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Carrara Portrait Lighting
Posted: 13 September 2012 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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Oh, wait…

The Cracked article Jay posted gives a whole bunch more rules to find exceptions to. Wow, that’s a lot of work.

Okay, I’ll do what I can, but you guys are on your own for most of this.

I’ll take one for you…

Sepia toning on “old”-looking movies. Yeah, for most of the older generation, who are familiar with the old sepia toned photographs, then it signifies old stuff. And it works real well. But for the younger generation, that might not work. Or at least as well.

So, that one’s totally bogus, and you can throw it out.

Although, if your target audience is older folks…

Well, it’s still bogus.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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evilproducer - 13 September 2012 05:43 PM

Remember everybody, don’t be like me, and get overly emotional, and provide examples of how the rules can be bent.

Please, Evil, don’t think I’m trying to attack you. I know it’s difficult, but it’s really about the issues.

There are rules that generally apply, and which describe how most people perceive images. We are all very much alike in how we perceive things. Of course it’s not 100% true 100% of the time. But that’s not the point. You learn about those things when you study color theory and composition, and study film technique and photography technique and a bunch of other stuff. It’s all a result of the fact that most of us respond similarly to images, and that’s why they are “rules”. They are important, and they generally apply to most people. 

When someone is sound asleep, and having a nice dream, if you take a fog horn and place it 1 inch away from his ear and blow it, there is a good chance he will get very upset. Not a 100% chance, but a good enough chance that you can consider it a basic rule. “Don’t blow a fog horn in a sleeping guy’s ear”. And we’d all agree that, IF you want to keep him as a friend, you should at least consider that before you blast an air horn in his ear. It’s an important rule about how humans perceive loud noises when they’re sleeping. 

We can spend the next week talking about the college prank exceptions, but what’s important is learning from the rule, why it’s a rule, and what does it say about humans and our perceptions. If you focus on stuff like bending the rule, and “well, I did it to my buddy in college and everyone thought it was real funny”, people are more likely to dismiss the “rule” and instead go around blasting fog horns in people’s ears, thinking it’s funny. When the guy punches them in the face, they might start wishing they learned the lesson before they decided to break the rule. 

I showed an image of a character lit from below using a white light, black background, and no other context. Now, if you show that particular image to most people and asked them to choose how it made them feel, what would most people choose:

1. Soft, light, fun and happy, or
2. Spooky, dark, and scary

If your audience would choose #2, then it would be useful to learn what that says about their nature, and how can you use that in your future images. WHY do people see that as spooky? And if you don’t want your next image to be perceived as spooky, what is it about that image should you avoid? That’s the lesson, and what’s important in the learning process.

You can focus on the exceptions, and say it’s not a rule because it only applies 93% of the time and not 100% of the time, but that doesn’t teach you about why the perceptions are that way in the first place.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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By the way, in your birthday candle image, what you did is exactly the point I’m making. You took advantage of some rules of how viewers perceive images, and completely changed the mood by changing four things compared to what I had:

1. Context
2. Expression
3. Color
4. Lighting placement

You added context by adding a birthday cake and candle. Instantly, it becomes a happy picture because you know we associate happy with birthday.

You changed the apparent expression on her face to a clearly happier one.

You changed the light color to a warmer one.

And you changed the light placement to be lit more from the front than from directly underneath.

Now, I could change the context of your image back to spooky, dangerous, and fearful by adding the glint of a 45 caliber gun barrel pointed at her head.

But none of that teaches us why the bare underlighting I showed is perceived as spooky by most people. Did you break the rule about bare underlighting of a character as I was showing? No, because you did something totally different. The rule still applies. If you light a character like I showed, people think it’s spooky.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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So, in the context of portrait lighting, the question becomes:

1. Why does that type of underlighting cause most of us to feel spooky (BTW, Roy kinda sorta touched a bit on the answer already…)?

2. Why does the standard 3-point lighting scheme, or for that matter most portrait lighting schemes, not include a light directly underneath the subject’s face?

I’ll leave those questions open for anyone to answer.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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evilproducer - 13 September 2012 05:43 PM

Remember everybody, don’t be like me, and get overly emotional, and provide examples of how the rules can be bent.

Heh, Joe even got Andy to make a response - after he accused Andy of ‘apparently’ working for Daz.

I hope I don’t come here one day and Joe is the only one left posting here because everyone else has left…..

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Posted: 13 September 2012 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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I’ve read over the past couple of pages and find myself generally in agreement with JoeMamma. Not only are there rules, but no one can claim to know all of them, there are so many. Rules are always at play. Lets consider another form of art to explain this.

In music we have Music Theory. There are many successful composers who have never had the benefit of formal music theory training. I will use Michael Jackson as a perfect example. Lack of training doesn’t guarantee failure, nor does receipt of training guarantee success. Still, not everyone is a genius, and for the non genius a few rules can be very helpful. Even Michael Jackson had to have his work checked over by those who did have the theory background.

