View Full Version : In the Digital Age

09-06-2008, 02:46 PM
I was thinking about this today, and thought about all the comments that are made on here about monitors, and how someone says" this is darker/lighter/brighter, etc...in real life. And it got me to wondering where we are going with cameras, photos, and computers in the digital future. My laptop is calibrated to the highest true color and resolution, but is yours?. I am curious how much this is affecting or will affect such issues as online exhibits(such as PSA and Jack Richeson), competitions seem to be all going digital now, and it makes me curious; are the judges seeing the same thing I am when I gaze at my painting on my computer? Are some artists being overlooked because of a calibration issue? Don't get me wrong, I lobbied and was/am a very strong advocate for digital entries in any and all forms, but just got to thinking on this, and the process involved in a good digital product.
There are hardware and software products available to calibrate, but are they all the same?
Is the computer/digital companies working to come up with a basis for a blanket calibration? hmm...just rambling on a rainy day, but I have often wondered about the aspect of what the world sees versus what we see when we post, submit, or upload a pic on the web.

Maggie P
09-06-2008, 03:21 PM
Tressa, I have worried about this same thing. I have my doubts as to whether all judges of competitions have monitors that are accurately caibrated, and I worry that good paintings will be rejected because of the way they look on some monitors.

A case in point: I was at a friend's home a year or so ago and she asked about a particular painting. I knew there was an image on my web site so pulled it up on her computer. Honestly, if my name hadn't been there, I would not have believed those were my paintings. The colors were overly bright and garish, and nothing looked anything like the real paintings, or even the paintings as they appeared on my computer.

I doubt very much if anyone's working on any kind of blanket calibration software. Even if they did, not everyone would use it. Even if many people used it, they might not all have the same version. And it might not work the same from one brand of monitor to another, or on a PC as it would on a Mac.

It's definitely a worry. I have a calibrated monitor, but when I juried a show recently, some of the digital entries were so "overexposed" I had to wonder if the artist's monitors were showing them correctly. It will be interesting to see those paintings when I go to the show opening.

09-06-2008, 03:24 PM
Here's a link I came across with information on calibrating one's monitor. http://www.wikihow.com/Calibrate-Your-Monitor

09-06-2008, 04:14 PM
Though for not the same reasons I wonder the same thing...what looks good to me on my computer may look horrible on someone elses.

09-06-2008, 06:27 PM
I got a new computer some months ago. Both were calibrated, the new and the old. Things on the web look sameish. *But*, my own photos, especially those of paintings, look weaker and yellower when moved to the new computer. Images from new computer and new camera have enough dark values, too, while old camera and old computer always got me the comment on WC "it is all mid values". Not anymore.

Were the old slides that much better/truer?

09-06-2008, 09:15 PM
I've been concerned about this also. I've wondered about calibrating mine but don't know much about it. I will be reading the link Helen shared.

09-06-2008, 09:17 PM
The same happened to me Maggie. I was at a classroom a few months ago, and the students wanted to see the finish of a demo I had done the previous week. So I sat down at the school computer and pulled up my painting. It was unbelievable how it appeared on that monitor!!:eek: The colors were completely overexposed, the shades totally different, and I was like, "this is soo totally not what it really looks like":rolleyes:
This is a issue that apparently will have to be adressed in the hopefully near future. And I thought the same even as I wrote. Even though there are already calibration stuff out there, is every manufactuers' gonna be just that bit off from the other. Oh yea, and the PC Mac thing,geesh.....

09-06-2008, 10:00 PM
Calibration is a tricky issue. To truly calibrate your monitor you have to get a program like Spyder and do it every month or so. It made a huge difference when I borrowed a friend's Spyder and used it. However, most people don't have the money to buy the program and the Spyder apparatus, it's expensive. I had the same experience as Maggie when I tried to see my website on someone else's monitor. A little trick that works somewhat is in Photoshop, at least in my version which is CS3 -- you can go to the view menu, click on proof setup and try all the different options, such as RGB macintosh, and RGB windows, and RGB monitor. Those cover most people's monitors and you can see that what is very saturated in windows is quite light on a mac, and so forth.

09-06-2008, 10:12 PM
Last month I encouraged one of the students in my pastel class (who does exquisite work BTW!) to enter the Pastel Journals contest that just closed. I was happy to tell her that the contest was accepting slides and pointed out that digital images can vary a LOT from computer to computer. With a slide, however, you (the artist) can immediately tell if the color is accurate. So that's what she submitted. But I wonder if the panel/jury/judges actually look at the slides, or do they scan them and then view them on a computer. I hope they look at slides. And I hope that contests such as that continue to accept slides. I know it's easier to send a scanned image, but what price is being paid for that convenience?



09-07-2008, 09:08 AM
Wakar, slides are being fazed out, and it is part of the wave of the future. Most competitions still do accept some slides, but here is the problem. The projectors are no longer produced, and once the machine goes, the slides will be no more. Our Society ran into this a couple of years ago. The projector went on the blitz, and the only place to purchase one was on EBAY, or some other placed used. So, in that instance, we went completely digital.

09-07-2008, 11:07 AM
Good thread Tressa, Glad you brought this up. it is why many of us always say it brighter, clearer,ect IRL

09-14-2008, 08:48 PM
I think I may have purchased the last slide film in Toronto. They said they were not expecting any more. I notice that some competitions are asking for lab quality photos in addition to the cd. Don't know what exactly they do with the photos.

09-14-2008, 09:03 PM
Theres a nifty little program that includes a small card that has 10 colours and the greyscale on it. then you take your picture you place this card in the photo. When you run the program, it identifies the card and runs a calibration standard to it, as it knows what exactly thge card colour values are and adjusts the entire picture to that standard... I wish I could remember the name of this program but it seems very capable of "standardizing" pictures since its independant of the monitor completely...

all in all I run into monitor calibration problems all the time just going between my computers, and hate to see sometimes the colours of somthing I post on one computer thinking its ok, only to find it too dark or way off...

Deborah Secor
09-14-2008, 10:25 PM
Don't include those color calibration cards in the image you submit of your painting, however! If you use one, be sure it's cropped out of the final image and all you show is the painting. At least that was always true for slides.

The magazines ask for a color match print so that the image printed from a digital file looks accurate (or as accurate as possible.) That may be why the competitions ask for a color print, Julia. They want to be sure that any painting they receive is identical to the digital they're viewing.

Slides have had a good long run and the technology was perfected over time, but it will take some time to get this digital stuff in order! I still prefer to deal with it, even if the color is a little iffy. Sooner or later a standard will be developed somehow. I look forward to that...meanwhile we just muddle along, I guess!