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Managing Displays: Displays and Display Calibrator Assistant
The Displays pane in System Preferences functions in a way that's similar to the Monitors control panel or the Monitors portion of the Monitors & Sound control panel of traditional Mac OS. The options available in the Displays pane vary with the type of display. For example, for a laptop with no other displays attached, expect only the Display and Color sections to be available. For an older iMac, expect to also have a Geometry section. Your system might have options not shown here.
In the Display section, shown in Figure 5.1, you can set the resolution, the number of colors displayed, and the refresh rate. There's an option to make the Displays information available in the menu bar and an option to ask the pane to list only modes that the display recommends. You'll probably see some of the options gray out on checking the box.
Figure 5.1. The Display section of the Displays pane is where you set resolution and color depth.
A slider scale adjuster for brightness might also be available as well as one for contrast. Or your Display section might not have any sliders here. This section might also contain a button to allow you to detect displays. The option to show recent modes might also be available. For some laptops, you also have the option to adjust the brightness as the ambient lighting changes. The Display section in Figure 5.1 is from a laptop and may not reflect what you see in your Displays pane.
The Geometry section, shown in Figure 5.2, is where you can set typical monitor geometry settings: position, height/width, pincushion, rotate, keystone, and parallelogram. The buttons surrounding the display depicted in the Geometry tab change with each option. Click on the buttons to make your adjustments. You can also select the factory defaults. Not all monitors have this section. The Geometry example shown in Figure 5.2 comes from an older iMac.
Figure 5.2. The Geometry section of the Displays pane is where you set typical monitor geometry settings.
Performing Color Calibration
In the Color section, shown in Figure 5.3, you select a color profile for your monitor. If no ColorSync profile is available for your monitor, you can create a custom profile by clicking the Calibrate option. The Calibrate option starts the Display Calibrator utility, which guides you through the calibration of your monitor. If you have calibrated your monitor, the resulting profile appears as one of your choices here. The exact choices also vary with the display type. Figure 5.3 shows an example of the Color section from a laptop.
Figure 5.3. The Color section of the Displays pane is where you select a color profile for your monitor.
Display Calibrator is the utility that creates a ColorSync profile specific to your monitor. The utility is located in /System/Library/ColorSync/Calibrators, but you can also open it from within the Color section of the Displays preferences pane.
Figure 5.4 shows the introductory screen for Display Calibrator. As you can see, the calibrator guides you through adjusting your brightness, contrast, luminance response, gamma, and white point. The calibrator has an expert mode available, which you can select by checking the Expert Mode box. In earlier versions of Mac OS X, expert mode did not necessarily provide more steps, only more options with some of the steps. In more recent versions of Mac OS X, you might expect to perform extra steps in expert mode. Depending on your monitor, you might not have to perform all the steps shown here or you might have additional steps not shown here. To provide some experience with the different modes, we vary the modes shown and try to provide examples of as many of the steps as possible.
Figure 5.4. The introductory screen of Display Calibrator. Here you can choose whether to be in expert mode.
The next step might vary. Some monitors might go through the Set Up step, shown in Figure 5.5. In this step, you adjust the display's brightness and contrast. The Display Calibrator assistant instructs you to set your contrast to the highest setting and to adjust your brightness until the oval in the dark square is barely visible. This step is the same in the expert and normal modes. Depending on the capabilities of your monitor, you might or might not have slider controls within Display Calibrator to make these adjustments.
Figure 5.5. In the Set Up step, you adjust the contrast and brightness of your display.
The next step for your monitor can be the Native Gamma step in which you determine your display's native luminance response curves. For some displays, the normal mode might not exist, but the expert mode might consist of five separate steps. For other displays, the normal mode might be a one-step version of the expert mode. For both modes, the utility suggests that it might be helpful to squint or stand back from the display to accomplish this task. Figure 5.6 shows the Native Gamma step in expert mode.
Figure 5.6. In the Native Gamma step, shown here in expert mode, you determine the native gamma of your display.
The next step is the Target Gamma step, in which you select a target gamma for your display. Figure 5.7 shows this step in normal mode. In this mode, you select from standard Macintosh gamma, described as Standard Gamma, or standard PC gamma, described as Television Gamma. The target gamma is selected in expert mode on a slider, which has the Macintosh and PC gammas marked as well as an option to use the native gamma. You'll find that your monitor displays a broader and smoother color palette if you choose the Macintosh default gamma of 1.8. If you do a lot of image creation for the World Wide Web, you might find it useful to create two ColorSync profiles: one for a standard Macintosh display and one for a standard PC display. Two such profiles would give you the ability to see approximately how your images appear on each of these common display types.
Figure 5.7. In the Target Gamma step, shown here in normal mode, you select the target gamma of your display.
In the next step, the Target White Point step, you select a target white point setting for your display. Figure 5.8 shows this step for the normal mode, which provides three basic choices with comments on the choices, as well as a choice for no white point correction. The expert mode provides a slider interface for these choices, but no comments on possibly pertinent choices.
Figure 5.8. Select a target white point setting for your display in the Target White Point step, shown here in normal mode.
The next step in expert mode is the Administrator Options step, shown in Figure 5.9. You might not experience this step in normal mode. In this step, you can choose to make this color profile available as a possible default for every user on the system. The profile normally becomes available as a possible default for only the user who created it, and is placed in ~/Library/ColorSync/Profiles. This step, though, puts the profile in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/. If you set up a profile in normal mode and decide later that you would like to make it available to all users, as an administrative user, copy the profile that was created in your home directory to the systemwide location. If you don't like a profile you created, delete it.
Figure 5.9. In expert mode, the Administrator Options step enables you to provide this profile as a possible default to any user on the system.
Figure 5.10 shows the next step, the Name step, which is the same in both expert and normal modes. Here you provide a name for your profile. If you created a profile for a special purpose, such as creating a profile with PC contrast, you might consider including something about the purpose in the name.
Figure 5.10. Provide a name for your new ColorSync profile in the Name step.
The final step, aptly named Conclusion, is shown in expert mode in Figure 5.11. This step is an informational step. In normal mode, the utility indicates that the new profile has been created and set as the default profile, and it provides information about changing your current profile. Changing your current profile can be done in either the Color section of the Displays system preferences pane or in the Devices section of the ColorSync utility. Expert mode provides not only this information, but also a basic summary of the profile you created.
Figure 5.11. In the final step, shown here in expert mode, you see comments on the new profile and changing your current profile, as well as a summary of the new profile.
When you open the Displays pane while multiple monitors are attached, the controlling monitor has the extra Arrangement section. At the same time, the other monitors display the normal Displays pane without any additional sections. In this area of the Displays pane, you can select how the monitors are arranged. Drag them around to suit your needs. You can even move them up and down to suit your needs. By default, the main monitor has the menu bar attached to it. To move the menu bar, drag it to the monitor where you would prefer to have it for your needs. You can also choose to mirror the displays.
Figure 5.12. When you select the Displays pane while multiple monitors are attached, the Displays pane of the main monitor includes an Arrangement section.
Figure 5.13 shows two monitors running something in addition to the Displays pane.
Figure 5.13. Here you can see the multiple monitors in active use.
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