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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Lost Edges / A Hierarchy of Edges Search   Reply
Photographer
Artifice
Posts: 31,011
Los Angeles, California, US


What value do you think these ideas that come largely from painting have in photography?

I am not talking about straightforward near-far depth of field blur (whether simulated or in-camera). I am talking about softening / controlling additional edges through artistic judgment in post. DOF is a subset of this larger tool space.

------------------

Edge basics 101:
There is a scale of edges, just as there is a scale of values. It goes from hard>firm>soft>lost. Just as with value, you can use the whole scale in one picture or just a piece of it. The careful manipulation of edges is one of the most overlooked, but most important, tools an artist can use to create form, atmosphere, and believability.

http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51913

Edges, often overlooked by painters and instructors are no less important. Edges are defined as the juncture between two masses. A painting can and should have sharp, soft and lost edges. Edges are a wonderful tool for controlling the viewers eye. We identify the hierarchy of edges within in our painting by squinting at our subject. The most interesting and sharpest edges should be near your center of interest.
http://robertjsimone.com/art-instructio … e-painting

We don’t really see an entire area of a scene out of focus; we’re constantly adjusting our focus to create a sharp impression of the world. Here is how I would suggest we might simulate our visual perception in paint. It’s similar to the photographic mode in #2, but this time the lines get progressively more out of focus as they pass behind the rectangle.
http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/ … edges.html
Mar 07 10 12:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


This is good stuff, well worth studying. I don't especially like the execution at the first link, but I do like the concepts.
Mar 07 10 01:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Artifice
Posts: 31,011
Los Angeles, California, US


Peano wrote:
This is good stuff, well worth studying. I don't especially like the execution at the first link, but I do like the concepts.

That's because I grabbed the photo I always use for testing everything and just threw a lens blur on it based on luminosity to see what it would do. I didn't try to finesse it into a finished piece.

The last link has some interesting observations
http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/ … edges.html

Mar 07 10 02:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Sebastian Reuter
Posts: 126
Frankfurt, Hassia, Germany


the last link is very interesting and vizualizes the concept pretty well.
i think that is something i want to give a try soon, so thanks a lot for sharing smile

on the other hand i see that you did not want to produce some finished result, but i think your link is taking this in a wrong direction, since you are focusing on luminance and leaving things like texture, fore- and background etc out. so by looking at the picture i completly do not get the idea of what you are describing in the text below.
Mar 07 10 02:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Artifice
Posts: 31,011
Los Angeles, California, US


Mourn wrote:
the last link is very interesting and vizualizes the concept pretty well.
i think that is something i want to give a try soon, so thanks a lot for sharing smile

on the other hand i see that you did not want to produce some finished result, but i think your link is taking this in a wrong direction, since you are focusing on luminance and leaving things like texture, fore- and background etc out. so by looking at the picture i completly do not get the idea of what you are describing in the text below.

True, although from what I've noticed most painters seem to mainly turn dark edges into soft edges.

This soft thigh edge is sort of a midtone, but it functions the same as a shadow tone.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/8861781

(that guy is really good)

Mar 07 10 03:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Sebastian Reuter
Posts: 126
Frankfurt, Hassia, Germany


After doing some more reading on that subject i wonder if for photography all we need isnt already in the picture. since for example soft textures already give soft edges. they  do not have to be created unlike in the process of painting a picture.

like in your example picture befor you used the blur, there already have been these soft and hard edges. like the transition between her hair and the black background was soft edge while thet transition between her neck and the dark hair is a hard edge. so i think it is maybe a better approach to take what is there and just enhance that instead of creating new soft edges with blurring.

another aspect would be that you maybe should not see the texture of the hair (as an example) as edges but more look at the whole hair as one area and only consider the transition between the hair area and other areas as an edge.
(doh i so suck at explaining in english - i still hope i could make my point)
Mar 07 10 03:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Artifice
Posts: 31,011
Los Angeles, California, US


Mourn wrote:
After doing some more reading on that subject i wonder if for photography all we need isnt already in the picture.

I had wondered about that in my blog post

One could argue, I suppose, that creating a hierarchy of edges is only necessary for painters, and that photographers needn't worry about this issue (aside from DOF) because most of the edges are produced by the camera already suitably hard or soft.

But I still think it might be interesting to try to convey the overlap of two sharp sticks by softening the edges of the rear one at the intersection - stuff like that.

- might be weird, but maybe in some cases worth a try...

Mar 07 10 06:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
ice7
Posts: 104


I think you need to use that with a lot of caution as it may start to look unrealistic.

If you intent to guide the eye maybe the better way will be by controlling the local contrast levels.

There was something on the subject that may be of help in the Artificial Intelligence field about edge detection, as well as some parts of Gestalt psychology.
Mar 07 10 09:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


One tool that is surprisingly useful for this is the much ignored blur tool. Many people don't know this, but the blur tool will work on a blank layer, just like cloning or healing.

In the context of a hierarchy of layers, it works like a painter's brush. You can set the strength low -- say 10 or 20 percent -- and paint along edges that you want to soften a bit. In many cases this would be more accurate than trying to select areas by luminance values or some such.

Being on a blank layer, you can easily back up and erase mistakes. You can also put a mask on the blank layer to protect details that you don't want to blur, for instance where one edge intersects another and you only want to blur the one furthest from the camera.
Mar 08 10 08:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Smedley Whiplash
Posts: 17,146
Billings, Montana, US


Sort of related - my kid just bought a 55in LED flat screen, and when I watch it, there is too much edge separation, especially when they use green screen. I never noticed it on a regular LCD flat screen, or in the theater. The actors don't seem like they are part of the scene, sometimes even when the shot is on location, and the DOF is a sliver. It's rather odd looking.

My point being that I agree with what was said above that too much sharpness separation may confuse the viewer. Separate the sharpness of the subject, but then play it down in the rest of the image. There are other forms of separation that can be used elsewhere - backlight, color, density, etc.
Mar 08 10 09:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Artifice
Posts: 31,011
Los Angeles, California, US


a quote on painting in general, which touches upon edges -

"It’s pretty complex making things simple, But if I had to simplfy that, I would say that there is too much information/contrast in the shadows. Decide what is in light and what is in shadow and don’t mix them up. Think like a comic artist. Two values, but if they are well thought out and designed and drawn they can look totally real. Think like that, but instead of making the light white and the shadow black, make the light a 7 and the shadow a 3. Then go ahead and use 5-10 in the light and 1-3 in the shadow to pull out sub forms. DO NOT use 1-5 in any part of the light, or use 5-10 in any areas of the dark. Keep you edges a little softer in the shadows, a little sharper in the light, you are done. (0 is black, 10 is white) Deciding what is in shadow and light for a particular object is pretty hard in words. I will leave that up to you and that is 99 percent of the struggle."

Craig Mullins via Sijun Forum
Mar 08 10 09:23 am  Link  Quote 
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