Monday, February 7, 2011

Double Vision

(I am completely aware that the photo I used for this has nothing to do with the actual topic of this post. But it's certainly pretty, innit?)

You've probably seen dual monitor setups in movies and TV shows and thought it would be pretty cool to use 2 monitors on one computer. Oftentimes it'll be a scene with some nerdy gamer-type locked in a basement with a bag of Funions and a case of Mt. Dew, blasting away zombies or spacecrafts as he's surrounded by 2 or more display screens. Other times you'll see it can possibly be during crime dramas or detective shows; because apparently, the police can never have too many screens to monitor people on.

Hit the jump for more:

However, if you're like me, you've always wanted more space on your screen for working. When I edit photos or videos, it can get pretty cramped, and having multiple layers of windows open (for instance, Finder/Explorer windows, multiple programs, etc) can get annoying when you have to switch back and forth constantly.

About a month or two ago I finally snagged a hand-me-down second monitor. I immediately hooked it up to the secondary display plug on my tower and WHAM! There I was with a whole bunch of extra screen space. One problem, though, was that it was a hand-me-down for a reason. The monitor was worn out. I don't just mean worn out like it was a few years old and had some cosmetic flaws. I mean the color was WAY off, even after calibrating it with my Huey Pro. I know the Huey Pro isn't the highest tier of monitor calibration, but it works for my usage just fine. Plus, the monitor was a 4:3 ratio LCD, which means all the light-weight-ness of an LCD but without that really useful widescreen aspect ration that would make it much more usable with today's software.

I did some digging and found a great deal on the Acer G215H 21.5" HD LCD Monitor. Right after it came in I loved it so much that I bought a second.

"OK, Rob, enough bragging. You have two monitors. Aren't you special? Get to the point!"

The point is, if you have the desk space, the money, and a two-port graphics card, it can be a huge advantage. I use Adobe Camera Raw for all of my photo editing, so I can't utilize the dual screens for that, but I like to keep a web browser or iTunes open on the second screen. That way I don't have to constantly switch windows to do something else and I can leave Camera Raw open and up front. When working in Photoshop it helps because you can use the maximum screen space for your open project and move all the tool panels to the second screen. I'm sure everyone who uses Photoshop struggles with screen space for all the tools that you may want to keep open for quick access.

Where it truly shines, for me, is in video editing. Using Final Cut, it allows me to keep the canvas window open at full screen size so I can view my timeline edits big and clear. With this particular monitor having full 1080HD capabilities, it is a huge help while editing HD footage.

If you have a decent way of calibrating your two monitors, it shouldn't matter if they are the same model, or even the same size/aspect ration. For me, it's nice that they are identical, but you could go with whatever works best for your own usage.

More soon,

No comments:

Post a Comment