Why do my images frequently look "too dark" to PC users

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by wcroninger, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. When I post images online (nothing at photo.net at this time) I frequently hear from PC users that the images are much too dark. I've used both Photoshop CS and 7 on 15" iMac and 20" iMac LCD monitors. When viewed on other Macs with LCD or CRT monitors the images look exactly as I see them here. Also, when viewed on PC LCDs the images are once again just as I see them on the Mac. I've been told I need to purchase calibration software/hardware. Possibly so but prior to that I would very much like to understand what is going on and whether it is something I am doing in Photoshop. You can see my website here: http://www.shadowsofmaine.com I did not see this problem addressed elsewhere on photo.net but if it is please excuse my missing it..just point me in the right direction and I'll go do some learning. Thanks Bill Croninger
  2. You may want to change your monitor's gamma setting to the one that the PC world uses. Macs use a gamma of 1.8 while televisions and the M$ sheep use 2.2. The latter is darker, so when your image looks right on your monitor, it looks "too dark" to PC people. Use the calibration utility in the monitors control panel. Cheers
  3. You might find this an interesting thread:
    Something we all need to know...
    I believe it is also possible for Photoshop to preview the image as it would appear on Windows (soft proof), but presumably only as it would appear on a correctly calibrated Windows PC. This is important - the sad truth is that most users have their monitor set up badly for photo viewing - i.e. the gradient in the above link won't display properly, and images will look too dark.
  4. Gentleman, thanks for your input. I tried the "soft proof" option in Photoshop and the
    results were very interesting. It certainly darkens the image considerably.
  5. This is a function of a parameter called "gamma". Basically gamma is a measure of how much you compress the shadows in the image to make more room for midtones. Macs by default have a gamma of 1.8, PCs -- 2.2.

    For more information than you probably want to know, look here:

  6. The image you posted looks fine to me; I'm on a MAC G4 laptop.

    I sometimes have similar problems when posting my images to photo.net. When I upload
    an image, it usually appears darker than what I want. I've figured out my images posted
    looks closer to the "windows preview" in Photoshop CS; so I work from there.

    We have 3 computers in our house; 1 MAC laptop, 1 MAC tabletop and a Sony Vaio PC
    laptop (my husband is a graphic/web designer and use the pc for testing websites). My
    images looks different on all screens but not too bad.

    My moniter looks pretty decent but I wont callibrate my moniter because my clients that
    visit my website dont have calibrated moniters (they're ordinary people) ... I want to at
    least see some of what they see.

    When in doubt, I preview my images on all systems and make a comprimise.
  7. My moniter looks pretty decent but I wont callibrate my moniter because my clients that visit my website dont have calibrated moniters (they're ordinary people) ... I want to at least see some of what they see.
    LOL. Sabrina, all uncalibrated monitors are different, that's why they are called UNcalibrated. So what you see on YOUR uncalibrated monitor doesn't necessarily have any relationship to what other people see on THEIR uncalibrated monitors.
    Designing images for uncalibrated monitors is basically accepting that color variation will occur and that you can't depend on subtle hues. What you meant as red might be orangeish to some people and magentaish to others. Moreover, some monitors will be too bright and will compress your highlights, while others will be too dark and will block up the shadows.
    I would still highly recommend calibrating your own monitor so that you have a stable baseline, at least.
  8. William, I have the same problem. I copied your above picture into Photoshop on my computer and placed it side-by-side with the same picture displayed on my browser. The picture in Photoshop looks FINE but the picture in my browser does indeed look darker. It must be the way Windows displays graphics compared to the way Photoshop does??
  9. i make sure everything i put on the web is in the sRGB color space.

    then it displays fairly similarly on a mac vs. a PC

    exactly why this works out is complicated.
  10. Grepmat, Sean, .KAA, Sabrina, John and Pete: Many thanks for all you folks have
    contributed on this. I'm not going to tell you I understand everying but I certainly
    understand more than I did and have many more resources to look at then before your

  11. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I have the opposite problem. The photos on my Web site, prepared with a PC, look washed out on most Macintoshes. What do I do about it? I ignore them.

    I intend no offense to Macintosh users, who often are more sophisticated than Windows users about to graphics and color (that's why the default Macintosh gamma is 1.8, which is supposed to be better for photography). But my site logs tell me that the overwhelming majority of visitors use Windows. And of the minority, there are (surprisingly) slightly more Linux users than Macintosh users.

    I had once given some thought to adjusting my pictures to a compromise setting that would leave them slightly darker on a PC but less washed-out on a Macintosh. But the numbers don't justify all that effort. I wish it weren't so.
  12. Ted, just ventured onto your site. I really wouldn't call your images "washed out," I'd call
    them good and interesting! :) Thanks for the info, I wondered about that also...whether
    some images produced on PCs might look washed out on this one but as I said, yours did
    not. If I get a chance I will look at them on a PC to see if there is any difference. Tough
    call, we are dealing with not only different machines but different browsers as well as
    invidual preferences. Today has definitely been an education.
  13. William, this is slightly off-topic: the cheap way to check your images on a variety of
    monitors (only after uploading or - perhaps - saving to a CD) is to visit a public library
    with Internet access. Can be illuminating. If standard test charts look right on your
    monitor, that's as good a basic test as making sure familiar pre-recorded music sounds
    right on your reference monitors (audio, in this case) before mixing your next great album.
    Geting more technical, you can compare their histograms (both audio and photo, in this
    <p>BTW - your pic looks fine on my PowerBook. ;-)
  14. Ted, your site's pics also look fine on my PowerBook's calibrated monitor. "Course, my gamma's set to 1.92, so I'm kinda betwixt and between. Nice work, BTW.
  15. Yea your image looks fine to me. Lacie CRT set to 2.2 gamma.
    I too have had a similar problem. I think a lot of people have set their contrast
    settings on their monitors horribly that might be part of it to.
  16. However, supposedly if one uses Adobe gamma on both a MAC and PC the picture should look the same.
  17. I have been having the exact same problem; I use a Mac laptop and images always look darker after they are posted on photo.net, or when viewed on a Windows PC. I've even ran into this problem after having pictures printed, particularly with black and white shots. I'll try some of the suggestions posted here. Thanks for the input!

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