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TurboTomato

Developers using other 'enhancements' in promotional shots

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This is a very difficult topic, but something that should be discussed.

 

Is it right for a developer to use promotional shots for their products when they are using other add ons as well (ENB, SweetFX, REX, Shade, to name but a few)? Is using something like Photoshop a step too far? I feel that if anything other than vanilla FSX is used, then it should be explicitly stated, otherwise it is an unfair representation of the product but quite often this is not the case.

 

However, where do you draw the line? Having a huge LOD that would be completely unusable on 99% of users machines, for instance. That's not using anything other than what is available straight out of the box.

 

Thoughts?

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Yeah I agree they should keep it clean. 

I'd draw the line when they start editing the screenshots with photoshop, or adding effects and overlays in the promotional videos.

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Developers should  not use visual enhancements for their products unless their product is a visual enhancement.

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Is it right to use other addons? IMO yes, as long as they don't create a different image of what the addon looks like. E.g. I find using ENB or SweetFX in screenshots for texture addons (as some well known developers do) a bit deceiving, as they give the customer a wrong idea of how those texture really look (the addon changes the color).

I'd say it does not matter, if preview shots of airplane addons contain addon sceneries or Shade that does not matter to me at all - it is obvious what to expect, what is part of the addon and what not. Even if they are using ENB/SweetFX for that, I'm OK with it, as there are plenty of RW images available as a reference so I know what I can expect, too (Besides, I only buy airplanes of "trusted" developers, so I can be quite sure that they really look as close to the real thing as possible).

 

Using high LODs may be unfair, as you say, but to be honest, I've never really thought of that. Now that I do, I think it might give the impression of performing better than it really does, many promotional videos use a lot of tricks to suggest that, and it's even easier to set up single screenshots doing that - but isn't that a quite a common practice in the marketing/promotion business, regardless of what product you're trying to sell? (This does not mean that I approve with this practice in any way, though!)

 

As for using photo-editing software, I think that is a no-go (although quite common in many other areas as well), as it is possible to make the product appear a lot better than it actually is, and there is no chance whatsoever to recreate those images on the customers' computers.

 

Besides, especially in this overall small community it is well-known what quality to expect from the established developers, so I believe that visual enhacements (as long as they don't change the appearance of "crucial" textures) are OK. It might be fair to make a note about what addons were used in the aímages, though.

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I think it's OK to use that.  Simple example: McDonalds.  How often do you get big macs looking like ones you see on the sign board?

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They'll taste the same though, and that's the most important factor in a burger. If, however, you're selling something that will improve the visuals (scenery, aircraft) then the weighting of the visual aspect of the marketing becomes much more significant.

 

If you sell me a car that you say will do 0-60 in 5s in the promotional material, and then once I purchase I find out that you did that with a set of slick tyres, a different gearbox and a remapped engine I'd not be happy.

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I think the main idea is using something that is not made by the product owner to enhance their product to make it look better.  I don't think it's too bad as it needs to attract the buyer.  Another example, travel magazines or promotional leaflets, the skies never look that blue, the feeling never matches with what it tries to promote.  Also real-estate, you look at the houses/apartments they look massive and clean, but in reality, I'd be lucky to get a double bed in the room.

 

All these are "promotional" techniques without false advertising I guess.

 

But this is an interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up!


But having said that, we are back in the FS community.  Apart from photoshop, any in-app enhancements are essentially available to everyone; it would be a good idea to also include what they are using.  Then again, this helps to promote other developers...

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As long as you can achieve the same thing in your sim, I think it's fair - ie. any add-ons like REX are OK, but not editing screenshots in Photoshop (other than resize and crop).

 

Very few run vanilla FSX these days, so making screenshots with no add-ons would actually be less representative of what most of us see in the sim.

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I think I have more of an issue with devs using video editing software to give the illusion that their airport/aircraft add-on won't kick your framerate square in the nuts by changing the compression ratio of their video output.   This is a common practice for people to do when making YouTube video movies with FS Recorder then using Sony or Adobe to change the FPS of the video to create ultra smooth videos that make people pull their hair out trying to get that kind of framerate that isn't possible on all but the most tweaked out super beast computers.

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I do wonder about this: editing should be out but I suppose other add-ons are OK IF a list is supplied of what's been used.  Then we wouldn't burst into tears thinking "why doesn't mine look like that?".  At least we'd know.

 

As a loosely related matter, I know someone who assisted on commercial photo shoot for a well known brand of crisps (potato chips as I believe they are called elsewhere).  Her job was to sort through 250 bags of crisps to find the best looking ones for the pictures...   Who says the camera doesn't lie?

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We won't stop any of them who use photo shop or else to improve what they sell, they are there to make money in any way they can, period, fair or not, buyers beware.

