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Author Topic: "artifacting". Always "artifacting".  (Read 14093 times)

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« on: January 20, 2010, 21:46 »
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<rant>

After being away from microstock for a couple of months, I decided to submit some more images to IS.  I picked a few that I already had on SS, DT and FT, that had sold reasonably well.   You guessed it. IS rejected 3 out of 5 for "artifacting".

With the usual helpful hints about saving at higher JPG quality - hey, my slider is at 10, but apparently they have one that goes higher (remember Spinal Tap's amps?).   Yes I've done the noise reduction, the minimal sharpening.  There's no place left to go here, folks.  This is what digital photos of real objects look like.

Why can't these people simply say "not what we're looking for" and leave it at that? Why the endless obfuscation?

</rant>









« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 21:47 »
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My PS .jpg slider goes to 12 :) .

Wanna post an example?

« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 21:57 »
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Wanna post an example?

No, just let me rant in peace.  Posting examples leads to endless arguments about 'color noise', fringing, sharpening etc.  and some people inevitably find something they think could be better.  Bottom line, these images were good enough for SS, DT, FT and StockXpert, they're good enough for their intended purpose, and they're just good enough, period.  And thank you Stuart Smalley.


PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 22:05 »
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<rant>

After being away from microstock for a couple of months, I decided to submit some more images to IS.  I picked a few that I already had on SS, DT and FT, that had sold reasonably well.   You guessed it. IS rejected 3 out of 5 for "artifacting".

With the usual helpful hints about saving at higher JPG quality - hey, my slider is at 10, but apparently they have one that goes higher (remember Spinal Tap's amps?).   Yes I've done the noise reduction, the minimal sharpening.  There's no place left to go here, folks.  This is what digital photos of real objects look like.

Why can't these people simply say "not what we're looking for" and leave it at that? Why the endless obfuscation?
</rant>

No place left to go? How about no sharpening or noise reduction? Or software with a higher jpg slider. "These go to 11!"

Would you like tto post the image for some guidance or have you already decided IS is the problem?

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 22:07 »
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Wanna post an example?
No, just let me rant in peace.  Posting examples leads to endless arguments about 'color noise', fringing, sharpening etc.  and some people inevitably find something they think could be better.  Bottom line, these images were good enough for SS, DT, FT and StockXpert, they're good enough for their intended purpose, and they're just good enough, period.  And thank you Stuart Smalley.

That's what I figured.

« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2010, 22:26 »
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Maybe the reviewer is right.  We can't judge or express an opinion if you don't post an example.

And sjlocke is right: PS .jpg slider goes to 12

« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2010, 22:28 »
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And thank you Stuart Smalley.

... and people like you.

« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 22:32 »
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I'm very relieved to hear its not just me who always get the "artifacting" denial from I-Stock.  Most every image I submit there gets rejected for this reason.  I've been reading and gathering as much information as I can find regarding this subject.  Below are my observations and finding:

1.)  I guess Nikon Cameras are known to ALWAYS produce artifacting - so if you shoot a Nikon, like I do, just expect every image you shoot to have this problem.  (I shoot RAW - doesn't seem to make a difference).

2.)  I think I-Stock basically says they aren't interested in your photo when they don't allow you to correct the issues and resubmit the photo.  If they allow to to correct your problems, than that says your photo has redeeming qualities, fix the artifacting problem and we will accept it.  If there is not a RESUBMIT button available - then they aren't likin' what they see, so don't bother fixin' it.

3.) I have a REALLY difficult time seeing the artifacting they speak of.  So, I totally feel handicapped when it comes to fixing the issue.  However, I did run across a really COOL tutorial which uses an EDGE Mask technique and Lab Color to help rid the photo of the artifacts.  I just corrected some photos with this and plan to submit.  I will sure let others know if I was successful or not.  Here the link: (Its a two part tutorial) http://photos4u2c.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/how-to-remove-artifacts-and-avoid-istock-rejection-part-1/

« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2010, 22:50 »
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For the record, PhotoShop is not used by every sentient lifeform in the galaxy. I create my JPGs with the very capable Nikon Capture NX, with JPG quality set to maximum, which is actually a value of 100 in their dialog. . But JPG quality is not the issue here.

