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Author Topic: Well...I am about to give up on Istock...  (Read 15721 times)

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« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2008, 16:51 »
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2)   I do not think that the image has too many artifacts if any, but most definitely it has issues, and in the end I think that I have botched this one up rather badly. The final result is not what it could be and artifacts is a convenient scapegoat here. I put this vase on the table, plyed with lighting and most of people refer to as artifacts are actually there mostly internal reflections and distortions due to rapidly changing thickness.


I fear with this you have not seen what some of us are, glass is smooth and there are jagged artifacts which just should not be there at 100% percent, period.

I'm afraid thesentinel is right. Please don't take this as harsh criticism, it's not my intention at all, but really that glass has jagged edges in your photo and I highly doubt is like that in reality. If I wouldn't know anything about the image I'd say it's a compressed jpeg scaled up to greater size, it really looks that way. Since your camera is innocent and beside the focus problems you're evidently able to shoot (I wear strong corrective glasses too and focusing is a pain sometimes, sigh, I know the feeling!) the problem is in post-processing.
In CameraRaw you have to check you didn't inadvertely a different image size than the original one (the pull-down setting is in the bottom of the ACR window), then put to zero both sharpening and noise reduction.

P.S. the points where there are jagged edges are the ones already pointed out by araminta. These ones don't look like "natural" glass imperfections, neither a focus problem. Those ones come from a poor image interpolation.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 16:54 by ale1969 »


« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2008, 16:58 »
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ale 1969: thesentinel may well be right - and you may be right: so, for God's sake, please just take a crop from the image and show which area exactly contains jaggies.

Here is where you can download GViewer to do that in about 10 seconds:

www.freedownloadscenter.com/Multimedia_and_Graphics/Graphics_Viewers

« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2008, 17:08 »
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Example of jagged edges magnified at 600% (but still very visible at 100%)



You see those hugely squared borders? Is the glass made that way? I doubt so.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 17:10 by ale1969 »

« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2008, 17:09 »
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ale 1969: thesentinel may well be right - and you may be right: so, for God's sake, please just take a crop from the image and show which area exactly contains jaggies.

They are there red arrowed in aramintas post, if you don't see them there then any further discussion is moot.

eta: To me the image looks worse than  a less than 3mp cam from five years ago up-ressed.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 17:16 by thesentinel »

« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2008, 17:36 »
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will redo
 
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 22:47 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2008, 18:11 »
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I agree with thesentinel, ale1969 and... myself :)

There are many artifacts in this picture: this is not about focus or glass thickness.

The dark bottom of the stem is not natural and it is not a trick of the light here: the photo has either been heavily post-processed or you convert your RAW file using heavy sharpening or other "enhancement", but it is definitively a processing issue IMHO.



And I don't agree with the one which tell you to forget IS or just accept the rejection because for me you are doing someting wrong here with your photo and you may do it again and again until you find a solution.

You have a very good portfolio from an artistic point of view and it is a shame to spoil your photos with processing issues.

Just my opinion of course  ;)

« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2008, 18:42 »
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araminta and ale1969: this is exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for. Thanks a lot - one picture is worth a thousand words :)

There is no question  about the stem - something went wrong there - and I will track it down (I have to say here that I usually do not produce this kind of thingies...)

Regarding the 600% crop posted by ale1969 - I will have a look at the RAW file - but I am afraid it looks the way it looks: even at 100% one has to see the jaggies: there is a lot of curvature and color change in that area - and the resolution of human eye is about 300 pixels/inch at a normal viewing distance of about 10" (or 6 to 8 lines per milimeter if you prefer). At 100% on the screen (which has 80 to 90 pixels per inch) you see it at least 3x magnified (depending on the resolution of the monitor) - which means that you have to see individual pixels. And with a sudden change in color - you will see jaggies.

So - yes, it is quite possibly that these are the issues flagged by the reviewer, and if this is so - I think I know how to deal with it. Whether or not they should be described as "artifacts" is another story - but it is quite acceptable to me that they should not be there - and I think this can be achieved by different lighting or slight change of angle.

