Simon

Editing Part Photos

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Greetings, Folks;

Almost every day we receive newly submitted part photos, and we really appreciate the time and effort our members put into helping us improving our website. Obviously, any photo is better than no photo at all, but as we get more and more part photos, quality becomes a determining issue, and we have to reject photo's when the quality is too low.

That is a shame, and a waste of your (and our) time. If you spend a couple of minutes to find the right part, without dirt and scratches, another few minutes to set up your lights, and camera, and to find the right angle and composition, why not spend another minute to edit your photo and turn it into a perfect part photo, which we would never reject?

If you don't know how to do that, I created a small and very basic tutorial, and published it as a new Help page. It uses a free program called GIMP and in a dozen easy steps you learn to improve the quality of all your LEGO photos, including photos of your MOCs.

If, after reading the tutorial, you have any questions, feel free to post them here. And if you give this a try, you can also share your before and after photo in this thread.

Looking forward to seeing your photos...

Take care,
Simon

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That's a great guide. Thanks for putting in the effort.

Because almost all photos taken under artificial light have some sort of tint to them, I add another intermediate step. Assuming that the picture was taken against a white background you can use the levels tool found in the colours menu to correct the entire image. In my view this gives a final piece colour closer to the actual colour. To do this open colours/levels and select the pick white point option:

image.png.cb0ebadd5262f73381e679f4f06599e8.png

 

Then click anywhere in the white background of the picture (or if using a white part then the actual part). This sets the background to white and adjusts the part's colour accordingly. Doing this to your before.jpg image gives this result, I may have gone slightly too far by selecting part of the shadow as the background but personally think the colour of the brick is better:

image.png.f825f837fc7e9581a3bd2e107b82e4c5.png

Removing the shadows from this is then a slightly easier process. I also skip your crop step because the upload process on Rebrickable provides the option to crop the image.

If you are already aware of the colour levels tool and chose to omit it then please accept my apologies for treading on your toes.

 

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You're right, I am actually re-shooting all my part photos in natural light, with better colors and more details. But your "pick white point option" is a great feature, basically resetting white balance, and I did not know that, so thanks for the suggestion. I will add a note about it in the tutorial.

As to cropping, I agree, in the Photo Submit dialog you can move and crop manually, but I tried to make the tutorial also useful for MOC photos, and then cropping can be important.

Take care,
Simon

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I would prefer if the images stayed transparent instead of white background. It would make it easier to reuse these pictures in a instruction summary. ie if you put them next to each other that square white box is taking up unnecessary space. It would be good to start to have that practice if we go the way of needing photo editing for submitted part photos.

That way the images is more useful for other stuff such as handmade instructions and would open up for things like dark mode or themes on the site or in any app using the API to fetch images.

Edited by biodreamer

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Hi, Bio.

Yes, I really like your idea, and I would love to have a black theme for the website. Right now I am using Firefox and simply overwrite the color scheme, so I am already using a black background, and transparent images would look much better to me. And it will also make them more useful.

But (as always.. -smile-), right now, only our LDraw images are png's, the element images and photos are jpgs, which don't support transparency. I am currently working on a new set of LDraw images, have about 80,000 done, still need to do another 20,000 or so, and those can have transparent backgrounds without any problem. Element images could be converted to png, but I am not sure how much additional disk space that would take, and Nathan has to decide if that is worth it.

Most of the photos, however, still have a gray background and shadows and such, and I can't think of an easy way to switch those to transparent background. The photos that I am adding (and hopefully others will follow) are basically created as pngs, but when submitted, they are converted to jpg. So there we need some system changes. Let me check with Nathan is this might be possible.

In the mean time: if an image has a perfect white background, it is very easy to convert that background to an alpha channel. Using ImageMagick:

convert old.jpg -transparent white new.png

with -fuzz you can set a fuzzy percentage (the specified percentage deviation from the pure white color to be converted to transparent as well)

Take care,
Simon

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imo diskspace is cheaper than ever but sure I am not paying the bill and the earlier you make the move the less work will it be, but sure you will have to keep both formats for a long time, but you don't need to keep adding more images that needs to be converted later. besides it less space than unprocessed images and I am sure you can run some image optimizer on them to keep them smaller.

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I talked to Nathan about this, and the new LDraw images, that will become available within the next few month, will be pngs with transparent background. As to element images and part photos, I need to find out how many we have, what the current size is, and how much that size will increase if we switch to png. Then we can make a decision.

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Can I assume it's okay to resubmit a already approved picture submitted by someone else, if all you do is improve it in a photo software. it's technically not mine but it's already yours to use. just did that for 4744px13. I could have taken my own photo but I thought it was good as it was and only needed to remove the border.

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I have no problem with this, and indeed, there are many part photos that can be improved with some software manipulation. However, it is not a decision I like to take alone. Let me discus this with my fellow admins, and I will get back to you ASAP.

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On 4/28/2019 at 11:16 AM, biodreamer said:

Can I assume it's okay to resubmit a already approved picture submitted by someone else

I am sorry, but the majority of admins is against it - and I think the arguments are solid: even though legally it might be allowed, many folks would be frustrated is someone else uses their photos to gain additional points. Furthermore, we are using jpg photos, and that means that downloading a photo, editing it , and then uploading again would result in double quality loss due to the jpg compression.

So if you have a photo that you made yourself, and the quality is much better then what we currently have, you can always submit it, but please, don't upload edited photos of someone else.

Tale care,
Simon

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well seem like a silly reason, I don't care about the points or the author badge, I am fine if the original poster retain those. I just needed the picture without background so I removed it. I though you guys could use the result.

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besides points are free, if it means better pictures why not hand them out, if it's complicated to make a special case, and if a original poster dislikes the points he should have done all the work, not just half of it. The better picture you make the less likely it will be removed. goes both for original images and improvements. 

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6 hours ago, biodreamer said:

besides points are free, if it means better pictures why not hand them out, if it's complicated to make a special case, and if a original poster dislikes the points he should have done all the work, not just half of it. The better picture you make the less likely it will be removed. goes both for original images and improvements. 

Enough points gets you a free pro-plan. It's a reward for contributing and potentially costs the site money.

It's about ownership of the image, not loss/gain of points necessarily. We all agree that having the best images we can get is preferable but we do not want to isolate users whose images have been retouched and claimed by someone else. People take pride in their contributions.

It's the ethos of "it's better to have a bad image than no image" that has caused less than stellar images to be accepted. This should not be the case when Element ID's, and LDraw images are present, only high quality pictures should be considered for parts like that. 

If an image is of particular annoyance, flag it and we can see what we can do, we can maybe talk with the original submitter and ask for them to resubmit a photo or get permission to retouch it. Images are a low priority for us so please be particular over what you flag to us. We wouldn't want to slow down more important tasks. And the only thing that should really be flagged is if there is more than just the part in the photo, or a non-white background (grays on the scale of white are fine, I'm talking about someones hand, wooden tabletop, etc...). Please refrain from flagging images for parts that have other images, aren't central in the image, are a little dark, etc... Use your best judgement, if we get bombarded with requests for image improvements that are unnecessary I may rescind my offer to act as liaison.

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A free pro-plan doesn't cost the site anything.losing a potential customer is not a loss of money, losing money is if you had them in the first place and have pay them out. and if you really wanted more money you would lower the price and gain in quantity of users. Improving the site means drawing more user to the site, so those who gain that many points during the years is worth getting it for free and you can always try to sell them the designer package. it's not that many contributors and I am sure they continue even after getting their free pro plan.

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