Recent Visual Pursuits Changes
ICM Program Updated
An ICM program update was required this month in preparation for moving
the hosting of the websites to new servers hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Invite Other Organizations into Competitions
ICM support completed for handling guest competitions, which are described
in the April 2021 note below.
Invite Other Organizations into Competitions
Previously, the only way to hold competitions with entries from multiple
organizations was to configure member organizations. This process was
established for councils and regional organization that had member
organizations. All competitions would be open to the member organizations.
As an alternative, you can now invite organizations to participate in your
individual competitions by selecting an option on a competition and
then using the "Invite" button to select the participating organizations.
Participating organizations will see the competition in their competition
lists. You can choose if invited organizations can have their members
submit images directly into the competition or if images must come from
competitions held by the invited organization.
Competition results will also appear on the Invited Organization website.
This update does not yet support the ICM program, so you cannot use Invited
Organizations if you will use the ICM program. We hope to remove
this restriction soon.
New Membership Comments
Two new comment fields are now available on the Manage Members page
that can be added to each membership. When you edit a member's account
and click "Edit Membership" you can add text to these fields.
The new values display in the membership grid.
Separate Event Registration Fee for Members
When you define an event with a registration fee, you can specify a separate
fee that applies to members. This means a registered member can have guest registrations
that are priced differently. The member fee can be zero.
Payment amounts are computed from your event and not used from your button definition.
Payment buttons for event registrations will now display differently when the
buyer arrives on the PayPal payment page. The full price of the registration
will be displayed and no quantity will be displayed. The buyer cannot change
the price or quantity.
PayPal Payments Allowed for Competition Entries
If you hold a competition and charge for competition entries, you can set the
charge on individual competitions and/or on a Competition Group.
Payment amounts are computed from your competition or group definition
and not used from your button definition.
You can display instructions for the process by using the menu "Administration",
"Manage PayPal Buttons", and click "Display PayPal Button Instructions".
You can also use "Help", "Help Topics" for a link to the same document.
Member Direct Submissions from Member Organizations
New options have been added to a Competition to allow direct image uploads
and submissions from member organizations. Previously, submissions could only be made from
Additional Help Topics
New help topics have been added that cover many of the common questions
and issues. These are accessed via the menu "Help", "Help Topics".
A4 Paper Size Support
You can now select the A4 paper size when printing Award Certificates
and an Images report. These reports are generated from a Manage Competitions page.
If you edit a member on the Manage Members page it will now display if
the member is a competing member in other organizations.
If you specify voting using a slider, to can now specify the maximum
value to use for the sliders in the range of 5 to 100.
Account Creation Enhancements
A simplified process has been created for people to create Guest accounts.
These are used by non-members so they can judge, register for public events,
or participate in other public actions that require identification.
If you are not logged in and attempt to register for a public event,
a button will display
to allow you to create a Guest account and automatically return
to the event registration page.
New member registrations will now be presented with a simplified
form, rather than with several pages of forms.
Account creation forms are now more mobile friendly.
If a new membership request is created and PayPal buttons are defined
for a new member dues payment, the payment button is displayed at
the end of the account creation process. If the person exits without payment,
and goes to the Membership Information page while logged in,
a payment button will appear for them.
Website Judging Awards for Multiple Competitions
Premium subscribers can now use website judging to assign multi-competition awards
to a group of competitions. The ICM program has allowed this for many years,
but this is new for website judging.
After you complete judging and assigning awards to a group of competitions,
use the regular judging page and select the new check box to allow assigning
multi-competition awards to images in the competitions.
This is typically done to assign an award like "Best in Show".
New Member PayPal Button
When a new member creates an account, you can specify PayPal button to display
when their account creation completes. This prompts them to make a dues payment,
which can then automatically grant membership.
To use this feature you need to edit your membership button definition and
check the box "Display button for new member registrations".
Parent Organization Competition Results
Competition results from a parent organization are now displayed along with
the results from your own organization.
In addition, Competition Managers will see a button to allow exporting
competition data from the Competition Results page.
You will be able to export the results from the parent organization's
Embedded HTML Files
Advanced users can have a HTML page inserted into an iframe tag
on custom pages. This might be a requirement if you need a form
placed on a page that is hosted by another service.
See the new Help topic on Embedded HTML Files via "Help", "Help Topics",
and look in the "Advanced" section.
