Same colors on different screens

You have created an image that looks perfect on your monitor, but the colors change completely on social networks or on smartphone screens. This problem can be solved with some simple precautions.

Calibrate your monitor

The best solution would be to get a calibration tool. The most famous brand is Spyder, or you can take a look at the cheaper X-Rite. However, it's a matter of investing more than 100 Euros, so we often opt for the do-it-yourself alternatives that I am about to explain.

In calibrating the monitor we have to check two things:

  1. The brightness and contrast between whites and blacks.
  2. The correspondence of colors to how we see them.

In this article you will find some practical calibration grids to download and use for all calibrations. Before starting, check the settings of your graphics software and make sure you use the sRGB color profile.

Check the RGB values

To calibrate brightness and contrast, refer to the monochromatic part of the RGB grid.

  • Adjust the brightness of your monitor so that 100% white and 0% black appear full (black must "disappear" on the equally black background.
  • Adjust the contrast so that the various shades of gray match what you see. In particular, make sure that 50% gray is actually half the brightness scale compared to white and black.
  • Finally, make sure that the three colors Red, Green and Blue of the RGB channels are shown correctly.

Everything is ok so far. The next step is to make sure that the monitor shows us the printing colors exactly.

Download the RGB calibration grid.

Check the CMYK values

This time we will refer to the CMYK grid.

  • Check that full black (100% K) on the values scale does NOT blend with the RGB black in the background. CMYK black is very close to 10% RGB gray.
  • Make sure that the solid white (0% K) remains the same and that the grays on the brightness scale are homogeneous.
  • Finally, make sure the three colors Yellow, Magenta and Cyan of the CMYK channels are shown correctly.

We finished!
If your old images appear strange, too light or dark or slightly contrasted, you just have to get used to the new management of color by the monitor: the numbers and color codes do not lie.

Download the CMYK calibration grid.

Softwares that don't support color profiles

Some programs, such as the Windows viewer, do not manage color profiles. In this case, the colors of our images will appear different. To solve this problem, we can use a program that manages color profiles, or save the image with the "embedded color profile" option.

Upload images to social media

With billions of content uploaded every minute around the world, the priority of social media is to squeeze it as much as possible at the expense of quality.

Currently, the highest fidelity is achieved with the PNG format and the sRGB color profile. Furthermore, if there are recommended image sizes, it's better to adapt the image before we upload, so that the compression algorithm won't have to resize it by altering the colors or creating strange artifacts.

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Francesca Urbinati Artist

Francesca Urbinati

Sono illustratrice e fumettista freelance. Ho lavorato su effetti speciali 3D, graphic design e multimedia per RAI, Mediaset, Adobe, ArtOrder LLC, Studio Hamburg, MoveTheGame e molti altri. Pubblico la serie a fumetti Niki Batsprite e aiuto altri artisti e autori a emergere.

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