The stem - it is a cockup though, no questions asked.
The only saving grace is that I printed it 10"x8" and it does not look too bad, really :)

The whole point of this thread was to find out exactly what and where the "artifacts" are, so I can deal with the issue - so thanks again for your help.

"Overfiltering" is another favourite of the reviewers - and I have an example where overfiltering was quoted as a reason for rejection - while the image was a straight conversion from RAW (all settings in neutral), plus 250% unsharp mask with 0.4 pixel radius - so sometimes I have difficulties with accepting things at a face value.

So - I will check the RAW and will re-shoot the glass to see what can be improved and to what degree the arifacts are really artifacts (not questioning the fact that whatever they are, they should not be there).

« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2008, 19:13 »
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Regarding the 600% crop posted by ale1969 - I will have a look at the RAW file - but I am afraid it looks the way it looks: even at 100% one has to see the jaggies: there is a lot of curvature and color change in that area - and the resolution of human eye is about 300 pixels/inch at a normal viewing distance of about 10" (or 6 to 8 lines per milimeter if you prefer). At 100% on the screen (which has 80 to 90 pixels per inch) you see it at least 3x magnified (depending on the resolution of the monitor) - which means that you have to see individual pixels. And with a sudden change in color - you will see jaggies.

Listen, I'm not judging your ability as a photographer, neither this is a race where I have to win.  So I simply don't catch why you put up all this stuff about human eye resolution and so on.
I CLEARLY see jaggies at 100%, even at 50% in your photo. You said you couldn't, so I put up the crop at 600% to make this clear as you asked.
If you like the shot the way it is, it's fine for me but you won't ever pass IS reviewers. It's your choice. I'm already in.

« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2008, 20:55 »
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As I said before - thanks for posting the 600% crop. I see that I need to clarify a bit what I said in the previous post: I was not questioning the usefulness of this - all I meant was that you will always see jagged edge on a 100% crop if the contrast is high - as in the posted crop. No one can help it because human eye can resolve pixels on the screen (that's why I put the numbers in).

Yes - I can see the jagged edge there at 100% - and it is in RAW file too. It shouldn't be there -  but this is no JPEG artifact. I will post 100% crop from RAW with all settings in neutral. The pic is quite possibly botched up - but I really want to get to the bottom of the real issue (focusing and possibly RAW conversion aside), not to start chasing non-existent issues. That's why I apprecciate a lot when people include a crop to illustrate, as only then we all can be sure what it is that we are talking about.

So - I am not arguing, really :)

« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 20:57 by leszek »

« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2008, 21:14 »
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all I meant was that you will always see jagged edge on a 100% crop if the contrast is high

If the contrast is ARTIFICIALLY high. Shooting raw you don't have any camera internal processing so even if you put a 5000W tungsten light behind that glass it won't come out with borders so jagged. This is why this thing starts to become boring, because it's clear that the problem is in post processing and I have also some guesses about why and how it was done (been there, done that, been rejected: underexposed shots can't be saved in digital 90% of times and curves or worse the brightness/contrast method don't work too much well).

- I am not arguing, really :)

Neither I am :D, but being defensive about your own work, while completeley understandable, is pointless because it will lead just to a longer learning path (and I'm still talking out of experience here).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 21:24 by ale1969 »

« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2008, 22:11 »
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Point taken. It is evident that I did something wrong - as witnessed by a great number of excellent shots of glass.  Believe it or not - I am more interested in getting to the bottom of it than defending myself. Just give me a couple of hours to get back home and have a look at RAW. I indeed played with curves - but I wouldn't think it was excessive. Maybe I was wrong.

« Reply #61 on: February 08, 2008, 02:07 »
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OK, here is a comparison of the finished pic and the original unprocessed RAW (taken as screen copy with GViewer).

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6926354

Now - the prize I guess goes to ale1969. The pic is way overprocessed (although jaggies are present in the RAW file too).

