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It would appear that during Alamy's converion to sRGB JPEG's images are darkened.  I am working on a calibrated  desktop PC running Win 10?

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What I've noticed is that bringing up the image does indeed show a slightly darker version, however if you click the enlarge button the image brightens up and renders accurately from my desktop version. Calibrated Apple Mac and compared with Safari and Firefox browsers. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ReeRay

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10 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

It would appear that during Alamy's converion to sRGB JPEG's images are darkened.  I am working on a calibrated  desktop PC running Win 10?

 

Hmm, I wonder if images uploaded as sRGB  aren't being being affected? I shall have a closer look later, must rush for a train.

Edited by sb photos

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I'm not seeing any brightness shift on thumbnails of images I uploaded back loaded in July 2019. I'm looking specifically at my images of a Passport colour checker W2BEBF (processed from RAW with fully AdobeRGB workflow) and W2BEBH (processed from same RAW using fully sRGB workflow). Maybe you're seeing something new?

 

Method 1

This is how I compared the rendering of the images. I opened both jpgs (as uploaded to Alamy) in PS and also got both Alamy image thumbnails on screen (in Google Chrome) at the same time on a calibrated display. Then took a screenshot of the whole display. Then opened the screenshot in PS and used the eyedropper to check the brightness of the white and black target patches. In all cases they rendered at 94% and 11% brightness respectively. Not sure if this method is flawed, but it's the way I did it.

 

Alamy's conversion of an 8 bit AdobeRGB to sRGB and then compressing to a significantly lower quality jpg for use as thumbnails and preview images is not ideal as it's causing some blockiness in skies and slight change in the colour rendering of the AdobeRGB images. The blockiness caused by the extra jpg compression can cause some small shifts in brightness, but these seem to be + or -. 

 

Mark

 

Update 1 - Method 2 - If I take a screenshot of the Alamy preview and open in PS, and compare with my original Adobe RGB image opened in PS, then there is a shift (1% brighter). I'll take a closer look later today as I don't trust this method (differing profile involved with screenshot which is only applied to one of the images).

 

Update 2 - OK I did some checking on Method 2. It seems to be important to ensure that the screenshot tool embeds the correct profile (i.e. the calibrated monitor profile and NOT a Generic RGB profile) with the screenshot.  I swapped to using the MacOS screenshot tool (which does embed the correct profile) and now there's a much smaller shift in brightness between the screenshots of Alamy thumbnail and preview images of my AdobeRGB image W2BEBF when compared to the original, when all are opened in PS and rendered using their embedded profiles. The white patch is the same, but the black point has shifted a bit. I think the best comparison method is to use the method described in my original posting as the same profile conversion is applied to both images as they are in the same screenshot.

 

Here's a gallery showing screenshots of what I see (with the Method 1) together with the original jpg as uploaded to Alamy, in case you want to check if you see the same as I do.  https://postimg.cc/gallery/1c8ki9e8m/. I recommend downloading the images and loading into PS if you want to check them.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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I have noticed a slight darkening of my images when I move from a tiff in PS to the jpeg I upload to Alamy, but that's an interim change and not really important. Looking up an image as buyers do, and seeing it enlarged, I do not see any noticeable change. But . . . before reading Chuck's comment, I never judged an image that way. Let me explain what I do.

 

When I worked for American Airlines as their destination shooter, part of my job was to go up to Chicago from Dallas and judge and change and okay the printing on AA brochures and posters. Before me, the persons who did this compared the original chromes with the print run using a loupe. 

 

I didn't do that.

 

I made my judgements based solely on how I wanted the printed version to look. And that's the way I do my PP. Here's an enlarged image of a snap with some subtle tones (dawn) I got from looking up on Alamy and enlarging it. It looks okay to me.

 

 

lower-manhattan-skylight-as-seen-from-br

 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Could it have something to do with judging an image against a white vs a black background?

 

wim

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Agree with Wim. It's in your head so measuring will do no good.

 

I have my Adobe Bridge and Photoshop background set to gray as well as my Mac Desktop.

