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Author Topic: Well...I am about to give up on Istock...  (Read 15732 times)

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« on: February 06, 2008, 18:05 »
0
As said above. I have just received another rejection and an invitation to try again in 90 days but I will most likely just give up. Simply either I am incapable of taking a good picture, or their review criteria are totally out of this world.

What the reviewer says:
This file contains artifacting when viewed at full size. This technical issue is commonly created by the quality settings in-camera, in post-processing or in RAWsettings. Artifacting may be the result of other factors such as excessive level adjustments.

The camera: 1DMkII + 24-70/2.8L. RAW with minimum of adjustments barely touched in PS. The image didnt need adjustments, the pic was taken on white background with plenty of light, lightmeter and M mode on the camera. Saved as JPEG in CS3 with quality=12 (max). No down/up sizing. While white background may not be a perfect (255,255,255) - the clipping path was provided for the subject.

Here is the full size image (one of the three rejected, the others are over 3Mb and I could not upload it).

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6921931&size=lg

My theory is that
1)   They have too many submissions
2)   They have a big backlog
3)   They may actually be right which is why I am posting this

Maybe someone more experienced and critical than me can give me some feedback ?
After all, I do not claim to be the guru on artifacting but if a setup like the above does indeed produce artifacting then I would like to know what doesnt.

Thanks.


« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 18:15 »
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Is that REALLY the best that camera can do?! It looks like it has had life processed out of it.

« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 18:16 »
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The linked image appears as it was scaled up or overprocessed (heavy noise reduction?), imho it has pretty rough edges (especially in the glass) and a lack of fine detail all around (smudged textures). If it was really barely touched into PS3 I'd check the quality settings of your Canon.

« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 18:17 »
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I often ponder these thoughts:

1. When reviewers do their reviewing, do they do it on a calibrated monitor?

2. Do they examine images at 100%.... or do they go even further to 150, and even 200%? (where artifacts will surely start to form at that resolution)

3. Are reviewers diligent enough to keep  their monitors cleaned on a daily basis where there will be no confusing a mark on the screen with an  artifact?

4. Am I being too paranoid, or is it really true the reviewers hate me?

Best to you,
The MIZ

« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 18:25 »
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I was just lucky to get into IS on the first try. Back then in Sept 2007 I had no idea how to process images on computer. I did not have PS yet. I think that helped me to get into IS, but was not helping me to get admitted to StockXpert or SS. Only after I got PS and Noise Ninja, I got admitted to StockXpert and SS. Looks like the best strategy to get into IS, to forget about artistic ambitions and just send them images as camera sees them. Btw, I like you image, I can't produce something like that myself since my PS skills are not great.


 

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 18:33 »
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In addition to what others have said, here's what I see.

On the glass, lower left side near the bottom there appears to be some green bleed over onto the white.  You've got some fairly heavy shadowing that isn't helping the image any.  And on the stem (right side, it looks like there may be some CA on both the top and bottom.

Here's a trick for you.  Go into Photoshop and add a new adjustment layer.  Adjust the layer by moving the left slider (black) all the way over to the right till it's on top of the white point.  What you should see is the glass and flower all black (or pretty much black anyway) and the rest white.  Where it's not white, there's color of some sort.  On your image, there's color all over the place.  Ergo, the background ain't white and you've got a lot of clean-up left to do.   :'(

« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 18:37 »
0
I often ponder these thoughts:

1. When reviewers do their reviewing, do they do it on a calibrated monitor?

2. Do they examine images at 100%.... or do they go even further to 150, and even 200%? (where artifacts will surely start to form at that resolution)

3. Are reviewers diligent enough to keep  their monitors cleaned on a daily basis where there will be no confusing a mark on the screen with an  artifact?

4. Am I being too paranoid, or is it really true the reviewers hate me?

Best to you,
The MIZ


1. Yes
2. 100% is OK
3. is clean here ;)
4. reviewers don't hate you, you're just being too paranoid ;)

« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2008, 18:39 »
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oh. sorry ;) don't give up with Istock, just be careful with your images. that's all  :)

michealo

« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 19:02 »
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There is definitely artifacting ...

« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2008, 19:13 »
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Thanks everyone.

W7LWI: yes - I know how to check for some residual color using levels - I left the background as it was, and added a clipping path instead in case someone wanted a 100% white background. Green bleed - it is just the light filtering through the green glass. CA - agreed, the 24-70 is not exactly known for being CA free. Will try with 100 macro lens.

