Help Desk

Q: I am having a problem with the colors on my laptop. When I create an image, the colors and brightness are good, but when viewing the same image on another computer, it appears dark and almost unrecognizable. What do I do?

A: Monitors, whether flat panels or CRTs, vary greatly in brightness, contrast, and color rendering. The technical term for this characteristic is "gamma." Some high-end programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, let you calibrate your monitor to match industry standards. (This reader solved his problem by using Photoshop's tools.) Failing that, you may have to learn by trial and error how to set the brightness and contrast of your monitor--and the brightness and contrast of the images you create so that they look correct on other computers or when printed out. A graphic arts professional can tell at a glance exactly how an image on a screen is going to look on a printed page. For the rest of us, it takes some practice.

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