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Author Topic: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?  (Read 2990 times)

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Jack Burton

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What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« on: December 24, 2011, 12:38:28 am »
I'm just curious what some of the other users here on the forum have set for their monitors.

If you don't know what color temp refers to look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

I try to have all my monitors set to 6500k since I figure that's something like what older arcade monitors might have shipped at and is probably what the dev's were looking at when they were originally designing the game on the pro monitors of the time.  

To me getting color temp right is almost more important than resolution.  If a display has too high of a color temp it will end up looking too blue and computer-y.

lilshawn

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 12:17:20 pm »
it's really subjective. ideally you want a monitor set up so the blacks are black and the whites are white.


*cue squiggly flashback*

we would set up the monitor first by displaying a black screen (block or hatch or pattern etc... depending on the game) set blacks by turning the brightness up about 3/4 and setting the screen until the blacks turned slightly gray then back a little to black.

then we display a RGB gradient and we would adjust the color drive. we would match up the red green and blue intensity to  match each other. this would effectivly set the white to "white" not to have a blue or red or green tint to it.

then readjust the black if need be.

/endflashback

so, no... no color temp.. if i did have to guess, it would somewhere between the ridiculously blue 5000k and up and the warmy 3000k.... so.... uhm... 4001?

mrazy1

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 08:13:05 pm »
I have to agree with lilshawn on this. If you have your black set right no need to have temp as the brightness of the colors guns are set by BLack.. So if yo have your black set right and your color drives set right Color temp should be right..
Thanks Michael

MonMotha

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 08:31:09 pm »
Um, color temp adjusts the relative intensities at "full white" of essentially red to blue (green is supposed to be somewhere in the between those).  Even if brightness and cut-offs (i.e. black level) are properly set, you can still freely adjust the color temperature by playing with the RGB gain settings.

The idea behind the scale is that you can take a so-called "black body radiator" and heat it up to a given temperature (that's the K - Kelvins) and measure the spectrum of it.  It will be a broad spectrum, hence appear white, but the weighting of each part will change with temperature.  At higher temperatures, there's more blue.  At lower temperatures, there's more red.

I usually try to adjust my monitors (PC and arcade) so that all three colors appear roughly equal in intensity on a color bar pattern.  On most tubes, with most peoples' eyes, this will give you 5000-6500K.  Computer monitors and televisions tend to ship with settings quite a bit weighted toward blue giving a higher color temp closer to 9300K.  I always turn my computer monitors down to ~6500K unless I'm doing sRGB color managed work which assumes a white point of 9300K.  I tend to leave my TVs set on the default "really blue" setting because TV production seems to take that into consideration.

I think trying to pin down the effective "real world" arcade monitor color temp is a relatively futile exercise.  They're always grossly mis-set in so many other ways whenever I've seen them both historically and in modern arcades that it's kinda pointless to consider color temp.  I'd say ~6500K is probably "reasonable" though.  Setting R, G, and B "perfectly equal" tends to put you closer to 5000K, though.  Lower than 5000K seems too low.

The recent digital CRT arcade monitors I've bought all seem to ship pre-set for 9300K, so there's another (somewhat conflicting) data point.

lilshawn

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2011, 11:28:32 pm »
Setting R, G, and B "perfectly equal" tends to put you closer to 5000K, though.  Lower than 5000K seems too low.

^this^ is what i meant by vthisv
so, no... no color temp.. if i did have to guess, it would somewhere between the ridiculously blue 5000k and up and the warmy 3000k.... so.... uhm... 4001?

also:

The recent digital CRT arcade monitors I've bought all seem to ship pre-set for 9300K, so there's another (somewhat conflicting) data point.

yeah, they assume we like smurfs?

Jack Burton

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2011, 02:41:51 am »
Um, color temp adjusts ....

....The recent digital CRT arcade monitors I've bought all seem to ship pre-set for 9300K, so there's another (somewhat conflicting) data point.

Pretty much what I was thinking.  Although I would lean towards the idea that the ones that are coming out now with 9300k as the default setting are just flat out wrong for many of the games they are displaying.  At a tournament in Columbus recently I had a chance to see Super Street Fighter II Turbo running at the same time in two candy cabinets side by side.  One of them looked natural and was probably the original monitor, and the other one had been replaced recently.  The new monitor looked extremely blue in comparision.  

I think for games that use a particular shade of green to draw trees things just look wrong if you don't use a warmer temp.  Good example is Twin Cobra.

« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 02:44:51 am by Jack Burton »

lilshawn

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2011, 03:10:40 am »
Likely the issues you seen where the result of a poorly adjusted screen. We have a few dual monitor time crisis machines... they are nearly impossible to get them looking the same. One always has slightly better blacks or the mid tones are off on one. Forget about different tubes or maufacturers, due to manufacturing diferences, even tubes produced one right after the other will have slight differences in color gaumut.

You will get the feel for what it is supposed to look like. Besides, even those rediculously blue monitors look fine after you stare at it for a while. You have to take frequent breaks every few minuets looking away from it or everything starts looking the same.

jimmy2x2x

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2011, 09:04:36 am »
Um, color temp adjusts ....

