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Author Topic: Creating digital images for juried competitions  (Read 3517 times)
Jakub
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« on: April 14, 2009, 06:23:03 PM »
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I'm in a bit of a quandry. I calibrate my monitor for print matching and therefore keep the luminance level fairly low, approx. 120dc/m2.
My concern is that when I send images out to juried competitions they will appear much too bright on the juror's monitor or projection
system. I had much better results sending slides than digital images. Any suggestions?

thanks,
Jakub
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 08:39:04 PM »
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Quote from: Jakub
I'm in a bit of a quandry. I calibrate my monitor for print matching and therefore keep the luminance level fairly low, approx. 120dc/m2.
My concern is that when I send images out to juried competitions they will appear much too bright on the juror's monitor or projection
system. I had much better results sending slides than digital images. Any suggestions?

thanks,
Jakub

Nothing magic about setting the luminance at 120, after all this is to help to gauge the correct density when printing the image.  If the file is destined for something other than a printer, adjust the luminance accordingly to achieve the end result you are looking for.  I assume an adjustment layer or two that can be disabled when printing would be more than adequate.

You might want to research the problem a little to make sure it isn't something more than just the images looking washed out when judged.  I'd certainly try and duplicate the viewing conditions of the judges for final file preparation.  Who knows if they are even using a color calibrated system (I would hope so, and in fact they should probably publish the specs).  If they aren't you probably have no idea what your images will look like when they view them ... light, bad contrast, off color ...
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Jakub
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 06:44:51 AM »
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Exactly my concern. Now that digital entries are the "norm" I've never seen any juried competition give any specs on viewing conditions.
It becomes a "crapshoot". Certainly not the intent I'm sure. This is an issue that eventually needs to be addressed.

Jakub


Quote from: Wayne Fox
Nothing magic about setting the luminance at 120, after all this is to help to gauge the correct density when printing the image.  If the file is destined for something other than a printer, adjust the luminance accordingly to achieve the end result you are looking for.  I assume an adjustment layer or two that can be disabled when printing would be more than adequate.

You might want to research the problem a little to make sure it isn't something more than just the images looking washed out when judged.  I'd certainly try and duplicate the viewing conditions of the judges for final file preparation.  Who knows if they are even using a color calibrated system (I would hope so, and in fact they should probably publish the specs).  If they aren't you probably have no idea what your images will look like when they view them ... light, bad contrast, off color ...


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digitaldog
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 10:36:29 AM »
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The "correct" calibration of luminance should be based on soft proofing for a print under some controlled viewing conditions by the display. So you could be at 120cd/m2 and the same image should look fine on a calibrated display, viewed in a color managed application using 150cd/m2. Outside ICC aware applications, all bets are off.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 02:22:38 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
The "correct" calibration of luminance should be based on soft proofing for a print under some controlled viewing conditions by the display. So you could be at 120cd/m2 and the same image should look fine on a calibrated display, viewed in a color managed application using 150cd/m2. Outside ICC aware applications, all bets are off.

Agreed.  I think the challenge here is no prints are involved, and odds are pretty high the calibration for the judging display is not based on print density match, so in all likelihood is much brighter than a monitor calibrated for soft proofing prints.

In fact, it is quite possible it is not calibrated at all, and to your point may even be viewed in something like Explorer ... who knows.

If that is the case then prepare the file the same as for web display ... assume a bright monitor and convert to sRGB.  I would embed sRGB as well just in case the app is color managed.

As you said ... all bets are off.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 03:23:55 PM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
I think the challenge here...
There is absolutely no challenge. Your image is in a certain RGB colour space, spread on values somewhere in between RGB 0-0-0 to RGB 255-255-255 and that's it.
The 255-255-255 might be brighter or darker here and there. But it's white. If the white is too dark, close the window :-)
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 07:18:55 PM »
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Quote from: tho_mas
There is absolutely no challenge. Your image is in a certain RGB colour space, spread on values somewhere in between RGB 0-0-0 to RGB 255-255-255 and that's it.
The 255-255-255 might be brighter or darker here and there. But it's white. If the white is too dark, close the window :-)

Granted white is white, but 99% of the image isn't white.  A file whose density is adjusted for a good match to printed output but then displayed on a monitor that is significantly brighter can look washed out and weak.  Since they aren't going to adjust the brightness of the display, the only option is to add density to the file.

