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Author Topic: Isolations at iStock  (Read 12065 times)

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« on: February 26, 2007, 19:52 »
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I'm going crazy trying to get my isolations accepted at iStock.
All of a sudden I'm  getting rejected for jagged edges.  I think one of the reviewers there is checking the isolations with zero tolerance. Thats plain silly. Even the very cleanest of isolations, once they are compressed, will show slight jagginess at 100% with zero tolerance, so I think its impossible to upload a jpeg-ed isolation that would be clean enough under those conditions.
Oh and that rejection reason of over filtering on images that haven't been filtered just boils my blood  >:(

Just my little venting for the day .. needed that.


« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 20:45 »
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Hey there.  Quick question for you, what method are you using to isolate your images?

« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 00:30 »
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I do a lot of isolations... and I have only ever had 1 rejection at iStock for a poor isolation.  Perhaps you should let us know how you do your isolations... maybe it is something to do with the technique.

« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 01:11 »
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I am having the same problem. They accept almost all my other photos, but the isolations are much harder to get accpeted. They always have that same reason...jagged or rough edges. They almost always say "can resubmit" but it's just not worth redoing most of the isolations just for the one site. All the other sites accept them.  I'm not sure what I can do to improve it...maybe you all can help.  Here is how I shot mine.

I have a small studio so I only have about 8 to 10 feet separation between the background and the subject. I then have two background strobes to overexpose the background and two more for the subject. The main problem with this is I keep getting too much light bouncing off the background and overexposing the edges of my subject and I seen to loose alot of color and detail....if I turn down the background lights then I get that "almost white background" and that works to some extent..I just use the pen tool to finish the isolation (at about 800%)...but it doesn't work with hair...I get a slightly off white areas inbetween the hair...and I'm not sure how to get rid of it.  If I overexpose like I want on the background the details of hair are just overpowered and gone.  I'm sure an additonal 5 feet or so from the background would help...but it's not an option.  I have also started using the pen tool almost all the time as my isolation tool. I have tried the extract and background remover..but the results are not very good compared to the pen tool...and also the pen tool leaves the path for the designer.

so my questions

1) Can I get good isolations with only 8 to 10 feet of separation ? If so..what am I doing wrong?
2) is the pen tool the best tool to use for isolations?
3) is there a better way? How do you do it...?

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_search.php?text=&action=file&filetypeID=0&s1=0&username=perkmeup&MinWidth=&MinHeight=&color=&form_cs_nw=xxx&form_cs_n=xxx&form_cs_ne=xxx&form_cs_w=xxx&form_cs_center=xxx&form_cs_e=xxx&form_cs_sw=xxx&form_cs_s=xxx&form_cs_se=xxx&form_cs_tolerance=1&x=25&y=6

Tom

« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 02:35 »
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Hi people, thanks for the responses.
In answer to your questions; I do mainly isolation work and have dozens and dozens of isolation shots on iStock and other sites. They sell extremely well. I shoot my subjects on and against white and edit in PS by selecting with the pen tool and then adjusting the levels of the background to pure white. I have not been saving clipping paths in my files as some sites don't support it, and I figure anyone can make a clipping path around a cleanly isolated object with one click, right? Any way I had some shots of lemons rejected at iStock for jagginess, so I figured maybe I'd been sloppy and re-edited the pics so that one click on 0 zero tolerance picked them lemons out cleanly, and then saved them as j-peg. But I was a little suspicious, cause its not like me to be that sloppy, so I reopened the files and checked them at one hundred percent. The jaggies were there again, even though when saved the isolation had been perfect! I assume something is going on during the compression. Maybe something to do with the yellow against the white? The jaggies are undetectable by my eye, just a few pixels a tad off white, but enough to not pass the zero tolerance test, with a tolerance of 10 it cuts out just fine.

I'm thinking if I start saving clipping paths with the files this might get them accepted more readily at iStock?
Any insights into this much appreciated!
Thanks  :-*

« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 08:24 »
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I'm not sure if this will help but it helped me.  I noticed this happening to me some times but I never could figure out why.  Since I had never heard of a clipping path before reading the iStock article on it last year I figured I might be missing a step.  I went back to that article, found here - http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=89, and started following all the steps outlined there.  When I do that I get no jaggies.  I'm guessing I was just missing a step somewhere in my haste before.  Try it and let us know how it goes.  If I'm telling you something you already know, please accept my apologies.  It just helped me.

« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 09:01 »
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I never get anything rejected on IS for bad isolation. I do the clipping path and then, with a 1 px feather make the sellection. Then i erase the background and replace it with white.
Hope this help you :)

« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 09:59 »
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the 1 px feather works for me too.

