Mark Harden's Artchive: CD-ROM Reviews

"Michelangelo", by Planet Art

Contributed by David C. Wilkins

Rebuttal by Eric Muller

"The Michelangelo CD from Planet Art, which consists of a collection of images in Kodak PhotoCD format, is disappointing in just about every way possible.

"The description of the Michelangelo CD on the jewel case says that there are images up to 18MB in size. However, almost all of the images are 3MB in size, with some of them going up to 5MB. The description of the CD on the case also advertizes the art as being "Royalty Free". After seeing the shots it becomes clear why there are no copyright fees. I have six art books on Michalangelo and have four other art books with major sections on him. In every case, the selection of which art works to include and the angle/cropping of the individual works is far far superior to that included on Planet Art's CD.

"The CD was expensive. About US$80. The mail order house from which I purchased the CD does not normally allow opened CDs to be returned. But they refunded my money because of the false advertizing on the CD case cover -- promising images up to 18MB but delivering images only up to 5MB. There is a series of CD's put out by Planet Art on major artists. Based on my experiences with their Michelangelo CD, I would be wary of purchasing another CD from Planet Art."
Eric Muller offers this rebuttal:

"I don't work for Planet Art and have no relationship with them, but I feel you have given them a somewhat unfair review. I have one of their CD-ROMS, the Antique Maps one. While the maximum compressed file size on the CD-ROM is between 3 and 5 megs, the uncompressed maximum file size is certainly 18 meg as advertized. This is the norm when the Kodak Photo-CD format is used, and according to the Planet Art catalog all of their CD-ROM are Kodak Photo CDs.
"These Photo CD CD-ROMs require that you have the proper Photo CD software to correctly access the files. Each picture is stored in a single image file that is from 3 to 6 meg in size (hence the maximum of ~ 100 photos on a single Photo CD). This single image file contains five images of the photo stored using a complicated program of lossy and lossless compression techniques. The three lower resolution pictures (128x192, 256x384, 512x768) are essentially uncompressed. The two higher resolution files (1024x1536 and 2048x3072) are compressed. When uncompressed the 2048x3072 image takes up ~ 18 meg (hence Planet Art's claim re the 18 meg file size).
"The quality of the scans and the choice of pictures may not be the best, however remember what this is. It's royalty free images. It's normal to pay far far more for the full commercial rights to such images. Other CD-ROMs with royalty free art on them typically cost far more. Some I've looked at are ~ $200-$300 for 20 to 30 pictures. These higher-priced CD-ROMs may be worth it at times. Some of these have better drum scanned pictures and may have better selections. However, at 100 images for $80 the Planet Art CDs are a bargain. I can't even get 100 Photo-CD scans of my own work on a CD-ROM for that price, let alone film, time, and reproduction rights.
"It's important not to compare these CD-ROMs to ones which aim primarily to help people understand an artist and his/her work. It is strictly an inexpensive source of great pictures one can use legally for whatever purpose one wants."

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