....The recent digital CRT arcade monitors I've bought all seem to ship pre-set for 9300K, so there's another (somewhat conflicting) data point.

Pretty much what I was thinking.  Although I would lean towards the idea that the ones that are coming out now with 9300k as the default setting are just flat out wrong for many of the games they are displaying.  At a tournament in Columbus recently I had a chance to see Super Street Fighter II Turbo running at the same time in two candy cabinets side by side.  One of them looked natural and was probably the original monitor, and the other one had been replaced recently.  The new monitor looked extremely blue in comparision.  

I think for games that use a particular shade of green to draw trees things just look wrong if you don't use a warmer temp.  Good example is Twin Cobra.



Is that a good example or bad example and how do you know my monitor is configured correctly?

Jack Burton

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2011, 11:43:31 am »
Well, it's not really good or bad.  I can't know how your monitor is configured.  Like lilshawn said, it can be a matter of just getting used to one setting.  

However, if your monitor has a setting to switch between color temps then you could start up Twin Cobra in mame and toggle between 6500k and 9300k.  I think that this particular game is a good example to highlight the different "feel" of each.  
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 11:52:45 am by Jack Burton »

Blanka

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2011, 06:38:30 am »
I always turn my computer monitors down to ~6500K unless I'm doing sRGB color managed work which assumes a white point of 9300K. 

I hope you don't do sRGB colour managed work at 9300K.....
sRGB is supposed to be 6500K

MonMotha

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2011, 01:11:31 am »
I always turn my computer monitors down to ~6500K unless I'm doing sRGB color managed work which assumes a white point of 9300K.

I hope you don't do sRGB colour managed work at 9300K.....
sRGB is supposed to be 6500K

Actually, wikipedia says that the spec assumes an ambient color temp of 5000K.  Combined with you saying 6500K and other places I've read 9300K, that means I've now heard all three common color temp settings.  The standard seems mostly concerned with gamma curves and such.  The document I read (ages ago) indicated that 9300K was assumed for sRGB since sRGB was supposed to be "close" on uncalibrated consumer displays, and those usually default to 9300K on PC monitors (though many also default to 6500K; there seems to be no standard).

Regardless, no I don't actually set my display to 9300K for sRGB.  I use the sRGB setting :) It seems reasonably accurate (after the monitor has warmed up - there's a component that I need to replace as it's developed a strong thermal sensitivity), though I don't have a calibrator to verify, and I'm sure it's drifted some due to the age of the monitor (~10 years).

Edit: Ah, weird.  There's an intentional mismatch between the display (D65 - about 6500K) and the ambient (5000K).  Weird.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 01:46:35 am by MonMotha »

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2011, 04:44:36 am »
I've messed around with this. In Windows, I've preferred 9300 because even with the brightness way up, 6500+/- seems dim. Higher color temp equals more defined graphics, which is what you want in a high res monitor. For landscapes and stuff, yeah, lower color temp makes it look rich. I used to love 'copper' and the like lensed glasses.

I just tried 6550 (that's #2 in my monitor's line-up, #3 being 'user') with Raiden and Twin Cobra.....and perhaps they are more accurate. I don't know as I like them better.

Incidentally, for those who prefer a higher temp in their OS use, I think  adjusting the default MAME options could give you a lower-looking temp. Of course, lots of people are going whole hog with HLSL, and adjusting saturation, color drives, etc. (Sort of the point of the feature, ultimately.)
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MonMotha

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 05:56:55 am »
9300K will appear brighter because there's more blue/less red, and your eyes are more sensitive to blue than red.  Your backlight (on an LCD) is also probably skewed toward blue, so you have more light to work with in that range.  That effect would be less pronounced on a CRT.

If things look "too dark", check your gamma setting.  It may be too low.  You may also need to adjust brightness and contrast.  Note that many LCDs now have a fixed "brightness" (black level) setting (and, to be fair, it's generally correct).  The "brightness" setting actually adjusts backlight level, which is probably a more accurate use of "brightness" but conflicts with the historical usage of that control adjusting black level.

In general, your monitor isn't nearly as bright as the factory settings would lead you to believe.  They know that people like an apparently bright picture, so they skew the settings to make things look brighter at the cost of proper image reproduction.  This is especially true in a floor demo mode.  There's something akin to the loudness wars on a showroom floor with monitors and TVs as to which model looks brighter.  I've noticed that many models in their out-of-box setup mode actually as "Is this being set up in a showroom or for normal use?".

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/ has some decent test patterns for tweaking up a monitor.

Blanka

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 08:39:10 am »
PC CRT's often have a white point around 9300K, that's why they are brightest at that setting. LCD's have mostly 6500K backlights, so they are brightest at 6500K. Most important in sRGB are the primaries (red, blue and green) and the gamma of 2.2. Guess the expected white point is mostly tube-type related: 9300K is most common on CRT's, 6500K is most common on LCD's. The white point of NTSC on the other hand (also CRT), is D65, and could be logical for arcade monitors, as they departed from NTSC TV screens. But the Japanese NTSC system used 93K as white point. So it is up to you!