Funny thing is that a couple of my shots were refused as "poor isolation" when I was actually in a professional studio and didn't have to cut out anything! Hahaha! All my images had a perfect white BG. That was the funniest.  :)

« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 18:35 »
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I'm not sure if this will help but it helped me.  I noticed this happening to me some times but I never could figure out why.  Since I had never heard of a clipping path before reading the iStock article on it last year I figured I might be missing a step.  I went back to that article, found here - http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=89, and started following all the steps outlined there.  When I do that I get no jaggies.  I'm guessing I was just missing a step somewhere in my haste before.  Try it and let us know how it goes.  If I'm telling you something you already know, please accept my apologies.  It just helped me.


No apologies needed. It's so nice of you to take the time to help me out. Appreciate it very much. Thanks!
I have read that article, cos they put that link in the reject notice,  (nice of them) and I have re-done one of the pics rejected using this method and incorporating a clipping path just to see what happens. BUT, while I was doing that, I started to wonder something. Just how much should I be doing for the small commissions involved here. Strictly speaking, I am a photographer. I provide raw materials for designers, do I not? So why am I doing their job for them? I don't think I'm getting enough out of this to warrant my extra time, not to mention the skills involved.

Anyways its all part of the learning curve. Thanks again.

« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 19:08 »
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Tom, if you are still interested, i recomend you this tutorial: http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/AdvancedMasking.mov
Remember is not just because is what they want, it's for you, what you learn from this has no price.

« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2007, 16:23 »
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Tom, if you are still interested, i recomend you this tutorial: http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/AdvancedMasking.mov
Remember is not just because is what they want, it's for you, what you learn from this has no price.


Thanks for the link. Amazing. But I think this illustrates my point. I'm a photographer. This kind of talent is for the graphic designer to develop. It's their JOB and they get paid for it. I would rather spend the extra time it takes to produce an image like this (which may or may not sell a few extra times) taking more photos.  ;D

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 18:25 »
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Thanks for the link. Amazing. But I think this illustrates my point. I'm a photographer. This kind of talent is for the graphic designer to develop. It's their JOB and they get paid for it. I would rather spend the extra time it takes to produce an image like this (which may or may not sell a few extra times) taking more photos.  ;D

The problem with this thought process is the designer is thinking "Why should I have to isolate this guy's work?  There's plenty of others out there that are already isolated.  They don't pay me to do his work.  I'll just buy from someone else."  Unless there's an ugly, cluttered background to start with, isolating is fairly simple and straightforward.  There's a couple of different ways to proceed, depending on what the background is to begin with.  I personally prefer to get as close as I can in the camera, and then use the white eyedropper in levels.  If the background is too dark, I'll use the magic wand with a tolerance between 1 and 5 percent.  Color the selection white (or black).  Then zoom in and clean up any jaggies with the blur tool or I may need to spot hand color with the paint brush.  Then blur all the edges and I'm done.  There are several other ways to go as well.  Some take longer than others, but if you want an isolation, that's what you need to do.  Using this, I've yet to have an isolation rejected at IS (or elsewhere for that matter).  Wish I could say that about some of my other images.  :-[

« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2007, 21:14 »
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Thanks for the link. Amazing. But I think this illustrates my point. I'm a photographer. This kind of talent is for the graphic designer to develop. It's their JOB and they get paid for it. I would rather spend the extra time it takes to produce an image like this (which may or may not sell a few extra times) taking more photos.  ;D

The problem with this thought process is the designer is thinking "Why should I have to isolate this guy's work?  There's plenty of others out there that are already isolated.  They don't pay me to do his work.  I'll just buy from someone else."  Unless there's an ugly, cluttered background to start with, isolating is fairly simple and straightforward.  There's a couple of different ways to proceed, depending on what the background is to begin with.  I personally prefer to get as close as I can in the camera, and then use the white eyedropper in levels.  If the background is too dark, I'll use the magic wand with a tolerance between 1 and 5 percent.  Color the selection white (or black).  Then zoom in and clean up any jaggies with the blur tool or I may need to spot hand color with the paint brush.  Then blur all the edges and I'm done.  There are several other ways to go as well.  Some take longer than others, but if you want an isolation, that's what you need to do.  Using this, I've yet to have an isolation rejected at IS (or elsewhere for that matter).  Wish I could say that about some of my other images.  :-[


If you read my previous posts you should understand that I do LOTS of isolation work and the method I use is very similar to yours. The problem is not that I don't want to do isolation work, the problem is how much time I want to spend doing it. I have not had many isolations rejected at iStock or anywhere else until this week when I had three photos from the same batch rejected for jaggies. As I explained, the isolations were perfect at 0 tolerance before I compressed them, but when I reopened them and checked them at 100% the jaggies where there (only one or  two pixels at random around the object). No one as yet has been able to provide an explanation as to why that is happening, and i can still only assume it is the compression/decompression of certain colours. Nor has anyone commented on why an isolation should be rejected when at a tolerance of 8-10 it cuts out perfectly .... and a clipping mask can be made then by anyone in a blink!

