images in cross-platform stacks

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Wed May 17 14:24:55 CDT 2006

Martin Baxter wrote:

> Richard Gaskin wrote:
>> It's a tradeoff:  the Apple gamma may give more detail among darker 
>> colors, but at the loss of detail among lighter ones.  The default gamma 
>> for Macs is so light that the whole thing looks washed out to me; the 
>> first thing I do when I get a new Mac is make it readable by increasing 
>> the gamma.
> Ah, but, I would say the point is that the lighter values are 
> over-represented in the first place, gamma correction just helps to give 
> the shadows a bit more of a look-in.
> When I used to teach Photoshop I would sometimes have students bring in 
> images they'd made on their PC's at home. They would be disgruntled 
> because their images looked all washed-out on the Mac.
> Then I would have them examine the histogram of their image data, which 
> would always turn out to have no pixel values lower than about 35,35,35 
> and sometimes worse than that, nothing lower than 40 or 50. Why in that 
> case should the computer display any black?
> Colour-management is supposed to get around these issues as far as 
> possible, and it does a great job when set up correctly. But in the 
> wider world where systems are generally uncalibrated, uncorrected, badly 
> adjusted, badly-sited, old, cheap, mobile and so on, it's rather 
> irrelevant. None of my equipment is what I'd consider calibrated in 
> fact, how about yours?

Only by eye:  ever since I set my Mac's gamma to PC levels I can see so 
many more details in the Mac OS that were completely washed out before.  :)

I appreciate the background info on pro graphics. It helps to understand 
a bit more about why Apple does the things it does.  Sometimes it's not 
just another case of the ol' light bulb joke. ;)

Not being a graphics pro, I don't care one way or the other what the 
gamma's set to, as long as it's consistent across platforms.  If Apple's 
default setting is a better match to the real world, will PC 
makers/Microsoft follow suit?

  Richard Gaskin
  Managing Editor, revJournal
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