Date   

Eurostandard <- help!

Dan Margulis <76270.1033@...>
 

Russell writes,

The requirements are "same size screened positives (right reading,
emulsion side down) with progressives. Screen 54 ". I assume
"progressives" refers to a contract proof of some sort and "Screen 54" is
lpc(entimeter). So far so good.>>

Not necessarily. Your interpretation of Screen 54 is correct, however, the
word "progressives," known as "progs" among the cognoscenti, may indicate a
problem. A set of progs is a set of all possible combinations of inks for
the image, e.g. a magenta-only version, a M+C version, an M+C+Y version,
etc. This is of course a great help in diagnosing any difficulty that may
arise on press, but to get a set of progs, obviously you need to be
proofing the job on a press, not a digital or film-based contract proof.

A set of progs was in fact a requirement for U.S. magazine ads in the
1980s, and some magazines still state that they require them. However, I
don't know that any magazine in the U.S. will currently turn away an ad
that's accompanied only by a Matchprint. I can't, however, speak for UK
printers. You need to find out whether they mean what they say about these
progs. If they do, you need a press proof.

Can I assume that "Eurostandard(Coated)" will produce an appropriate dot
gain for POS films?>>

No. It will compensate for the minor differences in ink hue, but it
overstates the difference in dot gain. The use of positive film will knock
3-5 points off the dot gain you might expect in a North American
publication. So, use the Eurostandard inks, but set the dot gain to
whatever you are accustomed to less 3-5 points. The Photoshop Eurostandard
default is 9%, which is too low.

Are H/L and shadow values different when working towards this output?
(5,2,2,0 / 80,70,70,70 - total Ink, etc..)?>>

In principle they are the same, but Eurostandard does not apply the SWOP
limitation of 300 total ink, I think they draw the line at 320. You should
get marginally better shadow detail anyway owing to the reduction in dot
gain, so you may feel it appropriate to hike the black a little for more
snap.

Since the films will be produced in England from the digital file how can
I
produce a useful proof without also producing POS films here and finding
someone who has appropriate proofing materials. Most proofing systems
seem to be fine tuned to SWOP. Would it be fair to re-separate the file
with SWOP(coated) settings and output this on a digital SWOP based
proofer and send this along as the contract proof. Wouldn't this be a bit
dishonest since it was not made from the same file they receive?>>

It would be fair, IMHO, but not every printer would agree. Presumably this
is not the first time they have had to deal with someone from North
America, so they may have some set policy.

How do folks deal with cross-continent compatibility?>>
They wing it, basically. Other than the dot gain differential printability
is just about the same. Warning, though: European printing is a *lot* more
variable in quality than what one finds on this side of the lake. Some
printers are very, very, good, and some are very, very bad.

Dan Margulis


Re: Dan's response/APA survey

tflash <tflash@...>
 

Dan,

You may find this survey of APA (Advertising Photographers of America)
members interesting. They were not surveyed on many of the questions you
raised, but they were surveyed on fees, and digital imaging.

Brief highlights:
*Fees are well up, but more for the upper echelon than the lower.(pg. 7)
*52.5% of respondents have used a computer for imaging, though most don't
bill it out effectively.(pg. 11)
*By far the the greatest percentage of photographers (80%) spent less than
$10,000 on digital cameras (pg. 8)

Here's the link:
http://apanational.com/news.html
click on "APA NATIONAL photographers survey" to download the PDF file.

Todd Flashner

P.S., I see they sponsor a discussion group. Perhaps your survey could be
posted there as well.


Re: More on Emerald City

Ron Bean <rbean@...>
 

Tara Keezer <taralynnk@earthlink.net> writes:

I'm using a combination of selective color to drop cyan and yellow from the
neutrals; levels to balance the light and shadows; layer blending to correct
some of the inevitable over-correction; and noise to eliminate some of the
flatness.
Just a comment here-- in general, selective color on the neutrals
sounds like the wrong approach. Instead, I'd try to draw a set of
curves that makes the neutrals neutral, which should get the
overall color balance closer to reality. Then use whatever other
tricks to deal with anything that still doesn't look right.

But I couldn't get that to work with these images. The closest I
came was with the A channel in LAB, which got rid of the green
but didn't reveal any real color.

One of the respondents suggested going to duotone for these images, and I'm
tempted to do so. Once you look at them, I think you'll see why: they're
almost there on their own.
Yeah-- I'm guessing that the incorrect chemistry turned the dye
layers in the film into colors your scanner can't separate, so
each channel is getting information leaked from the other
channels. This would tend to desaturate everything, except that
the green channel ended up stronger.

What you need is to somehow scan the film through filters that
can only pass light from one dye layer at a time, whatever those
colors turned out to be (unless two of them turned into the same
color, in which case you're hosed).

Since you probably can't change the filters in your scanner, how
about duping the film through whatever filters you need to
get each dye layer on a separate piece of film. You would need a
way to get them back into register afterward (if it's 35mm, maybe
use the sprocket holes). The suggestion to shoot a color target
and process the same way was a good one; that would tell you where
the colors are going.

Personally, I'd convert them to black and white...


Eurostandard <- help!

Russell Proulx
 

We're preparing an ad for a magazine that will be printed in the UK and
I'm not quite sure how best to supply them with a digital document and
proof.

Because of time concerns the magazine is requesting the digital file be
sent first so they can proceed with layout and producing plates and the
proof only needs to arrive a few days later.

The requirements are "same size screened positives (right reading,
emulsion side down) with progressives. Screen 54 ". I assume
"progressives" refers to a contract proof of some sort and "Screen 54" is
lpc(entimeter). So far so good.

Can I assume that "Eurostandard(Coated)" will produce an appropriate
dot gain for POS films?

Are H/L and shadow values different when working towards this output?
(5,2,2,0 / 80,70,70,70 - total Ink, etc..)?

