Out of necessity for working out of the office and on the road I decided to buy a Dell Studio laptop with some extra bells and whistles. My upgrades included an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 1GB video card to go along with the upgraded 17.3 inch Full HD (1080p) B+RG LED Display with TrueLife. All in all the computer is fantastic even if it doesn’t compare to quality of my MacBook Pro.
Having a large screen with a high resolution is important to me since I use many programs that have palettes that take up a lot of real estate; upgrading to the HD screen was a must. I’d never had a laptop with an LED monitor so I didn’t know what to expect, but the reviews that I’d read were excellent so I was looking forward to seeing what I was paying for.
I fired up the machine for the first time and was surprised at how incredibly bright the image was. I mean this thing was super bright with extremely vivid colors. Too vivid, really. All the colors seemed to be blown out with the reds being the most saturated. I lived with it for a couple of days before I could investigate how to tone down the colors using methods other than the brightness controls on the keyboard. Unfortunately I found that I had no idea how to adjust the saturation levels of the individual colors. There was an obvious control panel in the Catalyst Control Center for gamma, brightness and contrast but I didn’t see anything for saturation.
A lengthy search gave me an answer. In the Catalyst Control Center for ATI there is a drop down menu in the upper left portion of the control panel. Select “Desktop & Displays”.
Then right-click on the screen that you want to configure, selecting “Configure”.
Here you will find the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast controls for the monitor. You can find what works best for you, but after comparing calibrated desktop LCDs and my MacBook Pro I found that the settings that work best for me are as follows:
Saturation: 82 (I currently have mine at 80, but 70-85 works)
In the “Options” pull down I suggest you make a new profile using the profile manager for each of the settings that you mess with so you can always go back to one that works for you.
Now lets go mess with the gamma, brightness and contrast of the individual red, green and blue colors. Go back to the “Graphics” menu pull down and select “Desktop Properties”.
I found that it was best to adjust the colors individually rather than the “All Channels” method. Remember though that I was calibrating it using other monitors as a guide and I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted by adjusting the colors as a group. Here are the adjustments that worked best for me.
Red gamma: 1.10
Red Brightness: -20
Green gamma: 0.90
Green brightness: -5
Green contrast: 96
Blue gamma: 0.90
Blue brightness: -7
Blue contrast: 95
If you made the adjustments as I have then you should see skin tones less pink and oranges and yellows that are truer to life than they were before. Photo editing should be a little easier and video games or movies will have truer color.
I hope this was helpful to somebody. Personally I feel that a monitor and video card should work well immediately out of the box with little to no adjustments. I definitely think that there shouldn’t be a need to make such extreme and particular adjustments to a computer that is to be used primarily for video and photo editing. Color accuracy is extremely important, especially for photo editing. So whether it be the default settings of the video card or the inherent properties of an LED screen that are the problem I feel that one of the vendors needs to make adjustments to the default settings to the hardware or software.