When it comes to working with a multi-monitor setup, colour is an important consideration. You want your monitors to show the same colours so that all of your work looks consistent — otherwise, you'll be spending more time figuring out what changed than actually doing your job. You can use calibration software and hardware to match up two or more monitors so that they look the same from one screen to another. In this guide we'll take a look at how you calibrate two or more displays using free software, such how much time it takes and how accurate it is (spoiler alert: both good news!).
The first thing to understand is what colour temperature actually is. It's a measure of how warm or cool the display looks, and it's measured in Kelvins (K). A lower Kelvin number means that the display will look warmer, like candlelight or incandescent light bulbs—think about the difference between frosted and clear glassware. A higher Kelvin number indicates more blue light and thus a cooler look—think about ice cubes versus snowballs!
There are many free colour calibration tools available for download. These include:
CalMan from X-Rite Inc. (MacOS)
GretagMacbeth Colormunki Photo by X-Rite (Windows, MacOS)
ColorMunki Smile by X-Rite (Windows, MacOS)
These tools work to calibrate monitors, cameras and printers as well as scanners.
Once you've chosen your display mode, it's time to calibrate the Camera Monitor. This can be done by going into your monitor's settings and choosing the same resolution for both screens. Set them to use the same colour depth (8 or 16 bits per channel), refresh rate, and colour space (RGB).
Choose the panel you want to calibrate first. If you're only calibrating one monitor, choose the one with the most accurate color. If you are calibrating two monitors, this is not a concern—simply choose whichever monitor is easier for you to access at the moment.
To calibrate your monitors, you need to adjust the brightness and contrast of each screen. Make sure they're both at 100%, or as close to it as possible. If your monitor has a "calibrate" option, use that; otherwise, go into the settings menu and select "brightness" or "contrast".
Calibration is also about getting a good gamma curve, meaning that all shades should fall within the same gamma range (most likely 2.2). Selecting this option may be difficult if you don't know what it does—but don't worry! Just play around with the buttons until you find one that works for you. (If none of them seem right, just stick with default.)
The most important thing to do when calibrating two monitors is to make sure that the RGB colours and white point are the same on both monitors. If you don’t have a professional calibration tool, you can use a free program called [displayCAL](https://github.com/brucel/displaycal) to adjust these settings.
In displayCAL, click “Calibrate & Report” and select “Create ICC profiles” from the dropdown menu at the top right of the window. Click through each step until you reach the final step: Save Profile(s). Here, give your new monitor profile a name and save it in an easy-to-find location on your hard drive—I recommend making separate folders for each of your computer's displays so they're easy to find later if needed!
If you're looking to calibrate your computer monitors, it's important to understand what colour calibration is and why it matters. Colour calibration is the process of fine-tuning your monitor's display settings so that what you see on screen matches how the image was intended. This can be done manually by adjusting each monitor individually, or by purchasing third party software that automates this process.
Before we get into how to calibrate two monitors for colour accuracy, it's important to understand some basic terms related to colour science in order for this process to make sense:
Colour profile: A collection of parameters used by a device (like a printer or scanner) from which its output is derived. A good profile will produce an accurate representation of colours from one device onto another—similarly, if both devices have identical profiles and are calibrated correctly then they should display identical colours when shown side-by-side.* Colour gamut: The range of colours available when using any given device such as a printer or scanner etc.* Display gamut: The range of colours available on all displays within a given system
With some basic understanding and a few tweaks, you can have two monitors displaying an identical colour palette. If you want to go even further, consider buying an additional calibration tool or software package that has more advanced features.