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DPChallenge Forums >> Administrator Announcements >> Important Changes to the Basic Editing rules
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07/15/2009 12:51:46 PM · #1
Editor's Note: due to popular demand, we have removed the restriction about Topaz Adjust. I have crossed this out of the original post (below) and will follow up in the thread. Topaz Adjust is legal for Basic Rules, subject to the rest of the ruleset.

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(So important I'm going to use capital letters!)

As many of you know, the rules often have trouble keeping up with the technology available to digital photographers. This is particularly true with the restrictions imposed on Basic Editing challenges.

A few years ago, a specific slew of tools was banned in Basic Editing challenges. Other tools have since come to light that present us with a quandry: either we start listing specific tools that can or cannot be used, or we clarify the rules and put the burden on determining legality in the users' hands. We opted for the latter.

Beginning with the Basic Editing challenges that were announced today, 7/15, please note the following additions to the Basic Editing rules:

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Originally posted by Basic Editing Rules:

Third party software including raw converters, filters and actions are subject to the same restrictions as Photoshop: spot editing, selections (including "control points"), brushes and layers containing data are forbidden.


That's right! YOU get to choose what software you use to edit your images for Basic challenges. HOWEVER, the "filters must not be used in such a way that their use becomes a feature" clause is still in effect. If you go overboard with any editing tool to the point that new features are created, your image could still be disqualified.

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Originally posted by Basic Editing Rules:

Topaz Adjust is considered an "effects filter" and not allowed in Basic Editing.


This particular tool is just too easy to abuse and has been specifically singled out because of the effects it creates.


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Finally:

Originally posted by Basic Editing Rules:

If you are uncertain as to whether a particular tool is legal or not, please contact the SC for analysis, and assume that the tool is NOT legal unless told otherwise.


In short, if you don't know, ask. Note that the earlier you ask gives you a better shot at a coherent answer before the submission deadline. Also note that it's entirely possible that we may not be able to come to a consensus before the submission deadline and the LACK of a specific answer SHOULD NOT BE considered tacit approval of your image.

We answer as many questions as we can during the submission period. Also note that before and after examples of the technique you question are extremely helpful to our debate.

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Finally, please note that these changes invalidate our previous ruling that prohibited Virtual Photographer, Photomatix, and Lucis Arts. They are fair game now, within reason.

Photographs that are currently in the voting stage that violate the above rules will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. This is unavoidable during this transition period.

Now.... debate!

Rob & the SC gang

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 23:43:26.
07/15/2009 12:56:31 PM · #2
A suggestion. As the SC makes a decision regarding a given tool, it would be useful to have a posting of the decision in a new forum section called something like "Challenges - Software rulings". This would allow folks to browse / search that forum before they post when they have a question.
07/15/2009 01:01:26 PM · #3
So.......you blew out my Topaz, and legalized all the stuff I *don't* have?

Be-atch!.......8>)

ETA: My Zen entry used Topaz to refine it rather than make it garish.....

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1052/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_801054.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1052/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_801054.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

ETA II: Thanks for the revisions & clarifications!

That's helpful.

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 13:04:08.
07/15/2009 01:02:28 PM · #4
Originally posted by Nobody:

A suggestion. As the SC makes a decision regarding a given tool, it would be useful to have a posting of the decision in a new forum section called something like "Challenges - Software rulings". This would allow folks to browse / search that forum before they post when they have a question.

Or link(s) to these kind of threads in the rulesets, as suggested recently here.

ETA - I like your idea also Sam. :-)

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 13:03:25.
07/15/2009 01:02:37 PM · #5
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Be-atch!.......8>)


*snap*
07/15/2009 01:03:52 PM · #6
Originally posted by Nobody:

A suggestion. As the SC makes a decision regarding a given tool, it would be useful to have a posting of the decision in a new forum section called something like "Challenges - Software rulings". This would allow folks to browse / search that forum before they post when they have a question.


we know that it's an issue. that's why these are actually posted in the rules! one stop shopping for all your rules needs!
07/15/2009 01:05:19 PM · #7
When a ruleset is edited could you please also change the 'Last updated' status too? Basic rules still show a Sept 2008 date as last revision.
07/15/2009 01:07:30 PM · #8
Originally posted by glad2badad:

When a ruleset is edited could you please also change the 'Last updated' status too? Basic rules still show a Sept 2008 date as last revision.


oop! good idea.

edit: i can't change that, but i will request it be changed.

