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Pete A

How much PP is too much?

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Hi, just joined Alamy and I'm a little confused. For the four images submitted, there had to be no sharpening. I had one failure for 'over manipulation'. There were no sharpening artifacts on the image or halos around the subject. This image has been successful on other stock sites, so I'm now wondering to what extent can I push the post processing on Alamy? Any and all advice will be gratefull appreciated.

I have now had full acceptance, but not sure what to upload next for fear of rejection through over manipulation.

 

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What did you do to it? Perhaps if you post a 100% crop.

Shooting jpeg I only do a bit of NR on high ISOs if necessary, no sharpening at all at any stage. Some clarity in LR

Edited by spacecadet

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Don't compare to other sites not taking non-sharpening seriously.

 

Alamy wants no sharpening - only hte images to be totally in focus.

 

It is necessary for the end user to be able to sharpen the image without getting any sharpening artifacts at all...

 

When that is said it depends very much on your work procedure. If you shoot jpegs you don't have the possibility to add a very tiny bit of presharpening in the raw mode, which some people allow themselves to do. But it should be next to none in this early stage of the proces. But distinguish between sharpness and focus. The focus is the one and only important thing in this matter.Customers may return your images if they are not able to make the necessary alterations and sharpening without getting artifacts. The QC people can see through an unsharp image as long as the focus is okay.

 

When I have produced the jpg image for upload and saved it, I sometimes check by adding sharpness to see whether it works satisfactorily, but I never save the sharpened image, just an extra check.

Edited by Niels Quist

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Did you use the cloning tool to clean up the image in question? "Over manipulation" can also refer to sloppy use of this feature. The Alamy submission guidelines give an example.

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There are other aspects for future consideration.  You can go too far with saturation.  I don't use Saturation at all, but sometimes use a bit of vibrance.  I

would think adding blue to the sky can be dicey if done too strongly.  Good in moderation, but I've often wondered how some of the images on here pass QC.  I see skies of a blue never seen in nature.  Maybe they were passed through before QC tightened up as they have done lately.

 

As time goes on, if you get a fail or two and I hope you don't, you'll learn what is tolerated and what isn't.  I've never had a fail for over manipulation, but mine have been "soft and lacking definition" (one particular camera I was using seemed to invite this) and one time was a bit of Chromatic abberation (CA) in one corner of a palm frond.

 

Be sure to enlarge your images to 100% and inspect every bit.  You'll be surprised what you find sometimes that you won't see in a normal view.  Noise in the sky, sensor spots, CA, and such.  This is where soft and lacking definition really shows up.

 

Good luck.

 

Betty

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Many, many thanks for all your replies. Generally, I shoot for club, inter-club and salons when I'm in a serious mood and always shoot raw. I guess that the work I do on some of them would never be acceptable here. When I sharpen, it is only ever localised and in two stages, having converted to a smart object. However, I was told over-manipulation, and that could not have be an over-sharpen. I think it might have been colour and saturation, as I do play around with that for comps.

 

One more question: for Alamy, should I shoot in jpeg as a certain amount of sharpening tales place?

This is so different to Bigstock and Canstock.

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I shoot in RAW only and do almost all my PP in ACR. I'll add a little vibrance where needed, maybe lighten the areas in too much shadow and those are usually my main adjustrments. I don't use the saturation slider. 

 

Jill

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Most people here seem to shoot RAW, Pete.  I've tried shooting jpegs but it didn't really save me any time, which was the intent. Jpeg or RAW, I'm still obsessive doing PP.  My workflow moves from LR5 to CS5 and RAW to tiff to jpeg.  Sometimes I take the tiff into Nikon NX2 to adjust one of the colors.  Remember to use the Adobe color space.  Welcome to Alamy.

 

Edo

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Don't think it makes a lot of difference. I used to shoot in RAW all the time. Now I shoot mainly in JPEG (with sharpening turned down) because I've discovered that my current camera is better at PP than I am. I'll sometimes switch to RAW+JPEG in tricky lighting situations. Seldom do I add saturation. I'm not a big fan of the current love affair with highly saturated images. It too shall pass IMO. Good luck.

