Truth in Filtering

Taghkanic

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I’d like to gently suggest that when taking photos of chips—whether for pr0n or for classified ads—we all do each other a favor, and resist the urge to bump up the saturation, heighten the contrast, and overexpose the lighting to make our barrels and racks look juicier.

There are times when I see someone posting pr0n of a type of chip I myself own, and I absolutely can tell that those chips don’t look the way they are represented... Even in minty condition, or after deep cleaning and careful oiling to bring out the color.

Other times, I’ve noticed two unrelated members posting pics of a very specific type of chip. One member’s barrel has outrageously deep base colors and beautifully contrasting secondary spots. But the other’s chips look really blah. It’s obvious this stark difference is not due to condition, or oiling, or camera type, but due to one member going nuts in Photoshop, and the other uploading pics unfiltered.

Since I know some will say, “Why should anyone care?,” I’ll give some reasons below.

One general concern involves misrepresentation of chips for sale or trade. I don’t see this done a lot, but it can happen. The more widespread problem comes when one is trying to research chips you might want to add to a collection.

Say I’m looking for just the right spotted purple THC to use as a 500 chip in a tourney set. I start searching past sales posts, pr0n posts and galleries for media that shows the universe of options. I come across something that looks perfect—with a shade that really pops. (I hate it when a purple 500 chip is too dark, and starts to get confused with black 100s, especially in low light.) But the picture I’m looking at has been filtered so aggressively that I can’t tell what the chips really look like.

There’s a big difference between trying to color-correct your own photos so they look right vs. totally misrepresenting the true appearance of a barrel, rack, or collection—whether to make them look more valuable, or just for one’s own glory.

Look, it can be hard to take a truly natural photograph. All kinds of things can go wrong: A low-quality lens. Overly warm or cold light. Glare. Underexposure. The list is very long; even official color charts from chip manufacturers don’t necessarily represent colors fairly.

Also, to be charitable, people’s monitor settings, tablet settings, phone settings, what have you, can be way off, so they may not even realize how “wrong” their pics are.

And I want to emphasize that I’m not calling out any members in particular, because the point here is not who is doing it, but what is being done. The most aggressive Photoshoppers already know who they are; and the rest of us have surely noticed their filtering habits as well. Meanwhile, almost all of us have made a few edits to chip photos, for one reason or another. To some extent, we’re all part of the problem.

I myself have used my preferred Photoshop alternative (Pixelmator) to make minor corrections to chip pics—such as removing pieces of iint from the felt. There have also been times where I’ve felt my iPhone camera did not properly capture the colors of the chips, so I do some small tweaks to the saturation, contrast, exposure, &c., so that they look more accurately in the photo like they look to me in person.

Some may say that each of us has our own responsibility to obtain samples before making any significant purchase, and it’s our own fault if we rely on someone else’s amateur photographs. But for the community (especially classifieds) to work, we often have to rely on each other’s photographs. So I do think there is a mutual, shared interest among chippers to try to take good photos which accurately depict how our collections or sales really look, not some fantasy version of how they might ideally look.
 
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Taghkanic

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Please be honest were you deceived by a misleading bumble pic?

I don’t think I’ve ever been totally deceived. Certainly, there have been times where I was disappointed. But as stated, it’s the silly pr0n photos which grind my gears more often than sales/trade threads. That’s why I posted this in this section.
 

kmccormick100

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As a former professional photographer it’s very difficult to accurately capture the color of chips, particularly brighter day Glo spot colors ie blaze, hot pink, peach. Lighting, backdrop, camera/phone, white balance, everything vary greatly situationally and even from day to day. I care more about the condition of chips being accurately shown and described. At this point if somebody isn’t familiar with what colors look like in person that’s on them. Everybody should know what they’re buying or ask for Paulson color callouts if uncertain and compare the reference pics in the resource section.
 

Taghkanic

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I certainly agree that it is very difficult to accurately capture the color of the chips.

I can’t agree that people should deliberately blow colors out to unrealistic levels.

Big difference between taking a less-than-perfect photo and knowingly creating an exaggerated one.
 

ReallyGoodUsername

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You buy? You buy now?

E933EC6A-DD40-4D03-BD9F-A5B9BCC3C4AB.jpeg
 
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Where do we draw the line here? A DSLR takes very "gray" low contrast pictures. It does so, because it leaves the most room for the photographer to develop his pictures the way he chooses.
So a raw DSLR picture would be "accurate" because it hasn't been tampered with, but it would totally undersell the colors of a chip.

Every picture a smartphone takes is beeing processed by a software. Some phones take pictures that are way more saturated than others. Which phone is "correct"?
None of them are. All of them are.

The point I'm trying to make is, there is no "real" picture. Editing can get a picture closer or further from ones own "truth" but there is no way to take a universally "correct" picture.