Group Limits now affect SubGroups
If you specify a submission limit on a Competition Group, that
limit will now also apply to any subgroup and competitions within
a subgroup. All limits specified for a Competition, its parent
Competition Group, and any parent groups above will be considered before
images can be entered into a competition. Previously, Competition
Group limits only applied to the immediate competitions within the group.
Group Limits on Submissions From Other Competitions
You can now specify submission limits on a Competition Group that
affect submissions from other organizations or competitions.
Previously, these restrictions could only be made at the Competition level.
Image Keyword Tags
Uploaded images are scanned with a Google image recognition service
to generate keyword tags to identify the content of your images.
These keyword tags are added to any tags embedded in your image
and can be used in searching your Image Library.
The image recognition service is not perfect, but does a pretty amazing job.
It reports its confidence in the keywords as a percentage.
You can view the keyword tags in your Image Library by clicking the
"Tags" button for an image. You are able to add, edit, and delete tags.
The display of competition results with the thumbnails button has
been replaced with an upgraded display called "gallery tiles".
Gallery Tiles can now be embedded on a custom page using a special
"tag" to identify the gallery or competition content to be displayed.
This works very much like the process of inserting a slide show gallery
on a page, except the display is completely different.
Gallery Tiles display medium size images in the sequence specified in a gallery
or in descending Award Numeric and Scores for judged competition results.
Headings can be inserted automatically. The display is responsive and adapts
well to mobile devices.
Information about each image is displayed when you hover your mouse
pointer over the image. Mobile devices do not have that feature.
An enlarged image and image information is displayed when you click the image.
Instructions appear on the "Manage Web and Email Content" and the custom page
Custom Page Options
You can now specify that a custom page should use the full width of the browser
content area, instead of being restricted to the maximum page width defined for
your organization. This is useful if you place a tiled gallery on your page.
Normally, your custom content is placed inside a panel with a background
that separates it from the web page background. While this is useful for
text displays, more complex layouts may want to suppress using this
panel. A new option allows you to remove that background panel.
The password reset process for members has been simplified.
We no longer use a question and answer query and instead request
your email address or login name plus your last name.
These items will now be sufficient to reset your password if
you forget it.
You can automatically export calendar events
to external calendars using an iCalendar feed.
Other calendar services, such as Google Calendar and Outlook,
can use the "feed" to update their calendar as events change on
your organization calendar.
The export feature is only available to members.
This will not import events from another calendar;
it only exports.
The export includes events, competition dates, and competition close dates.
Your website provides a special page to be configured with your external
calendar. The page address for your iCalendar feed is displayed
on your calendar page.
New CSS classes and documentation have been added to assist
in creating multi-column layouts on web pages without using tables.
These layouts would be "responsive" and change their layout
when displayed on a mobile device.
Details on how to use this method can be found using the
menu "Help", "Help" and locating the topic "Creating Columns
on Web Pages" under "Advanced". HTML coding will be required.
A new option was added for competitions to allow members to see
their scores from competitions in the Image Library and Image History
even when competition results
suppress the display of scores to other members.
The default is to suppress the display of scores to members
if competition results do not display scores.
New Ranked Voting Feature
Premium subscribers may now use a "ranked voting" method on their competitions
where they allow members or the public to vote on images.
For more information on Rank Voting, please see the
in laws. You can view our policy statement using your website menu
PayPal Buttons for Events
When you create an Event with registrations and a registration fee,
you can associate a PayPal button with the event.
When a person registers for the event, the PayPal button will display
so they can make a payment. When a payment is made, the registration will
be marked as having paid the registration fee.
The event contact person is notified of payments made for the event.
This can be done by associating the contact person with a member reference
or supplying a contact email address.
Treasurers are always notified of payments for event registrations.
You associate a PayPal button with an event by creating or editing a
PayPal button definition and selecting the event to be associated with
the button. Only events with registrations can be selected.
Customs CSS Style Sheets
You can now upload your own custom CSS style sheet to simplify customizing
your website using HTML. This feature is only for advanced users.
Please read the Help topic for more information.
Maximum Image Size
The system maximum image size has been increased to the 8K standard, 7680x4320.
Upscaling Images in Website Judging
An option is now available when judging images to allow images to scale up
to fit into the browser. This could result is pixelation, so it is discouraged.
Users can opt-out of group messages sent to the Members or Guests groups.