Since the films will be produced in England from the digital file how can I
produce a useful proof without also producing POS films here and finding
someone who has appropriate proofing materials. Most proofing systems
seem to be fine tuned to SWOP. Would it be fair to re-separate the file
with SWOP(coated) settings and output this on a digital SWOP based
proofer and send this along as the contract proof. Wouldn't this be a bit
dishonest since it was not made from the same file they receive?

How do folks deal with cross-continent compatibility?

Thanks for any help.

Russell Proulx
Montreal (CANADA)


Re: More on Emerald City (crossposted)

Tara Keezer <taralynnk@...>
 

on 1/22/01 9:26 PM, you wrote:

sure, as long as it isn't too big... but it would be better if you could
post the file somewhere i don't need to log in...
You're absolutely right, and now that I have access to the images again,
I've posted a before and after at

http://home.earthlink.net/~taralynnk/kermit.html

I promise--no log-in is required.

I've also received a few requests for images with which to play. If you're
on a Mac, go to

http://home.earthlink.net/~taralynnk/kermit.sit.hqx

Windows users can download a zip file from

http://home.earthlink.net/~taralynnk/kermit.zip.uu

If you have problems with your download, please let me know. I generally
don't use my Earthlink space for file transfers.

One of the respondents suggested going to duotone for these images, and I'm
tempted to do so. Once you look at them, I think you'll see why: they're
almost there on their own. Still, if I can get decent color and image
quality, I'd rather stick with full color. In other words, I haven't made up
my mind.


Re: Dan's response

Bob Smith <rmsmith@...>
 

Great post Dan... somewhat depressing to see all of the doom and gloom
written into one neat package... and somewhat reassuring to realize that
maybe at least I'm heading in the right direction.

While in college almost 30 years ago, I had a part time job working at a
camera store. I participated in numerous training sessions from the various
photo suppliers and really learned a great deal through that experience.
One thing that has stuck with me through my career is the point that every
Kodak training session would try to hammer home. They constantly urged us
to remember that what the customer is really buying is the end result...
nice photos that represent family memories... not just a specific camera or
some rolls of film.

Putting that way of thinking into my business as a photographer means
reminding myself that what my clients are buying is a nice catalog, brochure
or web site. Dealing with me or any other photographer is just a bump in
the process. They don't care about the photos so much as the complete
finished project and what its going to do for their business. To that end,
its incumbent on me to deliver images to them that fit easily and painlessly
into what they are trying to accomplish. Keeping yourself the client's easy
solution has become MUCH more complicated but its still doable. It means
meeting ever shrinking deadlines; keeping any kind of surprises to an
absolute minimum; and providing images in whatever format fits directly into
what the client is trying to accomplish... even when the client is unable to
accurately specify what that format is.

Meeting deadlines has always been important. Its even more so now. As Dan
points out, the client armed with time and a decent digital camera can
experiment until he hits on a great image. I'm finding that time is one of
my best allies. Clients who are otherwise creating some of their own images
will still call me when under a deadline crunch. And fortunately severe
deadline pressure is a part of this business that's not going away anytime
soon. My challenge is to stay on top of it.

If there's one key word that describes the way I intend to prepare for
future trends its "simplify". That may sound odd considering how
complicated it is to learn these multitudes of new skills. I have a large
studio loaded with odds and ends designed to help me solve all sorts of
imaging problems. A digital workflow has seriously lessened the need for
most of this. The aren't many problems I can't solve with a very simple
hardware setup: good digital camera, few lenses, a few portable lights, a
PowerBook, a decent inkjet printer, a CD burner and a web connection.
Relying on such a system lets me be much more mobile and work faster than
ever before.


*Service bureaus had the $30,000 it took to set up a digital studio, and
many of them did so. When they did, they commonly hired college students as
photographers. Also, since the object was to bring in film work, shooting
was almost considered a sales expense: charge whatever it takes to bring
the work in! If somebody else cuts photography prices 50%, cut ours 75%! If
they come back and cut it 85%, we'll tell the client we'll do the shooting
for free, as long as we get the film work!
To see how this model has played out for many years look to local television
stations versus independent producers. In all but the major metro markets
my experience has been that independent videographers have struggled much
more than their still photographer counterparts. The cost of the most
elaborate high end digital cameras is chump change compared to what early
offerings of portable video gear cost. TV stations were the only ones that
could afford the outlay and they used it to sell commercial time. They'd
give away production (and it usually looks like it) to sell ad time. This
makes it a very uphill battle for the independent producer to charge enough
of a fee to run a viable business. I've done a number of shoots where I was
working alongside a video crew. Often I was getting the higher fee even
though there were more of them and they were lugging around several times as
many dollars in equipment... and my fees are NOT high.

Of all that was posted, I agree most closely with the analysis of Andrew
Rodney.
As do I. Belated kudos to Andrew for so concisely presenting an overview
very similar to what I perceive.

Bob Smith


Re: Dan's response

Jim Domnitz <jdomnitz@...>
 

    For those that have not read this post by Dan.(included again below). take the time. It is time to not be adversaries but business partners. We are building relationships where we are making the printers our friends. They are sending work to us and we are working in cooperation supplying high quality digital images. If a printer blames us for a poor job.. (they wanted the graphic work which we supplied and then they screwed up the job) they earn the non-recommend list. We have a number of printers that we try to get involved even before the shoot takes place. They have made our recommended list.  With their input and cooperation all goes smooth and the job looks great. I also have committed tons of capital into equipment but sending an associate that I have to Dan's class and it  was money well spent. Digital is here to stay.. if the printers want to be the K-marts of printing.. they can try to do the photography themselves.. if they want quality they are going to have to establish business relationships that all benefit in.
 
Jim Domnitz (Professional photographer since 1972!)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 7:56 PM
Subject: [colortheory] Dan's response

The purpose of the questions I recently asked of professional photographers
here was because I'm preparing a column that deals with the meaning of the
advent of cheap digital cameras of good enough quality to be suitable for
some professional work.

