View Full Version : Gray scale pattern for checking color balance

Kerry Perkins
08-12-2011, 10:20 PM
Hi everyone. Here is a gray test pattern that is used in setting up monitors and projectors as well as video cameras. It works equally well as a post processing aid by showing you what "neutral", which is gray, black, and white, looks like on your monitor. These gray bars contain equal amounts of red, green, and blue. There is no color to them whatsoever. You can keep this little image open in your editing software as a reference. If you have any neutral areas in your image (black to gray to white), you can compare them with this reference image and see if they match. If your neutral areas have any color to them, it means that the color balance of the image is off and you can correct accordingly. By using this type of reference, the color errors of your monitor, if any, can be accounted for.

BTW, not saying that every image should have neutral grays, but unless you are shooting in the warm light of sunrise or sunset and want to preserve that warm look, you will want to have neutral blacks, grays, and whites.

John Chardine
08-18-2011, 06:22 AM
Thanks Kerry. For fun I just checked the tones with Apple's Digital Color Meter and the new version that comes with Lion has dropped the option for a readout in LAB colour. Can you believe it! I'll have to contact Apple on this one.

Kerry Perkins
08-18-2011, 08:49 PM
John, I was involved in making this pattern so I can guarantee you that the code values are all the same in each bar. :c3: I was all psyched up to upgrade to Lion until I started reading things like what you reported. Many people are also unhappy that their desktop computer now works like an iPad and I am not ready to give up Rosetta... I still use Corel (and other) software that would have to go into the bit bucket. So, I'll be holding onto the Snow Leopard for a while.

John Chardine
08-20-2011, 03:45 PM
My move to Lion was forced! BTW I had a look to see if the previous version of the Digital Color Meter would run in Lion just by copying across- it doesn't!

Kerry Perkins
08-20-2011, 11:32 PM
Lion is not the king of my jungle... :eek3:

"Philosophy is irrelevant." Who said that? Me!

John Chardine
08-21-2011, 06:20 PM
Kerry et al.: Just found this- a "classic" Digital Color Meter:


It's $0.99 at the App Store

William Majoros
08-26-2011, 07:20 AM
The two darkest bars both look black on my macbook pro. Is that bad?


Bill- Viewing angle is important as well so make sure you have the screen as close to 90 as possible to you viewing direction. Move your head up and down and you can see the effect.

Kerry Perkins
08-26-2011, 07:44 AM
Bill, yes it is. You need to calibrate.

Jay Gould
08-27-2011, 05:00 AM
Kerry, are you another MBP person? I am soooooooooooo angsting over making the jump from PC to MBP!!!!!!

Lion; Snow Leopard. The decision is like entering a zoo.


You are concerned with loosing programs when you change operating systems; I am more than a bit concerned with loosing programs when going from PC to MBP.:w3

John Chardine
08-27-2011, 05:20 AM
Jay- I had to replace my aging Macbook recently and ended up with the MB Air 13". No regrets at all. The size and weight are perfect for traveling but the speed is what I real like. The solid-state drive makes everything very fast as does the i5 processor. The system and programs don't take up much space on the 256gb drive and I have over 220gb available for images before I have to start using an external drive. However, if you are anguishing over the switch from Windoze I would just stay where you are. Why cause extra grief when you don't need it?

Jay Gould
08-27-2011, 05:30 AM
John, do you use the 13" at home or do you have a larger monitor? I live in a trailer (caravan in Australia). I bought a Dell 21.5" monitor as an experiment - simply too big.

Right now I am using and carrying when I travel a Dell 17"; too heavy.

I have to downsize to a 15" which will be my all-time computer.

John Chardine
08-27-2011, 06:50 AM
Hi Jay- My MB Air is for travel/photo trips and general use around the house (email, web etc). I have the 13". My main photo processing machine will be a new 27" iMac but right now I have an older dual G5 with an Apple Cinema display, which is fast but incapable of running the latest software versions. The tiny MBA is way faster than the desktop dual G5! For an all-use computer I would go with a bigger monitor (15") too. However, the MBA screen is hard to beat at 1440 x 900 resolution. I could use it for photo processing no problem.

Jay Gould
08-27-2011, 05:57 PM
Sorry to hijack this thread Kerry! I will PM John.

Kerry Perkins
08-28-2011, 02:12 PM
Jay, no worries mate! FYI, I do have a MBP - 17", which I only use on the road or with a 23" Apple Cinema Display. For my serious work at home I use a 27" iMac - i7 quad core, 8GB of ram, etc... Great computer for photo work.

Tom Graham
08-20-2012, 02:25 AM
Here's a monitor test chart I like because it shows color gamma and slight variations/non-neutral in gray.