Administrators, Event Managers, Competition Managers, Membership Managers,
and Management Committee members
have the ability to override the opt-out with an option that will display
on the email page. Use this only when necessary and respect the users wishes
to not receive bulk email messages.
Labels for Prints
The layout for labels for prints was improved, based on a suggestion from
Richard Grubola of The Photographic Guild.
Check "Use Larger Fonts" is you want larger fonts on the label, which
may truncate titles.
A Competition Manager can now enter critiques on competition entries
after judging is complete. These critiques might be from notes recorded
at a meeting during the judging process. This is done from the website
Critiques can now be entered from the judging thumbnail images.
Competitions without Awards or Scoring
If you have critiques or shows of images that do not using judging,
displaying the images in the Competition Results was problematic because
the "competition" was not marked as judged. Only judged competitions
display in the results.
A new option can be set on a Competition Type to indicate that the
"competitions" using the Type will be marked as judged after the
competition date and time have elapsed. This allows these competitions
to be displayed in the Competition Results without any additional effort.
Images Report Sorting
The Images Report, generated from the Report button on a Manage Competitions
page, has been enhanced to allow sorting by authors names or by image titles.
These sort options might be handy when dealing with prints.
New Privacy Options
A member can now grant permissions to display their email address
and/or phone number in member lists, while still hiding their address.
If you want to grant an award indicating "acceptance" into a
competition instead of disqualifying images, an award can be created
with an Award Numeric of 120 or greater for this purpose.
Competition Results Comment
A comment can be specified for a competition that will display
above the competition results on the Competition Results page.
Critiques in Competition Report
You may now select an option to include critique comments when printing
a competition report. This report is generated from a Manage Competitions
page, locating a competition, and clicking "Report".
The ICM thumbnails now display a "K" in the top right corner to indicate
that critiques are available for that image. You can click the "K" to display the
critiques. This is most useful if displaying a show in dual screen mode and you
have set a Show Style to display critiques over thumbnails.
When defining an event that uses registrations, you can specify that
guests are allowed and you can ask a question of the registrants.
When a person registers they can indicate if they are bringing a guest and
text can enter a text response to a question defined for the event.
New Organization Options
On the Manage Organization Profile page you can now require that
new members must provide their email address and/or a phone number.
New Judging Options
You can now set an option on a Competition Type or a specific competition
to allow judges
to preview images without allowing them to set scores or awards.
This is useful if judging will be performed later with the ICM program.
For print competitions, to can set an option so that
judges can only view thumbnail images on the judging screen.
This is meant to prevent them from judging the digital image,
forcing the judges to view and judge the actual print.
A new video was added to provide a general overview of setting up
competitions and all of the related items. This is especially important
for new organizations and new Competition Managers.
Other new videos are now available for "Competition Groups"
and "Competition Levels". The "Competition Types" video has been revised.
The "Competitions" menu items have changed. A new menu item,
"Setup Competitions" provides an overview of the competition setup
process, step by step.
The "Manage Award Sets" and "Manage Critique Definitions" menu
items have been moved from the "Administration" menu to
the "Competitions" menu.
An option was added to a Competition Type definition to set a default
for displaying all entries in a competition or only images with awards.
If not set, the initial display of competition results will only
include images with awards. The user can elect to display all images
with an option on the results page.
The storage size included in each subscription has been increased by 25% with
no additional charge. You should easily be able to store 5 years
of competition images using the system maximum image sizes.
Maximum Image Size
The maximum image size was increased from 10MB to 20MB.
When searching for judges for website judging,
you can now search using first and last names instead of needing
the email address or user id.
First Name Search
When searching member names, you can now search by a First Name.
Previously, you could only search by Last Name, email address, or User Id.
Hide Judge Names
You can now set an option on a Competition Type to hide the display of the names
of your judges until after a competition has been judged.
Competition Close and Voting Close dates are now on the calendar
events. The tooltip for competition calendar events now includes
the full status and all dates related to the competition.
Enhancements were made to the editor used for creating content
for web pages and email. A "ribbon bar" now replaces the "toolbar"
used previously. This allows better descriptions of the buttons and
adds a "help" button.
You can how insert links to videos hosted by YouTube or Vimeo.
Mobile Phone Improvements
Your club website will now display better on a mobile phone.
You may also notice some changes in formatting on larger devices as well.
