-calibration should be ignored.
The reason for this (as I understand it) is due to every graphics card, and monitor would interpret colour differently so unless you were using the same system like the one the monitor was calibrated on it’s mostly useless/pointless.
A common question I hear is “Why bother when nobody else does” or “I don’t see the point when my clients aren’t calibrated”. (* if you are doing any pro work that goes to a graphic agency or to print, you already know that the wntire workflow is calibrated, and if you are not calibrated, you will be spat out, but if yo uare not ending up in print….)
The response to these is quite simple. The majority of people view the internet with a mobile device (as of 2016 – 51%). So when you think about it, there’s a one in two chance that someone is going to look at it on a mobile device vs. desktop.
When we look at IOS + Android to see which devices our clients are most likely to see our work on we have 80% of the market on Android and 25% of that share on Samsung.
In short, this means we are roughly (and I mean VERY roughly) looking at 50% of our clients looking at our work on an iPhone or Samsung phone with the other half on desktops.
These devices, while not perfect in saturation, contrast and temperature, are usually “close enough” for things to not be so different from your calibrated screen that your greens look red and your blues look orange.
When it gets to desktop monitors, laptops, television screens, projectors, etc. you’re getting into a right mess.
By calibrating we can guarantee that at the very least 50% of our clients are seeing our images as they should be (or close enough).
If we assume that even something like 50% of our desktop users have monitors close enough to not be an issue colour wise, we are guaranteeing that at least 75% of our audience see our work close enough to not be a major issue in translation.
So calibrating… it could be potentially impacting 75% of your audience/clients. Still, think it’s not worth doing?
These numbers are obviously pulled from figures online and could ultimately all be complete nonsense, but if they are even half as accurate as my guestimates, you’re still looking at basically half of your audience impacted by your work being incorrectly worked on while uncalibrated.
TL: DR – Calibrate your monitor because it could be impacting up to 75% of the people who view your work.