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DPChallenge Forums >> Administrator Announcements >> Proposed Modification/Renaming of Challenge Rules
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04/01/2016 05:21:50 AM · #1
For some time now SC have been discussing simplifying and rationalizing the challenge rulesets. We don't want to completely scrap the existing rules, but they have become overly complex with too many gray areas.

The following is what we've come up with, and we are now opening the topic for member feedback and discussion.

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Introductory notes in the SC forum:

The goal is to make a few changes that simplify things immensely and answer some popular concerns.

In minimal editing, we could now rotate and crop and clean up dust spots. No other changes.

In Standard editing, we would allow any number of stacked images, and we would allow panoramic OR non-panoramic images created by combining multiple patterned exposures of the same scene. "Same Scene" is defined in the rule. In other words you could shoot a full-body "panorama" of a person by stacking both vertically and horizontally with a long lens, whatever. Also, we would now specifically allow stacking to remove distractions; i.e. the ability to eliminate tourists in front of a statue by averaging many exposures. Also, in this version of standard we've stopped worrying about major vs minor element. Let us clone out whatever we want, who cares? And now no mention is made of distortions or anything like that.

In Extended Editing basically we can now do anything we want as long as we create the source images ourselves, within the challenge window (except for textures); specifically, "use any feature of image processing software to enhance..", meaning that the gyaban/maquillage kerfuffle is a thing of the past.

FINALLY, note that the rules now have an introductory section of miscellaneous requirements that are common to ALL rulesets, followed by much shorter sections for the level-specific rules, which have been renamed "Minimal", "Standard", and "Extended".

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Restrictions Common to All Rulesets in DPC

Your submission must be:
• taken with a digital camera that records EXIF data.
• a JPEG (.jpg) file.
• no larger than 700 KB (716,800 bytes)
• at least 160 pixels, and no more than 1200 pixels on each side
• taken after the challenge is announced and before the deadline, based on the Current Server Time (US Eastern Standard/Daylight Time) displayed at the bottom of every page on this site.
• taken and post-processed by you. Someone else may press the shutter button if you set up the shot and the camera settings. No one else may post-process your entry for you. Exceptions must be approved by the Site Council in advance.

You Must:
• comply with the DPChallenge Terms of Use.
• ensure that your camera date and time are correctly set to your home time zone before shooting your entry. If the date recorded in your original image file is not within the specified challenge dates, your entry will be disqualified - NO exceptions! If your photo was taken in a different location than indicated in your profile, please note the location in the submission form so that we can adjust accordingly.
• retain your original, unedited file (exactly as recorded by your camera), and provide it to the Site Council along with a list of your editing steps within 48 hours of any validation request. This notice with instructions will be sent to your listed email address, and will also appear on the left side of your DPChallenge home page when you are logged in. Files that have been saved or altered with any editing or transfer software are NOT originals.

You may not:
• submit more than one entry per challenge.
• hold more than one DPChallenge account, ask anyone to vote on your behalf, or link to your entry's voting page.
• submit a photograph depicting male or female genitalia, or acts of sex deemed inappropriate by a majority of the Site Council.
• add graphics or clip art images to your entry or its border during editing.

You may:
• request removal of your own entry during the voting period IF none of your last 25 entries (or entries within the previous 6 months) were disqualified or removed, and no rules were violated.
• include existing artwork in your entry, but photo-realistic artwork such as printed photos, monitor images or realistic illustrations must either be clearly presented as artwork or used only as a minor supporting element. Using photo-realistic artwork to simulate physical objects or backgrounds that provide the primary impact of an entry will be grounds for disqualification.

Penalties
• An entry will be disqualified when a majority of the Site Council finds that any of these generic rules OR the Challenge Rules attached to the specific challenge were not followed.
• In order to discourage repeated disqualifications and abuse of the disqualification system, the following penalties will apply for repeat disqualifications:
1st DQ in last 60 days: No penalty
2nd DQ in last 60 days: 1 week suspension of submission privileges
3rd DQ in last 90 days: 2 week suspension of submission privileges
4th DQ in last 120 days: 4 week suspension of submission privileges and 3 months of required "pre-submission" of proof file.

• The above penalties will be assessed only after review by the Site Council. In exceptional circumstances, the Site Council may elect not to apply a penalty. If a user is found to have intentionally violated the Challenge Rules, the above penalties will be in addition to any assessed for the violation itself.

