If you have been gaming on your PC monitor for a long period of time, you might have noticed issues with images showing up with excessive brightness, overall issues with performance, raytracing, clipping, and other kinds of graphics issues. Although this will not surprise more experienced PC gamers, it is not sufficient to simply purchase a monitor with premium technology like HDR (High Dynamic Range) or 4K UHD (ultra-high-definition) video.
To get the most out of your PC monitor, you need to calibrate it appropriately to work well with your operating system of choice and your laptop or desktop PC. The option to have your monitor professionally calibrated undoubtedly exists, but why spend the money when you can do it yourself with relative ease? With a bit of knowledge and the willingness to roll up your sleeves, you can quickly calibrate your PC monitor to create your optimal gaming experience, no matter which kind of monitor you use.
When it comes to correctly configuring your PC monitor to create the best gaming performance, there are several pieces of advice that you can apply universally, regardless of the model or manufacturer of your device. These general rules include:
Lighting: Before beginning the calibration process, you should always make sure that whatever room you are working in is equipped with moderate ambient lighting. While you could choose to go full blackout if you have the option available, you don't have to have the room completely dark for the purposes of calibration. You should not have direct lights overhead or nearby, creating color casts or sharp glares on the monitor, but you should otherwise be able to achieve your desired results under a variety of lighting setups.
Warmup: Just like you hopefully wouldn't throw yourself into a full-blown workout without performing some light stretching and calisthenics, the same rules also apply to your PC gaming monitor. Before you begin the calibration process, you should have had your monitor powered up for a minimum of half an hour. By taking the time to let your monitor work through its normal status of operations and reach standard operating temperature, you will help ensure that the calibration is as successful as possible.
Start From Default Settings: Before you begin calibrating your PC monitor, it is critical that the resolution be set to default (or native) screen resolution. Failing to do so can significantly hamper your efforts to create an optimal gaming experience because if you start with an inaccurate baseline, every change you make will be based on the state you first started calibrating from, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Learn the Controls: The last thing you want is to start the calibration process and then realize that you are unaware of where your monitor's display controls are located or how they are supposed to work correctly. The location of these controls can vary widely between different models of PC monitor and can be found inside your operating system's control panel, on your keyboard, or on the actual monitor. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with your monitor and adjust its settings manually, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
Using the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 11, adjusting your monitor can be achieved as follows:
Step 1: From the new Start Menu, enter "color calibration" into the search bar, then select Calibrate Display Color.
Step 2: From the calibration tool, follow the instructions to choose your display, contrast, color balance, gamma, and brightness settings. Use the provided sample images to adjust your display as needed.
Step 3: After the calibration wizard has finished, you should either reset your monitor to the previous calibration setting if you do not like the results or select Current Calibration if you do. Your new calibration setting will be saved as a color calibration file, also known as an .ics file. Once you have finalized your settings, you can easily access your Color Management settings app, and you will notice a new ICC (International Color Consortium) Profile reflecting your new calibration settings.
Using the latest version of Apple's operating system, MacOS, adjusting your monitor can be achieved as follows:
Step 1: Locate the Display Calibrator Assistant in the Displays tab in the color section of your system preferences, or enter "calibrate" in the Spotlight app to directly access the settings.
Step 2: Follow the instruction wizard provided by MacOS, which will walk you through the calibration process. Once you have found and opened the software utility, adjustable calibrations include:
Name: Choose a notable or readily memorized profile name to easily find it in the future.
Administrator Access: This can be a handy feature if you are especially interested in preventing others from changing your color profile.
White point: Set your white point settings at either D50 or D65 to avoid issues with tint and other graphics problems.
Color adjustments: Depending on whether your display contains native Apple technology, the program may offer you choices based on available color options or ignore this process entirely.
Step 3: After creating your new display color profile, you can make adjustments by selecting your new profile and clicking Open Profile. A new window will open containing all tags associated with your color profile and their descriptions. Selecting each tag will reveal information about it, whether it controls nuanced color factors for your monitor or basic data about colors.
Step 4: Owners of native Apply monitors can search for the Apple Display Native Information tag. However, adjustments should be left to experienced power users with the skills to make precise adjustments to your PC monitor's display.
The simple adjustments described above will significantly improve your visual experience. By taking the time to adjust your monitor's settings, you will take your PC gaming to the next level.