Don't trust every image you see of coral online

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inktomi

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I wanted to point out how easy modern photo and video editing tools make it to boost up the colors of images beyond reality these days. Some phones even do this sort of thing automatically - "vivid color mode" and things like that often just mean set the Saturation to 10000. That really boosts the colors you can see, but if you're trying to show how a coral looks in reality to your eyes they're not the best idea. Cameras can pick up colors that we just can't see with our eyes, and editing makes them visible.

That's saying nothing about folks who purposely mess around with the colors of things to try to make a sale. I think we do a great job of weeding these folks out as a hobby - but they're out there. It's easy to go into an image editor and change just one color to something else - a blue Acropora tort into a purple one, for instance. Or an Acropora with bright green tips into one with bright orange tips. When you get the coral, it'll be "stressed from shipping" and you'll just wonder when it'll color up for you.. never realizing that the original colors you saw never existed anyway.


Here's one of my Acropora, pushed a little bit to show the colors but not really far beyond reality. You can see the coral more or less like this in my tank in person.

Coral - Reality.jpg


And here's the same image but pushed a lot further in editing. I pushed the contrast, saturation, clarity, and sharpened the fine detail some.

Coral - Pushed.jpg


It's the same coral, just with the colors pushed a lot more. It's @inktomi's crazy rainbow acro! You can see how people might fall into this trap, who WOULDN'T want their corals to look like this in photos? And that's fine for build threads and such - but not when we're selling frags. It's not honest to show a photo like that and set up the expectation that you could get the coral to look the same in your tank.

And this isn't even getting into changing the colors in the photo. There are people out there who's entire job it is to work on color in images - if that sounds interesting, look into becoming a colorist! Here's the same photo, but a lot more artistically edited. We're nowhere near reality at this point, but would you notice that if I just posted this photo in a thread?

Coral - Recolored.jpg


Have you ever seen such a crazy rainbow Acro!?!!?
 
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inktomi

inktomi

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Yea, for sure. Just need to know what's possible so you can find the honest people.

If you notice, in my last photo - look at the color of the polyps themselves. I've never seen a coral with differently colored polyps - that gives away the editing that I did. Polyps should mostly be one single color for the entire coral, at least for SPS.
 
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Worth also mentioning, the screen the image is viewed on plays a part too...we all have been in the TV show room and can see a vast difference between the TV image depending on how the screen processes the image and also its settings.

Not to take away from the point of this thread.
 

BeltedCoyote

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This topic is one of the reasons tidal gardens will be one of my go to vendors. They specifically show their corals under multiple spectrums so you can get a good idea of how said corals really look.
 
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inktomi

inktomi

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Most of the time our tanks are lit more on the white end of the spectrum. In my opinion, it's pretty useless to buy coral purely for how it looks under actinic light. Sure, it's cool when things pop early in the morning or in the evening - but most of the day they don't look like that!
 

Just John

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This topic is one of the reasons tidal gardens will be one of my go to vendors. They specifically show their corals under multiple spectrums so you can get a good idea of how said corals really look.
When thinking of buying a coral from anywhere I always go to Tidal Gardens to see if they have a white light photo of it.
 
Fritz

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Ugh! I won’t name the vendor out of respect, but I bought a Squamosa thinking it looked like this...
3959FD6D-2182-452C-A6B4-155E45D308E1.jpeg

and when I received it, it looked like this...

A0EFF969-0885-45EB-8F1E-3CB169072522.jpeg


Not at all what I ordered, but still looks really nice. I chose not to call and complain about it.
Clams are a bit different though, their colors flouresce more when viewed from above. Whats the clam look like from the top down?
 
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What percentage of blue versus white lighting do you think makes the best coral growth combo?

  • All Blue

    Votes: 19 2.7%
  • Mostly Blue

    Votes: 435 62.7%
  • Even Balance

    Votes: 178 25.6%
  • Mostly White

    Votes: 51 7.3%
  • All White

    Votes: 1 0.1%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 1.4%
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