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Minimal Editing-Specific Rules

You Must:
• Create your entry in JPG format from a single capture. (RAW images may not be used in Minimal Editing)

You May:

• Rotate your image.
• Crop your image.
• Resize your image.
• Sharpen your image using any global, non-selective sharpening tool.
• fully desaturate your image using your editing software's "desaturate," "convert to grayscale" or equivalent function. Customizable tools are not allowed.
• Use a tool to remove dust spots, hairs, etc from your finished image.

You May Not:
• Make any other adjustments to your image than those listed above. This includes, but is not limited to, adjusting brightness, hue/saturation, levels, curves, etc. Except as provided above, your image as entered must be identical to the original image as it came out of the camera.
You may not add a border or text to your image. This includes copyright notices.

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Standard Editing-Specific Rules

You Must:
• create your entry from 1 or more captures of a single scene (defined as a scene whose overall composition/framing does not change). All captures used must be shot within the challenge submission dates and as part of a single series in relatively short time frame (e.g NOT time-lapse photography) This rule is intended to allow HDR imaging, Focus-stacking, “crowd removal” composites, and Panoramic or other techniques that use multiple, nearly simultaneous, images of a scene to be stitched together into a single image.

You May:
• combine the allowed captures either in-camera or in post-processing.
• use any feature of your camera while photographing your entry. In-camera features applied after the capture are subject to normal editing rules.
• use images that do not meet the source or date requirements as textures in your entry if they function specifically as textures and not to circumvent other rules.
• Use cloning or similar tools to remove unwanted objects from your image. Objects removed must be replaced with with what actually would be visible if the distracting object were not there in the first place.
• Use cloning or similar tools to fill in gaps around the perimeters of panoramic, rotated, perspective-corrected and such photos with appropriate bits to complete the interrupted image.

You May Not:
• Add text to your image. This includes copyright notices.

*************************

Extended Editing-Specific Rules

You Must:
• Create your entry from images captured by you during the challenge dates.

You May:
• combine multiple photographs to produce your entry. All additional photographs must be taken by you after the challenge is announced with a digital camera that records EXIF data.
• use any feature of your camera while photographing your entry.
• use images that do not meet the source or date requirements as textures in your entry if they function specifically as textures and not to circumvent other rules.
• Use any feature of image processing software to manipulate/enhance the images in your submission.
• Use text in your submission.

You May Not:
• Include copyright marks or text on your image that would identify it to the voters.

Message edited by author 2016-04-04 15:54:41.
04/01/2016 05:38:32 AM · #2
NICE!!!

I like the new layout. Welldone. :)
04/01/2016 06:24:19 AM · #3
The proposed rules for "minimal" and "standard" seem reasonable to me - easier to understand and more closely aligned with current common practices in digital photography. The new grouping of information also should reduce misunderstandings. I don't venture into "expert" challenges, at least not yet, so others can weigh in on whether any elements other than texture ought to be allowable despite being captured before challenge start date. Welcome update overall.
04/01/2016 07:01:00 AM · #4
I'd remove cropping from minimal. To me, minimal makes the challenge getting everything right the first time. Photos can change drastically with a crop. Rotating and dust spots seem reasonable.
04/01/2016 07:20:14 AM · #5
I like,

The proposed changes sound very reasonable to me, the specific rules to
each editing format are clear to understand.
04/01/2016 07:55:30 AM · #6
Originally posted by LN13:

I'd remove cropping from minimal. To me, minimal makes the challenge getting everything right the first time. Photos can change drastically with a crop. Rotating and dust spots seem reasonable.

You can't have rotating (in other than 90-degree increments) without also cropping. The big complaint has been inability to rotate incrementally. We haven't seen a way to allow incremental rotation (to level horizons etc) without also allowing cropping, and we don't want a gray area of "allowable cropping with rotation". If this (cropping) is a major sticking point then we'd have to go back to allowing only 90, 180, 270 rotation. We'll see what people have to say.
04/01/2016 08:41:36 AM · #7
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by LN13:

I'd remove cropping from minimal. To me, minimal makes the challenge getting everything right the first time. Photos can change drastically with a crop. Rotating and dust spots seem reasonable.