While a significant number of people are already using these cameras in
creative and intelligent ways, the word hasn't really leaked out to the
general graphics public. When it does, one of the major consequences is
clearly going to be, it's going to be a bad thing for most professional
photographers, and for some it will be a catastrophic thing.

I was astounded and very grateful for the volume of responses, which in
many cases were exceptionally thorough. I apologize that this is going to
have to serve as a response to all of them.

The only real surprise was the number of stock specialists people reported
knowing. I had really thought this was a dead trade, but apparently have to
revise my thinking.

Of all that was posted, I agree most closely with the analysis of Andrew
Rodney. There is an elite of perhaps five percent of the market who are so
well positioned that they can play by their own rules. Then at the bottom
there is a group populated by people such as one described by someone who
wrote to me privately as "a guy that knows a bunch of people and uses a
$5000 Nikon as a point and shoot."

These jokers at the bottom of the food chain are doing a great job of
helping wreck things for the rest of the market. Not just by lowballing
their job quotes out of desperation, but by representing to clients that
they know what they're doing with Photoshop and digital cameras, and then
disappointing them. This effect was pointed out by another correspondent,
and I can verify it. I've run into several buyers who swear that they will
never allow another photographer to handle a digital file, because a few
months back a job was wrecked at great expense by some clown. This, to
them, proves that all photographers are incompetent.

Because I expect this disruptive group to grow larger, I agree with Andrew
that the situation is going to get worse. Much worse, I think, for those
who won't take decisive action to improve their digital skills and to
diversify their businesses.

I also agree with those pointing out that certain segments of the
photographic market are doing much better than others. It's clear, too,
from the correspondence that certain regions of the country are depressed
as far as photographers as concerned and that others (such as New York) are
holding their own.

There are also a couple of commonly expressed views with which I disagree.
A number of people cited a customer mentality that accepts ever-worse
images. I'm not seeing that. At the top of the field, images are better
than they've ever been. There is certainly also a lot of garbage, but it
mostly comes from people who are taking advantage of how cheap it is to
publish color now. A small business throws 100 ghastly images onto the web
or into a flyer and we all click our tongues and complain how standards
have fallen.

In fact, that business's standards are the same as they always were. They
would gladly have printed images just as bad five years ago, only the price
to do so wasn't low enough. To say that standards have gone down, one would
have to produce people who are producing worse color now than the same
people produced several years ago, and IMHO such people are rare.

The idea that "we have a larger number of photographers chasing fewer
images" is also incorrect. In fact, there's been a colossal increase in the
number of images in use. I'd agree that there are more photographers (or
people who think they're photographers) chasing them, but the big hurt is
that a high percentage of these new images are handled by people who aren't
photographers at all.

When you consider this increased number of images, and the fact that we've
had a great economy for more than five years, it's amazing that things have
been as bad as they were for photographers. Granted, many of you are doing
OK and some considerably more than OK. Then again, you are somewhat of a
vanguard group. The very fact that you're here indicates you realize the
necessity of spending a lot of time educating yourselves, and this is more
than can be said for typical photographers.

So, as a group you can be expected to be doing much better than average,
and yet few of you are doing great, at least not in the sense of other
professions in the graphic arts. Retouchers here in the New York region,
for example, are making about double what they did five years ago, or at
least they were until the market tanked.

The reason I'm writing this column specifically in April is that this is
the five-year anniversary of a similar pair of articles I wrote under
somewhat analogous circumstances. At that time, it was just becoming clear
that studio digital photography was going to wipe out traditional catalog
shoots, and that royalty-free stock photography was not just something for
screen savers.

At that time many photographers were in a state of denial, but on the other
hand they had a lot of things to deny. Dicomed, which was at that time the
leading name in studio digital photography, had announced that real soon
now they were going to have a field digital camera that would be infinitely
better than any camera currently on this planet and that any photographer
who didn't order one immediately would suffer the consequences.  To this
day, nobody has constructed a device to those specifications, and Dicomed
is a happy memory.

A lot of people at that time said this new camera would never work, and
that photographers had nothing to worry about. I wasn't sure that it
wouldn't work, but I said it didn't matter, as follows:

     "When a compatible and user-friendly better way emerges, though, those
in the way of the locomotive had best watch out. That is the position of
photographers today. They stand on the tracks, and the train of the digital
revolution is headed right at them. Two of their choices are quite
unpalatable. They can remain where they are and find out who will survive
the inevitable collision. They can also cede their territory and their
business, by stepping aside.
     "There exists, however, a third alternative: getting a running start,
so that when the train roars by they can jump on board.
With the industry reeling from several lean years, all we need now is a
little more competition. Buying into Dicomed's technology will set one back
more than $30,000, out of range for many photographers but low enough to
attract printers and service bureaus who see a way to pick up business at
the photographer's expense. Meanwhile, the explosion of digital stock
libraries has wiped out most stock shooting assignments...
     "Suppose for a moment that this new [Dicomed] product doesn't work,
and that effective digital field work remains pie in the sky. So what?
There is still plenty of damage, even if digital stays confined to the
studio.
     "Suppose that only 20 percent of film-based professional photography
is lost to the digital interloper; suppose only ten? What do you think will
happen when the same number of suppliers, if not more, chase after 90
percent of the former business?"

And, essentially, that's what happened. While every other graphics
profession prospered, professional photography went into a recession. Some
of the main factors:

*Service bureaus had the $30,000 it took to set up a digital studio, and
many of them did so. When they did, they commonly hired college students as
photographers. Also, since the object was to bring in film work, shooting
was almost considered a sales expense: charge whatever it takes to bring
the work in! If somebody else cuts photography prices 50%, cut ours 75%! If
they come back and cut it 85%, we'll tell the client we'll do the shooting
for free, as long as we get the film work!

*The advent of powerful enough computers to make Photoshop work on large
files economical. Previously, serious color correction of such an image
would cost several hundred dollars. This strong incentive to use quality
photography has now pretty much vanished.