 

Images that appear on the Alamy pages are against white and tend to look darker until you click on an already  zoomed image and get an enlarged image on a gray background. Then it looks as I sent it in.

 

I assume my images will be viewed on a white background either printed page or a white web page so I process them slightly lighter than a perfect histogram. I try for slightly more shadow detail as image shadows will appear darker against a white background.

 

Works with perception of color against color as well.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2757726/

Edited by Bill Brooks
clarity

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19 minutes ago, Bill Brooks said:

It's in your head so measuring will do no good.

 

Except that measurement can help confirm whether the perceived darkening really is in your head, or due to Alamy aRGB to sRGB conversion or some other problem.

 

Mark

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My workflow is pretty simple, shoot Nikon NEF or RAW, Lightroom (LR) to balance and output as 16bit aRGB TIFF to Photoshop (PS) then caption

and keywork and then save to 8bit aRGB JPEG for upload to Alamy.  At every stage I pay attention to the Histogram, set to 0-255,  My screen, Adobe

software and desktop are all set to work in aRGB color.  I will say that I tend to prefer my Histogram to be to the darker side, closer to the 0's (black)

then the 255's (white).

 

For the last two years I've been using a DELL Ultra Sharpe monitor and I have never been happy with it.  Before the DELL I had a very high-end NEC

monitor and I loved it.

 

Would appreciate any experienced Alamy contributor having a look at the URL below and letting me know if the images they are viewing are too dark or contrasty?

https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?&xstx=0&userid={16BDF2FC-4607-4BBC-A1AC-6C8AC1704530}&name=Chuck+Nacke&st=12

 

Another note: The D800's produce a 14bit file at 7360 and I always downsize (bicubic sharpening) from the TIFF to a 4200+ JPEG for upload to Alamy.

 

Thanks,

 

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Nacke
addition

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8 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

My workflow is pretty simple, shoot Nikon NEF or RAW, Lightroom (LR) to balance and output as 16bit aRGB TIFF to Photoshop (PS) then caption

and keywork and then save to 8bit aRGB JPEG for upload to Alamy.  At every stage I pay attention to the Histogram, set to 0-255,  My screen, Adobe

software and desktop are all set to work in aRGB color.  I will say that I tend to prefer my Histogram to be to the darker side, closer to the 0's (black)

then the 255's (white).

 

For the last two years I've been using a DELL Ultra Sharpe monitor and I have never been happy with it.  Before the DELL I had a very high-end NEC

monitor and I loved it.

 

Would appreciate any experienced Alamy contributor having a look at the URL below and letting me know if the images they are viewing are too dark or contrasty?

https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?&xstx=0&userid={16BDF2FC-4607-4BBC-A1AC-6C8AC1704530}&name=Chuck+Nacke&st=12

 

Thanks,

 

Chuck

 

How high have you set the light output of the UltraSharp?

 

BTW there's quite a bit difference between the UltraSharps.  Newer ones have led lights, but older ones have CCFL backlights.

Older color calibrators can struggle to get the settings right for Led backlights.

I have two ancient U2010 ones that have the same LG panels inside as some macs from that time and they were really good for the money. Much easier to the eye than their Apple counterparts too because of the non-glare finish. However now I have two Eizo's I can see and feel the difference: they are less stressful for the eyes, because they are so evenly lit (uniformity in display-speak). The Dells much less so. Color wise there's not a huge difference. And the Eizo's are also non-glare.

The main difference is the color depth which with the Eizo's is now real 10-bit thanks to a serious Nvidia Quadro P4000 graphics card. So no more banding in blue skies or B/W images.

 

Back to your images. I find the shadows a bit dark and the overall feel a bit on the gloomy side.

A good test is generally to try AUTO in ACR or LR. It's not always perfect of course. However I tried it on the downloaded zoom of your WA1544 and AUTO in ACR generally did with it what I would do with it.

One of many HyArts artist Shanties at Hyannis Harbor, Hyannis, MA, USA - Stock Image

WA1544

 

So if you were on a Mac I would suspect your monitor brightness is too high, because that's usually the case with mac displays. (People want their movies to be bright.)