So I say: let everyone do as they please and if you feel someone is taking advantage of someone else by duping him with an oversatuated picture, feel free to speak up. Otherwise let others enjoy things.
 

Taghkanic

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Where do we draw the line here? A DSLR takes very "gray" low contrast pictures. It does so, because it leaves the most room for the photographer to develop his pictures the way he chooses.
So a raw DSLR picture would be "accurate" because it hasn't been tampered with, but it would totally undersell the colors of a chip.

Every picture a smartphone takes is beeing processed by a software. Some phones take pictures that are way more saturated than others. Which phone is "correct"?
None of them are. All of them are.

The point I'm trying to make is, there is no "real" picture. Editing can get a picture closer or further from ones own "truth" but there is no way to take a universally "correct" picture.

So I say: let everyone do as they please and if you feel someone is taking advantage of someone else by duping him with an oversatuated picture, feel free to speak up. Otherwise let others enjoy things.

I think that’s being pretty deliberately obtuse.

As you yourself said, a DSLR camera takes photos which capture huge amounts of data *so they can be edited*. No one takes RAW photos to use the unedited version.

And I clearly acknowledged that all cameras and screens are different.

It does not follow from any of the above to get an accurate feel for some chips you should prefer photos that have been wildly and artistically manipulated to look as dramatic as possible, totally disregarding how they look to the naked eye.

If I’m trying to make an artistic image for my poker room, I might heavily manipulate a photo of some chips in insane colors, from strange angles. I might even draw or paint a picture from a photo.

But if I’m selling or creating a documentary gallery of a set, I bet you don’t want an oil painting of them. You will almost surely prefer a clear and straightforward pic which as honestly as possible represents how they will look when you open them up and stack them on your table.
 
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Some may say that each of us has our own responsibility to obtain samples before making any significant purchase, and it’s our own fault if we rely on someone else’s amateur photographs. But for the community (especially classifieds) to work, we often have to rely on each other’s photographs. So I do think there is a mutual, shared interest among chippers to try to take good photos which accurately depict how our collections or sales really look, not some fantasy version of how they might ideally look.
But if I’m selling or creating a documentary gallery of a set, I bet you don’t want an oil painting of them. You will almost surely prefer a clear and straightforward pic which as honestly as possible represents how they will look when you open them up and stack them on your table.
While I agree that if you're selling chips, they should be as close as they look to the naked eye as possible. But this look can only be achieved through heavy editing, because cameras can only guess at what the "real" colors are. This is especially true for colors like hot pink, radiant red, arc yellow and so on.
Just saying: don't edit your pictures is not the right way to tackle this problem.
 

Taghkanic

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I never said “don’t edit pics.” In fact, I specifically said that I’ve lightly edited photos if I felt the light, color balance, exposure, etc. was not reflecting how they look to me in person.

That’s very different than going far out of one’s way to juice things up unrealistically.
 
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Then we agree. I don't like pictures that are completely removed from reality, but I don't think there should be a picture police outside of the classifieds where someone might actually be duped.
If someone uploads pictures of his chips in his own galery thread, by all means, do as you like. Photography is art and I don't think someone else has the right to tell you what to do or not do with pictures you take.

Here is an example of one of my edited pictures. I feel the edit is way closer to the "real look" of the chips -especially the hot pink-, but others might disagree.
non edit-1.jpg

IOC-1.jpg
 

mathewsarcher83

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Aside from pr0n pics, I tend to photograph chips for sale along with well known-commonly owned chips or solid chips (white/black) as a way to represent the real color. I find that is really easy way to distinguish chips/colors
 

Taghkanic

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The edit is better, but mainly because the second pic is underexposed (if that is the original). The pinks on the Capris still looks a little “hotter” than I might expect in person. I was just working on a similar comparison; will post momentarily.
 

Taghkanic

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Below are four versions of the same pic. I took one shot with my iPhone, on my dining room table, in indirect natural afternoon light, mostly coming from the right side of the frame.

The is table painted a fairly neutral dark gray.

I chose some Jacks because (a) these chips have some hot colors, and (b) lots of people have handled Jacks, so you may have a good point of comparison.

Comments to follow in next post.


jacks-1.jpeg
jacks-2.jpeg
jacks-3.jpeg
jacks-4.jpeg
 
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The edit is better, but mainly because the second pic is underexposed (if that is the original). The pinks on the Capris still looks a little “hotter” than I might expect in person. I was just working on a similar comparison; will post momentarily.
Wrong way around. ;)
The brighter picture is the raw unedited picture.
I underexposed the image itself in post and tweaked the brightness of certain colors to make them pop.
Like it or not but it's the way I wanted my picture to look. And I feel I have every right to do so.
 

