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Author Topic: critique request - IStockphoto initial application rejection  (Read 8230 times)

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« on: April 29, 2010, 16:11 »
0
Hi,
I sent the following 3 pictures to IStockPhoto for my initial application:

http://a2.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d0123f1cf16da860f-pi
http://a2.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d0123de254f02860c-pi
http://a5.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d01347ee6987d860b-pi

The first one was accepted.
The second and third were rejected with the following reason:

"This image appears to be over-filtered/over-processed which has affected the image quality. This may include Photoshop filters & effects (over-sharpening, excessive adjustments to levels, curves, contrast, hues, gaussian blurs, saturation, added textures, noise reduction...) or other manipulations. We feel the image would have more value to designers with minimal or no post processing effects so that the designers could add their own post-processing effects. Some images can benefit from minor touch-ups to grab the viewer?s attention and there is no definitive line to what editing makes or breaks a great image but the end result should be a single image that can still be molded into a design. Inspectors judge images based on quality, composition and usability."

I'd appreciate it a lot if anybody could help me understand these rejections.


« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 16:24 »
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Can only load the first, for some reason.

« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 16:42 »
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Can only load the first, for some reason.

That's strange. I can open all three of them without a problem.
What are you getting exactly?

Fotonaut

« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 16:47 »
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What iStock says. Viewed at 100 % they seem overly filtered, loosing details and the "natural" look, and gaining artifacts. Otherwise nice photos.

« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 17:06 »
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What iStock says. Viewed at 100 % they seem overly filtered, loosing details and the "natural" look, and gaining artifacts. Otherwise nice photos.

Thanks a lot for the advise, Fotonaut.
I wish I could see it myself. I don't think they look unnatural and definitely not lacking detail (especially the one with the waterfall), but I guess I must have been looking at them for too long or something.

Can you tell me where exactly there are artifacts?

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 17:24 »
0
What iStock says. Viewed at 100 % they seem overly filtered, loosing details and the "natural" look, and gaining artifacts. Otherwise nice photos.

Thanks a lot for the advise, Fotonaut. I wish I could see it myself. I don't think they look unnatural and definitely not lacking detail (especially the one with the waterfall), but I guess I must have been looking at them for too long or something. Can you tell me where exactly there are artifacts?

Look at any darker area of #2. They all have blobs and chunks of deformed pixels. It took me a second to see it so if you can't see it maybe you need to calibrate your monitor or get a better monitor.

And it does look overprocessed. Like noise reduction or something else was applied during post processing. There's also some magenta fringing on the rocks.

« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 17:44 »
0
Oversharpened with edge halos and plenty of jpg artifacts (squares), but I assume those come from the quality reduction for putting them online. For a proper critique, you'll need to put them online in original size and quality, but many free image hosters don't allow those file sizes.

« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 17:58 »
0
Oversharpened with edge halos and plenty of jpg artifacts (squares), but I assume those come from the quality reduction for putting them online. For a proper critique, you'll need to put them online in original size and quality, but many free image hosters don't allow those file sizes.

FD-Amateur, for some reason the pictures are loaded interlaced on this image hosting site, so you have to wait for a while before they are shown at full quality, and without the squares.

« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2010, 18:04 »
0
FD-Amateur, for some reason the pictures are loaded interlaced on this image hosting site, so you have to wait for a while before they are shown at full quality, and without the squares.
Ah ok... I'm on very low bandwidth indeed.

« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2010, 18:11 »
0
What iStock says. Viewed at 100 % they seem overly filtered, loosing details and the "natural" look, and gaining artifacts. Otherwise nice photos.

Thanks a lot for the advise, Fotonaut. I wish I could see it myself. I don't think they look unnatural and definitely not lacking detail (especially the one with the waterfall), but I guess I must have been looking at them for too long or something. Can you tell me where exactly there are artifacts?

Look at any darker area of #2. They all have blobs and chunks of deformed pixels. It took me a second to see it so if you can't see it maybe you need to calibrate your monitor or get a better monitor.

And it does look over-processed. Like noise reduction or something else was applied during post processing. There's also some magenta fringing on the rocks.

Thanks for pointing that out. I can see the magenta fringing now.
About the blobs and chunks of deformed pixels in the darker areas I'm not sure though. I can see something there, but it looks more like noise to me.

I didn't use any luminance noise reduction on this picture, only a tiny little bit of color noise reduction. I did give it some fill light, increased vibrance and did some sharpening as well. Is it possible that it looks over-processed because of the saturation?
 

Fotonaut

« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2010, 18:37 »
0
Each one step in postprosessing is likely to degrade quality and exaggerate flaws.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. What camera do you have, do you shoot RAW, etc.

