The Ideal Home Office – Part 3 – Why I Don’t Use Curved or Ultra-wide Monitors

Here are 5 more suggestions for computer monitor setups based on my experience working in visual effects studios, schools, and at home.

1. With proper positioning, I don’t find a curved monitor necessary. And in a room with lots of windows or light sources, your curved monitor is more likely to have unwanted glare or reflections. I would only get a curved monitor if I was purchasing an ultra-wide, but…

2. I’m not a fan of ultra-wide monitors for my workflow. Or the LG DualUp monitor (that looks like 2 monitors stacked on top of each other). They are good designs but bigger isn’t always better. Here’s why I prefer my 2 monitor setup: A. Sometimes I only need or want to use one monitor to focus. Why use more electricity than needed? B. Too many active windows distracts me, and in cases where I need more, I can use tabs instead of windows or hotkeys to switch between desktops. C. I do precise color work intended for a range of viewers, who will be viewing it on a variety of devices that I have no control over. I like having the ability to work with two distinctly different looks to quickly compare how an image will look.

3. For my primary monitor, I try to make the color settings as neutral as possible. (Look for sRGB or Rec709 as good starting points). You would think this is the default, but most monitors come pre-programmed with image and color settings you may want to disable or dial back. Things like: motion smoothing, noise reduction, dynamic contrast, auto picture mode, sharpen/edge enhancement, or a specific color temperature like “warm” or “cool” can make your image look worse, or at the very least, very different from how they were intended to be seen by photographers, filmmakers, designers, etc. This is true for TV’s as well.

4. For my secondary monitor, my settings are customized to resemble how images appear on my smartphone. One main aspect to this is high saturation and high contrast, which makes the image look colorful and “pop” more, but hides some detail in the shadows and highlights. My primary monitor’s color settings lets me see those details.

5. Monitor brightness largely depends on the brightness of the room where you are working. Try to avoid glare on the screen from windows or lights. If you’re primarily working in a dark room and viewing bright documents or web pages, reduce brightness to avoid eye strain. Use “dark mode” whenever possible. Alternatively, in a bright space you may want to increase brightness (and a bit of contrast) to better distinguish colors.

Photo Note: My home office in 2021: downsized from 3 monitors to 2 and added panels of wood to lift my monitors higher.

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