Taghkanic

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Annotations:

1. This is a slightly desaturated and lightened version of the original pic. I made it to simulate what I might call a “bad” cameraphone pic, where due to the lighting or lack of attention by the photographer, you get a view of the chips which makes them look unnecessarily and unrealistically drab.

2. This is the original iPhone pic.

3. This is the original, lightly edited to try to simulate what these looked like to me in person, sitting in front of them at the table. #2 and #3 are pretty similar but not identical. I had noticed that the phone camera blew out the hot orange and hot pink spots a bit. These Jacks do have some bright, intense colors, but not quite what the camera captured IMHO. Meanwhile, the blacks struck me as a little washed out due to the bright (if indirect) afternoon light, which also tends to skew a little blue. So I fiddled a bit with the curves and levels to make them look more like they really do in person. I also touched up some lint on the table, since that was not contributing anything. There is some dust on the chips as well, but I didn’t correct more than a few spots. To me, this is an acceptable level of editing: Editing to improve the accuracy and correct for the deficiencies of the camera/lighting/etc.

4. This is an example of extreme manipulation, where the contrast has been bumped way up, along with the saturation, and the exposure brought down to make all the colors look even deeper. I think it makes the chips look worse, and it results in some weird effects in the table gray—what I might call winestaining—but some people seem to think this approach is an improvement. IDGI.
 
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Taghkanic

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Like it or not but it's the way I wanted my picture to look. And I feel I have every right to do so.

Oof, I do think the first pic is much nicer. Different taste I guess.

Anyway, no one said you don’t have the “right” to edit photos. We all can do what we want; by the same token, others have the right to comment.

I just think that when the editing gets to the point of being misleading or silly, it ought to be dialed back. Unless the goal is to create art, rather than documentation.

Usually when I look at chip pr0n, I’m looking to see what some chips I don’t own look like, not an exaggeration. Again, different taste maybe.
 

Rieguy

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I have never altered my phone camera from default or edited any of my chip pictures outside of cropping them, but they can still look wildly different depending on the conditions of where they were taken and the lighting. I just stick to natural sunlight now and think that generally works the best for capturing the actual colors. Everyone can do what they want, but letting the chips speak for themselves just seems right.
 

Taghkanic

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The best luck I’ve had with taking “natural” photos still requires some planning.

For example, my kitchen counter is a nice neutral but not glaringly bright white, and it has a two-story picture window facing east, plus two smaller windows facing south, so I get a lot of natural light in that room.

Taking pics in the early morning is not so great, because the light is usually too intense, unless it is a much grayer day. (Leonardo da Vinci said something to the effect that evenly overcast days were the best ones for painting outside, because the shadows were the most even.)

Once the sun gets a little higher in the morning sky, there is even light but it’s less direct light, and I’ve found that is a nice time for “beauty” shots that don’t require much if any editing. So, say around 11 am is pretty prefect.

Here are a couple examples of shots I took in those conditions. I cropped them, but either did not edit them or only did so very lightly to adjust exposure (rather than color).

char-black-c.jpg
fuschia-b.jpg
mustard-c.jpg
mintgreen1.jpg


Notes: The Fuchsias look like they were taken on a slightly gloomier day... but I wanted to show how the chips had a fair amount of color variation, so the buyer would not be surprised by that. It’s a problem with certain solids. Meanwhile, the last one looks like it was either a much brighter day than the rest, or I brightened up the pic to make the counter white a more neutral color. It’s still a little yellowed at the corner. Anyway, I thought these were a pretty fair impression of the Mint Green chip color... and I’m now regretting having sold them. Interestingly, these were taken several iPhone iterations back, and I almost like the pics better than my 12 Pro.)
 
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Josh Kifer

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I think that’s being pretty deliberately obtuse.

As you yourself said, a DSLR camera takes photos which capture huge amounts of data *so they can be edited*. No one takes RAW photos to use the unedited version.

And I clearly acknowledged that all cameras and screens are different.

It does not follow from any of the above to get an accurate feel for some chips you should prefer photos that have been wildly and artistically manipulated to look as dramatic as possible, totally disregarding how they look to the naked eye.

If I’m trying to make an artistic image for my poker room, I might heavily manipulate a photo of some chips in insane colors, from strange angles. I might even draw or paint a picture from a photo.

But if I’m selling or creating a documentary gallery of a set, I bet you don’t want an oil painting of them. You will almost surely prefer a clear and straightforward pic which as honestly as possible represents how they will look when you open them up and stack them on your table.
 

Josh Kifer

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See. The funny thing to me is..... I'm wayyyyy too lazy to change a photo for really anything past maybe the draw function for a meme.

Poker chips? Contrast? I have a dog to pet here! Not "contrast to impress randos" time!
 
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