Many pages used for configuration will never be usable on a phone
and some pages still need alternate versions for a phone. This update
is a first step in the process and helps with some of the more
common uses on a phone.
If you place images on a web page, consider using the editor and
setting the CSS style on the image to "Limit Mobile Width".
If the image is displayed on a mobile device, it will be scaled down to
fit the width of the device. Assign the style using the "Insert" tab
and the "Image Properties" button. Clear any height or width settings present.
Galleries are handled automatically do not require any special handling.
Default Competition Levels
You can now mark a Competition Level to be the default level
used within a Competition Type. If a member does not have
a Competition Level assigned to the Competition Type within
your organization, the default level will be assigned and used
Use the Manage Competition Level Definitions page to edit a level
and check the box to indicate it is the default Competition Level.
You can now set a gallery option to request the display
of any metadata (EXIF) data available for the images being displayed.
The summary metadata is added to the image caption.
When you upload a new image, you may now see a warning if your
image appears to be a duplicate of an image already in your
Image Library. You are encouraged to use the existing image unless
there is a significant difference between the images.
The process cannot detect all image
differences, so it can only be a suggestion.
Download Manager Role
The "Download Manager" role is now required for a person to use the
"Manage Downloads" page via the "Administration" menu
to save files that can be downloaded by members.
This role is implied by the "Content Manager" and "Administrator" roles.
You may find you need to add this role for a member that needs to
save files in your downloads area.
View PayPal Role
The "View PayPal" role is now required for a person to use the
"View PayPal Transactions" page via the "Administration" menu.
This role is implied by the "Treasurer", "Membership Manager",
and "Administrator" roles.
You may find you need to add this role for a member that needs to
view PayPal transactions, such as an event manager.
Automatic Processing of PayPal Membership Payments
You can now configure your website to automatically apply membership payments
made with PayPal buttons. Membership expirations can be extended without
any administrative handling of each payment.
Careful setup is required of your PayPal buttons and you must enable
the feature on the Manage Organization Profile page.
Please watch the new video on using PayPal buttons for details.
PayPal Payment Notifications
An email is now sent to the payee when they make a PayPal payment
using one of your PayPal buttons. The email confirms that payment
has been received by your organization.
A separate email is sent to the Treasurers of your organization,
or to the Administrators if no users have the Treasurer role.
Payments made with buttons configured as membership payments will
also optionally send a message to the Membership Managers, or the
Administrators if there are no Membership Managers.
Please watch the new video on using PayPal buttons for details.
New Gallery Embedding Options
You can now place Competition Results galleries on your Home page or
any custom page. Additional options are available when you place
you gallery, such as setting the gallery size.
A new process builds the needed tag to place on your page.
Instructions are on the custom page and web content pages.
You can now place galleries with competition results on your
Home page or any custom page.
You can select a specific Competition, the latest Competition with results,
a specific Competition Group, or the latest Competition Group with results.
This new feature could be used to automatically display your latest
competition results on your Home page.
Display Non-Winning Author Names
A new option was added to Competition Types that allows you
to force the display of author names for non-winning images in a competition.
The default for new Competition Types will hide the author names
for images without awards. A competition option can specify the
display of non-winning authors if the Competition Type does
not make that selection.
This option does not affect the ICM program,
where the display of author names is controlled by show styles.
ICM Wildlife Option
You can now set a show or judging style option to identify wildlife
images in the caption for images. All images that have the "wildlife"
attribute will be have the word "Wildlife" included in their caption display.
If you use PayPal buttons, each payment transaction is now recorded on your
website. The transactions can be viewed by members via the menu "My Account",
"My Transactions". The organization can view PayPal transactions via the
menu "Administration", "PayPal Buttons", "PayPal Transactions".
Further enhancements are in development. We will try to automate membership renewals
and we will create a video explaining how all of this works.
New Privacy Option
Members can now specify, via their personal profile, if a club's
Event Managers can see their contact information.
Cell Phone Numbers
The "Alternate Phone Number" field has been renamed to "Cell Phone"
and the "Alternate Phone Number Type" field has been discontinued.
If a cell number and the primary number are the same, only the
primary number is saved.
Forum managers can now specify that all members or all competing
members should get notifications from a forum or a forum topic.