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tho_mas
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2009, 07:39:54 PM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
A file whose density is adjusted for a good match to printed output but then displayed on a monitor that is significantly brighter can look washed out and weak.
Actually... not. If your file is viewed on a brighter monitor it looks... brighter. Overall. Granted that no other TRC is applied (i.e. the file is viewed color managed).
(Moreover if the display of the recipient is brighter the image will have more contrast - assumed that the black point of the recipients display is set to the lowest level.)
But as you don't know if their displays are brighter or darker and as it is obviously a bad idea to send along an introduction in color managment there is now way out. Adjust your file, convert to sRGB... done.
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Steve Gordon
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2009, 09:02:13 PM »
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I've been worried about this whole issue too.

Shots on my web gallery look the way I want them on my home, calibrated, color-managed computer. I've looked at them on computers at work, and my kids machines and they are clearly brighter, and often washed out. Uncalibrated Macs are particularly bad.

Without some standardization for viewing in such competitions there are going to be problems.

It's easy to say just add a curves adjustment but without knowing if the judge's machine is set to 90cd/m2 or 120, or 150, color mangaged, and using color savvy software it is indeed a mess and a lottery.
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joedecker
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2009, 11:10:02 AM »
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Quote from: Jakub
I'm in a bit of a quandry. I calibrate my monitor for print matching and therefore keep the luminance level fairly low, approx. 120dc/m2.
My concern is that when I send images out to juried competitions they will appear much too bright on the juror's monitor or projection
system. I had much better results sending slides than digital images. Any suggestions?

Jakub,  The luminance level of your monitor isn't an issue, or if it is, it isn't the primary one.  I photograph paintings and other artworks for juried competitions professionally, and the real problem is that you have absolutely no idea what sort of device the thing is going to be juried on--except that it's almost certainly an *uncalibrated* monitor or projector, with pretty much any ol' gamma, white balance, black point, etc.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you about some of the displays these things are juried on.

The best one can do (and my customers seem to get into shows without difficulty) is to do the same thing you do in dealing with this problem on the web.  Aim for the "middle of the road" in terms of what uncalibrated monitors show, look at the images on a PC *and* a Mac, look at the images on an LCD and a CRT, email a couple to half-a-dozen friends and have them tell you if it looks great or washed out, and "aim for the middle."

--Joe
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Joe Decker
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Jakub
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2009, 08:05:49 PM »
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Joe,
Given the current state of "how things are" your approach makes sense. Thanks to all who contributed!

Jakub


Quote from: joedecker
Jakub,  The luminance level of your monitor isn't an issue, or if it is, it isn't the primary one.  I photograph paintings and other artworks for juried competitions professionally, and the real problem is that you have absolutely no idea what sort of device the thing is going to be juried on--except that it's almost certainly an *uncalibrated* monitor or projector, with pretty much any ol' gamma, white balance, black point, etc.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you about some of the displays these things are juried on.

The best one can do (and my customers seem to get into shows without difficulty) is to do the same thing you do in dealing with this problem on the web.  Aim for the "middle of the road" in terms of what uncalibrated monitors show, look at the images on a PC *and* a Mac, look at the images on an LCD and a CRT, email a couple to half-a-dozen friends and have them tell you if it looks great or washed out, and "aim for the middle."

--Joe
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MarkIV
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2009, 02:37:27 PM »
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Quote from: Jakub
I'm in a bit of a quandry. I calibrate my monitor for print matching and therefore keep the luminance level fairly low, approx. 120dc/m2.
My concern is that when I send images out to juried competitions they will appear much too bright on the juror's monitor or projection
system. I had much better results sending slides than digital images. Any suggestions?

thanks,
Jakub

I know this sucks.

I have to re process the print files for web demos in PS for the sort of "avarage" monitor out there.  Then you go and look at them on 5 monitors and some are under saturated some over some over contrasted...  As Bruce fraser said its like "shoot[ing] for the middle of a very wide barn door."
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 02:38:27 PM by MarkIV » Logged
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