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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Popularity Contest Rant

Obviously, my work brings me into contact with a lot of models, both new and experienced. As a direct consequence, it seems like every other day I get a message asking me to vote for a model in this or that popularity contest, where the winner gets the most votes.

I'd like to think I am pretty supportive of the modelling community, but that support has limits and these competitions have really started to annoy me. Bluntly, I think a lot of these competitions greatly exploit models and those that would vote for them.

The majority of these competitions involve calling or texting a premium rate phone line. Recent scandals in the UK, show how poorly this is regulated - if Blue Peter can rig a contest do you really think random company is not capable of doing similar, particularly if the vote delivers a result they don't like?

Online competitions often involve you providing a legit email address and being deluged with spam as a result. Even if they don't require any contact details, these online competitions either have no published rules at all or have poor rules that positively encourage vote rigging. Most common fault, you can vote more than once. Why? It maximizes the profit of the organiser.

How is voting more than once in any way democratic? We wouldn't choose our prime minister this way - the winner would be the person who has supporters with the most time on their hands.

I am sure there are a few good and fair competitions out there, but its not particularly
possible to spot them, so model be aware that, if you ask me:-
  • I will not be calling/texting a premium rate phone line on your behalf
  • I will not be supplying my already spam-bombarded email address to a random company
  • I will not participate in a voting system that allows you to cast your vote more than once.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Colour Management

I have doing some work on the area of colour management. In the past, I have been caught out when creating images that looked ugly when printed or displayed on other monitors, because my editing equipment was poorly adjusted. I have found some useful resources:-
My own conclusion is that, given the number of images I print versus have printed versus showcase online, monitor calibration is most significant to me. I bought a mid-range Spyder 2 colorimeter from an ebay dealer and put it to work. The software and widget will install on multiple computers, which is nice because I used more than one laptop for photo editing and its good to have some confidence that they are set identically. The actual calibration process was extremely straightforward at took less than 15 minutes per machine, but I had to tweak the colour temperature a bit as the initial settings were a bit too warm for my liking.

The provided software conflicts with Adobe's own colour management tools, Adobe Gamma, which is understandable as they both do the same kind of thing. A lot of advice on the net
is to disable Adobe Gamma from the start menu, but uninstalling elements, recalibrating and then reinstalling appeared to do the trick. On the way, I discovered msconfig, a cool little windows utility which lets you disable all the programs that run at windows start up. Just about every photo editor out there automatically installs a little app. that sits and looks for cameras/cards/storage devices with images. If you find these intrusive or if you have more than one of them, msconfig is a good way of getting rid of them.