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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Challenge Descriptions. Too much? Too little?
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04/07/2021 05:55:58 AM · #1
A spin-off from the Blue filter thread.

Some discourse on challenge descriptions? Probably best to put it here in a neutral zone. :-)

So, do you think challenge descriptions should go away, do they need to be more robust, do different challenge 'types' (i.e. technical vs creative) need to handle descriptions differently, or are they fine as they are?

My personal take is that 'Technical' challenges (i.e. <color> Filter, Leading Lines, Shallow DOF, etc.) need to have a robust description, and that 'Creative' challenges (i.e. Absurd, Cake, Upside Down, etc.) could be left with a simple or N/A description.

Additionally, I think some of the "research" for challenge topics, especially 'Technical' ones, is on us, as photographers, to dig in and figure it out if uncertain or unfamiliar with the subject.
04/07/2021 08:34:50 AM · #2
Originally posted by glad2badad:

A spin-off from the Blue filter thread.

Some discourse on challenge descriptions? Probably best to put it here in a neutral zone. :-)

So, do you think challenge descriptions should go away, do they need to be more robust, do different challenge 'types' (i.e. technical vs creative) need to handle descriptions differently, or are they fine as they are?

My personal take is that 'Technical' challenges (i.e. <color> Filter, Leading Lines, Shallow DOF, etc.) need to have a robust description, and that 'Creative' challenges (i.e. Absurd, Cake, Upside Down, etc.) could be left with a simple or N/A description.

Additionally, I think some of the "research" for challenge topics, especially 'Technical' ones, is on us, as photographers, to dig in and figure it out if uncertain or unfamiliar with the subject.


I figured that was my issue with the blue challenge -- It had Technical challenge -- something I felt was little known/understood -- in with creative. It would have been interesting to do the technical challenge -- not just with blue -- using a color filter before converting to b&w. And then a week or two later picking a specific color (blue, red, green, etc.) and having it wide open for different interpretations including what we learned in the technical.

Message edited by author 2021-04-07 08:35:32.
04/07/2021 09:18:38 AM · #3
Originally posted by vawendy:

It would have been interesting to do the technical challenge -- not just with blue -- using a color filter before converting to b&w. And then a week or two later picking a specific color (blue, red, green, etc.) and having it wide open for different interpretations including what we learned in the technical.

This could be a fun side challenge. I'll toss it in as an option for the next side challenge coming up in a week or so. Thanks for the feedback Wendy.
04/07/2021 10:43:00 AM · #4
Using the "Artful Overlays" challenge:

I think many people missed the boat on that one. Entering composites instead of overlays... And the voters went along with it. If the description had been clearer, then that might have been avoided. That said, it was clear to me with the title that it was supposed to be an overlay, but the description didn't mention them.

I find that entrants will research a topic, but voters sometimes don't; they just vote on whether they like it... not whether it fits the topic. So, maybe more info on the topics that people will have to research? To help the voters?

But, I do agree that too much description on the creative topics like "Absurd" limits creativity. So, I don't know what the answer is.

I think, in general, the challenge descriptions are working well as they are.

04/07/2021 11:05:05 AM · #5
Originally posted by Lydia:

I find that entrants will research a topic, but voters sometimes don't; they just vote on whether they like it... not whether it fits the topic.

Yep. Was thinking about that. I think that is reflected often in the Participants vs Non-Participants scores matrix. More info in forum threads / challenge descriptions probably won't change that much.

Originally posted by Lydia:

So, maybe more info on the topics that people will have to research? To help the voters?

Really don't see an effort in this area helping much. Thanks for the thought though.

Originally posted by Lydia:

I think, in general, the challenge descriptions are working well as they are.

Agreed.

04/07/2021 11:06:52 AM · #6
I suspect there is a sub-set of voters (participants and not) who score based first and primarily on general impact (do I like it or not?) and perceived technical and/or artistic achievement. Whether it meets the challenge or not is likely a secondary consideration for them.

