The worst thing about doing this now, is that the current settings that I have set up right currently, show me that a lot of the past work that I have been doing is pretty poor in contrast.
The previous post's image of werewolves concepts is a pretty good example of that. Here's the problem, on my monitor before calibration it looks fine. Obviously, I painted it in that environment. On my smartphone, a Nexus S, it looks fine, ignoring a few problematic high contrast areas.
On the newly calibrated monitor though - which I think is better than before, but far from perfect - it is barely visible and hard to make out. As a test, I brought the image into the GIMP and tweaked the Levels, Brightness/Contrast and Curves as well. It appears better on my screen now, but shows that as a concept piece it is kind of weak.
When getting into an extremely dark piece like this, and this is probably true of extremely bright pieces as well, cheap screens just aren't calibrated properly and give a poor range of blacks and whites. Graphics people shouldn't cut or skimp on monitors if they can afford not to.
I am going to have to fool with this monitor setup more and see where I can compromise. I just hope this doesn't ruin all my work.
If you feel that you could benefit from some eyeball calibration of your monitor, here is the link
that I used to tweak my NVIDIA settings.
P.S. to all of you that have viewed my work on a properly or semi-properly calibrated monitor, I apologize.