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All advertising images are "enhanced" to give the best impression. Why should FS advertising be different?.

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I dont mind developers using enb etc... in the screenshots but what really gets me is why some developers use tiny screenshots to promote the products they make as the smaller the screenshot the harder it is to guage the quality of the addon and i tend not to buy if i cant see a large screenshot.. say 1080p so i have to wait for someone else to buy the product and hope they post images somewhere and by the time that can happen i have lost interest in the addon as something else might of caught my eye.

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On the flip side, there are some developers that at least used to show screenies of their products that looked absolutely awful! :D Might have been UK2000 or TropicalSim, but the product looked 100 times better once loaded in the sim! :lol:

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I bet almost all of them use add ons. I agree with ailchim,it would be okay if they give a list of the add ons they used.

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Don't like it. Just give me the truth, I'm a big boy and I can handle it.

 

As the old saying goes: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig!

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All advertising images are "enhanced" to give the best impression. Why should FS advertising be different?.

 

Yes, but the vast majority of products that we are talking about will be in the business of enhancing the images within FSX. Enhancing a product packaging, or something thats primary concern is not what it looks like is different. It's a difficult analogy to draw - you wouldn't expect preview shots from the latest Canon camera to be photoshopped, would you?

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I think it's OK to use that.  Simple example: McDonalds.  How often do you get big macs looking like ones you see on the sign board?

lol I just had a big mac for  the first time in years, love the  analogy.

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Very happy to see this topic brought up here.

 

We have been pushing for developers to first, not edit their screenshots in any way.  Just show the product as it appears in the simulation.  This includes contrast and even brightness.  We put text in our screenshots stating "unedited screenshot from Microsoft FSX."

 

Also, if a developer is to use any other 3rd party program that can be seen in that screenshots, shading, clouds, scenery, etc., that product should be written somewhere in that screenshot to give credit where credit is due.

 

Scott.

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Mind you that Scott is talking as a plane dev, the scenery folks may have to climb some more (FSX) hurdles when it comes to the surrounding whereas the planes would actually suffer from using some modifications. But I agree, the companies performing the honest move of either leaving the mods and edits out or at least naming them clearly should be praised. As all good examples should be. :smile:

 

Interesting OP indeed and I think it even shows how used we are, as consumers, on being persuaded by fictional impressions. Of course I do still realise that the sporty lady eating the chocolate or the huge banner showing the delicious burger are fake. And no, I don't applaud to it and I don't think that just because bad examples already reached the status of being 'normal', this normal now is good. Fake industry.

 

However, there is a freedom element involved when the one dev picks the nice pictures or even the shopped ones over the true image. And I hate to limit any freedom. But I would introduce mine, the one on the choice for the better product which will be the one which looks and works best on my system.

 

By this, there might even be a safeguard in place. Even the dev with the rain effects in his videos or the super nice sunset pictures will have to face upset or at least spoiled customers when they find out. So there's the difference between the ones staying and, therefore, buying again or the ones leaving after the first shot. Seems like the cosmetic industry faces similar risks. :biggrin:

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On the flip side, there are some developers that at least used to show screenies of their products that looked absolutely awful! :D Might have been UK2000 or TropicalSim, but the product looked 100 times better once loaded in the sim! :lol:

 

Yeah it's really amusing actually. Gary's wonderful UK2000 scenerys looks terrible at his product site, but they are among the best inside the sim. No false advertising from that yard.

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So, by implication, the developers of such products should not have to supply any support to any customer that has a non-standard installation..?

 

Wickedness goes both ways. 

 

It's nice if they admit to the enhancements, but aren't we all using enhancements in combinations?

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I agree, shader/enhancement products like SweetFX, ENB, and Shade should not be used in promos. Neither should photoshop editing outside of contrast and/or sharpen. One issue i see is that when i look at a promo for something in real life, i know it is a promo and in most cases it is marketing and mostly deceiving, we are used to that. When I look at a FS promo image, i don't think of it is those terms, rather that it is a great shot from inside the sim. I purchase and then reality kicks in, why doesn't it look like that in my sim. I also agree on the performance issue as well. It is one thing to have everything cranked up for a great screenshot, but quite another to actually fly around the product (I discovered this with ORBX NA in the beginning)

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I think it is ok to use ENB, Rex and so on as long as the shots are unedited from the sim and you CLEARLY STATE which addons were used. After all, who uses a sim out-of-the-box these days?

 

But I would definitely draw the line at enhancing the image with Photoshop or such. The only thing I'd accept is sharpening the image as screenshots inevitably lose definition.

 

The promotional screenshots should be a truthful rendering of the graphics seen in the sim itself IMO.

 

Sascha

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