It's not entirely clear what you did here. What do you mean by "going back to default calibration"?
Calibration consists of two independent processes - calibration and profiling. Calibration is a modification of the monitor itself, to put it in a somewhat more "ideal" state than it was. Calibration does not have very high precision, and is not part of the color management chain.
Color management enters with the second part, the monitor profile. The profile is built after the calibration is finished. It is a complete description of the monitor in its calibrated state. The standard color management chain kicks in at this point: Document profile (source) is converted to the monitor profile (destination).
IOW, display color management relies on the calibration being already in place. So if you change the calibration, you also need to make a new profile to describe the new state of the display. If you just change the calibration, but use the same profile, color managed applications will send the wrong numbers to the display and all bets are off.
After I made the new calibration, I selected that calibration in the "Display Profile" box. Is this what you are suggesting I missed?
What I meant by "going back to default calibration" was that I chose the default profile in the "Display Profile" box. So, using neither the new nor default display profile makes the color right.
if Photoshop is displaying bad color, you have one of the following:
- a bad monitor profile
- a source profile problem
- your source color isn't what you think it is
or something else is going on
do you have a wide-gamut monitor by chance
why not click on the camera icon and upload a small version of one of the problem files so we can open it...
ALL images in Photoshop and Bridge, etc. look flat, so uploading a file wouldn't help. I don't believe the files are the problem.
I am on a 27" iMac.
then that leaves a bad monitor profile or a source profile issue (or maybe a desaturate monitor colors by % setting in Photoshop Color settings)
if your images are in fact Adobe RGB (aRGB)
then they should appear moderately desaturated (compared to Photoshop) in unmanaged apps on an iMac monitor
try testing in a New User account (to rule out user preferences/corruption)...
rule out any custom monitor profiles you may be using...
here's another quick test:
open a tagged problem file in Photoshop
drag the same file into Safari and compare side by side
they should match dead on
if they don't match in the suspect user, trash the Photoshop prefs
if they don't match in the new user (after ruling out the monitor profile), you might try reinstalling the OS on top of your install or erase, start from scratch