How Warm is Warm?

Jon Cone
published on 03/29/2016 00:00:00

This one is from the direct observation of many “calibrated” environments . . . .

We see color emitting from a modern monitor differently than color reflecting off a piece of paper. Our biological white-balance is always working and it perceives color on a monitor as slightly warmer than color on a page (this is probably an evolutionary thing but I can’t find a study on it). This is why a modern high-quality LCD monitor calibrated at roughly 5400k-6100k will give a matching white-balance to a viewing-wall calibrated at roughly 4600k-5000k. The important word there is “roughly” because everyone’s white-balance is a little different and it’s very important to figure out what works for a given type of paper, light, and monitor.

*Old-school CRTs were better at “naturally matching” 5000k light when calibrated at 5000k themselves but sadly they no longer exist. 🙁