My problem is the canned response: artifacting. If I knew what exactly this is that has been met with the reviewer's disapproval - then I could possibly fix it in in future submissions.

As things stand now, though, images which sell on other sites are being rejected for "overfiltering" or "artifacting". Both are very general statements which do not provide any specific info, making it a guessing game.

ANOUCHKA: I haven't asked the question regarding calibrated monitor at native resolution (I guess everyone is using LCDs these days), because this would suggest that the reviewers do not know what they are doing, which I am sure is not the case- but from one of the other sites I have received a rejection with a reason "moire pattern" - where there was none (but I am still using a calibrated CRT). I can see moire in some of my pics - on a LCD reset to other than native resolution.

ALE1969: there are no RAW settings on the camera which would affect the quality of the image. RAW conversion, on the other hand, could be a factor - so I will have a look at it again. When I said "barely touched' - I meant it, since I was advised to not overdo PS corrections for Istock submissions. I was similarly careful with the other two images (OTOH the definition of "excessive" adjustments somehow eludes my understanding).

I guess it is just frustration on my part. All of the images which I have submitted to Istock so far have been accepted elsewhere - and most of them sell, despite my very small portfolio.

I think I will give it one last go in 3 months - but there is only so much work I am willing to put into it considering the amount of comission paid.

« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2008, 19:17 »
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MICHAELO: could you please indicate the offending portion of the image more closely?

I am not saying there is none - just that I can't spot it at 100% magnification. There would be none when the image is vieved at 10x8 size or so.

So - a 100% crop from the image I posted with an arrow showing the artifact would be a real help...

DanP68

« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2008, 19:34 »
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oh. sorry ;) don't give up with Istock, just be careful with your images. that's all  :)

Hi Anouchka,

Do you review for iStock?  Just curious.    :)

« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 20:13 »
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These still life subjects, especially flowers are the hardest to get past the reviewers. Go out and take some landscape pictures for the first review and try to send them still life for regular uploads...

I'm not the best reviewer, but there is some blobby-ness on the base of the flower and stem. It should be in sharp focus. That camera is capable of much better images...

« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 21:02 »
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Ouch. If that's from a 1Dmk11 I'm glad I can't afford one, as it's very very ordinary. The artifacting is worse on the stem, which looks as though it has been blurred by a noise removal filter and then oversharpened to get the detail back. There's no way this would pass inspection at istock, ever. The same problem is visible on the glass. I'd double check the settings on the RAW processor - something is doing horrible things to this image - make sure noise removal and sharpening are both off.

« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2008, 21:11 »
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Sorry, but I agree... there's lots of artifacts on this image. I think you have to learn to see those things, that's why they give you 90 days. when I started, I didn't know eather, but I didn't give up and today they are my best earner. You shouldn't give up on them! :)

« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2008, 21:24 »
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OK - thanks. It appears that the general consensus is that the image is... well - crap. The truth is, recently I "upgraded" to CS3 and try to use its RAW converter. Previously I was using RAWShooter (and PS7) with apparently better results.

I will check the whole workflow process again - maybe there is something I am overlooking.
At any case - thanks for the input, I will try to do better than this.

Just one more request - if someone can point out the artifacts ond the 100% crop - that would be great, and maybe I will be able to avoid this in future.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2008, 21:37 »
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I can clearly see most of the problems that have already been mentioned. If you can't see them, maybe one of the problems is your monitor.

« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2008, 21:37 »
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Allow me to be the one to tell you... I think your image is just fine.
If it's any constipation to you, If I were a reviewer, it would have gone up on the site I was reviewing for.

Now that's my opinion... and I'm sticking to it!
I would also comment on the exposure. It's just right.
Also, I like the idea of the long vertical slender glass, capped with the horizontal flower....(good move)

The MIZ's personal RATING SYSTEM (1-5)

Composition 5
Exposure 5
Focus 5
Framing 3
Color  4

Artistically pleasing to look at 5
Attention to details 5
Mood Value 4

I give this a STAR Rating of 4.5

Be well my friend and good luck,
The MIZ

« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2008, 21:42 »
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Funny, I wouldn't describe what I see as "artifacting".  I see a very plastic look, lacking texture and an imperfect white background.  Stem edges are what you must consider "artifacting" but to me the flaws look like part of the plastic effect. 

After all, how did you get this denoised look? In-camera settings?

