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Augustins Mentor

Strange, almost kafkaesque comments from Alamy QC

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Thank you for showing us the 100% images!

 

Even the best of those, the Seville station is over sharpened. I would advise against it for your first upload. But it may well go through on other occasions.

For a good idea of the quality Alamy is looking for, resize the tower image size to 50% without doing anything else. I'm pretty sure that your camera can produce that quality full frame full size as well.

The image of the stairs looks like a painting. QC doesn't like that at all. Never try to upload such a thing. Filters are fine as long as the quality is not compromised. Acceptable at 20% I would say.

The image of Ronda is good at 70%. But it is probably easy enough to go back to the RAW and re-edit. The white line is unfortunate and it does happen a lot in Photoshop when either straightening an image or cropping to a preset ratio while the result is half a pixel off.

I do see the dust bunnies, but I'm a nitpicker on those, I feel that a client must be able to put a dark overlay over it with white type, without any spots showing up.

The same goes for sharpening. Alamy says no sharpening, but that's not entirely adequate. Capture sharpening is fine and necessary. Output sharpening only to a very low degree.

Try as a test to apply the simple sharpen filter in Photoshop. If you do that with the Seville platforms, you'll notice the whole image quality just falls apart: a sure sign, you've been overdoing it.

So like the others already have said: nothing wrong with your imagery, but hold back a lot in the post department. Don't try to save an image by sharpening alone. The only way is to downsize it, if at all possible without sharpening, but otherwise after sharpening.

If you use popular filters like from Nik or any older presets you've maybe made 4 camera bodies ago, assess them on overly sharpening and overly increasing everything else as well. Leave some room for the client to do something. Not that I think a lot of clients want or even are able to do any post processing, but their content management system probably will.

 

wim

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1 hour ago, wiskerke said:

Thank you for showing us the 100% images!

 

Even the best of those, the Seville station is over sharpened. I would advise against it for your first upload. But it may well go through on other occasions.

For a good idea of the quality Alamy is looking for, resize the tower image size to 50% without doing anything else. I'm pretty sure that your camera can produce that quality full frame full size as well.

The image of the stairs looks like a painting. QC doesn't like that at all. Never try to upload such a thing. Filters are fine as long as the quality is not compromised. Acceptable at 20% I would say.

The image of Ronda is good at 70%. But it is probably easy enough to go back to the RAW and re-edit. The white line is unfortunate and it does happen a lot in Photoshop when either straightening an image or cropping to a preset ratio while the result is half a pixel off.

I do see the dust bunnies, but I'm a nitpicker on those, I feel that a client must be able to put a dark overlay over it with white type, without any spots showing up.

The same goes for sharpening. Alamy says no sharpening, but that's not entirely adequate. Capture sharpening is fine and necessary. Output sharpening only to a very low degree.

Try as a test to apply the simple sharpen filter in Photoshop. If you do that with the Seville platforms, you'll notice the whole image quality just falls apart: a sure sign, you've been overdoing it.

So like the others already have said: nothing wrong with your imagery, but hold back a lot in the post department. Don't try to save an image by sharpening alone. The only way is to downsize it, if at all possible without sharpening, but otherwise after sharpening.

If you use popular filters like from Nik or any older presets you've maybe made 4 camera bodies ago, assess them on overly sharpening and overly increasing everything else as well. Leave some room for the client to do something. Not that I think a lot of clients want or even are able to do any post processing, but their content management system probably will.

 

wim

 

Yes I can see the dust spots when I put a darkening curve over the images with sky and there are also some pretty nasty artefacts in the sky. Not sure why I didn't see them earlier as they are very obvious. 

 

In relation to sharpening, yes there should be no output sharpening. That should be left to the end user. It has been an unwritten rule for a while now that some input sharpening is acceptable for Alamy but the term input sharpening does not quantify anything and is more or less meaningless without numbers. Lightroom or ACR default sharpening has been suggested but even that has changed not too long ago from 25 to 40 for the amount. With a 50mm Nikkor on a D810 there is probably no need for any sharpening at all for Alamy purposes or certainly minimial sharpening. However, I am guessing  these images have experienced another form of sharpening with a filter or the like to give the HDR effect and it is not just due to normal oversharpening.