Also, among participants, I imagine there's a high degree of variance related to a "research" vs. "seat-of-the-pants" approach. Finally, as the number of challenge submissions gets smaller, the effect of outlier voters (or even those using a wider portion of the 1-10 scale) will have a greater impact on score variance.

That said, I like seeing the responses to a variety of challenge descriptions and support continuing to have variation in the degree of specificity vs creative interpretation.
04/07/2021 11:16:40 AM · #7
Most challenge descriptions are fine, there is just an odd one that causes confusion. I believe in these cases specific examples should be quoted in the description - a picture is worth a thousand words!
04/07/2021 01:02:41 PM · #8
Originally posted by wbanning:

I suspect there is a sub-set of voters (participants and not) who score based first and primarily on general impact (do I like it or not?) and perceived technical and/or artistic achievement. Whether it meets the challenge or not is likely a secondary consideration for them.

Also, among participants, I imagine there's a high degree of variance related to a "research" vs. "seat-of-the-pants" approach. Finally, as the number of challenge submissions gets smaller, the effect of outlier voters (or even those using a wider portion of the 1-10 scale) will have a greater impact on score variance.

That said, I like seeing the responses to a variety of challenge descriptions and support continuing to have variation in the degree of specificity vs creative interpretation.


Exactly, and this is sometimes frustrating. Especially on technical challenges I see many entries deviating from the description and then I see voters ignoring the description altogether, just voting for the pretty picture, so what's the point of the extensive description and the effort to stick to it.
04/07/2021 01:59:25 PM · #9
I think the challenge title has to be as clear as possible. We have a lot of ESL or simply not word-based people on this site. After all, it is a site for a visual art form.

Sometimes I'm disappointed by the description because the title is an inspiring prompt to creativity, but then the description is overly fussy and tries to limit the creativity of it. Artful Overlays is a good example of that. I would have changed the title to "Overlay Two Photos" and then you don't even need a description. If there must be a description, it should reinforce creativity. You don't do this by saying "be creative" or "This challenge is all about creative blah blah blah". You do it by saying "Take two photos and overlay them in any way you want, to create any kind of effect you want." And by the way, I still don't understand the distinction between "overlay" and "composite" and don't think it should matter. If the title is "Overlay Two Photos" and the image doesn't look like it came from two photos, like 3rd and 4th place, then it might get more backlash from the voters. But that's for the voters to decide.

04/07/2021 02:43:25 PM · #10
To me a "composite" combines two or more images all at 100% opacity so the image looks like a photo of a real or imagined scene.

In an "overlay" the two images are blended together to create an image which "cannot" exist in our current physical reality, e.g. by varying the opacity or blending mode.
04/07/2021 03:53:07 PM · #11
I agree with Don, that there is no clear difference between overlay and composite: one is "playing," in whatever fashion, with two exposures. My suspicion is the overlay is intended to promote more "playing;" but how is one to judge that?

I like the seat of the pants, laissez faire attitude that seems to persist here in spite of anything/everything.
04/07/2021 04:27:22 PM · #12
Originally posted by tnun:

I like the seat of the pants, laissez faire attitude that seems to persist here in spite of anything/everything.


Vive la laissez faire!!!!
04/07/2021 04:29:48 PM · #13
Originally posted by GeneralE:

To me a "composite" combines two or more images all at 100% opacity so the image looks like a photo of a real or imagined scene.

In an "overlay" the two images are blended together to create an image which "cannot" exist in our current physical reality, e.g. by varying the opacity or blending mode.


I don't have a horse in this race, but if that's what overlay means, then why do we call it a "texture overlay" and not a "texture composite"?
04/07/2021 05:36:24 PM · #14
Originally posted by posthumous:

I think the challenge title has to be as clear as possible. We have a lot of ESL or simply not word-based people on this site. After all, it is a site for a visual art form.