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 13:08:29.
07/15/2009 01:09:32 PM · #9
I don't get the isolation of Topaz. Lucis Arts and even Photomatix can produce the same 'effects' results Topaz can/does. And Topaz, just as those, can be used for a variety of adjustments without creating ANY feature or apparent 'effect'. I am confused. If you can use those within the rule set, why not Topaz? They would all have to be used sparingly to be acceptable in Basic or even in Advanced to a point, so I don't see why it is singled out.

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 13:22:28.
07/15/2009 01:30:31 PM · #10
Originally posted by muckpond:

Originally posted by Nobody:

A suggestion. As the SC makes a decision regarding a given tool, it would be useful to have a posting of the decision in a new forum section called something like "Challenges - Software rulings". This would allow folks to browse / search that forum before they post when they have a question.


we know that it's an issue. that's why these are actually posted in the rules! one stop shopping for all your rules needs!


I don't see what I am talking about at your link. I'm asking that a posting be, well, posted, with the discussion regarding a specific tool when and if that discussion occurs. That way, people can easily find the decision and the reasoning behind it.
07/15/2009 01:34:40 PM · #11
Originally posted by Nobody:

I don't see what I am talking about at your link.

Look at the bottom of the rules, under Administrative Notes. It's spelled out right there.
07/15/2009 01:36:15 PM · #12
oh! i misunderstood.

i question linking to forum discussions directly from the Rules, as we all know how our forum threads go and i don't want to scare anyone off. also, the rules are discussed in multiple threads over the course of time, so it would be an administrative nightmare.

i think it's best to keep this thread here so that we can direct users to it either in the forums or by tickets if someone posts with a question.
07/15/2009 01:46:32 PM · #13
Originally posted by CEJ:

I don't get the isolation of Topaz. Lucis Arts and even Photomatix can produce the same 'effects' results Topaz can/does. And Topaz, just as those, can be used for a variety of adjustments without creating ANY feature or apparent 'effect'. I am confused. If you can use those within the rule set, why not Topaz? They would all have to be used sparingly to be acceptable in Basic or even in Advanced to a point, so I don't see why it is singled out.


I haven't used Topaz in Basic editing for fear of "creating" something new so this rule is no big deal. I've never used Photomatix or Lucis Arts but I found Topaz because I was looking for something similar to Lucis. It just seems odd to me that since you can create the same kinds of effects, that you would allow the other software. I can't help but wonder if this actually won't be opening more validation tickets for you as to whether or not something was legal during a challenge.
07/15/2009 01:51:37 PM · #14
Originally posted by colorcarnival:

It just seems odd to me that since you can create the same kinds of effects, that you would allow the other software. I can't help but wonder if this actually won't be opening more validation tickets for you as to whether or not something was legal during a challenge.

You can match any of those filters with Photoshop, too. Topaz was banned for now because that filter's normal purpose is to create a distinctive effect. I'd consider it temporary while we work out a better long term solution.
07/15/2009 01:55:33 PM · #15
Originally posted by scalvert:

You can match any of those filters with Photoshop, too.


Yeah, I know, but I'm lazy and Topaz is much faster :D
07/15/2009 01:57:16 PM · #16
Hmm...although I have used Topaz to create a certain look, that look is only a mimic of what can/is done with Lucis Arts or when pushing Photomatix to the extreme end. I mostly use it for color and exposure corrections and for noise removal as I find I have more control than with NI.

Of course they can all be used to an extreme end, but all can also be used with a very healthy dose of moderation and only to correct as opposed to push an image to the edge.
07/15/2009 01:57:58 PM · #17
The singling-out of Topaz is incomprehensible to me. You've already said that no tool can be used to "create an effect", isn't that sufficient? Most of what people object to, when they say they dislike Topaz, is an "effect" you get when you push it too far. Ditto for Photomatix tone mapping, ditto for Lucis Arts. In fact, Lucis Arts may be the *least* likely of these tools to be deemed legal, its whole purpose is to create specific effects.

But Topaz is a very useful editing tool, it's basically a tone mapping tool. Photoshop's shadow/highlight is a tone mapping tool, Photomatix (when used on a single capture) is a tone mapping tool, so what gives?

Reason I'm asking is because Topaz is the only one of these tools that sells for less than $100... Photomatix foes for $100, Lucis Arts is wildly expensive...