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Thanks for posting the full size images.  They have very nice content and I like the composition on the images.  However, viewed at 100%, the images are out of focus and the pixels look jagged.  Lots of noise too.  I agree with the others - try reprocessing them from the Raw files, without overprocessing or oversharpening them.  If they aren't sharp enough to begin with, then don't submit them to alamy QC.

 

Maria

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Thank you all for your analyses. I really appreciate your time. You have all given me enough to work on for the next QC upload. What I can state at this point is that I 'cure' each image for lens softness CA, perspective, vignette, anamorphic volume distortion and capture noise as a first step and rarely use PS for sharpening or filters. My principle post processing work is in LR CC and what you may be seeing as 'sharpening' is probably excessive micro-contrasts on an already "hardened' image. This would be the Train Station pic.Same for the Spire on the blue sky. The Ronda Gorge and the Shard scene have been slightly sharpened in PS. As to dust spots, they are a pain especially during travel when lens changes have to be done outdoors. But every sensor has them and, if it's not dust, it's oil spots. If you haven't done it already, just take a shot of the blank blue sky at f/16 or f/22 and bump up the contrast, Clarity or Dehaze sliders in LR and you'll be horrified. In practice, even if a few present themselves in a stock image, any studio can do away with them. I've experienced it myself when buying stock.

I'll see how my next batch will fare.

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You don't need to do much if anything for Alamy QC in terms of sharpening to an in-focus image taken with a D800/D810 and a decent lens which you appear to be using. I do all the other stuff you mention much of it automatically on the raw in Lightroom (CA, lens profile correction, noise reduction, maybe minimal sharpening). To get the high Clarity or HDR effect in those images, you must be doing some additional processing (you call it excessive micro-contrasts) on top. That is what is causing a lot of your problems with getting these images through QC. 

 

Most of us know all about sensor spots and how to see them. Whether they are dust or oil is irrelevant - they need to be removed or the images will fail QC.  It is a real sticking point with Alamy and the correct approach I believe. In the Ronda shot, the sky appears to have some bad artefacting as well when darkened - if that is dust or oil then you have had a storm or spillage inside your camera. I really don't think these are oil spots which tend to be dense and very visible without darkening.  I think it is probably a combo of dust (the spots) and processing but the key point is that images like this will fail QC so you have got to clean them before submission. They give a bit of leeway to newcomers I am sure but if, after passing initial QC, you keep on submitting images with spots, then you will get a period in detention when you will be unable to submit.

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3 hours ago, MDM said:

They give a bit of leeway to newcomers

 

I'm pretty sure it's the opposite.

 

wim

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2 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

I'm pretty sure it's the opposite.

 

wim

 

You might be right but I wasn’t referring to the initial submission, more the subsequent ones. I was under the impression that they might not do an instant 30 day sinbin for a first offence but that is only from what I read here and it may not be accurate. Glad to say I have not failed QC since 2012 and that was due to not checking depth of field properly when I got my first 36MP camera. The one thing I learned early on with Alamy was to check for spots and sharpness very carefully and that was when we had to submit 48MB files so it always meant upsizing with my then 12MP camera. 

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After understanding the parameters of Alamy QC, with the D810 combo, there would be no major problems to move forward. 

I also started in the “era of the 48MB”, and with my then 10.1MP camera and non-pro lens, hard times and learning by the hard way.

 

andre

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1 hour ago, AM Chang said:

I also started in the “era of the 48MB”

Me too, with my 6MP D70. The upsized files went through QC well until about 2009 when the first high MP cameras came out (I think Canon had the first 20MP body then). Then I started to fail QC regularly. We backpacked around the world from August 2009 to August 2010 so I got the then new (and excellent) D300 with 14MP and my QC failures stopped.