*Photographers aren't used to having to lay out serious dollars for
equipment, particularly stuff that doesn't last a long time. But suddenly
they had to consider substantial investments in computers and peripherals
that everybody knew would be obsolete in a few years.

*Adopting digital technology, as we all now know, is learning intensive.
This required a large, unpaid investment of time on the part of those who
wanted to enjoy its benefits.

*And yet pioneers take a terrible risk. If the job looks bad in print, the
client doesn't think "this person either doesn't know Photoshop or doesn't
understand printing." The client thinks, "this is bad photography, and I
need to hire somebody who can shoot better."

Something similar is happening to the market right now, only worse. Many
photographers are in denial again. They say, obviously we are not going to
be replaced by idiots shooting with these cheap toys. My own work isn't
threatened!

It may not be threatened by the amateurs, and the amateurs may not take
over anything like the majority of shoots, but even if 10 or 20 percent of
work is lost to these people, it will be a bloodbath. It will affect
principally those who only know how to shoot and haven't diversified their
skills. And what those people will do is very clear. Those who do not
welcome working at McDonald's and Burger King will find out who *your*
clients are, and, in desperation, call them up and ask them if they
wouldn't like to pay only half as much for photography.

Furthermore, we'll see the following:

*Design studios and quick printers will buy these cameras and tell the
world that they now have a staff of expert photographers.

*Certain other professions will also get into the act. We are already
seeing this with some realtors. They've figured out that houses sell better
if they can post a few photos on the web. They're starting to realize that
good-looking images sell better. Since, for a typical house, there's no
budget to hire a professional photographer, this is all point-and-shoot
with a sub-$1,000 digital, followed by some kind of rudimentary color
correction. So, no loss of business for the professional--until the realtor
discovers that he's good enough with Photoshop to try something more
challenging. In the case of realtors, often they post crappy images on the
web, but  if they're selling something for a million dollars or more,
they'll invest in a four-page color brochure, and will hire a professional
to shoot the property. Or at least they *used* to hire a professional. In
one firm I know, the realtor who makes the most use of web images has
gotten so good at it that in these, and heaven knows how many other
projects, they have no further need for a professional.

*To stay competitive, photographers will have to spend more money than ever
before on equipment and more time than ever before on training.

*Service bureaus now recognize that you are not merely an inconvenience,
but a competitor. Therefore, instead of just not caring whether you get
work or not, they will actively discourage clients from dealing with you.

*Such work as remains up for grabs for professional shooters will be more
difficult work. The reason is, if the job is simple, the client may be
inclined to shoot it himself. He'll probably have to throw away 90% of what
he shoots, but so what? There's no film cost. If he takes enough exposures,
by sheer accident one or two of them will be of professional quality. One
of the few times he'll consider using a professional is when the job is
technically too difficult for him. Of course, it will also be technically
difficult for the professional, and, of course, the client will want it at
the same price as the easier jobs he has appropriated for himself.

*For the same reason, photographers will find themselves being asked to
handle not only images they produce themselves, but those that their
clients provide. This is going to create more of a headache than you might
think. If you're used to working only with reasonably good images, getting
accustomed to bad ones can be a considerable hassle, though worth it, I may
say.

*There will be more and more small groups of people providing serious
photography--among many other--services. This will be a natural result of
the pressures that will be brought to bear on the solo photographer.

This situation is more negative than it was five years ago, because this
time we don't expect an explosion in the use of imagery, and we certainly
don't expect the booming economy we've seen over the last several years.

The astute person is going to have to be perhaps a photographer first and
foremost, but one who is able to provide a complete package of image
management if need be. This is going to encourage further loose
affiliations--you can learn Photoshop, but can you learn to make an
effective web page with it, can you place it in QXP or InDesign, can you
negotiate with the printer, can you generate your own graphics in
Illustrator or Freehand? Probably many of you can do some of these things,
but few master all. It becomes necessary to have friends who can fill in
the gaps in one's own expertise.

The new breed of practitioner--which many of you already are--faces a tough
market, but there are some hopeful signs.

Are pictures a commodity, as one of you asked? They certainly are to some
clients. But you probably aren't dealing with them, anyway. There's no
shortage of clients who are interested in reasonable image quality. And
people with a photography background are the most likely to be able to
provide it.

Service providers have been dumbed down considerably in the last five
years, just as photographers have gotten more sophisticated. Then, it would
have been extremely unlikely that a photographer knew more about print
reproduction than a printer or service bureau. Today, it's not so
unthinkable.

The day when a lot of work is placed depending on how many expensive
lunches are purchased for the buyer isn't over, but the practice is a lot
less prevalent than it used to be. Now, it's more a matter of confidence.
If you can persuade the client that his product will look the way he wants
it to, you'll get the business. If I were a client, I would feel a lot more
comfortable discussing these matters with a photographer than with some
salesman, and it wouldn't matter a whit to me whether the photographer was
the one who actually shot the images or not.

Of course, it's one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk.
That, presumably, is why people subscribe to this list. Those who are able
to produce images effectively for a variety of purposes from a variety of
sources will be able to prosper, if not as photographers, then at least as
service providers with a strong specialty in photography.

My thanks again to all those who took so much time to reply, and apologies
for how long it took me to post this response.

Dan Margulis





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Re: Emerald City (crossposted)

Steve Upton <upton@...>
 

At 3:41 PM -0500 1/22/01, Tara Keezer wrote:
A department at my company, which shall remain nameless, took an entire
series of photographs using slide film which was then mistakenly processed
as print film. Because, of course, they used the wrong film to begin with.

If anyone has additional suggestions, please feel free to chime in.
Take a picture of an IT8 or MacBeth ColorChecker DC using the same slide film
Process the film the same (wrong) way.
Scan it and build a scanner profile - or have someone do that for you
Use the resulting profile to colorcorrect the shoot.

This works for problem colors and special effects (like cross processing - which this sort-of was)

Email or call if you want more information.