PS check some of your j-peged work with a 0 tolerance and tell me what happens
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 21:58 by Tomboy2290 »

« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2007, 01:02 »
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the 1 px feather works for me too.

Funny thing is that a couple of my shots were refused as "poor isolation" when I was actually in a professional studio and didn't have to cut out anything! Hahaha! All my images had a perfect white BG. That was the funniest.  :)


I've had that, too. I did a series of shots of a guy making various hand signals. The BG was perfect white (blown out). They rejected about half of them for 'poor isolation' where I hadn't done any manual isolation at all. It would have been almost impossible, what with his hair and stuff.

I just took it on the chin   ;D  If they don't want 'em they don't want 'em.

« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2007, 01:50 »
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As I explained, the isolations were perfect at 0 tolerance before I compressed them, but when I reopened them and checked them at 100% the jaggies where there (only one or  two pixels at random around the object). No one as yet has been able to provide an explanation as to why that is happening, and i can still only assume it is the compression/decompression of certain colours.


Haven't you explained it yourself here? Compression could well be the problem. The compression formula looks for edges. It does this because large areas of the same colour (like the white background) can be saved with minimal bits - it only has to specify 'same' ... 'same' ... 'same' ... for pixel after pixel ... until it gets to an edge.

Are you working in JPEG and saving in JPEG?

What happens if you work in TIFF, which doesn't compress, and then only save as a JEPG as the very last step before submitting?

« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2007, 03:21 »
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As I explained, the isolations were perfect at 0 tolerance before I compressed them, but when I reopened them and checked them at 100% the jaggies where there (only one or  two pixels at random around the object). No one as yet has been able to provide an explanation as to why that is happening, and i can still only assume it is the compression/decompression of certain colours.


Haven't you explained it yourself here? Compression could well be the problem. The compression formula looks for edges. It does this because large areas of the same colour (like the white background) can be saved with minimal bits - it only has to specify 'same' ... 'same' ... 'same' ... for pixel after pixel ... until it gets to an edge.

Are you working in JPEG and saving in JPEG?

What happens if you work in TIFF, which doesn't compress, and then only save as a JEPG as the very last step before submitting?


erm um der How does that help? once compressed with jpeg even once the damage is done isn't it??? So when  its opened again .....  ???

anyways, if I'm not mistaken, when you open a file that has been compressed with any algorithm - jpeg or zip or tiff (which is still compression BTW tho lossless) or whatever, it decompresses to memory and is then a BITMAP, so any work done to it is done on it as a BITMAP then when you save it as a jpeg it is compressed again. I get your point about compressing and re compressing multiple times but  um ...  I'm not that much of a cabbage head thanks. This whole thing has come full circle so I refer back to my original post and still say that whoever is reviewing isolations that have been jpged and expecting them to pick out clean with a 0 tolerance is just expecting the impossible, now if we could upload files in TIFF or PNG format that would solve it ...

Oh well I'm over it ... moving on ... thanks people


« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2007, 04:58 »
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... but  um ...  I'm not that much of a cabbage head thanks.


Okay ... sorry ... just trying to be helpful.   :)

It's difficult to know how much people know on a forum like this. I guess you're probably a lot more expert than me.

« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2007, 08:12 »
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I'm going crazy trying to get my isolations accepted at iStock.
All of a sudden I'm  getting rejected for jagged edges.  I think one of the reviewers there is checking the isolations with zero tolerance. Thats plain silly. Even the very cleanest of isolations, once they are compressed, will show slight jagginess at 100% with zero tolerance, so I think its impossible to upload a jpeg-ed isolation that would be clean enough under those conditions.


I have the same problem and no solution. I'd posted a topic on IS forum - no response.
On SS forum I had some responses but no real solution. Here's a link to SS forum topic:
http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16004

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2007, 12:41 »
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"PS check some of your j-peged work with a 0 tolerance and tell me what happens"

I did and no problem. 

