QA Iteration Stages Part 2 – Bundles

Pre-process your block to the nearest range and trend of other blocks around it. Meaning, if your last block had a bunch of good files from a Post Ps1>RR1b, then grab the Post PS1 files and just process the whole block at RR1b. Alternately, if you have a block where the majority look good at 1a, then all you need to do is run your RR1 files>RR1a. Pre-process means these files are running over night and/or one at a time in the background of your QA. In this example, the RR1’s are improved with the RR1a. This has been so far the most common case. So if you do not yet have neighboring blocks to tell you if a 1a or Post PS1>1b is appropriate, try starting with the RR1a.


I have a set of “empty” folders that I copy into each block before beginning processing, based on the most common four RRs that are run. Create destination folders where the entire block will be processed at a certain range.



Empties inserted into a block about to be processed – 36110


I also house a spreadsheet template (named 1001001 on my machine, which is easily renamed and filled out on arrival).  Also notice that there are about 5 blocks in pre-process right now in this example, you generally want to be pre-processing a minimum of 5 blocks ahead of your QA sorting.


QA the block by choosing the best file between your two ranges (described in step 1).  Usually you can get on a good “run” after confirming, say, that the RR1a is superior to the RR1 (because there is less speckle and the same or minimal washout in the RR1a) or the RR1 is superior to the RR1a because the type of speckle is quickly removed with other techniques in PS such that no washout occurs. Look at each file and find the best version, ideally putting them in the Done folder. Unfortunately, the more likely scenario will be that ss you go along, use your spreadsheet to make detailed notes about each file as you sort them into the folders labeled for most common fixes – “Needs export to dud”, “Needs export to fix” and “Needs export to quick fix” (not shown in the folder sample). Your spreadsheet will reflect these details as well through the use of the word “needs.” Long fixes (with two exports, one to “dud” and one to “file to fix”) will be written out under the column you create with your name and date at the top. Short fixes (in the “export to quick fix folder”) will have their “needs” comments following the word “Done” in the Comments column to indicate there is only one file that is expected to have a quick fix. Thus, the first time through your spreadsheet will look different from what your final spreadsheet will look like, because you will have to figure out which RR iteration produces the best dud to create your fixes from. Many comments you make to yourself should be deleted before the final version. The rule is that the comments should always reflect the last or latest version of the file. So in the intermediate state of the spreadsheet shown below, there are much more descriptions written in that should be on a final spreadsheet.  See Appendix A for specifics on how to interpret this spreadsheet.


Once you’ve made a first pass through, then you go on your recon mission. First I look for all the files that needed a different RR run on them, and then sort them into batches to be run.   If you compare this sheet on the right t o the first intermediate stage of this block’s processing, you’ll see that some of the “Needs RR1z”’s have been changed to RR1z/Done and even an RR1y. Hopefully from this you can see that your spreadsheet can be a useful tool as your block evolves toward completion. If the note is in parentheses then I have already decided that whatever the problem is it is acceptable for the PS team to not have to fix.


Next go after the files that had washout that was not easily fixed on the RR1 or was just plain unacceptable. Go to the server to Born Agains>Step Six Post PS1 so you can run RR1b or RR1c on them (whatever’s needed obviously)


Your final category is the files that require a tricky fix in Photoshop. These files you have already sorted into their “export to _fixed” folder, so they can simply be exported. Also, if you’re doing the more challenging CS from one file to another, use the “duds” folder to keep same files with different processes from getting mixed up. Also, use Name Mangler to change the exported “dud” tifs to prevent confusion in Photoshop as well. Remember how important it is to have proper export parameters!! See Appendix B for a screen shot to make sure!

Picture20A completed spreadsheet



Notes on final folder structure for bundles to be copied up to the server for the PS File Fix team to tag and complete.

A block should look like this when you first finish your QA. Export your sorted three folders to their 500dpi tiff folders in the “Done” folder:


A block headed for the “Post QA sort” folder on the server should have your initials removed and any duplicate files deleted (most notably, but not limited to, the original PS1 import rvcs in the root of the 40111 folder – for some reason moved into the root of “done” in this example). Verify your block’s copy and delete your local copy, as you need to make space on your drive. You can delete whenever you want, but your finished work should be backed up to the server as you complete it.


A final note on file nameing – Label your ‘duds’ if there are times that two files are necessary. Like a heavily speckled bottom RR1b with water features, or moderately speckled mid-section with weak ridgelines or contours RR1 and washed out bottom in the otherwise perfect RR1a (example G7).



A final note on file nameing – Label your ‘duds’ if there are times that two files are necessary. Like a heavily speckled bottom RR1b with water features, or moderately speckled mid-section with weak ridgelines or contours RR1 and washed out bottom in the otherwise perfect RR1a (example G7).