Regards,

Steve Upton


+--------------------------------------------------+
CHROMiX / Profile Central
www.chromix.com www.profilecentral.com
+--------------------------------------------------+


Dan's response

Dan Margulis <76270.1033@...>
 

The purpose of the questions I recently asked of professional photographers
here was because I'm preparing a column that deals with the meaning of the
advent of cheap digital cameras of good enough quality to be suitable for
some professional work.

While a significant number of people are already using these cameras in
creative and intelligent ways, the word hasn't really leaked out to the
general graphics public. When it does, one of the major consequences is
clearly going to be, it's going to be a bad thing for most professional
photographers, and for some it will be a catastrophic thing.

I was astounded and very grateful for the volume of responses, which in
many cases were exceptionally thorough. I apologize that this is going to
have to serve as a response to all of them.

The only real surprise was the number of stock specialists people reported
knowing. I had really thought this was a dead trade, but apparently have to
revise my thinking.

Of all that was posted, I agree most closely with the analysis of Andrew
Rodney. There is an elite of perhaps five percent of the market who are so
well positioned that they can play by their own rules. Then at the bottom
there is a group populated by people such as one described by someone who
wrote to me privately as "a guy that knows a bunch of people and uses a
$5000 Nikon as a point and shoot."

These jokers at the bottom of the food chain are doing a great job of
helping wreck things for the rest of the market. Not just by lowballing
their job quotes out of desperation, but by representing to clients that
they know what they're doing with Photoshop and digital cameras, and then
disappointing them. This effect was pointed out by another correspondent,
and I can verify it. I've run into several buyers who swear that they will
never allow another photographer to handle a digital file, because a few
months back a job was wrecked at great expense by some clown. This, to
them, proves that all photographers are incompetent.

Because I expect this disruptive group to grow larger, I agree with Andrew
that the situation is going to get worse. Much worse, I think, for those
who won't take decisive action to improve their digital skills and to
diversify their businesses.

I also agree with those pointing out that certain segments of the
photographic market are doing much better than others. It's clear, too,
from the correspondence that certain regions of the country are depressed
as far as photographers as concerned and that others (such as New York) are
holding their own.

There are also a couple of commonly expressed views with which I disagree.
A number of people cited a customer mentality that accepts ever-worse
images. I'm not seeing that. At the top of the field, images are better
than they've ever been. There is certainly also a lot of garbage, but it
mostly comes from people who are taking advantage of how cheap it is to
publish color now. A small business throws 100 ghastly images onto the web
or into a flyer and we all click our tongues and complain how standards
have fallen.

In fact, that business's standards are the same as they always were. They
would gladly have printed images just as bad five years ago, only the price
to do so wasn't low enough. To say that standards have gone down, one would
have to produce people who are producing worse color now than the same
people produced several years ago, and IMHO such people are rare.

The idea that "we have a larger number of photographers chasing fewer
images" is also incorrect. In fact, there's been a colossal increase in the
number of images in use. I'd agree that there are more photographers (or
people who think they're photographers) chasing them, but the big hurt is
that a high percentage of these new images are handled by people who aren't
photographers at all.

When you consider this increased number of images, and the fact that we've
had a great economy for more than five years, it's amazing that things have
been as bad as they were for photographers. Granted, many of you are doing
OK and some considerably more than OK. Then again, you are somewhat of a
vanguard group. The very fact that you're here indicates you realize the
necessity of spending a lot of time educating yourselves, and this is more
than can be said for typical photographers.

So, as a group you can be expected to be doing much better than average,
and yet few of you are doing great, at least not in the sense of other
professions in the graphic arts. Retouchers here in the New York region,
for example, are making about double what they did five years ago, or at
least they were until the market tanked.

The reason I'm writing this column specifically in April is that this is
the five-year anniversary of a similar pair of articles I wrote under
somewhat analogous circumstances. At that time, it was just becoming clear
that studio digital photography was going to wipe out traditional catalog
shoots, and that royalty-free stock photography was not just something for
screen savers.

At that time many photographers were in a state of denial, but on the other
hand they had a lot of things to deny. Dicomed, which was at that time the
leading name in studio digital photography, had announced that real soon
now they were going to have a field digital camera that would be infinitely
better than any camera currently on this planet and that any photographer
who didn't order one immediately would suffer the consequences. To this
day, nobody has constructed a device to those specifications, and Dicomed
is a happy memory.

A lot of people at that time said this new camera would never work, and
that photographers had nothing to worry about. I wasn't sure that it
wouldn't work, but I said it didn't matter, as follows:

"When a compatible and user-friendly better way emerges, though, those
in the way of the locomotive had best watch out. That is the position of
photographers today. They stand on the tracks, and the train of the digital
revolution is headed right at them. Two of their choices are quite
unpalatable. They can remain where they are and find out who will survive
the inevitable collision. They can also cede their territory and their
business, by stepping aside.
"There exists, however, a third alternative: getting a running start,
so that when the train roars by they can jump on board.
With the industry reeling from several lean years, all we need now is a
little more competition. Buying into Dicomed's technology will set one back
more than $30,000, out of range for many photographers but low enough to
attract printers and service bureaus who see a way to pick up business at
the photographer's expense. Meanwhile, the explosion of digital stock
libraries has wiped out most stock shooting assignments...
"Suppose for a moment that this new [Dicomed] product doesn't work,
and that effective digital field work remains pie in the sky. So what?
There is still plenty of damage, even if digital stays confined to the
studio.
"Suppose that only 20 percent of film-based professional photography
is lost to the digital interloper; suppose only ten? What do you think will
happen when the same number of suppliers, if not more, chase after 90
percent of the former business?"

And, essentially, that's what happened. While every other graphics
profession prospered, professional photography went into a recession. Some
of the main factors:

*Service bureaus had the $30,000 it took to set up a digital studio, and
many of them did so. When they did, they commonly hired college students as
photographers. Also, since the object was to bring in film work, shooting
was almost considered a sales expense: charge whatever it takes to bring
the work in! If somebody else cuts photography prices 50%, cut ours 75%! If
they come back and cut it 85%, we'll tell the client we'll do the shooting
for free, as long as we get the film work!