I shoot everything in RAW and save only to .TIFF.  Goes to JPEG only before submittal.  Is that the reason for the difference ... I don't know.  But if it works, don't change it.

One thing I have seen on occasion that I can't explain.  The image is fine here (JPEG), but when it arrives at the stock site, it has degraded.  Doesn't happen very often, but enough to raise a question.  Hasn't happened on any of my isolations, but that could just be coincidence.  If this occurs randomly, it could affected them as easily as the others.

« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2007, 17:08 »
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I'm going crazy trying to get my isolations accepted at iStock.
All of a sudden I'm  getting rejected for jagged edges.  I think one of the reviewers there is checking the isolations with zero tolerance. Thats plain silly. Even the very cleanest of isolations, once they are compressed, will show slight jagginess at 100% with zero tolerance, so I think its impossible to upload a jpeg-ed isolation that would be clean enough under those conditions.


I have the same problem and no solution. I'd posted a topic on IS forum - no response.
On SS forum I had some responses but no real solution. Here's a link to SS forum topic:
http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16004


Thank you, thank you, at last someone understands what I'm talking about! And its not just me!

« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2007, 17:29 »
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... but  um ...  I'm not that much of a cabbage head thanks.


Okay ... sorry ... just trying to be helpful.   :)

It's difficult to know how much people know on a forum like this. I guess you're probably a lot more expert than me.

Yeah, sorry here too, about being snappy, I was just being a cranky pot. Thanks for trying to help out  :-*

« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2007, 23:31 »
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Just a quick update on this thread because I'm sure other people are still having problems with this issue. I got totally fed up with having my isolations rejected, usually within one batch, but not every batch, so I decided to send some of my rejected files to Scout for a second opinion. Every file that I have since sent to Scout has been approved by him .... its a tedious situation but if you believe your isolations are up to standard and they aren't getting passed by the reviewers, send 'em in to Scout!

« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2007, 00:00 »
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If you're shooting on white and have your incamera white balance set correctly then why are you doing all the PS pen work? The only tools I use in PS for isolations are the clone tool (for imperfections in the subject) and the curves level to fix white balance when it is a little off. Other than that I just save as a jpeg and submit. I only have a few rejections of isolations and those are for trademark, etc.

I couldn't imagine putting in all the work to isolate using the pen tool.

« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2007, 00:29 »
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If you're shooting on white and have your incamera white balance set correctly then why are you doing all the PS pen work? The only tools I use in PS for isolations are the clone tool (for imperfections in the subject) and the curves level to fix white balance when it is a little off. Other than that I just save as a jpeg and submit. I only have a few rejections of isolations and those are for trademark, etc.

I couldn't imagine putting in all the work to isolate using the pen tool.

Hi, I took a look at your portfolio at IS. Most of your isolations have backgrounds of various shades of graduated grey, and are not isolated on white. They are not really true isolations, but if you use the pen tool and create a true ffffff background it might boost your sales! Thats why I do all the work with a pen tool ... it makes the pics sell better
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 00:48 by Tomboy2290 »

« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2007, 02:43 »
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Your sales to portfolio size ratio is one of the highest I've seen Tomboy, so whatever you are doing......... just do more of it.....!

« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2007, 03:26 »
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I had the same a couple of weeks ago. I thought just an overpicky reviewer that needed some day of. I haven't uploaded isolations since then, but I will try this week. I'm curious what will happen.

gr Claudia

« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2007, 12:33 »
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I don' t remember where that was, but in another thread, somebody says that the inspectors were not that picky when you don't use the keyword "isolation" for your image. So only if you actually call it to be isolated it has to be perfect.

I had the some problems with isolated objects at shutterstock, seems to be the same there. On istock I can't tell - just recently startet to isolate images and those are still waiting in my long long queue to upload.

« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2007, 15:58 »
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I don' t remember where that was, but in another thread, somebody says that the inspectors were not that picky when you don't use the keyword "isolation" for your image. So only if you actually call it to be isolated it has to be perfect.

I had the some problems with isolated objects at shutterstock, seems to be the same there. On istock I can't tell - just recently startet to isolate images and those are still waiting in my long long queue to upload.

I didn't see that thread but I did try not keywording the images as isolations or putting them in that category, just calling them white background. No difference, they still got rejected for poor isolation. Thats when I started pulling out my hair and contacted Scout. The point here is that the isolations are as perfect as possible with Jpeg compression, now if they would accept the files as tif there would be no problem, at least not until they compressed them to jpeg themselves.

« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2007, 16:00 »
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Your sales to portfolio size ratio is one of the highest I've seen Tomboy, so whatever you are doing......... just do more of it.....!

