For this article, I thought I would go into some detail as to what I do here at deviantART. You've seen my recent articles so you know I'm getting more involved in the printscommunity group, but otherwise I may as well be an anonymous $admin. I'm going to explain the different parts of my job, focusing mainly on my prints duties specifically since that's why you're all here, right?
So... Awkward. Sorry 'bout that!
That is one of the main reasons why I have been doing these articles. The more information I can get out there about creating a quality print product, the less I will (hopefully) need to reject and the more we all can sell!
When Prints are ApprovedI wish we had the staff so that every print could be viewed and approved the second it was submitted to deviantART. Unfortunately, with the amount of deviations and prints per day that are submitted, I doubt that will never be a realistic goal. The compromise was made long ago that when a print is purchased for the first time, it will then be put into a Pending Approval status and Quality Control, currently myself, will check the image for printing. Once it has been approved, it will always be approved and I will not need to look it over again.
If you edit or add any of the products, it will put that product back into a pending status for me to review. This means that, if I have approved your print, then you decide to add a mug product, only the mug will be flagged to be approved when sold. The remaining products for that print that were previously approved will stay approved.
I start every day looking through these pending prints. On average, approximately 80% of all pending prints are approved. For the remaining 20% that are rejected, the reasons below are most likely why. When a print is rejected, an email is sent to the account listed in your settings page. Please make sure your email address is accurate, just in case. Your email is also used for transactional messages, letting you know orders were placed successfully and when they ship.
Rejection ReasonsThese are the main reasons why prints are rejected:
Copyright/Trademark Infringement: This is the most often used reason for rejecting a print. We are unable to print characters/copyrighted images/trademarks that someone else other than the artist owns for legal reasons. This a terrific video and journal about Fanart Law that was filmed in a 2012 panel we held at San Diego Comic-Con.
If you are curious, at the time of this writing, the current popular rejected properties are My Little Pony, anime/manga series like Naruto and Sword Art Online, Supernatural, and standard US comic book characters like Wolverine, the Avengers, Superman and Batman.
Cropping: The next biggest reason that a print needs to be rejected. This may be a small and easily fixable issue, such as the the edge cropping text. It could also be a larger issue, such as a photo is cropping half of a woman's head off in the print, but not in the deviation. The article Cropping and the Bleed Edge will explain further about what needs to be done to fix it. This is a major and easily fixable rejection reason.
Dissimilar Images: This is where the deviation differs from the print in some way. Usually the differences are minor, as the artist uploaded a new revised deviation but did not update the print file after. Examples would be colors not matching, newer details not added, backgrounds changed... etc etc... If the image in your gallery isn't the same as in the print shop, it will most likely be rejected because of this. I have a finely calibrated monitor to make sure I can see all of these differences, too.
You can bet I was good at the Spot the Difference games when I was a kid.
Watermark: A watermark on the deviation can be a good idea if you wish to have some added security on the internet, but for the print source file, it will be a large ugly spot that is taking away from the printed hard copy. Please make sure all watermarks are removed from the high quality source file you upload. If you want to have a watermark on each preview image, deviantART offers our own, which can be added using the checkbox on the prints edit page. This will only effect the preview image and will leave the full image unwatermarked and looking beautiful.
Low Quality: When I say low quality, I am not referring to artistic skill. We allow every skill level into our prints shop. Low quality refers to such issues as pixelation and heavy blurring due to artificially enlarging your image. This is usually done when an artist realizes they can't fit into every size in our prints shop, so they go into their art program and blow the image up to fit.
Click the image to view it full size in Sta.sh.
As you can see with the photo above of my adorable kitten Ezri posing for what looks like a myspace/facebook style self shot, the right side looks really gross compared to the image on the left, which is crisp. The left image is at 600x400 while the image on the right has been blown up to 1800x1200. You can see the pixelation in the image, along with a muddying of the details as Photoshop has blurred the image to compensate for this size change.
If the source file looks pixelated, so will the print.
To combat this, most art programs will blur the edges of the pixels to try to make an image look as good as possible at that larger size. Other programs throw crazy filters on that not only distort the pixelation but also blur any detail in the original image. Basically, it makes the image look way worse than it originally would.
FYI I am very anal about this. If your picture is pixelated and blurry because you tried to enlarge it, wanting a 24x36 inch print when we only would let you have an 8x12 originally, it will get rejected. Things like that make us all look bad and will only serve to dissuade new buyers from giving us a shot or keep people from attempting a new purchase.
Once all pending prints have been taken care of, my next set of duties are to work on retail tickets. There are a bunch of categories that both myself and MAMBITO1320 handle.
This is the main focus of our job and usually takes up the majority of the day. The best way to get assistance is through the Help Desk if you have any issues with this site. You can always find it by clicking on "Help and FAQ" at the bottom of every page, then clicking "Contact the Help Desk." If you have any questions, we will be able to handle them there.
Please try to be as detailed as possible. Give us the order number if you have any issues with something you have purchased. If you need your address updated, make sure to put your address in the initial ticket. If I have to ask for it, there's a good chance it will end up being shipped out unchanged. If you have an issue with the site, please provide any screenshots or links that may help illustrate the problem better.
We get every type of ticket, from "Do I have to print out each order," which is a no, by the way, we do all the printing and shipping at no cost to the artist, to "I gave someone 20 points and they won't give it back, so that means they stole it and should be banned."
Digital Downloads, points are suddenly very important on this site. There is a whole new way to buy and sell products by adding purchasable digital content directly onto your deviation pages. Quite awesome, I know!
There is also a whole new way to defraud our system by using this method. I don't want to go into too much detail why as I don't want to give anyone any bad ideas, but these purchases need to be looked into to make sure things are working smoothly. Tools were built to help recognize these sales and they seem to be working well so far.
From working in a casino and now working here, I really do have a good understanding of money laundering, along for a healthy respect for quality forged American money.
I do a few other things, but those are the big three. I hope you enjoyed this one and gleaned some new information from it and about how deviantART functions, as well.
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