*The advent of powerful enough computers to make Photoshop work on large
files economical. Previously, serious color correction of such an image
would cost several hundred dollars. This strong incentive to use quality
photography has now pretty much vanished.

*Photographers aren't used to having to lay out serious dollars for
equipment, particularly stuff that doesn't last a long time. But suddenly
they had to consider substantial investments in computers and peripherals
that everybody knew would be obsolete in a few years.

*Adopting digital technology, as we all now know, is learning intensive.
This required a large, unpaid investment of time on the part of those who
wanted to enjoy its benefits.

*And yet pioneers take a terrible risk. If the job looks bad in print, the
client doesn't think "this person either doesn't know Photoshop or doesn't
understand printing." The client thinks, "this is bad photography, and I
need to hire somebody who can shoot better."

Something similar is happening to the market right now, only worse. Many
photographers are in denial again. They say, obviously we are not going to
be replaced by idiots shooting with these cheap toys. My own work isn't
threatened!

It may not be threatened by the amateurs, and the amateurs may not take
over anything like the majority of shoots, but even if 10 or 20 percent of
work is lost to these people, it will be a bloodbath. It will affect
principally those who only know how to shoot and haven't diversified their
skills. And what those people will do is very clear. Those who do not
welcome working at McDonald's and Burger King will find out who *your*
clients are, and, in desperation, call them up and ask them if they
wouldn't like to pay only half as much for photography.

Furthermore, we'll see the following:

*Design studios and quick printers will buy these cameras and tell the
world that they now have a staff of expert photographers.

*Certain other professions will also get into the act. We are already
seeing this with some realtors. They've figured out that houses sell better
if they can post a few photos on the web. They're starting to realize that
good-looking images sell better. Since, for a typical house, there's no
budget to hire a professional photographer, this is all point-and-shoot
with a sub-$1,000 digital, followed by some kind of rudimentary color
correction. So, no loss of business for the professional--until the realtor
discovers that he's good enough with Photoshop to try something more
challenging. In the case of realtors, often they post crappy images on the
web, but if they're selling something for a million dollars or more,
they'll invest in a four-page color brochure, and will hire a professional
to shoot the property. Or at least they *used* to hire a professional. In
one firm I know, the realtor who makes the most use of web images has
gotten so good at it that in these, and heaven knows how many other
projects, they have no further need for a professional.

*To stay competitive, photographers will have to spend more money than ever
before on equipment and more time than ever before on training.

*Service bureaus now recognize that you are not merely an inconvenience,
but a competitor. Therefore, instead of just not caring whether you get
work or not, they will actively discourage clients from dealing with you.

*Such work as remains up for grabs for professional shooters will be more
difficult work. The reason is, if the job is simple, the client may be
inclined to shoot it himself. He'll probably have to throw away 90% of what
he shoots, but so what? There's no film cost. If he takes enough exposures,
by sheer accident one or two of them will be of professional quality. One
of the few times he'll consider using a professional is when the job is
technically too difficult for him. Of course, it will also be technically
difficult for the professional, and, of course, the client will want it at
the same price as the easier jobs he has appropriated for himself.

*For the same reason, photographers will find themselves being asked to
handle not only images they produce themselves, but those that their
clients provide. This is going to create more of a headache than you might
think. If you're used to working only with reasonably good images, getting
accustomed to bad ones can be a considerable hassle, though worth it, I may
say.

*There will be more and more small groups of people providing serious
photography--among many other--services. This will be a natural result of
the pressures that will be brought to bear on the solo photographer.

This situation is more negative than it was five years ago, because this
time we don't expect an explosion in the use of imagery, and we certainly
don't expect the booming economy we've seen over the last several years.

The astute person is going to have to be perhaps a photographer first and
foremost, but one who is able to provide a complete package of image
management if need be. This is going to encourage further loose
affiliations--you can learn Photoshop, but can you learn to make an
effective web page with it, can you place it in QXP or InDesign, can you
negotiate with the printer, can you generate your own graphics in
Illustrator or Freehand? Probably many of you can do some of these things,
but few master all. It becomes necessary to have friends who can fill in
the gaps in one's own expertise.

The new breed of practitioner--which many of you already are--faces a tough
market, but there are some hopeful signs.

Are pictures a commodity, as one of you asked? They certainly are to some
clients. But you probably aren't dealing with them, anyway. There's no
shortage of clients who are interested in reasonable image quality. And
people with a photography background are the most likely to be able to
provide it.

Service providers have been dumbed down considerably in the last five
years, just as photographers have gotten more sophisticated. Then, it would
have been extremely unlikely that a photographer knew more about print
reproduction than a printer or service bureau. Today, it's not so
unthinkable.

The day when a lot of work is placed depending on how many expensive
lunches are purchased for the buyer isn't over, but the practice is a lot
less prevalent than it used to be. Now, it's more a matter of confidence.
If you can persuade the client that his product will look the way he wants
it to, you'll get the business. If I were a client, I would feel a lot more
comfortable discussing these matters with a photographer than with some
salesman, and it wouldn't matter a whit to me whether the photographer was
the one who actually shot the images or not.

Of course, it's one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk.
That, presumably, is why people subscribe to this list. Those who are able
to produce images effectively for a variety of purposes from a variety of
sources will be able to prosper, if not as photographers, then at least as
service providers with a strong specialty in photography.

My thanks again to all those who took so much time to reply, and apologies
for how long it took me to post this response.

Dan Margulis


Re: Emerald City (crossposted)

Mike Russell <mgr@...>
 

Tara - can you put a sample on the web for us to play with?

