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Aquascaping Contest Scandal

LondonDragon

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Can you define this with examples? I'm not too sure what you mean.
Steven Chong used mirrors on the substrate to create the puddle effects ;)
 

zozo

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Steven Chong used mirrors on the substrate to create the puddle effects ;)

Air pumps and air stones and fine sand for the waterfall effects above it... :)
 

Tim Harrison

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Steven Chong used mirrors on the substrate to create the puddle effects ;)
Air pumps and air stones and fine sand for the waterfall effects above it... :)
Of course...
I should imagine the images of all other top rated entries will be scrutinised now. It'll be interesting to see if this is a one off or there are others. I suspect there are but perhaps they're a little more seamless :rolleyes:
 

LondonDragon

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I should imagine the images of all other top rated entries will be scrutinised now.
Problem is the past entries for this person might now be undermined, and he will be forever be known as the Photoshop Aquascaper ;) not something we want to see in the hobby! :/
 

Aqua360

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This is very sad, not just on the points raised previously; but for the expectations of new aquascapers entering the hobby.

Reminds me of people trying to look like their Instagram fitness heroes, who also abuse photoshop to comedic levels
 

glasscanvasart

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Not any more, unfortunately.

Can you define this with examples? I'm not too sure what you mean.
I was referring to Steven Chong’s use of mirrors to create pools of water reflecting the swamps in his background. Sorry for not being specific, as the mirrors where mentioned in a post above.
I bet my life on it this technique is used over again in contest images... Simply because the camera's never can see what the human eyes will see when it comes to detail and light intensity... There can/will always be shadows showing more obvious in the picture than in real life. Now, this kind of editing isn't really altering the layout in its true form, but only highlighting sections that wouldn't be obvious and hidden from view without editing.
I find this kind of cheating more heinous, because rather than an enhancement, it is a fabrication.
View attachment 156226

No matter your thoughts on diorama scapes, it should be very difficult to allocate many points to one under those two categories. Somehow the judges still manage to though.
I personally believe the scoring structure is lenient, because it’s the most impactful entries that win and not the layouts that tick the most boxes. Personally I don’t believe there should be a scoring structure as this is an art and not a baking contest with everyone baking the same type of cake. However, the way the score allocation is presented isn’t really consistent with the results.

I would disagree on your point that only nature aquariums should be represented in the highest results, because of the natural habitat points allocation. The way you look down (at least in the sense of natural recreation) on diorama layouts, Heiko Bleher and other biotope aquarists look down on your nature aquariums.
 
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glasscanvasart

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This is very sad, not just on the points raised previously; but for the expectations of new aquascapers entering the hobby.

Reminds me of people trying to look like their Instagram fitness heroes, who also abuse photoshop to comedic levels
Not to mention fake weights, lighting, edits, exaggerated timespans, measurements, lifts and of course anabolics.

I wouldn’t worry too much about about new comers. Many people have humble aspirations and aspire to results like George Farmer’s, rather than Takayuki Fukada. A greater threat to newcomers is algae!

On the topic of ’he who shall not be named’, I hope he comes out and makes an apology, surrenders his prize money and shares the real final photo (I have a feeling that the photoshop might be less disingenuous than we suspect). If he can do this I’d say we should try to forgive, but he’ll always carry the weight of his mistake.
 
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NiteshAquascaper

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Thanks for sharing the details.. I was in utter shock after reading this whole stuff.. I still had that layout one of my favourite from IAPLC this year but after this i am very much sad. Already there are few works which were disqualified from IAPLC 2020 IN FINAL ranking and this one got unnoticed.. Hope this will be not followed by anyone else.
 

Wookii

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I would disagree on your point that only nature aquariums should be represented in the highest results, because of the natural habitat points allocation. The way you look down (at least in the sense of natural recreation) on diorama layouts, Heiko Bleher and other biotope aquarists look down on your nature aquariums.

I suspect you misread my post, so you may want to reread it. I cast no opinion on diorama scapes at all, I certainly don’t ‘look down’ on them.