I think what is happening is that the reviewer is finding (at 100%) some tiny dark corner of the image where a bit of banding or posterizing has crept in.  In an exhaustive search of one of my rejected images, I eventually did find such a defect.   But it would have no real impact in any expected use of the image.  Even printed full size on a magazine cover, these images would look fine.   All the other big sites are happy to sell them.  Is IS's allegedly higher quality really impressing buyers?  I have no way of knowing.  But there is a thing called "the point of diminishing returns", both for contributor and agency.

In another rejected image, I can find nothing wrong.  The subject is some glass objects, I think the "artifacts" the reviewer is claiming to see are actually just tiny flaws in the glass.

Basically these images are no better and no worse than all the ones that IS has previously accepted. Same process all the way. I think the unusual subjects just threw off the reviewer.

I honestly believe that if they were hot "business success" shots featuring good looking ethnic models with perfect white teeth in $800 suits, somewhat looser standards would be applied.






« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 23:03 by stockastic »

« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 23:55 »
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For the record, PhotoShop is not used by every sentient lifeform in the galaxy. I create my JPGs with the very capable Nikon Capture NX, with JPG quality set to maximum, which is actually a value of 100 in their dialog. . But JPG quality is not the issue here.

I think what is happening is that the reviewer is finding (at 100%) some tiny dark corner of the image where a bit of banding or posterizing has crept in.  In an exhaustive search of one of my rejected images, I eventually did find such a defect.   But it would have no real impact in any expected use of the image.  Even printed full size on a magazine cover, these images would look fine.   All the other big sites are happy to sell them.  Is IS's allegedly higher quality really impressing buyers?  I have no way of knowing.  But there is a thing called "the point of diminishing returns", both for contributor and agency.

In another rejected image, I can find nothing wrong.  The subject is some glass objects, I think the "artifacts" the reviewer is claiming to see are actually just tiny flaws in the glass.

Basically these images are no better and no worse than all the ones that IS has previously accepted. Same process all the way. I think the unusual subjects just threw off the reviewer.

I honestly believe that if they were hot "business success" shots featuring good looking ethnic models with perfect white teeth in $800 suits, somewhat looser standards would be applied.



That is right, photoshop is not used by every sentient lifeform in the galaxy, however it is used by most professionals and serious amateurs. That is true that bit of banding or posterizing would probably not be seen on a magazine cover. Your argument is a very old one amongst submitters getting rejections. However, that is Istock rules and I dont mind as I rarely get rejections for artefacts anymore as I have learned to do it without. We are competing against each others and if somehow by coincidence you submit the same subject and/or similar composition as mine I would hope that the one kept is the one without those bits of banding and posterizing. We are all competing against each others to get the dollars and there are thousands of us producing millions of images. Istock is only doing it right by accepting only images that are, amongst other things,  technically perfect.  From my own experience, I really dont believe that looser standards apply to hot "business success" shots featuring good looking ethnic models with perfect white teeth in $800 suits.

Denis
« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 23:57 by cybernesco »

« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 03:34 »
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In another rejected image, I can find nothing wrong.  The subject is some glass objects, I think the "artifacts" the reviewer is claiming to see are actually just tiny flaws in the glass.

I try to play it on the safe side and scan every image i submit to IS at 100% and correct even small flaws in the material or skin. If I get a rejection for artifacts and can't find them, I usually resize the image from 24mpx to 12mpx and, more often then not, it goes through fine.

« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 04:41 »
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In fact, this is something quite easy to address if you apply a systematic approach. I am getting nearly 0 rejects for artifacts for the last +/- 10 months if not longer:

* shoot exclusively in RAW , not too high ISO
* good exposure, particularly no underexposure, and no pulling shadows up
* very little or no sharpening when processing RAW
* if converting RAW to separate file before opening in photoshop use TIF not jpeg

in result you should see very little artifacting (BTW check on the edge of shadows at 400%-500% zoom).

