MacMost Now 915: Color Calibrating Your Mac

Built into System Preferences is a tool that lets you color calibrate your Mac's display. This can help the colors you see on your Mac's screen match the colors you then get on printouts and when looking at real-world objects. Even if you are not a graphics professional, it may be a good idea to calibrate your screen so images you see online more closely match the real world.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 915: Color Calibrating Your Mac.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at how to color calibrate your Mac's display.

So why would you want to color calibrate your display? In the past you would do that if you were a graphic designer especially if you worked with print you would want to make sure the colors on the screen closely matched the colors that would come up when you print something or have something published.

But today just about anybody would want to do this. Just to see the colors better on internet shopping sites for instance, for photos when you are working with photos in iPhoto you want to make sure that the color you are seeing on the screen really represents the real colors in the image.

So doing it is pretty simple. Just go to System Preferences and then Displays and then it will bring up the window here for Displays. You have various different tabs here. You go to Color and then you have the Calibrate button. I've got two monitors attached to my Mac so I get two windows here and I'll get a little screen like that.

But when you click the Calibrate button you should jump right to this Calibrator Assistant. So the Calibrate Assistant is just basically a step-by-step going through various screens and making adjustments. You can do two modes; the normal mode or you can check off Expert Mode here which will add some extra steps there. People usually stick to the normal mode but you can investigate both.

The first step here, the setup, asks you to adjust the controls on your screen. Now if you have an iMac or a MacBook the screen is built into your Mac and you don't have to worry about these because there are no external controls. It is all done on your keyboard here. So you are going to want to use either the F1 or F2 keys or you may have to hold down the fn key and use F1 or F2 to adjust the brightness and contrast on your screen so that this image here appears as it should. So read through all this carefully and get that going before you continue to the next step.

Now you get to the native gamma step here and it is about luminance and you can do control right here to basically adjust the image as you see it on the screen. We're not actually going to see it here because we're doing a screen capture, I'm capturing digitally the image, but what I'm seeing on the screen when I adjust that is this does change quite a bit, the entire screen does, and I try to get this image to match the description.

Most of the rest of the steps are like that. I'm going to go to target gamma here. You are going to select one of these two based on what you read. You're going to continue through these steps here and then you can give this profile a name.

You can actually save different profiles here and switch between them. For instance, you can have your default profile. You can have a profile you think works best for editing photos. You can have a profile maybe that works best for your favorite shopping site to get the colors right. But for most people you are just going to calibrate it once and save the calibrated profile like that and then when you are finished hit Done.

Your screen now should show colors more accurately if you've made good choices. So now you can see here, for this display, I've got the original setting here and I've got this other one. I've done some other experiments as well so I've got a few things here. But this is where they will be added so instead of going to calibrate you can simply click on one and it will switch between them.

It is kind of impossible to get everything just perfect. I mean you are comparing pixels on a laminated screen to a real world objects like products you may buy or printouts. Then of course if you are doing printouts there is usually a color calibration for the printer you are using and how that works depends on the software tools that come with your printer and how your printer works is different for just about every brand.

But if you are concerned about color calibrating your screen to a printout your are going to have to do both. You are going to have to do the screen calibration and then you are going to have to do your printer calibration and there may be something on your printer that needs adjustment from time to time especially when you replace the ink.

So I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 6 Responses to “MacMost Now 915: Color Calibrating Your Mac”

    John Russell
    6 years ago

    Appreciate this video! I have awful color when I use Apple TV to send my photos to our Panasonic television. TV programs display fine, though. Any suggestions on what I might do regarding the photos?

      6 years ago

      Usually TVs have their own color adjustments. Today’s TVs have them somewhere hidden in the menus.

    6 years ago

    helpful — I simply selected one of 20 I found already in my list of possible displays – now I’m wondering if all the work I’ve done in PS using Camera Raw was really necessary…because now using the new display preference, my original photos look very close to what I achieved with Camera Raw — and my Camera Raw adjusted photos look almost phoney!!

    6 years ago

    YAY! – No more calibration discs necessary!

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    6 years ago

    I am afraid I have lost the Desktop,and Screen Saver,plus the Energy Saver which I use a lot. A pop up says cannot load. Can I use this method to calibrate the Energy so I can put the computer to sleep,or any other method.
    The only other one is Displays,but I think I am out of my depth there.
    I am just waiting till the new Mac Mini comes out soon.

    6 years ago

    I’m a senior and have trouble remembering each of the steps in many of your video presentations… the Color Calibration is where I am now. Is there a way to just print out each of the steps. Sometimes I make changes but can’t remember how so now I just list the steps and the date it was done. Labor intensive but when you have trouble remembering there’s not much else that can be done. Open to all suggestions.

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