Consider your light

I know I’ve said this before, but I have to hammer it home again. NEVER underestimate the effect your surrounding light has on the way your photos appear. You’re on this page because your screen and prints differ in colour. Before proceeding, I need you to make a frank appraisal of the light in your room. If it’s too yellow (which is the most common problem) it will make your prints appear yellow, and therefore cause you to conclude that your screen’s calibration is too cold.

If you think, or even suspect, that your light is the culprit, take steps to rectify it. Get whiter bulbs if you can, or at least try assessing your prints in daylight. I would hate to be wasting your time with all of these calibration adjustments if the calibration wasn’t actually the problem.

If you’re sure the light is ok, read on …

Let’s try again

Pull down the little menu in the bottom left corner of the screen, and choose “Calibration”:

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That brings you to this screen:

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Choose “FullCAL“, then press “Change Settings“:

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… which brings you back to this familiar screen:

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Here, you can choose your new targets for a different calibration.

Revisit your screen’s presets

Before you began calibrating, you chose your screen setting that you thought looked the best.  But now you’ve found that it wasn’t as perfect as you’d hoped.

So take another look at them now.  Is there another one that might work better?  Some screens have quite a few presets, and some only vary mildly from each other.

If there’s another preset you’d like to try, choose it now.  Then enter these settings for the Spyder:

  • Gamma: “Gamma 2.2” (as always)
  • White Point: “Do Not Adjust” (for now)
  • Brightness: “Do Not Adjust” (since you’ve already got the brightness exactly where you want it)
  • Room Light: “Off” (as always)

Then go ahead and recalibrate as before.  Click here to follow the instructions again if you need to.

Can’t find a better preset?  Time to try customising

If none of the presets look better than your first choice, or if you’ve tried calibrating other presets and they still look bad, it’s time to get serious.  Choose your screen’s “Custom” setting.  Or it might be called “User” or “RGB” or “Gain” or something like that.  I hope you can find it ok.  Whatever it’s called, it will let you adjust the red, green and blue colours of your screen.

Enter the new calibration settings.  This time we’ll try “6500K” for the White Point, and the Brightness will be whatever it landed on previously (74 in my example, but it will be different for you):

Go ahead and recalibrate

Run the calibration again.  It won’t be quite the same as before.  This time, it will stop for you to adjust your screen’s Red, Green and Blue settings.  The goal is to get the tops of the bars all in the thin rectangle target area, like this:

Remember to frequently hit the “Update” button when you’re making your adjustments.  (This is something that irritates me about the Spyder!  The X-Rite devices don’t have an update button, they just read the changes automatically.  Anyhoo …)

Be patient with this process.  It might take a few minutes of fiddling around to get it right.  Hit “Continue” once you’re happy.

Then it will get to the Brightness screen again.  Because of your fiddling with RGB, your screen’s brightness might need fiddling too.  Make the necessary adjustments to get back to your earlier target (eg 74 in my case).

Then proceed with the rest of the calibration until the end.  Save the profile then compare the screen to prints in the usual way.

How does the colour look now?

  • Is it perfect?  Great!  You can proceed to the final steps.
  • Is it a bit too cold?  Start the process again using “5800K” instead of “6500K”.  If that works, proceed to the final steps.
  • Is it a lot too cold?  Start the process again using “5000K” instead of “6500K”.  If that works, proceed to the final steps.
  • Is it too warm?  Bummer.  Unfortunately 6500K is the coolest option you get with the SpyderX Pro.  In this situation you’d need to manually adjust your screen’s RGB settings to be a bit cooler, then go back to calibrating to the “Do Not Adjust” White Point target.  (And you might need to consider selling your Spyder Pro and upgrading to a Spyder Elite.)  If you can make this work, proceed to the final steps.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing quite works, go to this page for more troubleshooting.