Sometimes I'm disappointed by the description because the title is an inspiring prompt to creativity, but then the description is overly fussy and tries to limit the creativity of it. Artful Overlays is a good example of that. I would have changed the title to "Overlay Two Photos" and then you don't even need a description. If there must be a description, it should reinforce creativity. You don't do this by saying "be creative" or "This challenge is all about creative blah blah blah". You do it by saying "Take two photos and overlay them in any way you want, to create any kind of effect you want." And by the way, I still don't understand the distinction between "overlay" and "composite" and don't think it should matter. If the title is "Overlay Two Photos" and the image doesn't look like it came from two photos, like 3rd and 4th place, then it might get more backlash from the voters. But that's for the voters to decide.


Iview overlays as photos that are overlaid with some sort of reduced capacity, where is a composite is where people have masked out certain areas to make it look like one photo.

It's funny because my image keeps being mentioned as one not looking like an overlay. Maybe it's just because people figure branches go with birds? I thought it made it look kind of Misty and dreamlike, and much more art-like than the bird sitting on a post.

That's why I like the discussion threads. I enjoy trying to look through someone else's eyes. I can guess all I want, but if I can't think like Don then I probably can't guess what he's thinking. So it's more interesting hearing it from the horse's mouth.
04/07/2021 05:36:54 PM · #15
Originally posted by posthumous:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

To me a "composite" combines two or more images all at 100% opacity so the image looks like a photo of a real or imagined scene.

In an "overlay" the two images are blended together to create an image which "cannot" exist in our current physical reality, e.g. by varying the opacity or blending mode.


I don't have a horse in this race, but if that's what overlay means, then why do we call it a "texture overlay" and not a "texture composite"?

Because when you apply the texture image the original image "shows through" -- the texture image does not completely cover/replace the original.
04/07/2021 09:10:51 PM · #16
If a challenge is specifically intended to be a "technical" challenge (and that is apparently the case with the blue tint one), a description is in order.

But for me, most of the time, the descriptions just get in the way. "Change" for example. That's the title. Hundreds of ways to interpret it. But then we go on and add . . . for those entrants and/or voters who care to read the descriptions . . . "Without it, there is no life; not to change is to die." Now whoever wrote that may simply think it's poetic and all-encompassing. I think it very much limits the interpretation of "change" and if its intention is NOT to limit, then it's superfluous at best.
04/07/2021 09:23:37 PM · #17
Originally posted by nam:

If a challenge is specifically intended to be a "technical" challenge (and that is apparently the case with the blue tint one), a description is in order.

But for me, most of the time, the descriptions just get in the way. "Change" for example. That's the title. Hundreds of ways to interpret it. But then we go on and add . . . for those entrants and/or voters who care to read the descriptions . . . "Without it, there is no life; not to change is to die." Now whoever wrote that may simply think it's poetic and all-encompassing. I think it very much limits the interpretation of "change" and if its intention is NOT to limit, then it's superfluous at best.

Agreed (regarding Change). I just ignored the description and went with an image I thought represents the Challenge subject (not necessarily the description). Whether the voters agree or not is another story. :-) However, nowadays I mostly shoot for what I enjoy and enter what I like - not too worried about scores anymore. That's my personal luxury - I know score IS important to many.
04/09/2021 02:37:56 AM · #18
Originally posted by nam:

"Change" for example. That's the title. Hundreds of ways to interpret it. But then we go on and add . . . for those entrants and/or voters who care to read the descriptions . . . "Without it, there is no life; not to change is to die." Now whoever wrote that may simply think it's poetic and all-encompassing. I think it very much limits the interpretation of "change" and if its intention is NOT to limit, then it's superfluous at best.


I generally like the descriptions, I like the "examples", it usually starts me off on a road of discovery, but I agree sometimes the descriptions are annoying and narrow the interpretation, like the "Change" challenge.

Guess its one of those :You can never please them all :-)
04/09/2021 03:05:24 AM · #19
Originally posted by glad2badad:

However, nowadays I mostly shoot for what I enjoy and enter what I like - not too worried about scores anymore. That's my personal luxury - I know score IS important to many.

