What settings to use with LED lamps?

  • My remodeled office has four LED ceiling lamps. At night my monitor has a pronounced pink/orange hue to it, not really attractive at all. While I scroll up/down, the background goes to dark pink. During the daytime it looks just about like it always did, pre-f.lux.

    What is f.lux intending to accomplish after sundown? I'm still not understanding the benefits...too much tech-speak in your documents. There is no LED setting in the "Change Color To..." menu, so what should I select to make the colors more natural and pleasant?

  • This isn't about finding the most attractive results for you to look at or finding the settings that best go with the type of lights you're using. This is about avoiding blue light at night because blue light interferes with melatonin production. If there's too much blue in the light you're being exposed to, then it can prevent your body from producing melatonin, and your body needs to have a certain amount built up before it gets the signal that it's time to produce other things that make your body truly ready to sleep, and it can take a few hours for that to happen. Computer monitors produce way too much blue light to be safe to use at night during those last 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Of course, there are many types of indoor lighting that produce too much blue light as well, so you can't just say "I'm using f.lux, so I'm fully covered". F.lux can be just a small part of the solution.

    So, this is about your health.

    As far as the top part of the monitor being darker than the bottom, that's normal for monitors. It has nothing to do with f.lux. You're only seeing the effect more because of the color. With f.lux set to 6500K, you will still see it. Stand up and sit down while looking at your monitor. The effect you're seeing is called "gamma shift", and it's due to the physical design of your monitor (how it emits the light that forms the image in front of you - it's a bit directional).

    So, there is no best setting to use with LED lights. There's no best setting for any kind of lighting. You just want to do what you can to reduce or avoid your exposure to blue light at night, and you can't only do it with f.lux. You have to consider all sources of light, not just your computer monitor. F.lux simply enables a blue light conscious person to continue using their computer at night even though the rest of their house lights are very warm and free of blue light.

  • Thanks for the explanation, that helps.

    I said, <<While I scroll up/down, the background goes to dark pink.>> which I think you misinterpreted as differing appearances on the top and bottom of the screen. What I mean is, when I grab the vertical scroll bar, or hold down the up or down arrow, or the PgUp or PgDn buttons to scroll the screen contents, the background of the whole screen, and the text, take on a distinct pink/orange hue that's more pronounced than when I'm not scrolling up or down. As soon as I release the keys, the hue returns to the mild pink/orange that my original question is about. Any explanation and/or cure?

    So, would you suggest that tonight I just experiment with the various "Change color to..." settings to find the most suitable one for night work? I understand there's no preset for LED bulbs.

    Thank you again for patiently explaining this to me.

  • That scrolling thing is due to the way the average monitor works (you probably have what's known as a "TN panel"). It does this all the time (it's more of a blurring or ghost trail type of effect than anything), but you can see it far more easily when the color temperature is much warmer than normal. You can do it with anything that makes the color temperature warmer, not just f.lux.

    Experimenting is a good idea. The warmer the color temperature you can tolerate, the better off you are because that will mean your monitor is emitting less blue light. Of course, if your indoor lighting is still emitting too much blue light (what we can call "alerting light"), then choosing warmer colors will really only be more for comfort. I find that when I've been awake for a long time, warmer color temperatures are much more comfortable. For example, right now I've been awake for maybe 24 hours and if I switch from 6500K to like 1900K or warmer, it feels like a huge relief. What I'm getting at though is, there's really no point in trying to use f.lux to avoid melatonin suppression when your indoor lighting is already doing that to you.

    The reason why the presets are named after different light sources is partly for fun, and partly so that you know what to expect from that preset. For example, fire embers are usually pretty red. So, 1200K is named "Ember". That way, you know that 1200K should look pretty red (and no one has to ask why it's so red). Candles are more orange/gold, so 1900K is named Candle. Each one was given a name that describes the general appearance of the color temperature it will change to so that you know what it should look like when you choose it.

    You don't have to use that menu either. It's just there for convenience. You can move the slider manually, or you can press Alt+Shift+Page Down and Page Up to change the color temperature too. There are really no right ways or wrong ways to use f.lux. Sure, there's the original intention as I described of making it easier to avoid blue light at night in order to make it easier to avoid having your melatonin production interfered with, but a lot of people use f.lux just to reduce the amount of blue light for increased eye comfort.

    So yeah, I guess some things aren't like what you thought. :)

  • Sounds like you have some daylight-colored lamps in the office, and f.lux will always look "too orange" in a room like this.

    Our view is that lights need to change a whole lot at night too, though not very many do!
    In a room that's pretty bright, it's usually true that your screen makes less light than the room does.

    Anyway, if this is a machine you always use at the office, I would recommend trying one of the less intense presets like "color fidelity" or just move the slider until it looks better.

  • I can turn off the overhead LED's and turn on a desk lamp (3-way incandescent bulb) for my nighttime work. All I need for night work is the ability to see the keyboard and read docs on my desk. I already have felt that this setup is a bit more relaxing than the LED's blazing down on me, even though they have dimmers which I occasionally use. Now that you-all have started to enlighten me about the science behind this, I will be more attentive to it and see if my sleep pattern is altered.

    Thanks again, this is turning out to be a useful app and I appreciate your contribution.

  • Yes exactly! I think more people should do this - just have two kinds of lamps for different times of day.

    We wish all lights were programmable over the network, but maybe it will take a few years to get there. Our Philips Hue support in f.lux is pretty good, if you ever get to try that system.

  • Overhead lights will always be more alerting due to their physical location regardless of how dim you can get them to be. Think about how alerting and energizing the sun is on a clear day when it's directly overhead. So, this is a natural reaction after living on this planet for thousands of years (at the very least).

    So, when you're only using lights that are physically in a low location (like a desk lamp), the natural reaction to that will be similar to the reaction of the sun being at or near the horizon during sunset.

    As you're probably thinking by now, yeah there is more to this than just the color temperature or brightness of the light. The higher the physical location of the light source, the more alerting it is.

Log in to reply