The Digital eJury System

Benefit from Understanding the Process

For many years, juries relied on slide projectors to view the work of potential exhibitors. Sets of images would be projected in a dark room while descriptions were read over the background hum of projector cooling fans.

This process had many inherent problems. Some images might be more in focus than others. Color temperature and brightness of bulbs in the projectors could vary widely. The pace of viewing and judging was necessarily brisk, with each set of images being shown for a very limited period of time. The ability to review and reflect on the work by individual jurors was hampered by the inflexibility of the multi projector system. As an artist, your only opportunity to make an impression was within the few seconds your work was on screen.

Now, a fully digitized system, pioneered by Juried Art Services, provides many advantages, both for jurors and show applicants. For applicants, understanding how the system works and how your images will be displayed will help you make the most of the time a juror spends reviewing your work.

Understanding the Digital eJury System
Images are presented to the juror on a single screen along with a brief description of the artwork .

With the click of a mouse, a larger view of each image is displayed, along with your detailed description of the individual piece. Each juror can carefully examine the details and read the descriptions.

Quality Images Make all the Difference
In spite of the shift to digital imaging, the basic elements of a successful submission have not changed. Excellent images have always been a key part of being accepted to any competitive event.

Unless you have exceptional photographic skills, you should hire a professional photographer who has experience in shooting slides of work like yours. Lighting techniques, composition, and choice of background and are just three of the variables that need to be controlled to maximize the power of your slides. It makes little difference if the images are created on film or with a digital camera; the same rules apply in both cases.

Preparing Your Images
Most juried art competitions allow you to send your slides by mail. They may also offer scanning at an additional fee. However, artists who are more familiar with computer technology may choose to optimize their digital images themselves. This allows you to maintain control over the quality of your images. For example, you can take the opportunity to eliminate problems like dust and dirt. You might work with the Healing Brush and Cloning Tool in Photoshop, or a similar image-editing program.

Precise control of color and tone can be more difficult. It requires an understanding of the relationship between the input device (scanner or digital camera) and output device (the monitor on the juror's desk). Color-managed workflow is a fairly complex topic, but we have listed some key elements you can use to optimize your images for the Juried Art Services system. To take advantage of these tips, you should be technically oriented and somewhat skilled with computer use.

  • Always begin with the highest quality original available. Don't scan slide dupes; they have excessive contrast and diminished tonal range.
  • Evaluate the scans on a calibrated monitor.
  • Optimize the image to the size and format required by the competition.
  • Just because a photographer owns a digital camera, don't assume that s/he is expert in use of Photoshop. If you want to have your images optimized in Photoshop, consult a Photoshop expert.
  • If you have your work digitally photographed, create your images at the highest possible resolution for the camera. Request a copy of all images in an uncompressed format, like TIF or RAW, which can then be used in your image editing software program.
  • Save your final files in JPEG format. No matter what format or method you use to prepare your digital images, the eJury System accepts only JPEG files.

The Importance of Written Descriptions
The eJury application includes space for you to describe aspects of your process that might not be evident from a quick look at your images. Even the best photograph might fail to reveal subtle detail in a large piece. To help you direct the juror’s attention, a 1000-character description is displayed with your body of work. A few well-chosen words can draw the juror’s eyes to unique elements that might otherwise be overlooked. You also include a description of up to 300 characters with each individual image, displayed when a juror examines the enlarged version of your work.

eJury System Technical Details
Jurors view your work on monitors in 24-bit color at 1024x768 resolution. The system gamma is set to Windows 2.2. The viewing template (See screen shot) displays all images at an initial size of 300 pixels wide. When a juror wishes to see more detail, they can click on an image and will be presented with an enlarged view.

Enlarged images are sized at 700 pixels wide and share the screen with the detailed description, which can be up to 300 characters.

To be successful in juried art competitions, submit excellent images of your work along with clear, effective descriptions. Understanding the digital elements of the process will aid in your communication with the jurors and help your work receive the recognition it deserves.