Digital Jury Image Recommendations for
by Larry Berman and Chris Maher
Download this pages as a PDF file and print it out
Why "300DPI or Greater" isn't an Image Size
Why PowerPoint is
NOT recommended to view jury images
Why asking for square images is
fair for all artists
Download the NAIA letter to art shows
asking for a standardized size for digital image requests
Have me speak to your artists or
organization about how to prepare great digital jury images and how to put
together a great jury presentation
Please call 412-401-8100 or
e-mail if you have any questions
Digital Jury Resources Section
The most important considerations when asking for digital images:
1 – Ask for something that the artists have. Most artists don’t
have the skills to resize or reformat, or even prepare their images to
begin with. Many artists have looked elsewhere for help. Additional sizes
and formats will cost them additional money.
2 – That the image size requested is fair for all artists. That
means asking for square pixel dimension images so horizontal and vertical
jury images display at the exact same size.
3 – There are over 25,000 artist profiles on ZAPP, so asking for
the ZAPP size 1920x1920 pixel dimension images will be the easiest size
for most artists to comply with. There are over 200 art shows are using ZAPP.
There are many excellent reasons for shows and artists to embrace
the digital jury process. For shows, advantages include the potential to
automate the application process, greatly simplify the handling and
management of hundreds, or even thousands of submitted images, and
tremendously reduce the time and effort required to collate and analyze
the scoring data that the jury produces. For artists, the digital jury
process can make it easier and faster to apply to shows as well as
increasing the accuracy with which their work is presented to the jury.
Additionally, artists could receive valuable feedback from shows that are
using a digital system to score applicants.
There are several issues that need to be addressed to insure that a
digital jury is a positive experience for both the shows and artists. Our
recommendations begin with practical considerations and then address the
Perhaps the single largest factor that will speed or inhibit the wide
use of the digital jury process is adoption of a standard image submission
format. If artists are required to produce digital jury images in
different formats to apply to each show, the result may be confusion and
a reduced number of applications. Shows that do not specify the exact image
requirements in pixel dimensions, or plan to resize images, give the
artist little or no control over the quality of their images.
A standard format will keep time, effort and costs down for artists,
improve the quality and accuracy of the artist’s jury images and will
reduce the number of incorrectly prepared images that shows will receive.
A widely accepted standard may even have the potential to increase the
number of applications that shows receive.
A standard submission format will also reduce the fear and uncertainty
that less technically adept artists may have toward the new process. If
standards vary widely, or are not clearly stated, even technically
sophisticated artists may decide not to submit an application, fearing
that they would be wasting their jury fee because the process would not
fairly represent their artwork to the jury.
No matter what process a show ultimately decides on, artists who are
considering applying to a digitally juried show should have access to
detailed information that will allow them to properly prepare their
digital images so the digital images accurately represent their art work.
| Technical Recommendations
File type, image size in pixel dimensions, color space, color temperature
and gamma of the display device all play a critical role in the accurate
display of digital images. For those who have no experience in color
management these factors may initially be confusing, but are actually
fairly simple to deal with. What follows is a discussion of how those
factors will affect the accuracy and quality of submitted digital images,
as well as our recommendations for optimum settings.
Image type and
Because image files can be quite large, they are usually compressed before
transmission over the Internet. We recommend that the baseline JPEG (Joint
Photographic Experts Group) be the standard file format that shows ask for.
JPEG’s are readable by all programs and browsers and are the most
efficient way for artists to send images to shows. Even with minimum
compression, files submitted as JPEGs will be relatively small and simple
to transmit and store.
Image size (in pixel dimensions) is critical because changing the size
of a JPEG has the potential to significantly degrade it. If an artist
knows the how their images will be displayed, they then can optimize their
images for that size and be confident that the jury will see those images
with the quality intended. Most new digital projectors use the XGA
standard (1024x768 pixels) as their native resolution, and 1024 pixels
wide by 768 pixels high is also the most common desktop monitor
resolution. Unlike slide projectors that can project both horizontal and
vertical images, most digital output devices are restricted to displaying
a horizontal format.
