moderated Case Study: Choir

Dan Margulis

Warning: Clocks in the United States advance one hour on Sunday. That's one week before Canada does it, and two weeks before Europe. So most international members will have one less hour to work on this case study. I mention this because within the first hour after this morning's deadline for the lion image, I received two more entries. By that time, of course, our results had already been posted. This suggests to me that people were waiting until the last minute to send, and that there was some kind of delay in cyberspace. Alas, if you send it before the deadline, but I receive it later, you're out of luck.
We are now done with the four exercises that came from the MIT series. Three of our last four official case studies come from famous photographers.
Fame is all very well, but it can carry a price. If you happen to be a well-known color technician your wife may well promise that you will retouch 1,000 images at no charge, and will then complain if they are not world-class. If you are a famous photographer you can be called upon to shoot some keepsake picture for free under adverse conditions, and then people will complain if it doesn't come out perfect. 
Since the photographer was likely grousing about the conditions he had to work under, you get to complain, too. You have the usual flat and default versions in the folder--but no raw. Furthermore, your competition is a lot more skilled than those MIT retouchers.
In 2009, for the first and only time, I held two consecutive "Superadvanced" classes for people who had already taken two 3-day ACT courses with me. So, within reason, this can be considered to be the most skilled group available in 2009, probably not very prone to make the kind of silly mistakes that plagued our first five studies this year.
The PPW was then a recent development. I believed there was reason to think that it was better to start out with a flat rather than an open version as a general rule. This class offered a golden opportunity to test the theory. With 16 skilled retouchers plus myself, I could assign half the group to work on one version of an image and half on the other. Since I wouldn't expect anyone to skew the data by doing stupid things, it would give a good feel as to whether there was an advantage either way.
The classes had to correct a total, as I recall, of 28 images. They were set up as follows:
In half the cases everyone got the same original, whether raw or otherwise.
In a quarter of the cases half the group got a rather flat JPEG and the other half had access to the raw.
The remaining quarter (from which this exercise hails) offered only two competing originals, one flat, one open, no raw.
The class members knew that this was going on, but when they got a file to work on, they did not know whether everyone else had gotten the same thing. Also, when there were two versions, they had no choice about which one they had to work on. Everyone was forced to deal with half flat images and half open (or raw).
The two originals are in the folder. You may choose whichever you like, although if you want to get into the spirit of things you should flip a coin to see which one to take. You will perhaps be pleased to learn that the remaining case studies in this series *do* come with a raw. Also, that IMHO skill levels have increased since 2009, so I hope your versions turn out better than the folks from back then.
*This should be assumed to be some kind of keepsake or advertisement, though whether for the church, the choir, or individual member(s) is not known. 
*In the Photos section, 2021 Case Study: Choir
I have uploaded the two original files, as given to the 2009 classes.  There is no zipped sourcefile, no raw file.
*The designated size of this exercise is 2008 x 3000 pixels. Make sure that that's the size you downloaded, as makes it fairly easy to foul it up. Do not crop, rotate, enter any lens profile, alter the sizing, or delete any tangible objects, because any of these things will make it impossible to use your version as part of a par assembly. DO NOT WORK ON THE THUMBNAIL ATTACHED TO THIS MESSAGE.
*Except as indicated in the above paragraph, you can use whatever methods you like to improve the picture.
*Please keep clear records of what you did for discussion. List members find these very valuable. Be sure to specify which version you chose to start with.
*Your final file is to be sRGB with a proper tag. If you work in a different RGB you must Edit: Convert to Profile>sRGB before submitting the file.
*When finished, save in JPEG form, quality level 9. E-mail it to me, dmargulis (at), with your brief explanation of how you produced it. DO NOT POST IMAGES TO THE LIST.
*Remember that some e-mail clients automatically downsize image attachments. Make sure you’re sending it to me at the original size.
*Entries close Monday morning, 15 March, at 06:00 Eastern Daylight Savings Time/1000Z/11:00 ora italiana.
*Rather than confirm every entrant I've received, I will periodically post the initials of everyone whose file I have.
*As soon as convenient after the deadline, I'll post all the entrants in a random order. Names will not be revealed. Once discussion begins, those who wish to identify themselves publicly may do so.
*If the filename of your version contains your name or initials, they will be deleted before posting. If you want to be able to identify your version by name once posted, throw in a few extra letters at the end of the filename; I won't delete them.
*I will leave discussion of the results to the group for the first two days after posting, and will then weigh in with my own opinion.

Dan Margulis

On Mar 8, 2021, at 10:24 AM, Dan Margulis via <dmargulis@...> wrote:

*In the Photos section, 2021 Case Study: Choir
I have uploaded the two original files, as given to the 2009 classes.  There is no zipped sourcefile, no raw file.

A reminder that entries are due in this case study in 47 hours--1 hour earlier than usual, due to the time change in the U.S. tomorrow--at 06:00 eastern daylight time Monday/05:00 Canada/1000Z/11:00 ora italiana

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:


*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:


Dan Margulis


I'd be fascinated to learn where Dan got the info that Canada is somehow different - re time change - than the US. Here in NS my clock will "spring ahead" at 2am tomorrow morning.

Paul Marriner