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Thank you  for the extra replies, very helpful. I have tried to add a 100% crop of the failed image but all I get is a warning telling me that theimjage extention is not allowed. I have tried saving for web and save as, but neither work. Is it becasue I dragged and dropped the image? Or, do I have to put it on my website and post the url?

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Or, do I have to put it on my website and post the url?

Yes.

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Thanks, spacecadet.

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Here is the link to a 100% crop of the robin's head:

http://www.peterallchin.co.uk/images/failed.jpg

 

This is the image submitted:

http://www.peterallchin.co.uk/images/IMG_1013.jpg

 

This is the original untouched version saved as a jpeg. There is a lot of noise as the light was too low for my big Sigma lens and Canon 60d. I have now upgraded to the 5d3, which is terrific for higher iso:

http://www.peterallchin.co.uk/images/IMG_1013-untouched.jpg

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Alamy is only interested in noise when it's chroma noise, it's in the QC guidelines. IMO, No need to put this image through NR. Grain is good and this equates to grain....

 

Micro tends to want no noise, smooth images but in the trad world, we like some noise, some grain, some character. I never use NR like this, I'm much more likely to add noise to 'grain up' parts, especially after a lot of clone work.

 

And to answer the OP, there's no such thing as too much PP, there is something called bad PP where you introduce issues which shouldn't be there - like (IMO) what you've done to the feathers with what I assume is NR in this case.

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Geoff and others know much more about this sort of thing than I do, but my humble guess is that "over manipulation" simply means too much noise reduction in this case -- i.e. you went a bit too far. Have to say, though, that even after all these years, I'm still not clear on Alamy's noise policy. The chroma/colour noise example given in the submission guidelines is extreme and not very useful IMO. I wish Alamy would expand this section of the guidelines.

 

P.S. I too prefer the "grainy" look of your original robin pic. However, I would have added a little NR, mainly out of paranoia since I've had some noisy surprises in the past (none recently, though, touch wood).

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thank you both. Very interesting that a little noise seems to be ok.

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Thank you both. Very interesting that a little noise seems to be ok.

I'd be careful, though. I've had low-ISO images fail with very little/fine noise -- usually in shadow areas or the sky. Downsizing to minimum file size (3600 pixels, 24 MB) can help in some cases. Again, I'm no expert on this subject. Good luck.

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Thanks, John. For me, this is a difficult one to call. I guess there is no hard and fast rule as to how much pp is too much. I'll have to 'suck it and see' as the saying goes.

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Hi Pete:

 

There is an unfortunate halo around the top of the birds head that is probably natural, but looks like over manipulation. I always try to correct this kind of stuff even if it is natural. Another example would be distant flying birds that occur naturally in a sky. I clone them out if they look like black blobs, even though they are natural.

 

The out of focus red feathers below the bill do not look real, and therefore have a manipulated look to them. They look like the effect you get when you try to sharpen out of focus areas. They have sharp edges but have no detail inside the edges.

 

As to the photography I would classify it as a great "almost" shot because the eye and bill area is out of focus. If you do not have enough depth of field then focus on the eye and the front part of the subject. I try to select an aperture that will keep the subject mostly in focus, and still keep the background simple. I increase ISO to get shutter speed if necessary, and do not worry too much about excessive noise. Focus first, noise second.

 

We all get a lot of "almost" shots, so don't let it worry you.

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Hi Pete:

 

There is an unfortunate halo around the top of the birds head that is probably natural, but looks like over manipulation. I always try to correct this kind of stuff even if it is natural. Another example would be distant flying birds that occur naturally in a sky. I clone them out if they look like black blobs, even though they are natural.

 

The out of focus red feathers below the bill do not look real, and therefore have a manipulated look to them. They look like the effect you get when you try to sharpen out of focus areas. They have sharp edges but have no detail inside the edges.

 

As to the photography I would classify it as a great "almost" shot because the eye and bill area is out of focus. If you do not have enough depth of field then focus on the eye and the front part of the subject. I try to select an aperture that will keep the subject mostly in focus, and still keep the background simple. I increase ISO to get shutter speed if necessary, and do not worry too much about excessive noise. Focus first, noise second.

