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Author Topic: PNG Format: a Game Changer?  (Read 12841 times)

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« on: May 10, 2011, 09:29 »
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iStock has announced the acceptance of uploads in the PNG format in the near future. I anticipate that this will be a game changer for the microstock industry. Since the PNG format has the ability to contain an alpha channel, this will provide a whole new way to load isolations. The upload requirements are yet to be determined, but for designers looking to easily drop an isolated object into their project, this will be the way to go. If iStock is the only site to offer this format, I can see a large advantage over all of the other sites.

Another advantage for PNG, over JPEG, is that it is lossless. So even if your file doesn't contain an isolation, the quality will be so much better than sites that offer the same file only in the JPEG format.

I predict that this will be the way of the future. What do you think?


« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 09:59 »
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I can't see it affecting much of anything, especially offered at a higher price (as I'm sure it will be).  A .jpg saved at 12 is close enough to loseless that 99% of buyers don't care, otherwise we would have heard them yelling for it for the last 6 years.

« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 10:00 »
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I think I've yet to see a valid explanation of the significance or demand for this.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2011, 10:44 »
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If iStock is the only site to offer this format, I can see a large advantage over all of the other sites.

Another advantage for PNG, over JPEG, is that it is lossless. So even if your file doesn't contain an isolation, the quality will be so much better than sites that offer the same file only in the JPEG format.

I predict that this will be the way of the future. What do you think?

If iStock is the only site, it's not worth the effort for us.

PNG is lossless if all the edit process is lossless. Most of us shoot in .JPG, or - even when we have raw - it's a huge work to re-process all files just for PNGs, so PNGs will most likely derive from .JPGs.

PNG is good for illustrations and isolations, but other kind of photos are equally or better compressed in lossless TIFF. Which never had much success at sites already offering it anyway.

Personally - while I can hear the difference between lossy and lossless music - I am not equally concerned with lossy pictures, as the loss of quality is minimal. I only use lossless TIFF for intermediate edits and then export to .JPG for publication. Broadband internet is still slow in many parts of the world, except a few metropolitan areas with high-speed fiber-optics directly connected to backbones.

So I think there's some room for PNGs in the future, but it's not a huge industry-changing event.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 10:54 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2011, 11:02 »
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PNG doesn't support color management, if I remember correctly (?)

« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2011, 11:09 »
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PNG files include gamma values, background color, and textual metadata information. PNG also supports color management through the inclusion of ICC color space profiles.


An awful lot of consumers don't know they want something until it is offered. Look at the iPad. I can't think of a microstock site that has ever offered lossless files. Of course the big selling point will be files with transparency.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 11:14 by rimglow »

« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2011, 11:17 »
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I wonder how many contributers have a clue about making PNG files (I don't). It sounds like they involve a lot of effort and maybe wouldn't even be appreciated by a lot of buyers who might prefer what they are used to.

« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 11:25 »
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It's possible there's something really big on the horizon that no designer on the forums at iStock has ever once asked about (AFAIK; feel free to post a link if there is one), but this smacks to me more of iStock wanting to do something to get buyers back than it does of a customer-need-driven site enhancement.

My husband once worked for a startup that planned to capture a niche market by offering a compiler version of a language that was previously interpreted (MUMPS in case anyone cares). The big deal was supposed to be how much faster things would be with the compiled version. The problem was, all the customers were quite happy with the speed of things as they were. When people don't think they have a problem, trying to sell them a solution rarely gets you anywhere.

Doesn't matter that contributors are willing to make PNGs (which I'm not sure I am as I haven't yet heard enough to understand what I'd have to do); if buyers don't care, it'll be a waste of everyone's time and energy. I don't think the iPad analogy is apt. There's no purchase lust involved in file formats - there is in sleekly designed consumer gadgets.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2011, 11:30 »
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I can't see it affecting much of anything, especially offered at a higher price (as I'm sure it will be).  A .jpg saved at 12 is close enough to loseless that 99% of buyers don't care, otherwise we would have heard them yelling for it for the last 6 years.

It can carry a transparency mask, that is a big deal --> real isolations. 'Cutting' paths for humans for exapmle (or anything that has bokeh which is just about everything : )) ), is pure amateurism. I know it's a standard for the dilettant 'inspectors' at istock (even their own educational example for doing isolations is flawed), but I auditioned ppl for grahic artist jobs at agencies, part of the test job was masking a model, and the common practice was that if someone started drawing a path all around the model, we sent the amateur home right away. They should be higher priced because a portion of the work (actual real masking) that is usually done by the 'buyer' is already done.

« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2011, 11:33 »
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...for designers looking to easily drop an isolated object into their project, this will be the way to go.

Unless their project is for print, then they'll probably want a clipping path that they can edit. Really the whole thing looks less about need and more about regurgitating some buzzword. I make pngs for my clients, but that is of vectors which is a one click process. I'm just not seeing the big value or excitement here, but there haven't been a lot of details released either.

« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2011, 11:39 »
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PNGs are ideal for print. Think of an apple with a gradated drop shadow. How are you going to clip that shadow? A PNG file will support that gradation. Drag and drop!

« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2011, 11:46 »
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PNGs are ideal for print. Think of an apple with a gradated drop shadow. How are you going to clip that shadow? A PNG file will support that gradation. Drag and drop!

PNG is a web format. From Wikipedia:

Quote
PNG was designed for transferring images on the Internet, not for professional-quality print graphics, and therefore does not support non-RGB color spaces such as CMYK.

« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2011, 11:51 »
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Unless (as already said) there is something big and new on the horizon, then I don't see it as anything to get excited about. It looks as if it's great for rendered shapes, line art and the like, but isolating the sort of things I do for any background looks like being a lot of work.
I'll do it (where actually possible) if I'm going to get paid, but not on the off chance that I'm going to get paid.

« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2011, 11:55 »
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Sounds like another give more/get less initiative.

« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2011, 12:09 »
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@cthoman

Of course PNG is RGB. All photos on microstock sites are RBG. PNG files are as ideal to print from as any other file downloaded from microstock. Just convert to CMYK. All printing houses are capable of this transition.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 12:14 by rimglow »

« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2011, 12:17 »
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Sounds like another give more/get less initiative.

That's what I was thinking. If they are willing to pay contributors more for the pngs (and by more, I mean more than another penny or two), then it might be worth it. But again, this is microstock.

Also, I believe that someone in another thread has mentioned that DT has been offering .png formats for awhile. Haven't heard a ton of buyers requesting that, otherwise DT would have made an appeal to contributors to submit them.

I use .pngs for web graphics when I want them to have transparent areas. Never thought they should be used for print, though. But hey, I learn a lot here.

« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2011, 12:19 »
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@cthoman

Of course PNG is RGB. All photos on microstock sites are RBG. Just convert to CMYK. All printing houses are capable of this transition.

What? Unless your printer is Zazzle, I don't see that flying. Look I'm not the master of graphic design, but I've never worked anywhere where you sent images other than cmyk or grayscale tiffs or eps files to the printer. Maybe things have changed in the last few years when I've been mostly illustrating, but I would doubt it with the strictness of most printers.

« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2011, 12:32 »
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You can do it yourself. Photoshop>Image>Mode>CMYK.

« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2011, 12:40 »
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@ cclapper

Dreamstime does offer some Raw fomats, which would be lossless. but nothing that supports an alpha channel. (transparency)

lisafx

« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2011, 12:54 »
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When I see PNGs selling in large numbers, and the contributors who uploaded them crowing about their huge increase in monthly royalties as a result, then I will consider bothering with them.  Not until then. 

« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2011, 13:07 »
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I found this in the other thread:

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/faq.html#CISVI

Quote
Can I submit vector illustrations?

Yes. You can submit illustrations in AI, PDF, EPS, PNG and PSD format. Please preserve the editing capabilities in these files, since customers expect the ability to modify the files.


And here's the other thread where it was talked about:

http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/istock-expanding/msg200222/?topicseen#new

« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2011, 13:22 »
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JSnover I agree.
There are a lot of small advantages of a PNG over a lossless JPG, but maybe that's not the primary reason...gotta  think like marketing folks do, not like a graphic designer. It could be part of a marketing strategy. Maybe they are going to market this format,  try to set a new trend..who knows maybe PNG is going to be the new thing at least in the buyer's mind.
I'd love to get more sales anything helps.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2011, 13:39 »
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Unless their project is for print, then they'll probably want a clipping path that they can edit. Really the whole thing looks less about need and more about regurgitating some buzzword. I make pngs for my clients, but that is of vectors which is a one click process. I'm just not seeing the big value or excitement here, but there haven't been a lot of details released either.

That's the 80's. Indesign supports PSDs since god knows when, you can even copypaste them and switch layers on and off in indesign. I don't really think anyone seriuos uses anything else than ID for DTP assembly to be honest. You can edit anything, including masks. As a buyer-DTP guy I can tell you that when I browsed stock sites I found the isolated category a ridicule, from a graphic designer's standpoint its a misleading title: stuff on white is not isolation... Isolation is something masked with transparency... I guess most photographers don't realize that...

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2011, 13:46 »
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@cthoman

Of course PNG is RGB. All photos on microstock sites are RBG. Just convert to CMYK. All printing houses are capable of this transition.

What? Unless your printer is Zazzle, I don't see that flying. Look I'm not the master of graphic design, but I've never worked anywhere where you sent images other than cmyk or grayscale tiffs or eps files to the printer. Maybe things have changed in the last few years when I've been mostly illustrating, but I would doubt it with the strictness of most printers.

You don't seem to know muzch about DTP to be honest. Having CMYK or not doesn't make the slightest bit of difference for stuff downloaded from the net, coz it's gonna be RGB anyway. Process printing runs on CTP systems which print from PDF (simplifying things here a bit) PDF-pro does a one click conversion of all images embedded to CMYK before printing. Of course the 'print-guy' might not do that one click, which means he is an idiot, because the software actually warns you about this.

« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2011, 14:07 »
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That's the 80's. Indesign supports PSDs since god knows when, you can even copypaste them and switch layers on and off in indesign. I don't really think anyone seriuos uses anything else than ID for DTP assembly to be honest. You can edit anything, including masks. As a buyer-DTP guy I can tell you that when I browsed stock sites I found the isolated category a ridicule, from a graphic designer's standpoint its a misleading title: stuff on white is not isolation... Isolation is something masked with transparency... I guess most photographers don't realize that...

80's?  ;D I was in Elementary school in the 80's. I thought that was all paste ups back then. I learned most of my stuff late 90's and early aughts. I haven't really kept up with the printing technology in the last few years though. I know pdfs are used more, but I have to assume some people are still doing it the same way they've been doing it for the last 10 years.


 

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