R.
07/15/2009 02:01:06 PM · #18
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

You've already said that no tool can be used to "create an effect", isn't that sufficient?

I agree. Like I said, consider it temporary while we work out a better solution.
07/15/2009 02:10:19 PM · #19
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... Lucis Arts may be the *least* likely of these tools to be deemed legal, its whole purpose is to create specific effects...

R.


Exactly! It seems backwards. Topaz should be OK and Lucis Arts should be the one put in Scalvert's 'Temporary' status.

Oh and I agree with the 'cost' thing. When I switched to Mac, I did not replace Photomatix or NI (although I did have a Mac version I did install). But I did purchase Topaz Adjust and have used that almost exclusively for noise reduction.

So a peripheral question: Does Topaz Denoise (the application, not the included version in Adjust), is this OK or is it considered Topaz and therefore illegal? (I know, you said Topaz Adjust in your post, but most people just refer to Topaz and all assume it is Adjust). Or for that matter, can Topaz Adjust be used JUST for noise reduction and no other adjustments?

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 14:12:19.
07/15/2009 02:26:09 PM · #20
Originally posted by CEJ:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... Lucis Arts may be the *least* likely of these tools to be deemed legal, its whole purpose is to create specific effects...

R.


Exactly! It seems backwards. Topaz should be OK and Lucis Arts should be the one put in Scalvert's 'Temporary' status.

Oh and I agree with the 'cost' thing. When I switched to Mac, I did not replace Photomatix or NI (although I did have a Mac version I did install). But I did purchase Topaz Adjust and have used that almost exclusively for noise reduction.

So a peripheral question: Does Topaz Denoise (the application, not the included version in Adjust), is this OK or is it considered Topaz and therefore illegal? (I know, you said Topaz Adjust in your post, but most people just refer to Topaz and all assume it is Adjust). Or for that matter, can Topaz Adjust be used JUST for noise reduction and no other adjustments?


The rules say we can use any tools designed to preserve image integrity: "ilters or stand-alone utilities designed to preserve image integrity (such as Neat Image, Unsharp Mask, Dust & Scratches, and color correction tools). These filters must be applied uniformly to the entire image, and must not be used in such a way that their use becomes a feature. No “effects” filters may be applied to your image, with the exception of Noise and Gaussian Blur."

Topaz DeNoise seems to fit in those guidelines; certainly if Neat Image is legal, so should be DeNoise; both can be used to create "effects" if pushed to extremes, but that's already covered in the rule as a no-no.

R.
07/15/2009 02:32:02 PM · #21
Originally posted by scalvert:

Topaz was banned for now because that filter's normal purpose is to create a distinctive effect.


I couldn't disagree more. I don't see how you can identify a "normal purpose" for Topaz Adjust. It's a sophisticated tool for manipulating specific parameters interactively, and it can be used in any range from "trace effect" to "overblown effect" along a continuum. Don't be fooled by the "presets", some of which DO show extreme effects, because they are all created using the same suite of sliders. Topaz is a REALLY useful tool for fine-tuning an image for display.

R.
07/15/2009 02:35:34 PM · #22
I was AGREEING with you Bear. You guys wanted an explanation, so I told you what the rationale was (even if it doesn't make sense). I think I'm better off just staying out of these conversations.
07/15/2009 02:37:09 PM · #23
I just received a validation request for my footwear entry. It's probably going to receive a DQ because I used Topaz Adjust (photo pop) for an overall effect. =(

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1061/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_804432.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1061/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_804432.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2009-07-15 14:38:35.
07/15/2009 02:42:02 PM · #24
Originally posted by scalvert:

I was AGREEING with you Bear. You guys wanted an explanation, so I told you what the rationale was (even if it doesn't make sense). I think I'm better off just staying out of these conversations.


Sorry, Dhannon, I'm really not picking on you specifically, honest. You just happen to be doing the talking. It's just that I feel really strongly that one of the least expensive and most useful 3rd-party Photoshop add-ons is getting a bum rap as some sort of an extreme effects filter. I don't want to see that perception set in stone. I'm one of the lucky ones, I have Photomatix so I am still good to go, but it just doesn't make much sense to me.

R.
07/15/2009 02:52:27 PM · #25
Originally posted by Emerkaza:

I just received a validation request for my footwear entry. It's probably going to receive a DQ because I used Topaz Adjust (photo pop) for an overall effect. =(

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1061/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_804432.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1061/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_804432.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


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