You can't have rotating (in other than 90-degree increments) without also cropping. The big complaint has been inability to rotate incrementally. We haven't seen a way to allow incremental rotation (to level horizons etc) without also allowing cropping, and we don't want a gray area of "allowable cropping with rotation". If this (cropping) is a major sticking point then we'd have to go back to allowing only 90, 180, 270 rotation. We'll see what people have to say.


I too prefer no crop...leave the crop/rotating as is. I agree - getting that right the first time is the biggest/most challenging part of the rule set. It makes me think, plan and excite my shot properly. JMO
04/01/2016 08:43:09 AM · #8
Cropping is a fundamental element in the darkroom. Unless we're trying to emulate slide film shooting, then I think cropping in minimal editing is a great idea.

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by LN13:

I'd remove cropping from minimal. To me, minimal makes the challenge getting everything right the first time. Photos can change drastically with a crop. Rotating and dust spots seem reasonable.

You can't have rotating (in other than 90-degree increments) without also cropping. The big complaint has been inability to rotate incrementally. We haven't seen a way to allow incremental rotation (to level horizons etc) without also allowing cropping, and we don't want a gray area of "allowable cropping with rotation". If this (cropping) is a major sticking point then we'd have to go back to allowing only 90, 180, 270 rotation. We'll see what people have to say.
04/01/2016 08:55:26 AM · #9
Originally posted by scarbrd:

Cropping is a fundamental element in the darkroom. Unless we're trying to emulate slide film shooting, then I think cropping in minimal editing is a great idea.


I would view minimal as a digital equivalent of instant photography - you get what you're given, so I'd say no to cropping in minimal.
04/01/2016 09:07:23 AM · #10
It certainly simplifies things. Nicely done.

With Minimal I am with those that would like to see cropping removed with an allowance made for loss of edges during "straightening". It may complicate things slightly but you could remove the allowance for "Cropping", restrict "Rotation" to 90 degree increments, and then allow for "Straightening" provided rotation is less than insert number here (0 to 5?) degrees.

With Standard I am wondering if this would allow multiple exposures done in-camera now? I would have to assume that it would, though there would be no way of determining whether they were taken "as part of a single series in relatively short time frame". For this rule set I would like to see something added that all images combined must be shot with the same camera & lens combination (obviously you could change focal length on a zoom, and textures would be an exception). But again, I don't want to complicate it.

I like the freedom available to the photographer in Standard now, but I will say that part of what I liked about this site is that the restrictions made me think more and shoot better instead of relying on post. With the freedom I'd love to see some occasional Special Rules that add additional restrictions, just to keep everyone sharp. :)

04/01/2016 09:18:51 AM · #11
Bravo to SC!

Personally, I have always found the inability to straighten/crop in Minimal to be the most frustrating. What I see through the viewfinder isn't exactly what gets captured, so I invariably want to crop. I would love to see this implemented, but I'll live if it isn't.

Are you going to have any kind of survey on any of this or just use this thread? I remember completing surveys in the distant past ;-)
04/01/2016 09:28:20 AM · #12
Originally posted by MaryO:

Bravo to SC!

Personally, I have always found the inability to straighten/crop in Minimal to be the most frustrating. What I see through the viewfinder isn't exactly what gets captured, so I invariably want to crop. I would love to see this implemented, but I'll live if it isn't.

Are you going to have any kind of survey on any of this or just use this thread? I remember completing surveys in the distant past ;-)

The subject is a little complex to work in a survey, I think. We WILL be discussing with members some challenge scheduling ideas after we get these rules implemented, and there *probably* will be a survey associated with that.

What you are describing (incomplete viewfinder framing, and it varies from camera to camera) is the primary impetus for allowing cropping in Minimal Editing. As for incremental rotation, roughly the same reasoning; some of us are fortunate enough to have viewfinders that show grids, some of us not.

Still, we definitely can see the argument for NOT allowing cropping. I suppose a little later in the commenting process we could address that specific issue with a survey...
04/01/2016 09:39:19 AM · #13
Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:

With Standard I am wondering if this would allow multiple exposures done in-camera now? I would have to assume that it would, though there would be no way of determining whether they were taken "as part of a single series in relatively short time frame". For this rule set I would like to see something added that all images combined must be shot with the same camera & lens combination (obviously you could change focal length on a zoom, and textures would be an exception). But again, I don't want to complicate it.