Yes, sales at IS have been excellent for me, thats the only reason I continue to bother with them.

modellocate

  • Photographer
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2007, 16:07 »
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One thing I've been doing is to shoot on a light-colored background - yellow for example... If the designer wants to isolate, they can, otherwise yellow is a nice color :) ... I've never had a yellow background rejected for poor isolation; I have however had white or grey backgrounds rejected for this.

« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2007, 18:07 »
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I also shoot in colored backgrounds, not necessarily even ones.  This one is part of a series and sells well in IS (for my standards), although the version on white does indeed sell better.

 

This is a case in which I find isolation difficult to do, because of the reflections, so the white was shot over a white paper background.

Regards,
Adelaide
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 18:12 by madelaide »

« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2007, 18:19 »
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Just trying to be helpful, modellocate, but there is a difference between what gets accepted at iStock and what actually sells.  If you look at TomBoy's portfolio, she's achieved over 3,000 downloads with a tight, clean portfolio with nice crisp white backgrounds.  Your own portfolio has not yet achieved 10% of those downloads.  So by all means submit stuff with coloured backgrounds, but the evidence is that 'white sells'.

I had a quick look at your portfolio.  You're clearly very creative.  I like your 'moody' girls and nudes.  But once again there is a difference between what is pleasing to your eye and what buyers actually want to buy.  Moody nudes in withdrawn light simply don't sell.  They might be great artistic photographs, but they don't sell as stock images.

Girls and nudes do sell of course.  But it's the bright, clean, happy, carefree, lifestyle stuff that sells, not the moody stuff.  You're up against stiff competition from some wonderful photographers.  Perhaps the best of them is dolgachov, whose crisp, striking images I admire very much.  Apparently across multiple agencies he sells 10,000 copies a month.  You can see his stuff here:

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_search.php?action=file&text=&oldtext=&textDisambiguation=&majorterms=%7B%22csv%22%3A+%22%22%2C+%22conjunction%22%3A+%22AND%22%7D&fileTypeSizePrice=%5B%7B%27type%27%3A%27Image%27%2C%27size%27%3A%27All%27%2C%27priceOption%27%3A%271%27%7D%2C%7B%27type%27%3A%27Illustration+%5BVector%5D%27%2C%27size%27%3A%27Vector+Image%27%2C%27priceOption%27%3A%27All%27%7D%2C%7B%27type%27%3A%27Flash%27%2C%27size%27%3A%27Flash+Document%27%2C%27priceOption%27%3A%27None%27%7D%2C%7B%27type%27%3A%27Video%27%2C%27size%27%3A%27None+4_3%27%2C%27priceOption%27%3A%271%27%7D%2C%7B%27type%27%3A%27Video%27%2C%27size%27%3A%27None+16_9%27%2C%27priceOption%27%3A%271%27%7D%5D&showPeople=false&printAvailable=false&exclusiveArtists=false&extendedLicense=false&illustrationLimit=Exactly&flashLimit=Exactly&showDeactivatedFiles=&membername=dolgachov&userID=&lightboxID=&downloaderID=&approverID=&clearanceBin=&color=&copySpace=%7B%22Tolerance%22%3A+1%2C+%22Matrix%22%3A+%7B%7D%7D&orientation=Vertical%2CHorizontal%2CSquare&minWidth=0&minHeight=0&showTitle=true&showContributor=true&showFileNumber=false&showDownload=true&enableLoupe=true&order=Best+Match&perPage=20&within=4
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 18:21 by hatman12 »

« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2007, 10:33 »
0
I'm going crazy trying to get my isolations accepted at iStock.
All of a sudden I'm  getting rejected for jagged edges.  I think one of the reviewers there is checking the isolations with zero tolerance. Thats plain silly. Even the very cleanest of isolations, once they are compressed, will show slight jagginess at 100% with zero tolerance, so I think its impossible to upload a jpeg-ed isolation that would be clean enough under those conditions.
Oh and that rejection reason of over filtering on images that haven't been filtered just boils my blood  >:(

Just my little venting for the day .. needed that.

Your'e not alone!  Istock is the only agancy my isolations have a problem getting accepted.  The most common rejection being "edges too feathered" even when the feathering is set betwween .05-.08 with a 1 pixel edge width. I include a clipping path to most of my isolations which means I use the pen tool to isolate with. They sell very well at the other agencies I submit to and I'm sure they would at Istock also.  The response time from Scout, if any, is about as long as their review time, approx. 2 weeks for me.


 

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