I have two different computers that I use regularly. On one computer, the colors look too bright, and on the other computer, the colors look too dark. Is there a way to try to keep things looking more consistent between my different workstations? And how do I know how things will look for the "average" user?

I should mention I'm producing digital works that won't be printed out on a physical medium. It will all be viewed on a screen of some sort, either a monitor or a tablet.

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    Have you calibrated the monitors? (There's no such thing as an "average" user - any monitor may or may not be accurate - you can't combat that).
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 7:23
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    Hardware calibration with a colrimeter is the only way. Just to add to the comment by Scott, do not expect other users to see the colors like you see them they will come out with brightness and tint differences (some greenish some bluish etc). So it may actually be beneficial to see that the color is in fact not the same across devices so not to deceive yourself into thinking that the color is somehow accurately what you have chosen.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 9:29

2 Answers 2


You could use calibration to get the views on both your monitors to line up, colour-wise. The quality of the calibration depends on how much you'll spend on calibration soft- and hardware. This can get pretty expensive.

Even if you calibrate yourself, you never know how things will look for the 'average' user. Hardly anyone calibrates their monitor, let alone their tablet screen. On-screen colour consistency for end users is nigh impossible—everybody has different settings for different reasons.

My advice would be to not try.


Slightly differing colors or brightness may not be a problem. But If something just can't be seen, thats' a problem. Many screens add exessive color saturation or boost the contrast only to be "more impressive" when they're used for movies or games. "Impressived" or simply wrongly adjusted screens destroy details in dark or bright image areas or both. The details will be flattened off.

The wrong adjustments can be done in computer's graphic card, too, if it allows color, brightness and contrast adjustments. Most of them allow.

See the following gradient:

test gradient

There are white and black irregular zigzag curves over a smooth gradient from black to white. In theory the both zigzags should be visible from left to right except at the ends, where the background and the curve has same brightness for 1/256 of the width. If the invisible part is longer, then the screen is too dark, too bright or tries to boost the contrast.

In practice on "not at all too bad" screen the total length of the invisible parts may be as much as 5...-10 % of the image width. I have noticed this to be accumulated into the black end because the screen is intentionally adjusted to be dark for more covenient average brightness.

The background gradient and zigzags should not seem to be colored anywhere, because it's RGB grey. The gradient has 256 steps. One step is 4 pixels wide. If the steps seem to be wider, then your screen probably has less than 256 brightness levels. It was common about 10 years ago, but today it's rare.

Put the test image onto your both screens and compare. Explore the settings of the screens and videocards to find as even color, brightness and contrast as possible for both systems.

There exists a concept "Gamma" and you probably find its contol, too. It's used to make the apparent shift from dark at left to bright at right to be as uniform as possible. The apparent mid grey is in the middle if gamma is ok.

To be exact, this test should be done also by using 3 similar images, in which the white is replaced by R, G and B. It reveals errors more specifically.

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