Three things:
1) I tend to overprocess my images (as long as it does not hurt the prints). Thanks for pointing this out, I will try to cut back on that, my fault.
2) No excuses for bad focus and flat lighting - entirely my fault
3) All processing was done (it appears) on UNCALIBRATED monitor.

How did this happen ? Here is the story:

About a week ago we had a series of severe storms with lots of lightning strikes, which wiped out my neighbours electronic equipment - and my DSL modem+network card. Both have been replaced. Afterwards, on restarting the comp (and happy that it worked at all) I was getting a message "Processor has been changed". Off to BIOS, "Save and Exit" hoping that it would get rid of the message - it did. No more checks was done.

Today (prompted by ale1969's words "If the contrast is ARTIFICIALLY high") I decided to check and recalibrate the monitor - and in the process I noticed that the monitor profile is gone from the Color Mangement settings (it always loads automatically on starting the comp, so I never check it). So - it appears that I was pushing the curves and contrast way too high.

If you think I am making this up - I will post the receipts for the modem and the network card  :)

Having said that - there is still no guarantee that I will pass next time, of course...

Thanks to all who dragged me (screaming and kicking) in more or less right direction.


« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2008, 03:02 »
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The camera: 1DMkII + 24-70/2.8L. RAW with minimum of adjustments barely touched in PS. ... Saved as JPEG in CS3 with quality=12 (max).

The 1DMkII has a resolution of 3504 x 2336 (8.2 MP).  The image as posted has a resolution of 3000 x 2400 (7.2 MP).  Why the vast difference in resolution?  How did the height get to 2400 when the camera can only do 2336?

« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2008, 03:05 »
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So the reviewer was spot on :

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.

And this was in fact incorrect as you MUST have being over compensating by moving sliders etc.

"The camera: 1DMkII + 24-70/2.8L. RAW with minimum of adjustments barely touched in PS. The image didnt need adjustments"

You may have been using a raw converter that you were not familiar with but you ought to have been suspicious if you were having to alter the default settings on a well metered image. I wonder if you had been more open to the reviewers comments in the past whether you'd have been constantly rejected all these times.

And to amplify a point, as for the rest of your folio on photo.net, you will find that files that get heaped with compliments on such site, from other photographers a different beast from stock buyers, do tend to be hyper real over saturated over processed artworks.

Pull back on your processing and take rejections at face value and not third in a list of conspiracy theories!

« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2008, 05:42 »
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"So the reviewer was spot on"

Well - there is a comparison of RAW with no adjustments and the finished image - just above. You need to tell me if these are artifacts or not. I still would not call it artifacts. The lighting was not the best, the stem out of focus, but jaggies are there and will be there in anybody's picture when photographing similiar subject.

I just have spent about 3 hours experimenting with light and different lenses. And different subjects. I am getting perfectly sharp and well exposed images - of different subjects. This glass vase, while beautiful to look at, is extremely difficult to photograph.  It needs different lighting - and trying to produce white (or close) background simply does not work. I put separate light on the background trying to blow it - and it worked, except that the reflected light went straight through the clean glass into the camera - swallowing most of  detail in the glass. The contrast between white background and the glass is very low - that's why perceived sharpness is low. The light needs to be set up to produce reflections on the edges (except that the corners are rounded, so no cigar). This leaves me with underexposing the picture , playing with curves - and using clipping path to produce 100% white background.

I guess if you tried to do that (or if you mastered photographing this kind of subject) - then you know what I am talking about. If not - then just for the kicks - get a similiar piece of glass and let me know how it went.

I made several errors - but the largest one was the selection of the subject. The total DOF is under 3" - which is less than the diameter of the vase (and less than the length of the stem). I could go on and on. So - I think I know what went wrong, and I mostly know now what I would do better next time.