Note the full wording:

Originally posted by Standard Editing Rules:

You must: create your entry from 1 or more captures of a single scene (defined as a scene whose overall composition/framing does not change). All captures used must be shot within the challenge submission dates and as part of a single series in relatively short time frame (e.g NOT time-lapse photography)


"Single scene" is defined. It doesn't allow for in-camera double exposures. The "single series" bit is there largely to help exclude time-lapse composites, which we tried allowing for a little while some years ago (when we first ratified HDR stacking), but which proved to be highly problematic in their relationship to other rules. Essentially a time-lapse sequence of, say, an x-games snowboarder doing a flip on the half-tube, is a double (or triple, quintuple, whatever) exposure. Those are reserved for the expert (soon to be extended) challenges.
04/01/2016 10:03:27 AM · #14
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:

With Standard I am wondering if this would allow multiple exposures done in-camera now? I would have to assume that it would, though there would be no way of determining whether they were taken "as part of a single series in relatively short time frame". For this rule set I would like to see something added that all images combined must be shot with the same camera & lens combination (obviously you could change focal length on a zoom, and textures would be an exception). But again, I don't want to complicate it.

Note the full wording:

Originally posted by Standard Editing Rules:

You must: create your entry from 1 or more captures of a single scene (defined as a scene whose overall composition/framing does not change). All captures used must be shot within the challenge submission dates and as part of a single series in relatively short time frame (e.g NOT time-lapse photography)


"Single scene" is defined. It doesn't allow for in-camera double exposures. The "single series" bit is there largely to help exclude time-lapse composites, which we tried allowing for a little while some years ago (when we first ratified HDR stacking), but which proved to be highly problematic in their relationship to other rules. Essentially a time-lapse sequence of, say, an x-games snowboarder doing a flip on the half-tube, is a double (or triple, quintuple, whatever) exposure. Those are reserved for the expert (soon to be extended) challenges.


Fair enough. I understand the time exposure, but with the ability to rotate the camera to create a panorama I wanted to at least clarify whether the image resulting from rotation could be overlaid instead of stitched along side.
04/01/2016 10:05:34 AM · #15
Since cropping can be a way to get rid of technical difficulties in an image it seems it shouldn't be allowed in the minimal category.
My vote: no cropping in minimal.
04/01/2016 10:28:36 AM · #16
Looks to me like a great move overall! I'm very happy to see inclusion of panoramic techniques, and "crown distraction elimination." Really opens up some creative avenues.
One possible issue that I'd like to bring forward is this: since we would be allowed to selectively remove objects (e.g. crowd removal) we could also take the opposite approach and leave in multiple copies of a single person. This would be equivalent to the "snowboarder" example which in your later post you stated is not something that would be allowed. I'm not seeing the clear mechanism that disallows the snowboarder, while allowing the crowd removal. Perhaps I'm overlooking something?
I really wanna see this work... it's time we made this happen.

O, and I have no opinion on cropping in minimal, but it looks like the consensus is tilting toward "not." If so, perhaps some language like "straightening is allowed, when the loss of image is minimized. No cropping is allowed beyond the image loss associated with straightening.
04/01/2016 10:29:21 AM · #17
Cropping in Minimal: I think it is much more difficult if cropping is not allowed. That being said, there seems to be a general movement away from photography as a record of what is, so I find myself moving a bit further afield from the "purist" and would be OK with allowing cropping in minimal.
04/01/2016 10:32:03 AM · #18
Originally posted by crik:

Since cropping can be a way to get rid of technical difficulties in an image it seems it shouldn't be allowed in the minimal category.
My vote: no cropping in minimal.

That certainly seems to be a prevailing view early-on :-)

One other aspect of the cropping/no cropping debate; a lot of us shoot minimal submissions with small cameras (I often use a Lumix LX5) that allow for choosing the aspect ratio before shooting. In the case of the Lumix, I can shoot square if I wish to, for example; but the voters seem to "assume" this is a crop, and may tend to punish it... Speaking for myself (not for SC) I'm not sure why cropping is such an issue in minimal editing; I've always felt the main goal was to nail exposure, contrast, color balance and so forth in-camera, and it feels odd to me to be constrained to a fixed aspect ratio to boot. Back in the day, when I shot transparency film for publication, it was with the assumption the images would be cropped as necessary, but I was sure EXPECTED to get all the rest of that spot-on...
04/01/2016 10:41:45 AM · #19
Originally posted by kirbic:

Looks to me like a great move overall! I'm very happy to see inclusion of panoramic techniques, and "crowd distraction elimination." Really opens up some creative avenues.
One possible issue that I'd like to bring forward is this: since we would be allowed to selectively remove objects (e.g. crowd removal) we could also take the opposite approach and leave in multiple copies of a single person. This would be equivalent to the "snowboarder" example which in your later post you stated is not something that would be allowed. I'm not seeing the clear mechanism that disallows the snowboarder, while allowing the crowd removal.