I have two different procedures for using PhotoShop to invert color
negatives on my website that would probably work for your negatives.

http://www.zocalo.net/~mgr/DigitalPhoto/derCurveMeister/index.htm

The procedure is fairly straightforward, and involves using a neutral
highlight and clear film areas as reference points from which you may build
your curves. Once you have one set of curves, you may use them on all your
negs to get a good starting point before doing normal color correction.

I have a hunch it will get you out of Emerald City and back to Kansas in no
time.


http://www.zocalo.net/~mgr

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tara Keezer" <taralynnk@earthlink.net>
To: <photoshop@clio.lyris.net>
Cc: <psdemigods@egroups.com>; <colortheory@egroups.com>
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 12:41 PM
Subject: [colortheory] Emerald City (crossposted)


A department at my company, which shall remain nameless, took an entire
series of photographs using slide film which was then mistakenly processed
as print film. Because, of course, they used the wrong film to begin with.

The photos cannot be retaken.

If you hadn't guessed from the subject line, they're all in a deep shade
of
emerald green. I've been able to kludge the color correction so that the
color looks more normal, but this is at some expense to the quality of the
finished image. I'm also left with more of a violet tone, which tells me
I'm
over-compensating somewhere along the line.

I'm using a combination of selective color to drop cyan and yellow from
the
neutrals; levels to balance the light and shadows; layer blending to
correct
some of the inevitable over-correction; and noise to eliminate some of the
flatness.

In case you're wondering, auto levels just turns the image into a more
intense shade of green. (Yes, I knew it wouldn't work, but I had to be
sure.)

If anyone has additional suggestions, please feel free to chime in.


To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
colortheory-unsubscribe@egroups.com




Re: Emerald City (crossposted)

Bob Smith <rmsmith@...>
 

Tara Keezer wrote:

A department at my company, which shall remain nameless, took an entire
series of photographs using slide film which was then mistakenly processed
as print film. Because, of course, they used the wrong film to begin with.

The photos cannot be retaken.

So then I guess you're trying to scan images that look like negatives
without the orange mask, correct?

I used to handle this in darkroom processes by sandwiching a piece
unexposed, processed color negative film with the "transparency" in order to
produce a print that would yield a print at least similar to printing a
normal neg. You might want to try such a technique to get your initial
scan. Just sandwich the piece neg film with the transparency when you scan.
This will present the scanner with something more like what its expecting
see from a typical color negative and therefore the results you get are
going to be at least closer to normal (assuming you're using a scanner that
handles color negs well).

If this doesn't work well at the scan stage, have a custom lab try printing
the film as I described above and then scan the prints.

Bob Smith


Emerald City (crossposted)

Tara Keezer <taralynnk@...>
 

A department at my company, which shall remain nameless, took an entire
series of photographs using slide film which was then mistakenly processed
as print film. Because, of course, they used the wrong film to begin with.

The photos cannot be retaken.

If you hadn't guessed from the subject line, they're all in a deep shade of
emerald green. I've been able to kludge the color correction so that the
color looks more normal, but this is at some expense to the quality of the
finished image. I'm also left with more of a violet tone, which tells me I'm
over-compensating somewhere along the line.

I'm using a combination of selective color to drop cyan and yellow from the
neutrals; levels to balance the light and shadows; layer blending to correct
some of the inevitable over-correction; and noise to eliminate some of the
flatness.

In case you're wondering, auto levels just turns the image into a more
intense shade of green. (Yes, I knew it wouldn't work, but I had to be
sure.)

If anyone has additional suggestions, please feel free to chime in.


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at72ppi on p.s.6

Bob Smith <rmsmith@...>
 

wulff.wendelstein@t-online.de wrote:

What is the real purpose of this plug-in?
who knows? I think Kodak started adding it just so that if someone double
clicked a file, they'd see a real image. It could also help with actions in
certain situations but its use still seems mighty limited to me. I think
you do actually have a tiny bit of control over some settings with this
plug-in. I have no real use for this thing so I haven't looked at the
documentation in ages but I think it may get some of its settings based on
how the acquire module is currently configured.

Well, maybe just
because Kodak products aren't always 100% logical...
That's an understatement

I don't have much control over the acquire module either, but the quality it
delivers is reasonable.
It lets you set white balance; exposure plus / minus two stops; three tone
settings; noise removal; sharpening and cropping. Most work flows won't use
most of those settings at the acquire stage, but its nice to have them. The
only thing really missing for me is a way to directly apply an input profile
and convert to a particular working space. Photoshop actions keep me from
missing that feature too much.

I just thought it would be nice to have direct access to the
"raw" files. "Acquiring" needs a few more clicks.
For an individual file, yes its more clicks, but I still really like the
work flow the Kodak Acquire module presents compared some other digital
cameras. Its easy to browse and edit a large folder full of images from
within the Acquire Module. I even do a large portion of my shooting from
within the Acquire module with the camera tethered. Now that Photoshop 6
actions support Import Modules or Open Images as a source its easy to create
actions that will call the acquire module where you manually select the
images you want and hit Done. Then the action takes over and completes the
image processing and saves into whatever type of file you desire. Basic
image processing on huge batches of images can be done completely unattended
after the first few clicks to select the images.

Bob Smith


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at72ppi on p.s.6

WW
 

Bob Smith wrote:


I'm betting you must have the DCS format plug-in installed on
that system as
well. Its automatically installed with the Acquire Plug-in (but its a
separate plug-in) and allows opening files as you suggest. You
may well have
it installed without realizing it. And using it is completely
invisible to
the user. I just tried opening a DCS660 file with and without the plug-in
installed into Photoshop. With the plug-in it opens just as you describe.
Without it I get a TINY color thumbnail maybe 100 pixels wide. Basically
that plug-in is doing the same thing that the acquire module is doing, you
just don't have any control over it. Its opening the file at some default
settings.

