Retiring "Lena", the Playboy nude used to calibrate imaging tech

And ditto here, can’t see the pics (except the guy with the camera) with Firefox, Falcon & Chrome all on Linux

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OK, fine, for you tiff haters out there, the slides to my comment.

Peppers, Fishing Boat, Cameraman, Pirate, and Mandrill.

Below, a tank, and a chemical plant.

I do think the suggestion of peppers as a plausible substitute on the basis of fourier and wavelet analysis. (Journal of Modern optics, 2017
Vol. 64, no. 12, 1119–1120 https://doi.org/10.1080/09500340.2016.1270881) is somewhat trollish, even if strictly true.
My reaction is that pepper’s colors are nearly impossible to judge. The baboon is the most evocative, and if one is teaching a imaging toolkit, probably the best option.

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It seems to me that a human face could be the best choice, since our brains are wired to notice subtle imperfections and differences in human faces and facial expressions. A different, willing human face, of course.

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We don’t hate the TIFFs. We just can’t see them.

Now we can-- thank you! :heart_eyes:

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You hit the nail on the head, skin colour is exceptional difficult to photograph well because of the uncanny valley effect: Our brains will just focus on it too well and notice the slightest difference. Get the white balance or hues off by the smallest amount and the subject would look weird or even like they were just dredged up from a swamp.

Current cameras and software (film? huh?) are very good at it in most cases so it feels easier now but it used to be a huge issue.

And yes, just like the problems with darker skins they could have handled this er… better.

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Yes. that’s the problem. Not the constant dehumanization of women…

What’s the problem with “darker skins”? Please, elaborate…

god damn I am so sick of this fucking world.

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I choose to interpret that as “the problem [that these systems have] with darker skins[, all resulting from programmers never considering that darker skins exist while building these systems].”, rather than any claim that there is a problem with darker skins themselves.

I’m optimistic that way sometimes.

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Dark surfaces reflect less light creating less contrast making them look untextured and flat. This is a pure technical problem of photography and has nothing to do with race or even skin. But when you talk about calibrations of skin colours this is a relevant subject, again nothing to do with race.

How Kodak and other companies handled this problem until way to recently, or rather how they didn’t by just ignoring it, now that was racist.

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As a woman who has been continual shit on for 45 years, I’m not. But maybe you know better.

Must be the problem of the people who did not create the technology, of course. They should have been born with less contrasting skin, after all… /s

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Sorry, I didn’t mean to trigger a TIFF tiff.

Thanks for digging up those test images, though. I’m surprised that so many of them are monochrome.

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Is that REALLY the problem here?

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Come on. This is hand waving the problem away with a technical argument. Early photography was only feasible with long exposures combined with a lot of light—it was inconvenient for everyone. When film speeds got faster there was more handheld and more use of available light when it was “good enough” (for white people). If the focus was on darker skin tones “good enough” would have been a different standard and you’d be complaining about over-exposing and clipping of white faces. Untextured and flat is nonsense since since heavy makeup is both heavily used and long predates photography.

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The problem is that photographic film has a limited dynamic range, and manufacturers optimised their film for white skin tones (EDIT; which was racist). The piece on Shirley cards that @NukeML posted explains it.

By the 80s, Kodak made adjustments to their film emulsions, and eventually introduced a product called Gold Max. Gold Max was leaps ahead of earlier Kodak films when it came to color representation — and the company advertised it that way, but without actually acknowledging the bias that had been baked into the film before. As Kodak started becoming more aware of racial bias in color imaging, they also introduced a multiracial Shirley Card.

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Sure. Racism is never an issue.

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iOS uses the Safari rendering engine for every browser.

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I highly recommend reading the excellent sci fi short story “Lena” by Sam Hughes / qntm. It is about the issue of a person’s image unintentionally becoming an ubiquitous standard reference, transposed into the context of brain scans that can run in a simulation.

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No it isn’t. I am explaining the root of a technical problem. The fact that dark areas of pictures have less details is not racist, it is pure and simple a result of how early film and camera chips worked and works the same for dark objects and animals. (See the famous black-hole dog meme.)

The same problem can happen with a white object in a dark environment where you can get a white blob with bitten out edges. This is also not racist against white people. The simple fact is that cameras can’t handle differences in light levels as well as our eyes can. Too light or too dark areas just don’t register that well.

Calling this racist is like calling Newton ableist because gravity is a problem for people with mobility problems. Not putting up ramps is ableist, explaining why they are needed is not.

What was racist was that when Kodak (and others, but Kodak was the first and the biggest) created calibration systems for skin they utterly ignored PoC. And, circling back to the OP they used way to racy pictures, just some abstract squares of colours would have worked fine.

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Do you really not see the difference between describing a technical truth and a completely man-made system marketed and sold? I don’t see how Newton is relevant. If I build a building that’s not wheelchair accessible—that’s ableist. It doesn’t matter if I was ignorant of it, too cheap, or just following the law. I also don’t think the semantics are worth arguing.

I also don’t think Kodak’s calibration standard marks any significant point in this problem. What I described above was repeated for b&w film, color film, b&w tv, color tv, and others and has been an industry wide problem with standards, emulsions, development processes, calibration, and beyond. There was a Twitter thread a few months ago about black actors complaining about hairsylists in Hollywood not knowing how to style their hair. These all contribute to non white people being represented in film (or AI—which was what was referenced in the article).

I know your point is that insufficient latitude and under exposure is why non white skin tones don’t show well. I’m saying the reason that happens when you buy off the shelf equipment and use it as recommended is because of a broken system.

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But the underlying reason is as foundational as gravity is. We observe light intensity logarithmic but both the chemical reactions and photoelectric cells that photography uses are operate linear. We see more details in both very light and very dark areas than any camera ever will. This is not design, this was not willed or created by anybody. It is just how basic physics work.

Saying that is not racist, period. And that is what I got attacked for.

Still any person who without training picks up a camera and starts filming or photographing people might run into problems with darker skins. If that happens they are not racist either.

The racism here was how Kodak and other companies ignored the problem when they could have done better. But don’t blame them for the inborn qualities of photochemistry.

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Might I suggest a better and more challenging standard for imaging tech

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