 

We all get a lot of "almost" shots, so don't let it worry you.

 

Bill, while we're on this topic, I would appreciate your expert opinion on this image (100% crop, unsharpened). In your opinion, is the seagull's head and eye adequately in focus? Or is this an "almost" shot?

 

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000rGlOyO_rUh8/s/860/860/Segull1.jpg

 

Thanks/John

Edited by John Mitchell

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Sorry, John. The beak is sharp, the chin is sharp, but, as you have sadly guessed, the eyes are not sharp.  :(

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Sorry, John. The beak is sharp, the chin is sharp, but, as you have sadly guessed, the eyes are not sharp.  :(

 

That's my fear alright. Very sharp-eyed of you. An Alamy  search for "seagull" brings up almost 37K results, so I'm not exactly in a rush to upload this guy. Also, finding another willing "model" to practice my focusing skills on shouldn't be a problem. Now I remember why I gave up on the idea of becoming a wildlife photographer...

 

Update:

 

OTOH, this image, that I uploaded in 2012, passed QC and subsequently sold.

 

Here is a 100% crop (again no sharpening, as Alamy requires). 

 

Does the duck's eye really look to be any sharper than the seagull's that I posted?

 

P.S. As you can see, I'm really into exotic wildlife. B)

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Upvote 1

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The image is not tack sharp....true.  However, there is nothing wrong with submitting this image with appropriate post processing.  Here are my suggestions and I hope you don't mind I've taken the liberty to take a very close look at your image and edit it for you....

 

1) Upload something recent.  This image was taken in 2012.....surely you've improved in the last two years.

2) Lenses with huge zoom ranges can produce less keepers.  This image was taken with a Canon 60D and a 55-500 lens.  Edits will be easier with better quality glass but try shooting one stop over exposed - that may help with the noise issue.

3) Here's what I did to your image - I increased your exposure by a bit over 1 stop.  I adjusted the clarity and vibrance of the image.  I adjust the white and black point of the image.  I used noise reduction in Lightroom.  I used the blur filter in Lightroom to blur out the background.  I used the sharpen brush to add a little sharpening to the eye.  I saved the image to the minimum size allowable by Alamy.

 

I did this very quickly (about 5 minutes).  It's not perfect but it's submittable.  The eye is sharp and the background is clean.

 

 

2ptyrfb.jpg

Edited by Ed Endicott
  • Upvote 1

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Sorry, John. The beak is sharp, the chin is sharp, but, as you have sadly guessed, the eyes are not sharp.  :(

 

That's my fear alright. Very sharp-eyed of you. An Alamy  search for "seagull" brings up almost 37K results, so I'm not exactly in a rush to upload this guy. Also, finding another willing "model" to practice my focusing skills on shouldn't be a problem. Now I remember why I gave up on the idea of becoming a wildlife photographer...

 

Update:

 

OTOH, this image, that I uploaded in 2012, passed QC and subsequently sold.

 

Here is a 100% crop. Does the duck's eye really look to be any sharper than the seagull's that I posted?

 

P.S. As you can see, I'm really into exotic wildlife. B)

 

 

John, the 100% crop won't open. The normal size duck's eye does look sharper than the gull.

 

Ed, that's nice work on the robin. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Sorry, John. The beak is sharp, the chin is sharp, but, as you have sadly guessed, the eyes are not sharp.  :(

 

That's my fear alright. Very sharp-eyed of you. An Alamy  search for "seagull" brings up almost 37K results, so I'm not exactly in a rush to upload this guy. Also, finding another willing "model" to practice my focusing skills on shouldn't be a problem. Now I remember why I gave up on the idea of becoming a wildlife photographer...

 

Update:

 

OTOH, this image, that I uploaded in 2012, passed QC and subsequently sold.

 

Here is a 100% crop. Does the duck's eye really look to be any sharper than the seagull's that I posted?

 

P.S. As you can see, I'm really into exotic wildlife. B)

 

 

John, the 100% crop won't open. The normal size duck's eye does look sharper than the gull.

 

Ed, that's nice work on the robin. 

 

 

Whoops! Try this link:

 

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000PXTCukQo2Cs/s/860/860/Duck1.jpg

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