A better quality original file usually handle postprossing better. Lucky those with Hasselblad and such.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2010, 19:43 »
0
What iStock says. Viewed at 100 % they seem overly filtered, loosing details and the "natural" look, and gaining artifacts. Otherwise nice photos.

Thanks a lot for the advise, Fotonaut. I wish I could see it myself. I don't think they look unnatural and definitely not lacking detail (especially the one with the waterfall), but I guess I must have been looking at them for too long or something. Can you tell me where exactly there are artifacts?

Look at any darker area of #2. They all have blobs and chunks of deformed pixels. It took me a second to see it so if you can't see it maybe you need to calibrate your monitor or get a better monitor.

And it does look over-processed. Like noise reduction or something else was applied during post processing. There's also some magenta fringing on the rocks.

Thanks for pointing that out. I can see the magenta fringing now.
About the blobs and chunks of deformed pixels in the darker areas I'm not sure though. I can see something there, but it looks more like noise to me.

I didn't use any luminance noise reduction on this picture, only a tiny little bit of color noise reduction. I did give it some fill light, increased vibrance and did some sharpening as well. Is it possible that it looks over-processed because of the saturation?
 

Maybe my idea of noise is different from other people but the shadows are pretty bad and are way beyond noise to me.

And yes, the more adjustments the more chances of introducing problems. This image looks like it was pushed quite a bit.

RacePhoto

« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2010, 22:35 »
0

Maybe my idea of noise is different from other people but the shadows are pretty bad and are way beyond noise to me.

And yes, the more adjustments the more chances of introducing problems. This image looks like it was pushed quite a bit.




The way I see it, same as above, in different words, the blacks aren't black and there's noise in the shadows. Looks like digitally lightened shadow areas?

(unaltered segment - screen capture of the original, original size)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 01:32 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2010, 01:18 »
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istock can be very picky but i think that your images that got rejected seem in my eyes to be over processed/lightened a little too much from your original photo. The highlights on the rocks toward the top left are overblown to the point they are too white. The same can be said about the cigarette she is smoking as well as parts of her face.

« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2010, 09:06 »
0
The way I see it, same as above, in different words, the blacks aren't black and there's noise in the shadows. Looks like digitally lightened shadow areas?
Hey, that's the infamous black clipping there in the shadow! I don't have it any more with the 5DII but the D200 had it a lot. You can also induce it when using the autocontrast or autolevels in PS. It's pretty easy to solve with a magic wand selection (tolerance <= 8) on the deepest blacks, contract 1-2 px, feather by 1-2, then Gaussian blur the selected areas by 0.8-1 px.

« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2010, 14:56 »
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Thank you all for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

I re-calibrated my monitor, and that sure did make a difference (I admit it had been a while). I can see the problem a lot more clearly now.

After decreasing the fill light, saturation and sharpening, increasing the black point and adding some noise reduction I used FD-amateur's technique for the noise/pixelation in the dark areas. That made quite a difference but there was still some of it left, so I also downsized the image a bit.

Here's the result: http://a2.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d0123de25c93a860c-pi

The problems in the dark areas seem to have been eliminated now, as well as the magenta fringing.

What do you think? Does it look less processed now?

Fotonaut

« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2010, 07:20 »
0
Definately better. Still looks a little processed with a soft and cartoonish look. Most artifacts are gone, though. But I am surely no expert on iStock criteria, so others here will know better if this will fly with them.

« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 03:11 »
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I've decided not to try and correct this photo for my application. Instead I want to give them 2 completely new pictures.

I have here 2 pictures that I'm considering to fill one slot:

http://a0.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d0137a58003f8860d-pi
http://a5.vox.com/6a0123de39075c860d0137a580118d860d-pi

(you have to wait for the page to load completely before the picture is in full quality)

I would like to use one of these, and then look for another one (different kind to show diversity).

What do you think? Which one would you choose? Any of these good enough?

« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2010, 03:25 »
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anyone?

« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2010, 05:52 »
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yeah those look better I think.

You quality is certainly good enough for iStock.  I have seen much worse ones accepted.  Just take it easy on the editing and you should get in.  DON'T sharpen your images and only slight apply any curves editing.

These last ones look like they should be OK though ?! ... i think  ;)

« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2010, 05:13 »
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Thanks  for your comment, leaf. It gave me the courage to just go ahead and try.

I uploaded the spa stones on the green leaf together with a studio portrait, made sure not to sharpen too much or make too many changes in the curves, and I passed! I'm now a proud contributor of iStockPhoto.


 

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