Quick Fix: Blues turning purple in Photoshop after monitor calibration

Tested with: Windows Vista Home Premium, Photoshop CS3

I loaned a Spyder 2 express from the school, with the intention of making my monitor color more accurate because I’ll be doing a lot of digital art this year. It was pretty good to begin with, in my opinion, but I just wanted to be sure…

I’m not complaining about the Spyder itself – very easy to use, and most of my screen did look better after calibration. Except the blues in color-managed applications like Photoshop. Behold:

So how did I get my (0, 0, 255) blues to look like their normal selves again?

The Somewhat Lacking Fix

Go to View > Proof Setup then check Monitor RGB. Mine was at Working CMYK before I changed it. Basically what this does is let you quickly change the color space you are working in. I think.

Now when you press Ctrl-Y to toggle the proofing, your colors should revert to their normal sRGB selves. The problem with this is that the color picker still displays the whole stretch of pure blues as purple, which is not so much a problem for photo editing but a huge issue for digital art. Which brings me to the…

The “Dirty Hack” (as described by a friend)

This is essentially breaking the path to the calibrated color profile created by the Spyder. This probably makes color-managed apps unable to find it, and so they revert to sRGB or whatever other default Windows is set to use.

Navigate to C:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\color and look for the profile that the calibration software created. In my case it’s called Spyder2express.icm. Either a) delete, b) rename or c) move to another folder (I renamed mine). The effect was instantaneous for me. I Alt-Tabbed back into Photoshop and my blues were back.

The Ideal Solution

Haven’t found this yet. Feel free to share.


Holidays in Bree

There’s not much to post about today. The school holidays have started, though this year’s hols are far busier than ever before. Choir practices just ended last week, but they’re having a chalet tomorrow and I haven’t prepared the stuff I should have learnt for it. The computers are having a karaoke outing on the 18th, the prospect of which seems quite daunting. I’ve never done karaoke. If my singing sucks it will be twice as bad because I’m now a chorister. And how interesting can listening to other people sing be? It might be all right for half an hour, but hours at a go just seems strange.

In LOTRO news, my hobbit minstrel Cedia reached Level 16 today, and I finally ventured out of the Shire to Bree-land. I found a cosmetics dealer and finally changed her out of her previous outfit.


After spending 16 levels in the Shire, Bree is a big change.

The Shire:




Cedia lives on Elendilmir, in case anyone wants to join up.

Wallpaper Pack: Vaarsuvius

All right, I lied. I’m not releasing two versions.

Vaarsuvius Wallpaper Pack

Current version: 1.0.1

The following are wallpaper-sized versions of a simple illustration I did over the past few days. The character featured is Vaarsuvius, elven mage of unidentifiable gender from Rich Burlew’s webcomic The Order of the Stick. Available in 2 versions each for standard 1024×768, 1280×960 and widescreen 1280×800, 1600×900.

Release notes

  • Fixed unclear collar. Thanks to Glass Mouse for pointing it out.


  • Initial release.

Known bugs (spoilered)

  • Hair
  • Highlights on skin (they don’t look good – but thanks anyway, Dispozition)

Special thanks

Glass Mouse, Dispozition, Kaytara, Zanaril, EvilDMMk3, half-halfling, Mercenary Pen, Irbis, zyborg, TheArsenal (?), licoot, Discord, Veros, Kumori_Ekisu, Lira, TheSummoner, Herpestidae, Serpentine.

Quick Fix: Large space before footnotes in MS Word

It’s frustrating having programs screw up on you when there’s a pressing deadline to meet. Today while editing my 40-page behemothof a PW report (before adding all figures, tables and double-spacing and enlarging the fonts) I was unlucky enough to encounter this issue:

After the footnote divider line, but before the footnotes themselves, there would be a huge expanse of blank space. It was wreaking havoc on my formatting and turning all my tables into multiple-paged impossible-to-read clusters of cells.

Turns out this is caused by something called a footnote separator which you have to go to Draft mode (under the View tab in MS Word 07 and up) to edit it.

  1. Go to the View tab, then choose Draft.
  2. Go to the References tab and click Show Footnotes. (On Macs, go to ViewFootnotes – thanks to commenter Gerard for spotting this)
  3. In the drop-down list that appears in the Footnotes area, choose Footnote Separator.
  4. Delete any extra spaces, carriage returns etc. It’s handy to have “show non-printing characters” switched on.
  5. Repeat for the other one – I think it was Continuous Footnote Separator.
  6. Go back to View and switch back to Print Layout.

It’s gone!

If this was helpful, let me know in a comment! P.S. Shameless plug for my new blog, where I continue to write posts about life, design, usability, the tech industry, language, cooking and other little geeky things.

Update: Commenter GE suggests that copying and pasting your entire document into a new file may also get rid of the problem.

New York Trip Reflections

Empire State Building as seen from Top of the Rock

Image via Wikipedia

Reflections that I’m submitting to the school. Personal thoughts not included, naturally.

On this trip we visited several museums, and I immensely enjoyed most of them. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art’s 19th- and 20th-century wings as well as the Guggenheim’s 19th-century collections were all of great interest to me. I am one of those people who can spend hours in front of a classical sculpture or painting; one who believes that art’s highest purpose is to bring beauty to the world. It is quite an old-fashioned view, I suppose, but it could be argued that beauty exists in different forms and thus my maxim encompasses all kinds of art from old to new. Thus I spent many happy hours in these museums sketching and just taking in the skill of the works. Before leaving for New York I had already tentatively tried out oil paints after being inspired by some contemporary illustrators who worked in oil. Now I am further convinced that I would like to work in a traditional style using oil paints for my art ILP this year.

I was not very fond of the modern art museums such as MoMA PS1 and the New Museum because the works there came with little or no explanations/wall text, making them hard to understand. Some of the works there were just plain strange or “vulgar” by today’s standards as well. However after thinking about this for a while I decided that our reactions to these works now would be akin to how critics reacted to new, experimental styles of art that started emerging in the 19th century like Impressionism or Fauvism. Back then works in these styles were regarded as vulgar and almost blasphemous. Now we wonder how such masterpieces could ever be derided and say that critics of that time were too stuffy and conservative. And yet now I was acting like one of these conservative critics when faced with new art forms, because I had been raised to believe that the works of the Old Masters were the ultimate form of beauty. I decided that I should not be too closed-minded and disparage a work just because it offended my sensibilities.

After visiting the Empire State Building, I accidentally took one of their audio guide machines with me. This incident was quite embarrassing but on the plus side it made me become much more careful and alert when we visited other places of interest. Speaking of alertness, I feel I did quite a good job of taking care of my personal belongings and being sharp. Even though I was sleeping most of the time when we took the subway and a bit zoned-out due to jet lag, I made sure to stay near the group and stay cautious of suspicious strangers like a tout who offered us a ride back to our hostel one night after we finished a sightseeing cruise.

Some of the others on the trip wanted to spend all the available time shopping, which I think is the wrong attitude. After all, the main aim of the trip was not to shop but to learn more about the cultures of the world. The shoppers probably felt I was a bit of a spoilsport in this regard but my reasoning is why fly to the other side of the world just to buy something you can get for pretty much the same price back home? It’s not as if the product is any better – even a Made in America or Japan tag doesn’t guarantee quality nowadays. Standing in between two towers made of melting white chocolate in an installation, now that’s something more intimately tied to the experience of being overseas.