Jack Burton

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 05:51:56 pm »
Hmm, I was under the impression that the white point for a CRT was variable and could be adjusted via the RGB bias and gain.  I have owned a few Sony trinitrons (GDM-5410, P1100, P1130) that included options for both in the menu.  

I've lost those monitors to age now.  My current monitor only has three controls labeled RGB as buttons across the front.  Are they bias or gain settings?  I'm thinking that they are gain since they mostly impact white.  

But by adjusting these am I moving farther away from a "native" setting? 

lilshawn

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 10:42:40 pm »
Hmm, I was under the impression that the white point for a CRT was variable and could be adjusted via the RGB bias and gain

yes.

and that's the idea. but bottom line... you want the white to be white.

what we are saying is because the light sources in things such as LCD and plasmas and CRT's are not "white" white there needs to be allot of farting around to make white actually WHITE. that's why most manufacturers give the option to adjust the output.

MonMotha

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2011, 12:46:19 am »
Plasmas don't have a backlight.  They actually have phosphors that are essentially identical to those found in a CRT.  The method of stimulation is just different.

Both plasma and CRT are emissive technologies.  The same element that generates the light is controlled directly to generate the picture.  You can adjust the relative levels of each primary color (RGB) to control the white point.  "White" is relative - there's nothing inherently wrong with 9300K, but it's quite a bit bluer than most real-world white light sources and will look kinda wrong when placed in an environment lit with a much lower color temp white source like an incandescent or "soft white" fluorescent lamp.  For reference, sunlight during the day is generally taken to be about 6500K.  OLEDs are also emissive and have similar properties wrt white point.

Most emissive technologies don't have a particularly well-defined "fully on" point, so you can just tweak the "color gains" to adjust the white point.


LCD is different.  It's a transmissive technology.  There's a uniform (ish) white backlight that's always on.  The LCD panel is then placed in front of it and used to selectively block some of this backlight to create the image.  In this case, if you do a 1:1 mapping of the input signal to how you set the panel, the white point will be determined by the color temp of the backlight (apparently usually 6500K-ish but varies with model, age, etc.) since "full white" means "pass everything".  You can instead skew the panel setting vs. input signals to adjust the white point at the expense of making it a little dimmer overall since "full white" actually blocks some of the backlight on some primaries in order to skew the white point temp.

LCD monitors having RGB LED backlights can kinda get around this by altering the color temp of the backlight itself, but RGB LED backlights are usually only found on reasonably high end LCD monitors.


The third category of displays are reflective displays.  LCDs can be used in this manner with a frontlight (which may be just ambient light) instead of a backlight and a reflector behind the LCD panel.  It's not normally done since the contrast, um, usually sucks, but see the Compaq iPaq 3600/3700 series for an example.  E-ink is a popular form of reflective display.  With E-ink, the light source is ambient light, so the white point of the display will pretty closely match that of the ambient light.

lilshawn

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2011, 01:33:37 am »
okay fair enough...

emmissive or not, white is only white when the red green and blue are mixed evenly. these "white points" are not white, they are a mix of too much green/red and too much blue (or not enough blue and not enough green/red whichever you choose to describe) white would be someplace in the middle.

emissive adjusts to emit more blue to increase the whitepoint to the 9000's where...
transmissive has to compensate for the lighting by removing or adding colors to compensate for shortfalls in the lighting. IE if the light is blueish, add more green/red to compensate... or if it's yellowish, add more blue.

vvthisvv

Quote
The LCD panel is then placed in front of it and used to selectively block some of this backlight to create the image.  In this case, if you do a 1:1 mapping of the input signal to how you set the panel, the white point will be determined by the color temp of the backlight (apparently usually 6500K-ish but varies with model, age, etc.) since "full white" means "pass everything".  You can instead skew the panel setting vs. input signals to adjust the white point at the expense of making it a little dimmer overall since "full white" actually blocks some of the backlight on some primaries in order to skew the white point temp.



for all technologies the black should be black (not grey) and the white should be white (not tinted any color or combination there of)

HOME WORK:

put on a pair of colored or maybe even anaglyph glasses for a few hours... (psst.. those are the red and blue 3d glasses) notice anything now?  things look pretty normal right it's like they are clear... cause your brain has now compensated for the color. you eyes do this all the time. if you adjust your monitor to that ridiculous blue whitepoint and look at it long enough... hey it looks white! same for the yellowy one. stupid brain.

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Re: What color temperature do you use for arcade games?
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2011, 04:14:28 am »
put on a pair of colored or maybe even anaglyph glasses for a few hours... (psst.. those are the red and blue 3d glasses) notice anything now?  things look pretty normal right it's like they are clear... cause your brain has now compensated for the color. you eyes do this all the time. if you adjust your monitor to that ridiculous blue whitepoint and look at it long enough... hey it looks white! same for the yellowy one. stupid brain.


Well, to a point, yes. But I recall hearing that some ethnicities actually see colors a little differently. There may be other factors, whether nature or nurture. In any case, for the last day, I've had my main monitor at 6550, and I'm starting not to notice the 'apparent dimness' or even dingy-ness. I haven't experienced any fatigue (though nor did I at 9300), and we'll see after a week's time.
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