Well, the "crowd removal" technique you mention tries to cover an issue that has always been a gray area in HDR processing; what do we do when people are moving around in the scene? By allowing the crowd removal approach, we're bringing the compositing workflow into congruence with the removal of the major-element restriction; as written now, SC no longer has to decide what's minor and what's major, and you can remove whatever you want from your image as long as you replace it with what would have been visible had the removed distraction/structure/whatever not been there in the first place. Since we're gonna allow you to clone out all the distracting people anyway, why not allow the obvious, best-practice technique?

The time-lapse, on the other hand, is going in the opposite direction; by allowing multiple positions of the same object, evolving over time, we're heading into true multiple-exposure territory and that's something we probably want to keep in the extended ruleset.
04/01/2016 10:42:07 AM · #20
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Speaking for myself (not for SC) I'm not sure why cropping is such an issue in minimal editing; I've always felt the main goal was to nail exposure, contrast, color balance and so forth in-camera, and it feels odd to me to be constrained to a fixed aspect ratio to boot. Back in the day, when I shot transparency film for publication, it was with the assumption the images would be cropped as necessary, but I was sure EXPECTED to get all the rest of that spot-on...


Aspect ratio is only one aspect of cropping. Given that everything has to be resized to 1200px max on the long side it is now possible for me to take the most interesting 1200px portion of my well exposed but otherwise quite boring 6000x4000px JPEG (or larger with my D800) and submit it. I suspect this is not in the spirit of "minimal" at all, but you cannot allow one without the other.
04/01/2016 10:53:25 AM · #21
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

...now, SC no longer has to decide what's minor and what's major, and you can remove whatever you want from your image as long as you replace it with what would have been visible had the removed distraction/structure/whatever not been there in the first place. Since we're gonna allow you to clone out all the distracting people anyway, why not allow the obvious, best-practice technique?


Not only yes, but o heck yes :-)

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

The time-lapse, on the other hand, is going in the opposite direction; by allowing multiple positions of the same object, evolving over time, we're heading into true multiple-exposure territory and that's something we probably want to keep in the extended ruleset.


I agree completely with the principle, I'm just not seeing the words that would disallow me from including multiple copies of an individual object. "Bear" in mind that such duplication might not be obvious. Think about multiple captures of insects around a light bulb... I could easily create a swarm from a meager few moths!
04/01/2016 10:58:17 AM · #22
I'm scared of change :-)

Would the advanced ruleset be a subset of standard editing?
04/01/2016 11:11:32 AM · #23
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

The time-lapse, on the other hand, is going in the opposite direction; by allowing multiple positions of the same object, evolving over time, we're heading into true multiple-exposure territory and that's something we probably want to keep in the extended ruleset.


I agree completely with the principle, I'm just not seeing the words that would disallow me from including multiple copies of an individual object. "Bear" in mind that such duplication might not be obvious. Think about multiple captures of insects around a light bulb... I could easily create a swarm from a meager few moths!


As was quoted in my specific question about multiple-exposures, "You must: create your entry from 1 or more captures of a single scene (defined as a scene whose overall composition/framing does not change). All captures used must be shot within the challenge submission dates and as part of a single series in relatively short time frame (e.g NOT time-lapse photography)"

A movement of a person, or even a moth within the scene would be seen as a change in the overall composition.
04/01/2016 11:13:23 AM · #24
Originally posted by NiallOTuama:

Would the advanced ruleset be a subset of standard editing?

Nope, "Standard" is the new, improved, renamed, advanced ruleset. Basic will disappear, which it effectively has already, and Expert becomes "Extended"...
04/01/2016 11:15:41 AM · #25
Originally posted by JakeKurdsjuk:

A movement of a person, or even a moth within the scene would be seen as a change in the overall composition.

No. The "overall" composition doesn't change, just some details in it. We already have this, actually; HDR landscape compositing would be impossible without it, as clouds move, waves move, leaves move, etc...
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