Beware! The Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-Dot Gamma Nightmare

I just solved a color issue on my Mac that was so insidious, so destructive and so mind boggling that I had to post a warning to others.

I was working away on some video, doing motion graphics and color correction, etc. and at some point, I noticed that everything seemed darker and “off”. I really noticed it in some motion graphics that have grey lines over black: the grey lines were barely showing up.

I looked at every display setting I could find. I read up on all of the crazy gamma shift issues around Mac, QuickTime, Final Cut, etc. I was tearing my hair out, and about to do something drastic, like reformat my hard drive and reinstall everything.

Then finally, almost by accident, I stumbled past the Universal Access settings. My Display was set to Enhanced Contrast. If you use this key combination: Ctrl-Option-Cmd-. (dot) you will increase the display contrast by one notch. I must have hit this by accident — although I’m not sure how. This totally changes your display gamma curve across everything, and is insidious because it is not a setting you will find anywhere on the Display prefs.

Problem solved. Doh!

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