 

My Eizo monitors are at 100 cd/m2. Let me fire up the print station to see at what levels the Dells are set. They are now also set at 100 cd/m2. Previously they were at 115 cd/m2 because the studio is quite well lit, while the station with the Eizo's is in a much darker space to the side.

The Dell U2410 monitors were 400 cd/m2 out of the box according to the specs. That may well be a lot lower after 10 years and the colors have shifted also. (Which is why one uses a calibration device.)

 

wim

 

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Wim,

 

First thank you for your trouble.  The DELL monitor I am currently working with is a " 2407-WFD"  Wish I still had my NEC monitor, but

the new NEC's are too expensive.  In the future I think I will just go with a bit brighter image, higher on the histogram.  I've purposely asked

this for myself as well as others contributing to Alamy.  FYI I am using a SPYDER 5 for calibration.  I also upgraded my graphic card to a

Nvidia Quadro K620.

 

I have my brightness set to 51% and after my last calibration DATACOLOR told me I was at 100% of aRGB?

 

Life was so much easier when we just shot chromes......

 

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Nacke
addition

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12 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

 

 

Would appreciate any experienced Alamy contributor having a look at the URL below and letting me know if the images they are viewing are too dark or contrasty?

https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?&xstx=0&userid={16BDF2FC-4607-4BBC-A1AC-6C8AC1704530}&name=Chuck+Nacke&st=12

 

I have my brightness set to 51% and after my last calibration DATACOLOR told me I was at 100% of aRGB?

 

Life was so much easier when we just shot chromes....

 

 

Your images are definitely too dark overall and lacking in contrast, not too contrasty. This is very likely due to your monitor being set too bright as wim has intimated. This tendency towards dark images is obvious if you look at the histograms as most of your images do not have a full tonal range from black to white - I am talking about images which should have a full tonal range. Also the midtones are often too dark and many of the images have very heavy shadows.

 

The fact that you have a calibrated monitor is not relevant unless it is calibrated for brightness as well as colour. If your calibration device cannot set the brightness then it would be wise to get one which does as all but the entry level ones can measure and set monitor brightness. I am not familiar with the Spyders but most of the X-Rite calibration devices allow the setting of monitor brightness. As wim says, the monitor brightness should be set according to the ambient lighting conditions which should be constant for consistency. I use 90cd/m2 which is even darker than wim's 100cd/m2 as I find this gives me the best match with my prints. Talking of which, the best way to really check if one's colour-managed workflow is really working is to make prints.

 

A good quality gray card plus or minus a color checker passport (both from X-Rite) are well worth having as the gray card can be used to set white balance on raw files in LR/ACR as well as setting the mid-tone brightness at around 50%. Used in conjunction with the raw histogram these aids are incredibly useful in setting up and maintaining a colour-managed workflow.

 

In relation to your final statement about going back to film - simpler perhaps but easier? I don't think so for multiple reasons beyond the scope of the question. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, MDM said:

<snip>

Talking of which, the best way to really check if one's colour-managed workflow is really working is to make prints.

 

If making prints even more important than a calibrated display are accurately created printer profiles. Generic paper manufactures ones can be very hit and miss depending upon printer tolerances. 

Edited by sb photos

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4 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

<snip>

 

Life was so much easier when we just shot chromes......

 

Chuck

 

For the photographer, yes, if you simply supplied the publisher with the transparency or cut film, but I would always worry about it's return. It was then the publisher/printers responsibility to drum scan and ensure all was well.

  • Upvote 1

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22 minutes ago, sb photos said:

 

If making prints even more important than a calibrated display are accurately created printer profiles. Generic paper manufactures ones can be very hit and miss depending upon printer tolerances. 

 

I use mainly Permajet papers and I find the generic printer profiles are pretty good on my Epson printer for many papers but they do offer a free custom profiling service. I actually have a device (Color Munki Photo, now replaced) which produces printer profiles as well. I find that the generic profiles for the Permajet Baryta papers are very good - I have taken to using these a lot and find the colour accuracy amazing (including skin tones which is always the difficult one). I would argue, however, that the whole colour management process is important - if the monitor is not correct then nothing else will be either. 