Taking all these factors into account, we are recommending that art shows
standardize on the following image size. It would allow artists to submit
horizontal, vertical or square images, selecting the aspect ratio that
would show their work accurately, knowing the jurors would have no problem
viewing their images fairly in comparison to other submissions.
Digital jury images can be submitted as JPEGs using the 1920 pixel
square format specified by the ZAPPlication digital jury system. Thousands
of artists have already prepared digital images for ZAPP that can be
viewed using equipment such as the Roku media player and a digital
projector. Viewing of 1920 pixel square images need not be limited to
specific hardware as long as the program used fits the image to the
screen, which is usually the default setting when showing an image larger
than the viewing device’s native resolution.
Please note that when describing the dimensions of an image that will
be displayed electronically the only size element that actually is
meaningful is the number of actual pixels. DPI (dots per inch) and PPI
(pixels per inch) are terms that are only meaningful for images that are
output on paper.
| Color Space
A color space describes the actual gamut, or range of colors that can be
displayed. Our recommendation is that shows ask that images submitted be
prepared in the sRGB color space. sRGB (standardized Red Green Blue) is
the default color space for viewing images on a monitor and in a browser.
It is also the default color space for most digital cameras and projection
devices. If an image is prepared in a larger or smaller color space than
the display space, the result can be a washed out or darker than intended
| Color Temperature
Also called white balance, color temperature refers to the color of gray
at different levels from black to white. The default color temperature for
sRGB is 6500 Kelvin. Many monitors are set to between 7000 to 12000 degree
color temperatures when shipped, as higher color temperatures cause the
monitors to appear brighter when seen on a showroom floor. Correction to
the 6500 degree standard can be easily made to most monitors and
projectors using built in adjustments. We recommend that shows adjust
their monitors and digital projectors to 6500 degrees Kelvin before a jury
process begins. The digital projectors that ZAPP uses have the capability
to be set to the sRGB color space.
Gamma is the relationship between the voltage input and the brightness of
a monitor. Monitors compensate for gamma to show the desired gray values.
A Gamma of 2.2 is the standard settings for monitors in the PC world.
Macintosh computers default to a gamma of 1.8. Images prepared using a
monitor with a different gamma than the one used by the juror will either
look washed out or too dark. We recommend that shows use equipment set to
the Windows standard gamma of 2.2,
| Viewing Issues
(click here for PowerPoint and
ACDSee screen captures)
Some shows are attempting to use PowerPoint to view the artist’s
images. It’s very difficult to size images accurately in PowerPoint. The
same pixel dimensions and file size images appear at different viewable
sizes if their pixels per inch (resolution) is different. Thus each image
would need to be imported and resized separately, taking up a great deal
of preparation time.
We recommend using the ACDSee image viewing program, or a program with
similar features. It allows you to scroll from image to image using the
mouse wheel and can easily show images full screen without any distracting
information or tool bars. We can provide optimum setting for viewing jury
images in ACDSee on request. http://www.acdsee.com
It is our hope that standards will emerge that will make the digital jury
process a simple, reliable way for artists to accurately show their work
for judging by show juries.
Whatever image specifications you decide on, artists applying to your
show will need to know the details so they can properly prepare their
images. The more the artists (or those they hire to prepare their images)
know of your system, the more accurately their work will be presented to
And though we may not have stressed it enough, whatever image size you
ask for should be able to display both horizontal and vertical jury images
equally, not requiring scrolling to see the image in its entirety if
viewed in a browser. Just because the most common display devices use
1024x768 resolution, asking for that size will display horizontal images
approximately 33% larger than vertical images and be unfair for any artist
who submits vertical jury images.
Please call 412-401-8100 or
e-mail if you have any questions