Feature

” …the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are putting out very different color ranges…”


Choose video resolution below. Feature – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Color Differences
Length: 00:03:15


There has been a lot of back and forth about the color issue for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. We take a look at how different the “default” settings are and show how to most closely mimic the two systems.


The site has been abuzz with many comments and links in reference to the color differences in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. We thought we would take some time to clear up the confusion. But first we need to make one thing clear, we have said this many times on our site: all of our Head2Heads are done with “out-of-the-box” settings. Meaning they are completely default. The only changes that have been made to the systems are Full RGB and Extended modes enabled. This is the only way that we can guarantee that what is being captured is as the developer intended. And this is where the confusion comes in. Most of the time the default settings for a given game match within a threshold of each other, and you usually spot the characteristics of each system’s video card (Xbox 360 more contrasted, PlayStation 3 a little muted). However with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward didn’t match the default settings well at all.


Alright, take a look at the roll over below. This image shows the default brightness setting for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For both systems the default position for the brightness slider is 14 steps from the left. But what is interesting in this roll over is the RGB values for each of the black and grey boxes. Here you can clearly see why when set to default the PlayStation 3 version looks washed out compared to the Xbox 360. The value range is too far apart.


Roll over to see the differences in the default settings.


We decided to take a closer look at what is actually happening with the brightness settings in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For this, we took captures of the brightness settings from the lowest to the highest, all 41 steps, and then sampled each of the 3 black/grey boxes to get their RGB value. All of this data was then compiled into a spreadsheet and graphed for your viewing pleasure.  We have also provided all of the data in the “Data” tab above.


cod_mw2_color_comparison


So what does all of that data mean? Well, to put it simply, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are putting out very different color ranges based on the same slider position. So just matching the position of the slider will not ensure a color match between the consoles. The colors can be matched up pretty closely, but it is not perfect for every situation. In the pictures below, you will see that the PlayStation 3 has been matched closely to the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 matched to the PlayStation 3.


cod_mw2_color_diff_02 cod_mw2_color_diff_03 cod_mw2_color_diff_05 cod_mw2_color_diff_06


As you can see, the colors can mimic each other closely, although the Xbox 360 version seems to be slightly more saturated. But, as mentioned before, this isn’t the case for all scenes. Take a look at the snow scenario. Using the exact same settings as before, matching the PlayStation 3 to the Xbox 360 results in slightly darker visuals, whereas matching the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 3 version is slightly lighter (bloom could be a factor).


cod_mw2_color_diff_08 cod_mw2_color_diff_09


As you can see, Infinity Ward has made Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 a little less user friendly in the color correction department, thus all of the “proper screen shots” and “definitive screen” posts you probably have seen all over the net. Regardless, getting those screens to match takes a lot of trial and error, so kudos to them. Which brings us to our poll question. If a game doesn’t prompt you to make color adjustments, do you go out of your way to adjust them in the options?



If a game doesn’t prompt you to make color adjustments do you go out of your way to adjust them, if available, in the options?

View Results

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Data

Slider Position

PS3 High

PS3 Mid

PS3 Low

Xbox High

Xbox Mid

Xbox Low

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

3

5

0

0

1

0

0

4

10

0

0

3

0

0

5

15

0

0

4

0

0

6

18

0

0

6

0

0

7

22

0

0

9

0

0

8

26

0

0

11

0

0

9

29

0

0

14

0

0

10

33

0

0

17

0

0

11

37

3

0

21

1

0

12

40

6

0

24

2

0

13

43

11

0

27

3

0

14

46

15

3

30

5

1

15

50

18

6

33

6

2

16

52

22

10

37

9

3

17

55

25

15

39

11

4

18

58

29

17

43

14

6

19

61

31

20

45

16

8

20

64

34

24

48

19

10

21

66

37

27

51

22

12

22

69

40

30

53

25

15

23

71

43

33

56

28

17

24

74

46

36

58

31

20

25

76

48

39

61

33

23

26

77

51

41

63

36

26

27

80

54

44

65

38

29

28

83

57

47

67

41

31

29

84

59

50

70

44

34

30

87

61

52

72

46

36

31

89

64

54

74

48

38

32

91

66

57

76

51

41

33

93

68

59

78

53

43

34

95

71

61

80

55

45

35

96

72

64

82

57

48

36

98

74

65

84

59

50

37

100

76

68

85

61

52

38

102

77

71

87

64

54

39

103

80

72

89

66

57

40

105

82

74

91

67

59

41

105

84

76

93

70

60