Commonly used RRs – See complete list of RRs

RR1c            150-255            160-255            170-255

RR1b           140-255            150-255            160-255

RR1              130-255            140-255            150-255

RR1a           120-255            130-255            140-255

RR1z            110-255            120-255            130-255

RR1y           100-255            110-255            120-255

Spreadsheet Codes (most common are in bold) – See complete list of Spreadsheet Definitions

S = Speckle                           W = Washout                                               PS1 = Post PS1 Step 6

EB = Erase Blemishes    Fail = Layer Sep, Streaking, etc.         Nuclear = Post nuclear PS1 Step 6a

WF = Water Fill                  Hash = hashing washout in ponds   MC = Match color

GF = Green Fill                   PS1, Manual = fix in PS                            PWF = Photoshop white fill – usu paint bkt

CC = Connect Contours  CW = Contour washout                          BOLD = bright urban or purple

RC = Replace Color          WW = Water washout                            YG = Yellow Green

CS = Clone Stamp              HR = High Relief is cloudy                    OW = Orchard washout

OF = Orcahrd Fill (darken) (or CS)                                                   UW = urban Washout

UF = Urban Fill                   BF = Brown Fill

(**) = Known but acceptable issue – ** means anything could be written in


*If GW/WW is in a specific location, put in the comments “needs GF in NW corner” or “Needs WF at top” If the GW/WW is all over the map, then just write “GW, go to Post PS1 file” so Aren knows to reprocess the whole thing.

* Stuff you’re leaving in the final product but want to make sure you make note of should be written after “Done” in the comments column. A common example: “Done (sm EB)”

Some basic pointers that can increase your overall optimization:

  1. Don’t run Photoshop and MIPS at the same time. Only go from A1 to H8 when you sort.  When it comes time to fix things is when I will open edit sessions or use Photoshop.  Group all of your PS fixes into folders and then have, perhaps, only one day a week that you spend a morning catching up all of your random files.
  2. Even if there is only small EB required, still try looking at (or running like in the case of a 1z). You’ll be amazed at how well it can clean up without making more washout!
  3. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions – or – How to find the fastest way to fix an oh-so-close file.  Almost every file includes some small trade-off or another. Whether it’s a small amount of speckle that needs to be removed manually so features that are hard to recover don’t wash out, or you’re filling water or darkening green in Photoshop because you just can’t get rid of the speckle any other way.  Everyone has their own understanding of how the Photoshop tools work to fix the files, and it just takes practice to know what is going to get you to the finish line on a file the fastest.  Each file will have a sweet spot – the place where it’s “Done” with the fewest compromises and NO unacceptable feature washout or speckling left behind. Similarly, each file will have an ideal solution to reach this sweet spot.

EXAMPLE: Problem – top half is close to washout, but the bottom has speckling. Fastest Solution – use the polygon selection to select only the bottom half of the map, run a replace color to remove the speckle,  and the top portion is left unadulterated.  An alternate solution here would be to export two versions of this file and use clone stamp to paint back on the washed out parts of the speckle-free-bottom map. In this scenario I think the RC is fastest.

  1. As you begin to move through some RR1 blocks you will find that the majority of fixed required are EB. So, how do you know when it “Needs EB,” “Needs sm EB” or you can just say (sm EB) and not fix it? My rule sets are as follows, and a “frame” refers to a view window that is maximized on a 30” screen at 100%. If your screen is smaller, you may need to adjust your numbers a bit, but the trend holds.

0-5 frames have 1 or more “B”  ->  Done (sm EB)  ->  The file is done


5-10 frames have 1 of more “B”  ->  Done, Needs sm EB  -> go back in an edit session and clean



10+ frames have 1 or more “B”  -> Done, Needs EB   -> likely needs to be cleaned in Photoshop



  1. Keep your window frame maximized and use arrow keys. This can be more taxing on your eyes, but files go by a lot quicker!
  2. Careful with using RR1z and RR1y! Water, streams, ridgelines can disappear!
  3. Careful filling our the spreadsheet. If you ‘miss’ a file, your descriptions could get “shifted-up”

If your Clone Stamp gets a slight “shift” in the target/destination process, stop and reset your origin! This can cause serious error that we do not want!! Be very careful using CS!!!

Appendix A – breakdown of spreadsheet terminology/ how to properly fill out a spreadsheet

1. Notice the color coding of the block ID number and file count. The color coding of the file count is changed once it is determined how many trouble files there are. In this block, no files required manual white set or serious Photoshop work, so the bad file count is zero. While there are some files going to be processed in Photoshop, they are going there for 10-15 minute fixes and not for 15+ minute fixes. Only 15+ minute fixes change can change this color coding from green.

2. “Needs” is the crucial indicator of whether a file has been processed or needs processing.

3. Only completely finished files will have “Done” standing alone (or with parentheses).

4. Parentheses are crucial for identifying all things that are considered acceptable for now, but will be fixed if we have time in a later version or something.

5. Different people might have a hand in completing all of the Photoshop work that needs to be done. Appendix B shows extra columns as the progression of the block reaches completion.



Appendix B  – Multiple people completing a block




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