Tweaking and calibrating LCD monitors can be done with the help of one of the many available utilities that are dedicated to this task. Gamma correction is a particular job that requires a specialized tool and QuickGamma is one of them.
This software solution is especially designed for those who wish to adjust gamma on the go, without the need of a complex application that could sometimes become extremely hard to use.
The program relies on a basic interface and some simple adjustments that help beginners and experienced users alike take advantage of its features.
There’s nothing too complicated about QuickGamma, but in case the gamma correction that Windows automatically applies there isn’t enough, this tiny application provides supplementary adjustments.
With QuickGamma you get a simple scale and using the ”+” or ”-” buttons you can set the gamma levels for your monitor. Those who wish even a more advanced calibration process can hit the ”Gamma” button inside the app and adjust settings for each of the three RGB colors.
You can set the values up or down but remember the default values so you can revert to the original configuration later on. Also, note the tips that are displayed in the main window of the application as they will surely prove very valuable for a proper use of this tool.
Just as expected, during our test we found QuickGamma to be far from a resource eater, so it won’t hamper the computer performance on your systems.
Overall, this software solution is a decent tool for users who want a quick gamma calibration. A nice feature is the ability to individually adjust each RGB channel and thanks to its great ease of use, QuickGamma could be a keeper.
QuickGamma is a small utility program to calibrate a monitor without having to buy expensive hardware tools.
Why do you need QuickGamma?
The relationship between the input signal and the luminance of a monitor is not linear but exponential with gamma being the exponent. Monitor gamma values usually range between 1.4 and 3.2.
Because only a gamma value of 1 resembles a linear relationship, a gamma correction is necessary to achieve maximum reproduction quality. A monitor gamma value of 2.2 has become the de facto standard for Windows, the Internet and the digital photography.
Under Windows a gamma correction is already automatically applied. This yields a linear luminance distribution for monitors with a real gamma of 2.2. Because most computer monitors do not have a real gamma of 2.2 an additional correction is required. With QuickGamma you can calibrate your monitor to a gamma value of 2.2 which in conjunction with the automatic gamma correction yields a linear luminance distribution for every monitor.
More information and detailed instructions on how to use QuickGamma are available by pushing the Help button in QuickGamma.
First of all, a good gamma chart to estimate the actual gamma as accurate as possible is needed. To achieve the best setup without buying expensive hardware, perform the following steps:
Start QuickGamma. A window containing a list of monitors will pop up when using multiple monitors for the Windows desktop. Selecting a monitor from the list will start QuickGamma on that monitor. Selecting a monitor that is currently powered off will cause QuickGamma to be started on the powered off monitor. Of course the QuickGamma window cannot be seen because the monitor is powered off. To close QuickGamma for that monitor, click with the right mouse button on QuickGamma in the taskbar and select “Close”.
Because the gamma setting is bound to the individual monitor, the QuickGamma window cannot be dragged outside the boundaries of the monitor it was started on. Only a single instance of QuickGamma is allowed at any time. When you try to start a second instance, the first instance of QuickGamma is brought to the foreground.
For best viewing conditions, set the color temperature of the monitor to 6500K (some monitors come with a default setting of 9300K, which is far too blue). If you don’t know how to set the color temperature, check your monitor’s documentation for the appropriate control.
Set the contrast to maximum on a CRT monitor (turn it down a bit only if the monitor appears unnaturally harsh) LCD Monitors have a much higher contrast than CRT monitors and should normally be set to around 50%. Some LCD monitors don’t even have a contrast setting (the optimum contrast has been factory preset). Contrast and brightness do sometimes interact on LCD monitors. Setting brightness and contrast for such monitors is a very tedious task and needs a lot of experimenting to find the best setup.
Set the brightness such that the right dark gray vertical bar named “Black level B” is distinctly visible and the left dark gray bar named “Black level A” is just visible opposite the 2.2 mark on the gamma scale. The “Black level A” bar should not be visible opposite the 1.8 mark on the gamma scale (black in black). The brightness must not be set too high because this would cause the gamma value being set to low in the next step.
Adjust the gamma using the + and – (spin up and down) buttons. The area of the gamma chart where the outer and the inner vertical bands seem to have the same gray level moves up or down when changing the actual gamma. Keep changing the gamma until the center of this area is opposite the 2.2 gamma scale. At this point the numerical gamma value displayed to the left of the spin buttons shows the actual (native) gamma value of the monitor. To better recognize the equally gray horizontal area step back a little.
The gamma value for each color red, green and blue can be adjusted individually. Pushing the button with the red, green and blue LEDs to the left of the text Gamma opens a new window displaying a RGB gamma chart. The gamma value for each color can be adjusted separately by using the respective spin buttons.
The procedure of adjusting gamma for a color is the same as described above under 5 except that the area to look for is the area of the respective color that seems to have the same color level across. Adjusting gamma visually for each color is more difficult than adjusting gamma for a gray level. If the gray gamma chart seems to have color fringes in the outer vertical bands it is most likely that the gamma of each color needs to be adjusted individually. Drag the window with the RGB gamma chart to the side so you can see the gray chart.
Now adjust the gamma for each color. When the gamma of each color is adjusted correctly, the color fringes in the gray chart should be gone. If the gray chart still has color fringes your monitor most likely has a problem that cannot be corrected by QuickGamma. Once you are done push the “OK” button.
The previous window will now show the new gamma values. From now on it should only be necessary to adjust the gray level gamma (as described under steps 4 and 5) whenever the ambient light viewing conditions change.
When using standby or hibernate enable “Standby Support” by clicking on the gray LED or the text to the right of this LED and QuickGammaResume will be started immediately. QuickGammaResume runs in the background and monitors the power states. Upon resuming from standby or hibernation, QuickGammaResume starts the QuickGammaLoader program to restore the gamma settings. QuickGammaResume places an icon into the notification area whenever it is running in the background. Clicking the icon with the right mouse button opens a menu with the items “Close QuickGammaResume”, “Display QuickGamma Help”, “Launch QuickGamma” and “Run QuickGammaLoader”.
Should you need to terminate QuickGammaResume for any reason, just click on “Close QuickGammaResume” with the left mouse button. Clicking on “Launch QuickGamma” will open QuickGamma. QuickGammaResume will only allow one instance of itself to run at any time. Trying to start multiple instances will have no effect at all. When “Standby Support” is enabled, QuickGammaResume will be started automatically each time Windows is started.
- Visual C++ 2008 and 2008 SP1 runtime libraries
- QuickGamma Version 4 does not run on any Windows version prior to Windows 7. The programs QuickGammaLoader, QuickGammaResume and QuickGammaResumeClose, which were part of previous versions of QuickGamma, are not required anymore and hence are no longer part of QuickGamma Version 4. QuickGamma Version 4 now uses the Windows 7 built in Display Calibration feature to load the LUT.
- To use the Windows 7 built in Display Calibration feature, QuickGamma creates a ICC profile for the monitor with a vcgt tag containing the LUT data. Either the sRGB color space or the color space defined by the RGB primaries in the monitors EDID information can be selected to create the monitor profile. The sRGB color space is considered the standard color space for monitors, but the individual color space as defined by the RGB primaries in the monitors EDID information might be more suitable. It just depends on whether the EDID data, which is stored in the monitor by the monitor manufacturer, contains the …