Literally the only point I was making was:

. . . the way the score allocation is presented isn’t really consistent with the results.
 

sparkyweasel

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Back in the days, before the internet and international competition we had (maybe still have I dunno actually) national unions competition for Dutch scapes (Anything, not Dutch wasn't even considered an aquarium). Then you got personal visite at home from the judges, tearing your aquarium apart and throwing you under the bus if so...
We had similar in the UK, except it didn't have to be Dutch style of course. :)
Local clubs used to do it as well, it was easier to organise the judges' visits at a local level. Regional and national competitions were a bit more complicated to arrange, but clubs and societies usually have one or two members who just love all the admin and sorting out fiddly details of rules and regulations. I don't know the current situation, I haven't been involved in clubs or shows for years now.
 

glasscanvasart

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I suspect you misread my post, so you may want to reread it. I cast no opinion on diorama scapes at all, I certainly don’t ‘look down’ on them.

Literally the only point I was making was:
I think you’re misinterpreting me 😜

I‘m under the impression that you cast an opinion that nature aquariums more closely represent a ‘natural environment’ and thus are more deserving of the point allocation for ‘recreation of natural habitat for fish’.

I then counter that (some) biotope aquarists scoff at the idea that nature aquariums are a natural environments for fish and I perceived that the way (you appear) to be ‘looking down on’ (i.e. viewing diorama as an unnatural environment for fish and thus not deserving of the point allocation) the diorama style much in the same way as biotope aquarists ‘look down’ on nature aquarium style.


I then separately try to go on to say that the competition doesn’t appear to me to allocate points based on much other than impact/composition. Rather than saying they don’t adhere to the stated point allocation, because diorama style do exceedingly well in the competition and they ought not to score highly on ‘recreation of natural habitat for fish’.


Sorry for the word salad just hoped to clarify, but I may still be wrong.
 

zozo

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I find this kind of cheating more heinous, because rather than an enhancement, it is a fabrication.

I'm afraid that 99% of all pictures you'll find are digitally edited one way or another. The more professional the photographer the more professional the editing is done. Maybe the scaper himself didn't have any ill intentions and hired a professional photographer screwing up.

As said if they would look at the picture's metadata of all entries, then I'm pretty sure that 99% of the top entries have a photoshop or other editing software reference in it. Having a reference to editing software in the file makes them all equally suspicious... If only 1 picture is entered and judged than only the ones edited very stupidly are obvious. The rest is a matter of faith. :)

And I believe this issue is a wake-up call and will change the entire aquascaping contest culture forever. With a simple question for all judges to come. "How do we know we're are not looking at a fake?"
 

rebel

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That example is such a shoddy photoshop job. If you are serious, you'd take much more time with it and make it undetectable!

TBH I think this entry was trolling the whole competition by being deliberately shoddy.
 

zozo

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BH I think this entry was trolling the whole competition by being deliberately shoddy.

That would be a hell of a statement... If so I'm sure if it's intentional trolling, rather whistleblowing.
 

Tim Harrison

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That example is such a shoddy photoshop job. If you are serious, you'd take much more time with it and make it undetectable!

TBH I think this entry was trolling the whole competition by being deliberately shoddy.
Kinda reminds me of this scape below. It was submitted to the 2018 AGA Aquascaping Contest in the biotope section and is titled "Penglai Fairyland". Needless to say it was immediately disqualified.
Maybe an ironic comment on the way competitions are headed?

1598797208796-png.png
 

BanditCoaxx

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Kinda reminds me of this scape below. It was submitted to the 2018 AGA Aquascaping Contest in the biotope section and is titled "Penglai Fairyland". Needless to say it was immediately disqualified.
Maybe an ironic comment on the way competitions are headed?

1598797208796-png.png
Looks legit to me mate he's frosted the front of his tank?

ben.
 

rebel

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Reminds me of people trying to look like their Instagram fitness heroes, who also abuse photoshop to comedic levels
This has become a norm in the modern culture now. It's completely normal to use beautify filters and bend hips/waists and bump up biceps/abs.

Music is now being adjusted note by note on the computers including microtonal adjustments.

It's natural that it will spill over to the other forms of visual arts.

What is laughable is that some people believe these to be true and don't realise that it is just a representation of the original.
 

glasscanvasart

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This has become a norm in the modern culture now. It's completely normal to use beautify filters and bend hips/waists and bump up biceps/abs.

Music is now being adjusted note by note on the computers including microtonal adjustments.

It's natural that it will spill over to the other forms of visual arts.

What is laughable is that some people believe these to be true and don't realise that it is just a representation of the original.
I mean, it is against the rules.
 

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