How do I know how bright to set my monitor?

Started Aug 4, 2008 | Discussions thread
Mike McNaughton
New MemberPosts: 19
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Re: How do I know how bright to set my monitor?
In reply to monkeyrpn, Aug 5, 2008

You might try this if you don't have anything to calibrate with.

You want to make a gradient across your screen so you can see 50 different shades of gray. The gradient willl start with Black "0" and end with White "255".

You should be able to see all 50 shades of gray if your monitor is set to the correct brightness. If your monitor is too dark the dark end of the gradient will be all black. If the monitor is too bright the white end will be all white. On my CRT monitor I adjusted it so I can clearly see all 50 shades of gray so I got a feeling that the monitor is in the ball park as far as brightness. This has nothing to do with color - just brightness and contrast. Contrast on my CRT is run up to 100% BTW.

Anyway here is what you can do in Photoshop and I think in Elements also to check for brightness.
1. make a new document. Ctrl-n And make it 1280x1024 pixels or so.

2. Get the Gradient tool "G" and on the option bar pick the black to white gradient, 3rd one over.

3. Drag a line horizontally across the document - holding the shift key down makes it a straight line. You should have a nice Black to White gradient across the screen.
4. Now we'll put the 50 different shades so you can check the brightness.

Go to Image - Adjust - Posterize and type in 50 instead of the default 4. When you do this there will be 50 bars or shades across your screen.

5. Now see if you can see the difference between 0 the 1st bar and 5 the 2nd bar. Open the info pallet "F-8" to read the RGB values of the bars as you move the cursor across the screen.

6. go to the right side and see if you can see the difference between 255 the last bar and 249 the 2nd to last bar.

7. If you can't see all 50 bars hopefully you can adjust your monitor's brightness and contrast so you can see all 50 bars. Better write down the original numbers in case you mess up and want to get back to where you were when you started.

8. And you could always save the file and view it again later or on a different monitor if you wanted to.

Now you could always google "test print" and get some samples to view and print. These will be perfect prints and should print perfectly if your printer is profiled. But that's a different subject.

If you printed the gradient thingy you just made it should come out very B&W (no color tints) since there is no color in the gradient. And if you have a good printer, you should be able to see all 50 bars.

Here is Fuji's test print which has some bars like we made and some flesh tones and a few other things to help you see if you are in the ball park:

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