How to Manage Color on a Mac Computer. Apple’s OS-X operating system offers a number of ways to manage color on your Mac. You may ask, “well why do I have to manage it?” The fact is, it already is being managed and knowing how and how to adjust color is a prerequisite for a digital photographer. When you start up a Mac the display settings are set to default factory settings and to the default color profile. In this article I will explain the settings and how to adjust them using the DISPLAY settings. In another article I discuss how to manage color using Apple’s ColorSync utility. If you are new to color management, read about it first, before you attempt to build your own profiles. I have listed resources below that you will find useful in educating yourself about color.
Open your SYSTEM PREFERENCES, which you can always find under the APPLE menu. Once you have opened the finder, click on DISPLAYS.
The applet opens showing the DISPLAY tab. Notice the resolution is defaulted to the highest possible resolution. Most people will want to leave it there so they can see their screens and images at the highest quality. You may want to lower the resolution if you have difficulty reading the type of your screen, or have your eyes checked. You can also lower your "colors" from millions to 256, but I honestly don't know why you would want to do this. To access the color management adjustments, click on the COLOR TAB.
Notice there are four profiles listed and you are defaulted to your default APPLE profile, in this case iMac. Experiment by selecting another profile and see how your screen changes. To create a new profile, click on CALIBRATE to bring up the Calibration Assistant. Before doing that, however, click on OPEN PROFILE to see the values of the current profile.
Each profile has a number of different elements and you can see the values and the GAMUT of each element by clicking the element. This is the RED channel tri-stimulus value of this profile. Check on different profiles; compare their values and the image on the screen to help you determine how to build a new one. Next click on CALIBRATE to open the calibration assistant.
The CALIBRATION ASSISTANT will take you through a number of steps to create a new profile based on your visual adjustments. Read the instructions and click CONTINUE to go to the next step.
Determine your display's native response or GAMMA. Adjust the sliders until the APPLE shape blends into the background. It will never completely disappear, but get it as close as you can. Sit back from the MONITOR when you are making the adjustment. When you are done, click continue.
Calibrate the target GAMMA. You can set it to the native GAMMA or use the Mac or PC standard. Notice how the screen changes as you make these adjustments. If you are using Macs and PCs and doing image editing on both, you may want to calibrate to the PC standard so the two are consistent. You can also use ADOBE GAMMA on your PC to make it look like the Mac.
Select a TARGET WHITE POINT. You can use the native white point, which is good for photography, or set the white point to another temperature to help adjust for the ambient light in the computer room. The white point SCALE is KELVIN, so it corresponds to white point settings on a camera. Using the native white point will use the white point from the image displayed.
The next step is the ADMIN step, which allows you to share the profile with other users of the computer. From that step you will be asked to NAME your profile and finally save it. The new profile will then appear on your profile list where you can select it. The purpose of all of this is to calibrate the display to YOUR eye. If the screen looks too green or is too dark, you may want to experiment with creating your own profiles.