Members can "opt out" of these topics by un-subscribing via the forum
Hide Author Names
A new option was added to the competition options that allows you
to hide the author names for non-winning images in a competition
results display. The default for new competitions will hide the author names
for images without awards. This option does not affect the ICM program,
where the display of author names is controlled by show styles.
Move Competition Images
If a user submits an image to the wrong competition, a Competition Manager
can now move the image to a different competition instead of having the user
remove and re-submit the image. The process is performed using the "Images" button
on a Manage Competitions page. A "Move" button appears under the thumbnail
for each image in the images grid.
Competition Managers can now select a member to view their competition history
using the My Image History page. This was previously restricted to Administrators.
Award Set Percentage Option
When defining an Award in a custom Award Set, you can now specify
that the percentage considers other awards after computing
a percentage of all entries. See Manage Award Sets for details.
New Visual Pursuits Users Forum
A new public forum was created, shared by all organizations, to
allow organizations and members to exchange information on how to
manage their organizations and competitions.
Access the new forum using your website menu "Organization",
New ICM Sort Option
When combining levels in the ICM program, the random sort order
is applied over all of the combined images. This may not be desirable
for a print competition where you have printed out a report of
images in the competition and are trying to synchronize projecting
images with a stack of prints that are order from the report.
Use the new sort option "Competition Levels and Random" in
a Show Style to keep the images in the same order as the report.
New Disqualify Option
If you disqualified an image while judging with the ICM program
(via the Awards panel), the image remained in the competition until
you synchronized. At the time it is was deleted from the competition.
If you used website judging, you needed to delete a disqualified image
from the competition via Images button on one of the Manage Competitions
To improve the handling of disqualified images,
the old ICM “Disqualify” option has been renamed to “Disqualify and Exclude”.
This will continue to delete the image from the competition when you synchronize.
A new “Disqualify” button on the Awards panel will
keep the disqualified image reference in the competition,
but the image is hidden and displays as Disqualified.
When using website judging, a judge can disqualify an image via the awards panel.
There is no “Disqualify and Exclude” option for website judging.
Disqualified images will only appear in judging panels when hidden images
are viewed. This allows removing the disqualified state. Authors will
be able to view a disqualified state in their library. Disqualified images
will appear in the images list on the Manage Competitions pages and the
images are in exported lists from the ICM program.
Converting Critique Ratings into Scores
An option can now be set on a Competition Type to allow a judge's
rating values to be converted into a score automatically.
A average of all non-zero ratings is scaled to the maximum score
allowed for a competition image.
This option requires specifying "Average Scores from Judges".
This option is "on" by default for all new Competition Types,
but existing Competition Types do not have the option set.
You must update your Competition Types if you want to use this option.
A judge can disable the option on each critique and cannot
critique or set a score for their own images.
Critiques is a feature included in a Premium Subscription.
You can use "Administration", "Manage Critique Definitions"
to customize the information that appears on the critique form.
This allows you to name the rating sliders to match judging
criteria you might use.
Without the automatic computation of a score from critiques,
a scoring box still appears on the critique page so that a score
can be entered there instead of waiting to return to the image panel.
Splitting Very Large Competitions
If you need to hold a competition with hundreds or thousands of images,
a new process allows you to split a competition into child competitions
for distributed judging. See the main Help page for a reference on an
article on Managing Large Competitions.
The amount of storage allowed in each Visual Pursuits subscription type has been
increased by about 30%. The number of prepaid website judged images
has been doubled for each Premium Subscription.
Overuse beyond your annual allocations may roll-over to the next year
if we decline to invoice for the extra usage.
We expect to only invoice for excess usage once per year.
These changes have
been made without any increase in your subscription costs.
Use your website menu "Help", "Subscription Information" for more information
on subscriptions and options. Use the menu "Administration", "Subscription Status"
for details on your subscription and website usage.
Secure Website Mode
We have changed your Visual Pursuits website to run only in HTTPS mode instead
of the normal HTTP mode. This new mode encrypts all transmissions, instead of
just the login pages. The new mode has been encouraged for use by all websites
since it makes it extremely difficult for anybody to hack into a website
or intercept any information you might enter on a website.
No action is required by you or your users. The change is likely to be
invisible to your users. In some cases, you may notice that the website
address in your address bar has changed. This occurs because we are
redirecting all of your website traffic to a single website address that
uses the new HTTPS encrypted transmissions.
The ICM program has always used encrypted transmissions, so no change was needed there.