Adjusting colour saturation in OS X
May 25, 2011 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Adjusting display colour saturation in OS X

Is there a way to globally adjust the colour saturation of displays in Mac OS 10.5.8? I know it can be done in various applications such as DVD Player and QuickTime Player, but it's a hassle to have to do it for each individual title I watch. I've tried calibrating it using the Displays control panel, but that seems to cover everything but saturation. Do I need some kind of third-party doohickey, or am I missing something?
posted by Crane Shot to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I recall leopard but dimly now, from my long forgotten youth, but I thought it also had an expert mode for the calibration that would let you change the gamma and the white point, which might be close to what you want.

On review, I found similar questions on the web (e.g. here) that said that snow leopard fixed it. Can you try 10.6.x?
posted by Mad_Carew at 3:14 PM on May 25, 2011

You could try using SuperCal. I think the free version works to some degree.

Another option would be to buy or borrow a colour calibration tool like the iOne Display 2 or the Datacolor Spyder 3, and properly calibrate your screen. The downside is that it's definitely not free.
posted by Magnakai at 3:47 PM on May 25, 2011

Calibrating your display may not give you the results you're looking for. A calibrated display is meant to accurately display colors, the key term here is accurate not necessarily what you want. If you calibrate it for print, you're attempting to make the output of your monitor appear as if it was printed on paper (not backlit, not super saturated).
SuperCal is based on the same principle as the OSX standard profiler but with more color values, so it should not give you a substantially different profile than the OSX profiler.
Your monitor should have global settings you can adjust (unless it's a Apple monitor or laptop).
posted by doctor_negative at 4:27 PM on May 25, 2011

Response by poster: I should clarify that I'm talking about an external HP monitor that I'm using primarily to watch movies... so you're right, what I'm looking for is not "calibration" per se, but just a simple saturation control. Unfortunately, the monitor itself doesn't provide one. It's mostly an issue when watching browser-based things like YouTube or Netflix... I can always use VLC for everything else. Such a simple thing... there's gotta be a way!
posted by Crane Shot at 4:58 PM on May 25, 2011

Usually monitors disable the saturation control for standard PC signals because really, the saturation should already be correct. If this is a monitor that also accepts HDMI (or DVI with HDCP), you might be able to switch to a "video" mode that includes saturation controls. Enabling this mode might cause other unwanted artifacts - edge enhancement, etc.

Anyway color saturation controls are a pretty crude tool that I personally don't think have much use with modern RGB signals.
posted by The Lamplighter at 5:06 PM on May 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone... actually, I want less saturation... the default colours are fine for use as a computer monitor, but for video content it's just way over-saturated. A simple slider adjustment in QT Player or VLC, and it looks great. If only there was a way to do that globally, I'd be all set.
posted by Crane Shot at 5:26 PM on May 25, 2011

In the VNC preferences, there's a Basic/All radio button set in the bottom left.

If you change the page while nothing is open, it should save that as default settings.

If it's a simple as "Open X, do gui action, watch movie", then perhaps you could to record an animator action to do that.
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:46 PM on May 25, 2011

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