What I am doing next with 100% of my pictures is applying TopazLabs DeJPEG filter (photoshop plugin). There is an old free version and there is up to date commercial one which isn't expensive. The "official" purpose of the plugin is different, but it helps very nicely to remove that little artifacting. The key is to apply DeJPEG at very low settings, don't overdo it. I made several presets for different degree of artifacting/noise; and I am thinking about making a tutorial about that when I have some time.

When applied at minimal settings, DeJPEG filter smoothens areas without detail while keeping details sharp, and adds a very little noise. This is an example (crop enlarged to 300%):

the version "more DeJpeg" not only smoothened stronger, but also has more noise added.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 05:06 by MikLav »

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2010, 07:15 »
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But JPG quality is not the issue here. <snip> I honestly believe that if they were hot "business success" shots featuring good looking ethnic models with perfect white teeth in $800 suits, somewhat looser standards would be applied.

In my experience IS looks mainly at technical issues. I still see a lot of brick walls on the newest uploads list so they can't be too picky about subject.

I'd be interested to see what some of these shots are that get in other places but not IS.

« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2010, 08:17 »
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<rant>

After being away from microstock for a couple of months, I decided to submit some more images to IS.  I picked a few that I already had on SS, DT and FT, that had sold reasonably well.   You guessed it. IS rejected 3 out of 5 for "artifacting".

With the usual helpful hints about saving at higher JPG quality - hey, my slider is at 10, but apparently they have one that goes higher (remember Spinal Tap's amps?).   Yes I've done the noise reduction, the minimal sharpening.  There's no place left to go here, folks.  This is what digital photos of real objects look like.

Why can't these people simply say "not what we're looking for" and leave it at that? Why the endless obfuscation?

</rant>


I understand it's always fun to rant, but if you're getting lots of rejections for similar reasons and you want to do something about it, your best bet is the iStock Critique forum...


« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2010, 14:27 »
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If I get a rejection for artifacts and can't find them, I usually resize the image from 24mpx to 12mpx and, more often then not, it goes through fine.

Interesting.  I have one image I just refuse to give up on.  I think I'll keep on smoothing it out, dialing up the noise reduction, and resubmitting it every couple of months.  Maybe I can figure out what they really want to see.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 14:36 by stockastic »

« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2010, 15:15 »
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If I get a rejection for artifacts and can't find them, I usually resize the image from 24mpx to 12mpx and, more often then not, it goes through fine.

Interesting.  I have one image I just refuse to give up on.  I think I'll keep on smoothing it out, dialing up the noise reduction, and resubmitting it every couple of months.  Maybe I can figure out what they really want to see.

If you keep smoothing it out at one point they'll switch from 'artefacts' to 'overfiltering' rejection ;)
I've had a big dose of 'artefact' rejections as well... they completely vanished when i switched to a D700....
(still stuck with overfiltering rejections though. they seem to use it on every pic they don't like and it's always guessing what they mean with it since they use it for bad isolations, use of filters or noise correction sofware, too much saturation etc etc.. my little rant ;))

« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2010, 15:22 »
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If you keep smoothing it out at one point they'll switch from 'artefacts' to 'overfiltering' rejection ;)
I've had a big dose of 'artefact' rejections as well... they completely vanished when i switched to a D700....
(still stuck with overfiltering rejections though. they seem to use it on every pic they don't like and it's always guessing what they mean with it since they use it for bad isolations, use of filters or noise correction sofware, too much saturation etc etc.. my little rant ;))


good point Artemis.
re your new overfiltering problem. could it be that your new camera is over filtering ?
i remember reading some reviews of certain digital cameras that tends to over filter.

or maybe you've been shooting in JPG as opposed to shooting RAW perharps?.
just a guess.

« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2010, 15:35 »
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All this confusion - and a lot of the frustration - could be cleared up if there was just a way to get a sensible explanation of a rejection, instead of these vaguely worded canned emails.  In my experience "overfiltering" has no defined meaning. I've had images accepted that were heavily reworked, and others rejected as "overfiltered" when hardly any significant editing was done.   It's a totally dumb, retro-sounding term anyway. No one is using filters.  If they think it looks "too PhotoShoppy" why not just say so?





« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2010, 16:18 »
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well stockastic,
at least you're honest enough to abbreviate your post as RANT,
so it's not like you wanted an opinion other than yours  :D

i think we all have our favorite and not so favorite sites or even like and dislike to a site we like.
my only dislike for iS is the long wait for getting my work approved.
this far, i feel the reviewers are objective and fair, as they approve even my rejections as soon as i corrected the problem.

but yes, as i said, i have my works approved really fast with Alamy, StockXpert , FT,
and certainly IS , and DT must be the slowest of them all.

other than that, i don't think i can find any fault with IS.  but yes, i do wish the reviewers would spend less time at the pub in Calgary, and approve my work a whole lot faster  :D

« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 16:20 by PERSEUS »

xst

« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2010, 15:22 »
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I enjoyed quite high acceptance rate on IS for quite a while.
Last couple of weeks Im getting much higher then usual number of rejects.
If somebody want to help me find artifacts on one of the images give me your e-mail. I dont want openly post images since they are NSFW, 18+ type

« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2010, 17:55 »
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1 - I almost never get rejects for Canon 5DII images, but I do for 200D and earlier Sony images (when I shot in JPG only). iStock got very critical as to technical quality. There is no way you can pump up the quality of a lesser cam, not by sharpening and not by noise reduction. Even with a 5DII, make sure the exposure is totally OK and only shoot at 100 ISO. I never used my noise reduction again since I have my 5DII. In borderline focus cases, I sharpen very lightly in the RAW.

2 - iStock will not reject for LCV as long as the image is technically perfect. But when the image has high saleability, they will approve if, even if there are some minor technical flaws.

vlad_the_imp

« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2010, 02:39 »
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"I guess Nikon Cameras are known to ALWAYS produce artifacting - so if you shoot a Nikon, like I do, just expect every image you shoot to have this problem.  (I shoot RAW - doesn't seem to make a difference)."

I use a D90, I'm very much a beginner photo wise ( I'm basically a vector contributor) and hardly ever get artifacting rejections now. If you use Capture rather than PS it's pretty easy to spot artifacting when it occurs and also easy to remedy.

« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2010, 04:47 »
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I wanted once to see the difference between jpeg compression at levels 10 and 12 because files saved at level 10 are much smaller, and honestly, there is a difference, but I'm sure one can see it only by comparing the same file saved at both settings. If reviewers don't pay attention at file size I am sure the error of guessing at which level the image is saved will be huge. I am still sending images saved at level 12, but I really don't think there is a problem of choosing level 10 as default.

But artifacting....hmm...yes, it is one of favorite IS rejections, and it happens for many reasons. I checked 4 of my images made in strong sunlight that were rejected for artifacting and the only wrong thing about them was some kind of halo around few very brightly lit lines or spots. I guess IS count that as artifacting too, not only jpeg artifacting.

« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2010, 06:14 »
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I haven't seen any mention here yet of just the differences between the reviewers...  When I went through the shutterstock process of submitting 10 images it was a nightmare.  The first time I got 6 images out of 10, so the next time I replaced the 4 they didn't like with 4 others.  Those 4 got accepted, but 5 of the original 6 got rejected.  Totally frustrated, I submitted the EXACT SAME 10 the next month and 8 of the 10 were accepted.

In every rejection it was issues with artifacting or focus or lighting (these were all CG, no photos).  Issues that made no sense when I looked at them.

In the end I chalked it all up to different people seeing different things.  These days if I get a rejection, I'll look at the image to see if I can find what they're talking about and if I can't, I'll make some minor tweak and resubmit.  Most of the time it gets through on the second try.

It's just the world of stock now...  I've learned to stop getting angry about it and move on to other stuff.

« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2010, 06:46 »
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istock reviewers are very consistent, and istock makes much effort to keep them aligned.


 

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