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I'm an idiot about the technical issues but I found a practical way to look at the brightness of my images at the beginning when I thought they looked dull next to other images on the page. I would compare an image I was working on with one I liked on Alamy. Now I am better at judging my own but still sometimes do it if I'm not sure. Brightness seems to be so much a judgment thing.

 

Paulette

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31 minutes ago, NYCat said:

I'm an idiot about the technical issues but I found a practical way to look at the brightness of my images at the beginning when I thought they looked dull next to other images on the page. I would compare an image I was working on with one I liked on Alamy. Now I am better at judging my own but still sometimes do it if I'm not sure. Brightness seems to be so much a judgment thing.

 

Paulette

 

When editing images on my laptop in adverse conditions outdoors, which isn't as often as it used to be, I keep what I call a 'gold standard' image. I then match edits to that prior to uploading. Of course, back home I follow my normal workflow.

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Chuck, could this be your screen?

 

front_small.jpg

Dell 2407WFP-HC

 

Maybe it's nearing the end of it's life.

 

This advice is not bad. Check out his pages about color management too.

If you can live with sRGB his budget option looks good. But as he says, you must calibrate it.

I noticed that over here the Eizo CS2420 went down in price and is now EURO 620, But in the US it has gone up quite a bit and is now around $960 at B&H. Cheapest I could find was through Amazon for $759.  But the average at Amazon was around $870. Could this be the current trade wars at work? Could also be because I cannot tell Amazon to show me prices without shipping (to The Netherlands). It used to be the prices in the US were in dollars what they were over here in euros. (We have higher sales tax, which is included in all prices on the consumer level.)

 

What I don't understand is why some of your images are perfect, but others tend to have those darker shadows and are sometimes just too dark overall. Could be changing ambient light also. Like sunshine in the room vs no light at all. The Kaepernick portraits are good and the close-ups of Condi and Kerry look good too. But the overviews of that one are a tad on the dark side.

 

wim

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20 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

My workflow is pretty simple, shoot Nikon NEF or RAW, Lightroom (LR) to balance and output as 16bit aRGB TIFF to Photoshop (PS) then caption

and keywork and then save to 8bit aRGB JPEG for upload to Alamy.  At every stage I pay attention to the Histogram, set to 0-255,  My screen, Adobe

software and desktop are all set to work in aRGB color.  I will say that I tend to prefer my Histogram to be to the darker side, closer to the 0's (black)

then the 255's (white).

 

For the last two years I've been using a DELL Ultra Sharpe monitor and I have never been happy with it.  Before the DELL I had a very high-end NEC

monitor and I loved it.

 

Would appreciate any experienced Alamy contributor having a look at the URL below and letting me know if the images they are viewing are too dark or contrasty?

https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?&xstx=0&userid={16BDF2FC-4607-4BBC-A1AC-6C8AC1704530}&name=Chuck+Nacke&st=12

 

Another note: The D800's produce a 14bit file at 7360 and I always downsize (bicubic sharpening) from the TIFF to a 4200+ JPEG for upload to Alamy.

 

Thanks,

 

Chuck

They look a little flat to me too, he said unscientifically. My monitor isn't hardware calibrated, just the Windows tools.

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I have a calibrator but haven’t used it since moving. I do look at the brightness of my Alamy images compared to others, and think they look good. I do watch my histogram, while shooting and while developing. I do use the white balance dropper to find a white, grey or black. Some photos don’t have those shades, like some nature, so I can try auto in LR, (only recently, last couple of uploads) and “most” of the time it does well. If I think it is too warm or cool, I tweak it to my eye.

In other words, calibrating is best, but good results can still happen with care. Oh, I have an iMac, about 4-5 years old. I develop with sun coming through the sheer curtains, and at night with a dim light in the room. I do everything wrong, it seems. Maybe my stuff is horrible and I’m clueless or don’t have the eye I think I do. In the past, occasionally I goofed with the brightness (a tad dark) of an image but not often. Ummm,  I think!! :D

Betty

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