Gamma Gamma Hey!
Ah, perfect. This is the most brilliant design I shall ever produce. Everything is in order; all of the colors are amazing. If I died right now while sitting at this computer, even the EMTs will say to one another, “that’s the most breathtaking design I’ve ever seen”, as they pick my corpse up off the floor. Now, let’s just Export for Web and… oh, fer fucksake! Why is everything so washed out?
Every day I see aggravated blog posts, twitters, and IMs all pleading for the same damn thing: someone to bring sanity to color calibration.
For those who may not know, monitors and operating systems come with default color settings. You are able to change and calibrate these settings to tweak things like brightness, contrast, and temperature (of color). That all sounds great, but any number of factors can shift color values away from what you’ve specified, and some applications have their own separate color settings that may override your calibrations. Take some time to bone up a bit on Color Calibration.
I have two computers. The guts are identical, same model, same make, same settings for color—both at a system level and in programs like Photoshop. On one computer, when I export an image from Photoshop it looks different in browsers and in other applications than it did in Photoshop. What’s more, it looks different still in Photoshop, browsers, and other applications on the other computer with the same settings.
Do I really need to re-calibrate my setup every other month? I know that a monitor’s colors settings shift ever so slightly as time goes on. I know that environment, lighting, and phase of the moon can all have an effect on the display of color on-screen. I can accept that. What seems odd to me is that seemingly no one has figured out how to compensate or correct this at the OS level. It also doesn’t help that the language and acronyms used to define color settings are confusing enough to make the average person weep.
I imagine there are still expensive calibration programs that will keep my computer in check, but should we have to expand our systems to address something that it should take care of already? And for the love of god, why are Adobe, OS and monitor makers on different wavelengths when it comes to color display? Is there any standardization in this field? Is standardization even possible? Maybe Pantone should’ve listened to Tim Bray and nipped this in the bud long ago.
And even if I did employ software on my setup to fix the inconsistencies, it wouldn’t really fix anything—the people viewing my graphics will still be in the same sinking ship. It’s maddening, I tell you! I realize there is no one solution to this problem, but is anything being done about it?