Why I have been rejected so many times ? I guess the type of photos I take and the amount of processing I put in the images is a big no-no at iStock. I am not arguing with that - but I am not entirely sure that I want to conform. Some may say that (255,255,255) background equals quality. For me - it is just painting pixels for the sake of it (if a clipping path is provided - then the designer can extract the subject in 3 seconds anyway). I guess my perception of "quality" ends somewhere at 50% magnification - which on the screen still produces an image about 20" high (or wide).

You see - I am not really arguing with the reviewers. They are 100% right - according to their standards. I just need to decide whether it is worth my time to meet those standards, and essentially converting to entirely different type of photography to meet their requirements.

I am not doing it for money - I would have to have many hundreds of downloads a day to match my daily job (aircraft design). I just like taking pictures that I like, not pictures which have debatable jaggies at 100% or at 200%. How long is a piece of string, after all ?

I am still very grateful for comments and help I have received here. It opened my eyes to couple of issues and helped me to find out that the bloody comp was misbehaving. It helped me to look with a different perspective at what is important at a microstock site. Perhaps it even helped me to take better pictures - although I will let others to decide.

Cheers  :D
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 05:43 by leszek »

« Reply #65 on: February 08, 2008, 09:42 »
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You see - I am not really arguing with the reviewers. They are 100% right - according to their standards. I just need to decide whether it is worth my time to meet those standards, and essentially converting to entirely different type of photography to meet their requirements.
I don't think you have to change much. Just stop inflating image size. Look at GeoPappas post. Your camera's native resolution is 3504 x 2336 and your submitted image 3000 x 2400. Istock summarily rejects any photo where you've have upsized. Only upload photos that are at the native resolution of your camera, or smaller.

« Reply #66 on: February 08, 2008, 22:00 »
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Thanks - GeoPappas and yingyang0. This is a useful bit of information :)
I usually do not upsize as such - just crop 8x10 at 300 ppi (most frequently using the whole 2336 pixels. So - strictly speaking there is no much upsizing there  some 3% in one direction only. But - thanks again, I will keep the image size according to your advice.

CCK

« Reply #67 on: February 08, 2008, 23:49 »
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Remember that iStock is not the end user - the buyer will do the post processing he needs. The adjustments you make before uploading is irreversible, and therefore makes the photo less attractive to prospective buyers. I never do any post processing whatsoever, except for minor adjustments in levels where necessary and selective noise reduction where necessary.

« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2008, 01:14 »
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Thanks CCK. This is again a useful bit of info. I guess I will have to change the workflow: first RAW conversion and REALLY minor adjustments, then post-processing for the other sites - hey, no post-processing means taking away half of the fun :)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 03:58 by leszek »

« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2008, 08:00 »
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Remember that iStock is not the end user - the buyer will do the post processing he needs. The adjustments you make before uploading is irreversible, and therefore makes the photo less attractive to prospective buyers. I never do any post processing whatsoever, except for minor adjustments in levels where necessary and selective noise reduction where necessary.

I'm the exact opposite... i do as much post processing as possible :)

« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2008, 08:27 »
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As much as possible ? Well, it probably is OK, but I can assure you - not for initial application  ;D

« Reply #71 on: February 09, 2008, 09:11 »
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Remember that iStock is not the end user - the buyer will do the post processing he needs. The adjustments you make before uploading is irreversible, and therefore makes the photo less attractive to prospective buyers. I never do any post processing whatsoever, except for minor adjustments in levels where necessary and selective noise reduction where necessary.


I'm gonna run around disagreeing with this comment... I'm finding more and more that there's a good sized population of buyers on microstock sites that are NOT designers... this group wants mostly finished images and doesn't want to do all the work themselves!

I have recently tried posting images that are "filtered" - and i've posted both the unfiltered and filtered images - and both are selling well. Here's another heavily filtered image that not only got approved but is selling well.

So... although the traditional thought is to leave the image close to raw, there's a portion of the market that wants finished goods - so i'm starting to upload both.

« Reply #72 on: February 09, 2008, 09:13 »
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i think the no editing rule mostly only applies to istock.  Other sites seem to have good sales with 'photoshoped' images.


 

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