Mac Monitor Calibration Conundrum
February 20, 2011 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Monitor Calibration Nightmare - Macbook Pro 13" ->DVI -> DELL 2407WFP - Did my Starcraft 2 installation screw up my color calibration?

Don't know where to begin with this one.. maybe the Starcraft II installation was a coincidence but I don't know what else to try besides an OS reinstall at this point.

My monitor has suddenly become extremely contrasty and no amount of calibration on either the monitor settings nor the mac calibration settings seem to do any good.

When I installed Starcraft II months ago during the Summer I had no problems. Over time, (and SC2 software updates) I noticed that when I would reboot my Mac, Starcraft would look really contrasty for some reason. I would quit and restart the game and the in-game contrast would return to normal.

In the last month or so, this problem has spilled over into the non-game settings. Using these white point and black point images as a reference point, they all look the same to me. All the high-value greys on the white point image look pure white. The only square on the black point image is the "30". Everything else looks pure black.

I tried resetting pram and SMC. I reset my monitor to factory defaults. I have the brightness setting turned all the way down (as I used to have it without a problem). I tried playing with the apple monitor calibration settings with the white/black point images in the background trying to tweak anything to get it to show those gradients. Everything has been unsuccessful.

I still don't know if this is a monitor problem or a software problem. Is there a preference somewhere I can trash? Did SC2 break something?The monitor is a few years old, is it just broken? Hardware monitor calibration isn't going to help me if I can't even manually tweak the calibration to show these white point / black point gradients. Something is broken somewhere, help me figure out where.

Please! Thank You!
posted by j03 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
The easiest way to figure out if it's hardware or software would be to boot from you OS X software restore/install DVD and see if the problem persists.

If it seems to be software, from there, try a new user account, which would isolate the problem to being a bad pref file in your older user account. I can't specifically think of any software issue that would cause this, though.

The one issue I have seen on older macs is that the OS sometimes comes unhinged from the monitor profile linked to in sys prefs -- the way to tell this is to change between a few profiles and see if anything changes. When that happened to me, and it wouldn't update the display when I selected a new profile, restarting always cured it for a good while, and I never got down to the root cause.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:56 PM on February 20, 2011

OK! Progress!

It is a profile issue. I logged out of my normal profile and logged into an old one that was unused. My original monitor calibration profile works great and I can see the gradients on the white/black point images.

Now what? What prefs can I trash that might be the culprit?
posted by j03 at 3:06 PM on February 20, 2011

Did you check System Preferences > Universal Access? There's an "Enhance Contrast" slider there that might have gotten adjusted accidentally (it has a keyboard shortcut of Command-Option-Control-Comma/Period so it's not outside of the realm of possibility that you would trigger it without meaning to).
posted by bcwinters at 3:22 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look in: Macintosh HD > Users > username > Library > ColorSync > Profiles
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The profile may be corrupted, in which case, trashing it and making a new profile via the Displays control panel in the system prefs should fix it. If it reoccurs, then you'll need to find what caused it.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:00 PM on February 20, 2011

I've made many many new color profiles trying to fix this. The Displays control panel ColorSync profiles are not corrupted. It's... something else.

I'm at work now, I'll try trashing the profiles anyway and check the "Enhance Contrast" slider when I get home. Thanks for the brainstorming so far!
posted by j03 at 10:15 PM on February 20, 2011

I think you conflated "User" and "Profile" in your earlier update, a natural usage but confusing since you are talking about 'color profiles' and 'system user profiles' (I think). That's why it is suggested you trash your 'profile' and start a new one (which you obviously would already have tried).

No other help here, but good luck!
posted by soy bean at 6:40 AM on February 21, 2011

I blame cats on the keyboard!
posted by j03 at 5:45 AM on February 23, 2011

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