Ah - sounds pretty logical, and I think you're right. I'll check if the
plug-in is there. But then I still wonder why it doesn't show proper color
and brightness. What is the real purpose of this plug-in? Well, maybe just
because Kodak products aren't always 100% logical... I don't have much
control over the acquire module either, but the quality it delivers is
reasonable. I just thought it would be nice to have direct access to the
"raw" files. "Acquiring" needs a few more clicks.

regards
Wulff


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at 72ppi on p.s.6 (John Opitz)

Bob Smith <rmsmith@...>
 

wulff.wendelstein@t-online.de wrote:

The "raw" files I get from the camera are called <number>.tif and open
directly as a 17 MB 8bit RGB picture. Photoshop says no problem, it's a
Kodak DCS file. But colors and brightness are correct only when the acquire
module is used.
I'm betting you must have the DCS format plug-in installed on that system as
well. Its automatically installed with the Acquire Plug-in (but its a
separate plug-in) and allows opening files as you suggest. You may well have
it installed without realizing it. And using it is completely invisible to
the user. I just tried opening a DCS660 file with and without the plug-in
installed into Photoshop. With the plug-in it opens just as you describe.
Without it I get a TINY color thumbnail maybe 100 pixels wide. Basically
that plug-in is doing the same thing that the acquire module is doing, you
just don't have any control over it. Its opening the file at some default
settings.

Bob Smith.


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at 72ppi on p.s.6 (John Opitz)

WW
 

Jim Domnitz wrote:


With our DCS.. we have to neutralize before processing.. if we
open by a default PS import.. they look like crap.. and very difficult
to correct.. My advice.. use the aquire program,

Yeah - and I just wonder why...


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at 72ppi on p.s.6 (John Opitz)

Jim Domnitz <jdomnitz@...>
 

With our DCS.. we have to neutralize before processing.. if we open by a default PS import.. they look like crap.. and very difficult to correct.. My advice.. use the aquire program,
 
Jim Domnitz
 
you wrote:

> > My "raw" DCS files carry the ending .tif from origin and do
> open full res in
> > PS (Windows), but too dark and with a weird color shift. Indeed only the
> > Acquire module seems to render them usable. Trying to correct them in PS
> > didn't give me usable results (might be possible though). Is
> there any other
> > known way to open them correctly without the Acquire module? A profile?


Re: untagged tiff image 300 ppi, Opens at 72ppi on p.s.6 (John Opitz)

WW
 

Andrew Rodney wrote:


My "raw" DCS files carry the ending .tif from origin and do
open full res in
PS (Windows), but too dark and with a weird color shift. Indeed only the
Acquire module seems to render them usable. Trying to correct them in PS
didn't give me usable results (might be possible though). Is
there any other
known way to open them correctly without the Acquire module? A profile?
You take the camera files directly from the internal drive and open them?
That's very odd. I've worked with most of the Kodak DCS cameras and have
never seen a full rez color file open this way (as I said, only the tiff
header).
The "raw" files I get from the camera are called <number>.tif and open
directly as a 17 MB 8bit RGB picture. Photoshop says no problem, it's a
Kodak DCS file. But colors and brightness are correct only when the acquire
module is used.

The camera is a one shot so it's interpolating the color data
somewhere. It sounds like the dark images are linear files. That
means that
the camera software isn't applying any curves which is really ideal for
profiling. Better still, you'd have more than 8 bits pre color in this
linear file. You have this option in the Kodak Acquire module along with
some control over sharpening and such.


Is there any good reason for Kodak introducing a prorietary
"tiff"? I tried
to find some info about this format, but to no avail.
Kodak didn't introduce a proprietary Tiff per say. Their raw file
format is
a grayscale file because that's how the camera sees.
Funny. How come there are colors in the "raw" RGB if it's grayscale? A
threefold (R-G-B) grayscale?? But that's what RGB finally is, isn't it?

What they
did (at least
with all the DCS cameras I've used) was place a tiny Tiff header, a
thumbnail if you will that opens when double clicked on. The idea
being that
people that didn't have the Acquire module could at least see a low rez
"preview" of captured images. Getting the high rez file into a full color
mode took some proprietary software (one being the Kodak acquire module)
which produced the actual color.
Well, the only explanation which comes to my mind is that we're talking
about something different: I refer to the big ones like the DCS 560, maybe
the small (amateur) DCS save a different format, nevertheless also called
DCS.

regards
Wulff


Re: Film vs Digital

gowens01@...
 

--- In colortheory@egroups.com, "Jim Domnitz" <jdomnitz@s...> wrote:
We have been doing digital capture since the end of '96. One thing that we have found is that in capturing images of products on film, lighting is so critical if there are extremes in the image. Imagine photographing some tennis shoes where the majority of the image is white and the rest may be a dark blue or black. With film we have to compromise the values.. hold the detail in the dark areas and blow out the highlights, or hold the highlights and loose the details in the dark areas... Now with digital capture, we shoot for the highlights, then for the shadows and combine the images.. This can be done with film, but perfect alignment is an issue.
The alignment issue can be solved by putting a registration mark in the
picture. Shoot the highlight image; then shoot the shadow image. When
you select the shoe include the regristration mark in the selection.
then when you combine the shodaw and detail you can use the arrow keys
to align the regristration mark. After that the regristration mark can
be erased or masked.

This has worked well for me when I have combined images of horses
jumping over fences. I select part of the fence as a regristration
mark.

Gary Owens

The color is great and my customers have been very happy,

Jim Domnitz


Film vs Digital

Jim Domnitz <jdomnitz@...>
 

    We have been doing digital capture since the end of '96. One thing that we have found is that in capturing images of products on film, lighting is so critical if there are extremes in the image. Imagine photographing some tennis shoes where the majority of the image is white and the rest may be a dark blue or black. With film we have to compromise the values.. hold the detail in the dark areas and blow out the highlights, or hold the highlights and loose the details in the dark areas... Now with digital capture, we shoot for the highlights, then for the shadows and combine the images.. This can be done with film, but perfect alignment is an issue. The color is great and my customers have been very happy,
 
Jim Domnitz