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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Dark images a voting risk with inferior displays?
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04/06/2012 07:22:48 PM · #1
So I have an image in voting that is performing much worse than I expected. Right, that's what we usually say about our images! But this one really surprises me.

With some thought, I think maybe voters viewing with poor quality/uncalibrated displays just aren't seeing some of the details in my image. And I sure would like to know just what percentage of voters are either using sub-par displays or using them in less than ideal lighting condition.
At the very least if all a voter can afford is a less than ideal display, I would hope they recognize it's limitations and don't vote harshly when images appear too dark, etc. And I would also hope they at least take steps to calibrate that monitor as best they can even if they can't afford calibration hardware.

I think in the future I am going to make "bad display forgiveness" a factor in deciding which image I will enter in challenges. Wondering if others already do this? Or am I worrying about a very small factor here?
04/06/2012 07:30:59 PM · #2
I think making sure the average voter thinks about this stuff is a lost cause. It wouldn't surprise me if a decent number of votes are cast from a smartphone on someones lunch break with midday sun glaring off the screen.

I now try to always check my image on my work computer before I submit. But I must admit I didn't do this check on my current image and I think it's hurting because of it. All the shadow details are gone when I see it at work.
04/06/2012 07:34:46 PM · #3
I would have to agree with you. I have a picture in a challenge now that is taking the same kinds of lighting comments. The photo on my IPad, work and home computers display the whole picture fine and just.

My school computer on the other hand... You can see but not as well as my more current personal computers and tablet.

I'm just keeping that knowledge in the back of my mind when I submit pictures. Also I don't think you can vote from a smart phone.

Message edited by author 2012-04-06 19:36:24.
04/06/2012 07:37:32 PM · #4
I check mine on a pc monitor, laptop monitor and my iPod touch before submission, atleast I have covered most display types and have an idea that the image will be acceptable to the majority of viewers.
04/06/2012 07:38:31 PM · #5
I'm getting comments to the same effect on three simultaneous challenges. I recalibrated my home monitor and will now verify on three separate screens before submitting. I'm low four scoring two and low five on a third 'dark' image and just had one finish mid 3s, but that was intentionally done dark as a subtext to the challenge that was lost to voters. (lack of light and video games).
So yeah, bright images to be safe.
04/06/2012 08:54:02 PM · #6
Thanks for the feedback all :)

Well I guess I better add "poor display friendly " next to "speed voter friendly" on the unwritten list of challenge entry requirements. Pretty sad to not be able to push the margins a little though- darkness in an image can add great mood.

It would be nice if maybe on a seasonal basis DPC had a "crappy display awareness day", lol! I realize not everyone has the means to acquire a good performing display. But I think many people are oblivious to just how poor their viewing environment is. And certainly they can be urged to view in a properly lit space even if their equipment is lacking.
04/06/2012 08:55:48 PM · #7
Challenge accepted to get a challenge accepted on poorly lit photos
04/06/2012 09:35:29 PM · #8
i have often wondered the same thing but most people tend to have their monitors too bright so dark images aren't really a concern.
04/06/2012 09:46:14 PM · #9
One of the reasons I don't look forward to high/low key challenges anymore ;)

Originally posted by mike_311:

i have often wondered the same thing but most people tend to have their monitors too bright so dark images aren't really a concern.


That's not the worst part. High contrast is a big pundit. Yes it makes everything pop but it hurts both high key and low key images. I found that on monitors set to high brightness, that they can tend to show noise that is hiding in the shadows so it's a good test but those folks can tend to see pics that look flatter than they should.

//www.photofriday.com/calibrate.php

And there is that little bar bellow the comments box but I doubt that enough DPCers know what it's there for.

I neat trick I find is to scroll through presets on my screen and see how the image looks. But yeah there is one other computer screen I use to check tricky shots.

Message edited by author 2012-04-06 21:48:20.
04/07/2012 01:19:23 AM · #10
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/white_to_black.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/white_to_black.gif', '/') + 1) . '

When voting on a photo you should be able to see the difference between each block above, from 255 white to 000 Black.
If two or more blocks look the same on either end, then you need to calibrate your monitor or take in account that your monitor is not seeing detail in those areas when you vote.
I also think this "white to black" chart should be one space below the photo instead of being below the comment box. That way the voter can see the calibration bar while voting. In it's current position it does not show up on the screen without scrolling on most pictures.

04/07/2012 12:11:35 PM · #11
Yup, that's why my images don't do well. Poor monitor calibration!

all kidding aside, I have two computers, and oddly, the better monitor is the one with which I have issues. The blacks are a bit indistinguishable from the 3rd position out. I've tried messing with both the contrast and brightness, but if I get it to work on the dark end, the light end blows out.
04/07/2012 05:30:47 PM · #12
that's funny, with my phone, I can distinguish all accept for the last two blacks. My laptop can distinguish all the shades.
04/07/2012 05:43:57 PM · #13
Recently I've been editing images and voting from the laptop, the beauty of this is I can move the monitor easily to get differing views. Many images with black backgrounds on my calibrated pc have horrific backgrounds when you mess with the angles.
04/07/2012 05:57:02 PM · #14
Here's a site to help deal with monitor calibration.

Calibration
04/07/2012 07:46:13 PM · #15
This is really one of my phobic concerns. I know my monitor is professionally calibrated for producing perfect prints for clients -- but I can go over and look at my perfectly calibrated photo on my husband's laptop monitor and go, "Eeeeeeeeeew..... it's so BRIGHT (and overblown)." Once I made the mistake of editing a free study photo while I was on vacation on my husband's monitor, and when I got home, I was mortified. It was all dark and muddy looking (and the score reflected it).

But I don't know the answer...

04/07/2012 09:05:43 PM · #16
Well I think we should be careful to not give all laptop displays a bad rap. Most are indeed pretty bad, but some high end ones are not so bad.
I bought a new 15" MacBook Pro about six months ago and paid a little extra to get the high-resolution anti-glare display with it. I was thinking by paying extra I would be getting something a little bit better but still a bad thing. Turns out when I did a hardware calibration with a Spyder 4 device on both my MacBook display and my external Cinema display they both were rated virtually equal. Neither one is awesome like I would get with a high dollar specialized display- but they are both quite good and passing the test Techo posted with flying colors. I would not worry a bit about processing with just my MacBook display while traveling.

And interestingly my iPad Retina display does even better. I read a review where they did extensive tests of the new iPad and said its display was of color reference quality. The original and iPad 2 got just an okay rating. That said, if a viewer has the iPad display turned up ridiculously bright I would hope they wouldn't vote using one. There is no way to calibrate their displays either for web viewing (you can use an app from Spyder to view your local images after hardware calibration), but the review said the retina displays were quite well calibrated at the factory as compared to earlier iPads. Up to now all the Retina displays have been produced by Samsung- we'll see how good the color is when Sharp, LG and other displays get used...

Message edited by author 2012-04-07 21:07:24.
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