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

Me too, with my 6MP D70. The upsized files went through QC well until about 2009 when the first high MP cameras came out (I think Canon had the first 20MP body then). Then I started to fail QC regularly. We backpacked around the world from August 2009 to August 2010 so I got the then new (and excellent) D300 with 14MP and my QC failures stopped.

 

6MP to 48MB is a massive jump. I started with a 12MP D700 and good prime lenses. I had a couple of failures, my own fault for camera shake or dust spots. Then I had a failure for SoLD which I am still flummoxed by as the only thing that was not sharp was due to wind blow but it made me paranoid and I only uploaded pics that were absolutely sharp front to back. I have loads of pics from that period that have never seen the light of day on Alamy. I never used to apply any sharpening whatsoever, abiding strictly by the rules. It is far easier these days as long as one checks carefully for spots and focus. 

Edited by MDM

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5 hours ago, MDM said:

I have loads of pics from that period that have never seen the light of day on Alamy.

 

It might be worth sending in a few. An iffy decision by a QCer can always happen, but mainly I find that QC are pretty good and do know the difference between SoLD and an image effect. Yes, 6to 48MB was a ridiculous jump, but they all passed well when 6MP was the standard resolution. When the 12-14MBs started to appear then my 6MB files must have started to look well rough, and I started to fail. 

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9 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

 

It might be worth sending in a few. An iffy decision by a QCer can always happen, but mainly I find that QC are pretty good and do know the difference between SoLD and an image effect. Yes, 6to 48MB was a ridiculous jump, but they all passed well when 6MP was the standard resolution. When the 12-14MBs started to appear then my 6MB files must have started to look well rough, and I started to fail. 

 

I do occasionally go back through older images and submit stuff that I would not have done back in the day. Time, however, always seems to be against me - so much to do and the hours turn into years so quickly 🙁😎

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On 22/03/2019 at 17:35, Augustins Mentor said:

Thank you all for taking the trouble to enlighten me. I'm learning. 

These images only have raw input sharpening for the particular lens and sensor and JPEG output sharpened for screen as done by LR. They have not been sharpened or high-passed for output through PS . Also to be able to download from Flickr you will need to login to your user account. Temporarily I have set permission as public. I'll also upload to dropbox.

 

 

 

Don't know if it was mentioned but you are not supposed to apply any output sharpening on images intended for Alamy.

 

Input sharpening is fine, I think most of us use it to some degree.

 

Allan

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Don't know if it was mentioned but you are not supposed to apply any output sharpening on images intended for Alamy.

 

Input sharpening is fine, I think most of us use it to some degree.

 

Allan

 

 

 

It has been mentioned a few times above and what you say is correct but what exactly is input sharpening? This is a term coined by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe as far as I know and refers to generally mild sharpening of the raw image for on-screeen viewing. However, as I said above, the term on its own doesn't mean anything without quantifying it (giving some values). One could have one's default sharpening set to very high values. Default Lightroom sharpening has been considered to be acceptable but again, as I said above, that has changed recently. There is such a strong dependence on camera, lens, ISO and so on that it is actually impossible to really define anything.  Sensible discretion is required. 

Edited by MDM

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On 24/03/2019 at 11:05, MDM said:

 

It has been mentioned a few times above and what you say is correct but what exactly is input sharpening? This is a term coined by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe as far as I know and refers to generally mild sharpening of the raw image for on-screeen viewing. However, as I said above, the term on its own doesn't mean anything without quantifying it (giving some values). One could have one's default sharpening set to very high values. Default Lightroom sharpening has been considered to be acceptable but again, as I said above, that has changed recently. There is such a strong dependence on camera, lens, ISO and so on that it is actually impossible to really define anything.  Sensible discretion is required. 

For what it is worth in general and not specific to this thread I did forget to change the default LR sharpening from its new 40% instead of 25% on a series of images - and they all passed fine so I then stopped bothering.  LRs defaults still seem to be fully acceptable so long as all other bits are correct.  I have even had some lower light higher ISO images with increased sharpening accepted - but they are done on a case by case basis and will include masking and noise reduction as well.

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