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2008, 22:26 »
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"denoised look" - pretty funny  ;D

Camera settings (as said before) have nothing to do with the image - I shoot RAW. I just had set 4 halogen lamps with some white cloth over them to diffuse the light and eliminate shadows. The image came out of the camera pretty much as you see it, with very minor corrections afterwards.

In one of my previous attempts I had all three images rejected on the basis of being "overfiltered". Since I was already very much aware of this being one of major reasons for rejections - I sent  100% RAW crops with all settings in neutral - just to show that almost no filtering was present. No answer (well, to be honest I haven't expected any...).

Now - I know that my pics are not perfect. And I am aware that at 100% and above things start showing up. I was never much of a pixel peeper, if the image looks OK at 50% - then it is OK to me. No one in his right mind would expect to print much more than say 14"x10" from a 8Mp camera (OK, I know it is possible with some fancy interpolation, GenuineFractals or some such - so let's not start any flame wars).

On the monitor with 1600x1200 resolution you do not view the pics at more than 40% anyway. But - if the rejected images sell OK somewhere else - then I am getting a bit frustrated.

Of course I accept all the above remarks regarding the issues with this image - after all it takes someone uninvolved to notice things like this. And I will try to correct them and do better next time. But - someone please save this pic and print it - and view it on a monitor (not at 200% or 100% - just the way it would be used if downloaded). And then tell me that it is not acceptable...if it really isn't.

« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2008, 23:03 »
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And, on a more general note: I always thought (and still do) that the No 1 criteria for an image is: is it going to sell ?

Of course technical requirements are important - but in the end it is the customer who decides what is right and what is wrong. This image has been knocked back twice for "artifacting" and "overfiltering". Nonetheless, it sold 10 times on Fotolia within 4 weeks (with a portfolio of about 35 images).

http://www.fotolia.com/id/5549902

I am not arguing or trying to subvert the acceptance criteria. What I am saying there is no logic (at least no business logic) at work sometimes...

« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2008, 23:51 »
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Funny, I wouldn't describe what I see as "artifacting".  I see a very plastic look, lacking texture and an imperfect white background.  Stem edges are what you must consider "artifacting" but to me the flaws look like part of the plastic effect.
I had the same exact reaction.

And, on a more general note: I always thought (and still do) that the No 1 criteria for an image is: is it going to sell ?
Yes an image may sell well, but that doesn't reflect quality because buyers don't typically inspect the image at 100% before buying (they already have high quality expectations from iStock). Focusing on short-term sales rather than long-term quality of the images at iStock is a "tragedy of the commons" type of thinking.

The stem on the flower has an out-of-focus, artificial look to it. My guess it that the reviewer was referring the the area of the stem just above the glass.

Why did you strip all the camera data from the photo?

« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2008, 23:56 »
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I didn't strip anything - I just had to upload it to some accessible server (and PhotoNet was it). They do not (?) support EXIF data (well, I should know, have been a member for 4 years - but I am not 100% sure - and this is the only reason I can think of).
I will check the original image.

« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2008, 00:05 »
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The reality is that if you want images to get accepted at istock they have to look great at 100 per cent. To some extent it's a bit daft as we all know that if an image looks pretty good at fifty per cent on screen, it's going to make a fine good size print. However if an end user wants to make a crop from it, or enlarge it to a really big print or even do some heavy postprocessing with curves etc, this quality of image won't stand up to it, and so istock will reject it. Other sites are less  fussy. I'm still amazed that your camera produces stuff like that - I'd check the RAW settings for noise reduction and sharpening (the default levels on both in CS2, anyway are not zero, which they need to be for istock)


« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2008, 00:08 »
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And, respectfully, I disagree regarding this

"Yes an image may sell well, but that doesn't reflect quality because buyers don't typically inspect the image at 100% before buying (they already have high quality expectations from iStock)."

No problem with inspecting at 100% or 200% if need be, but...this is not how the image is being used/viewed. So, while inspection at 100% is a chosen method to ensure quality (I have no disagreement with that) - there should be also a sellability aspect considered.  If there are minor defects at 100%, but in the opinion of the reviewer the image is going to sell - why, for instance, not introduce something like "conditional" acceptance: the image gets say 1 or 2 month grace period in which it has to sell in order to stay listed - or it gets deleted. Let the customer decide.

Microstock sites do not exist to promote quality (although it is a vital factor in their continuing existence and sales) - but to sell images. At least this is my (maybe misguided) opinion.

But...I am getting away from the main subject of this thread, which wasn't my intention.


 

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