For me the score matters, this is my motivation to enter challenges although it is not as strong any more with so few entries.

Message edited by author 2021-04-09 08:16:36.
04/09/2021 09:18:59 AM · #20
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

However, nowadays I mostly shoot for what I enjoy and enter what I like - not too worried about scores anymore. That's my personal luxury - I know score IS important to many.

For me the score matters, this is my motivation to enter challenges although it is not as strong any more with so few entries.


I also think that people need to realize that score watching and caring is not necessarily about ego. It also goes to the type of photography people want to create. Some people create photos for themselves and their own art and growth. But some people want to create photos for others. I'm a wildlife photographer. I photograph other things, but my heart is wildlife. But I'm not creating the photos for me to enjoy. I don't have photos printed and hung all over my house. When I see something incredible, I want to share it. I want people to see the beauty and be part of the incredible stories. That's why I love that I have an awesome husband that goes with me when I photograph wildlife. It's not nearly as much fun seeing it by myself -- I want to experience and share it with someone else.

So I look at the scores as whether I was successful in capturing the joy, love, fascination, beauty, etc., so it helps me know what works and what doesn't.

That's why I'd love a system that gives more information. In looking at the diptych challenge, the nude and my entry were the only ones with 5 votes of 3 and below. Not even the brown ribbon or photos near the bottom received that many low votes. So I'm missing a piece of information. It looks like it wasn't about meeting the challenge successfully, otherwise I would think there would be more photos with a significant number of votes of 3 and below. Many people automatically score nudes low, so I'm guessing that one because of content more than meeting the challenge. But why did mine have 11% of its votes at 3 and below? Content? Challenge? For those who are going for scores, that's a piece of information that's vital but missing. Scores don't give the whole picture, but it's a glimpse into how to improve.

So anyway -- there are those of us who are learning as much from scores as we are from the process of taking the photo itself. If we're trying to tell a story, we want to know if we're succesful in getting that story across, or if we need to dig deeper on how to hone our craft.

Message edited by author 2021-04-09 09:23:28.
04/09/2021 10:06:55 AM · #21
I left the comment on your image, Wendy.
04/09/2021 11:42:23 AM · #22
Btw -- thanks for the comments. I wasn't complaining about the 3s. (I did during voting, so I'm over it now. :P ) When there are that many, it's not really an outlier, so there's some interesting information to be had.

It was more about the fact that scores tell us something, but there's a lot of information still missing. I wish Niall would bring back his standard deviation award, or that information was included in the statistics. It's quite interesting to look through the challenge, but I'd love to be able to sort results by different things: sort by participant score, non-participant score, standard deviation, comments, etc. I love that we can sort by score given.

Message edited by author 2021-04-09 11:42:40.
04/09/2021 12:01:46 PM · #23
Not going to lie, if I'm not a participant in the challenge I don't read past what's on the front page.
So if the description requires hitting [more] to see the full context, I'm ignorant to what's actually there.

Now if I plan on entering the challenge I'll muster up the energy to read the rest.

Message edited by author 2021-04-09 12:02:07.
04/09/2021 12:20:30 PM · #24
Originally posted by Venser:

Not going to lie, if I'm not a participant in the challenge I don't read past what's on the front page.
So if the description requires hitting [more] to see the full context, I'm ignorant to what's actually there.

Now if I plan on entering the challenge I'll muster up the energy to read the rest.


Are you're talking about while you're voting on a challenge? If so, you can hover over the little text box icon to see the full description while viewing any entry during voting.

Looks like this ==> ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/30049/1200/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1260596.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/30049/1200/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1260596.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
04/09/2021 03:35:51 PM · #25
Originally posted by vawendy:

Btw -- thanks for the comments. I wasn't complaining about the 3s. (I did during voting, so I'm over it now. :P ) When there are that many, it's not really an outlier, so there's some interesting information to be had.

Could it be that a few grammar nazis did not like two S's in the word Assylum? ;)
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