The point is, there is a reason why certain pieces of music are written in particular key signatures. There are right and wrong ways to write chords. One ‘rule” of music theory is to avoid parallel octaves whenever possible. Another rule is to avoid open 4th and 5ths as they dont produce harmonic tones.

Music theory tells us that in the key of C an E is a leading tone that resolves into F. Also in the key of C a B natural is a leading tone resolving into C.

Further music theory tells us that if a musical phase ends on a leading tone then the phrase will likely be immediately repeated and the second time it will resolve onto a more stable pitch.

Now lets try this leading tone ideal on a song everyone knows. How about the “Happy Birthday” song.

If you will, have a quick little hum to yourself of the Happy Birthday song.

In the first phrase “Happy birthday to you…” the word “you” ends on a leading tone. This leaves the listener with an innate feeling of being unsettled and unfinished. Notice that the phrase is repeated a second time but this time the word “you” ends on a stable pitch called “do” (aka the tone for whom the key signature of the song is based). So the first instance of Happy birthday to you basically ends by asking a question, and the second time we hear the phrase it is like the answer to the previous question. This is all based on solid research into human perception of music. it is foolproof.

Using the rules of music theory, one can write a song that is happy, sad or whatever. The rules help the composer to affect his audience in exactly the way he desires. But as stated, rules can be broken if you are in control and happen to understand how to PROPERLY break the rule. For example, we all know that songs written in a minor key are considered to be more serious and sad. Yet, there are exceptions when rather happy songs are written in a minor key. A good example of this is “God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen.”

As someone stated earlier, it is all based on human nature and tweaked by cultural experience. Native English speakers will tend to evaluate a work of visual art based on the way they read. English speakers tend to read images from left to right. This is a fact, whether an artist knows this or not when he is making his art is anyone’s guess, still these rules are operating at all times whether he intends for them to or not.

Using the rules of music theory computers have been taught how to compose music people will like. Isnt that amazing?!!!!

All Joe is saying is that in the end it isn’t all trial and error. A good render shouldn’t require a visit from the Good Luck Fairy. There ARE rules. Whether or not we choose to focus on the rules is our own choice. And again as I stated earlier, because this is all based on human perception, many of the rules are not even yet known to us, yet they are still operating and affecting our decisions about what we like and don’t like.

Booksbydavid says he spends time with pros and that they seem don’t stand to any rules, but I beg to disagree. Like most people when they get to the level of being professional they have already internalized the rules aka basics. The rules no longer require conscious thought, we follow them automatically. We think of it as being natural, but in fact we have been conditioned over the years.

To me this is a moot argument, JoeMamma is simply taking the mystery out of it all. I like that. I dont like having to rely on luck so applying skill seems like the right option. Skill to me is a set of rules that help me accomplish my goals.

Okay, back to the piano. Need to resolve a phrase in a piece I am writing and I cant decide which way to go with it. I’m just a hummin’ away over here. Dont mind me….....

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Posted: 14 September 2012 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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Very Interesting Rashad . Good points.

Let’s see, I’ve been an ‘artist’ for a longtime (no I don’t have a definition of ‘artist’). I make paintings. People buy them.
I’ve recently signed with a NY agency to represent my ’ almost’ wordless books (ie illustrated).

In the time that I have been an ‘artist’ I’ve found that using rules of composition, lighting, colour etc stifle what I would call ‘refreshing’ work.
By refreshing work, I mean work that delights my eye. (‘my’ eye).

I paint by the seat of my pants and if it doesn’t work I other throw it away or examine it in thelight of the ‘rules’ that I know.
Using these rules I can improve the painting, sure.

But it’s never as good or refreshing as those that come from the gut/heart whatever you want to call it.
By gut I mean subconscious.


Painting and art in general, to be the best that you can make it, is all about ‘action’ and ‘reaction’. And the reaction comes from the subconsciousness, not from a list of rules you have learnt.

The best painters I know paint this way.
I also know painters who paint like old masters. They use rule driven paradigms. I think their work is anal and at best, unrefreshing.

As far as rules, the best way to use rules is for ‘technique’. Thick on thin, wet pallette, holding the brush in my hand, p[ainting with a brush stuck up my nose etc.

But if you use rules for making art you may as well go and bake a cake ....

As far as music I’m a listener. I hear ‘rule’ designed music on the radio all the time. To me, its like hearing the same stuff over and over, just with a different picture on the front cover of the cd….

Then again I am tone deaf

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Posted: 14 September 2012 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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and for musical clichés, I find the techno/trance pattern or ALWAYS having to have a “drop” followed by possibly a wob wob wub dub dub dub a bit predictable and unexciting.
having actually learnt music theory btw, I was immeadiately hit btw when I first head the B52’s singing “Rock lobster” that the girls were using parallel fifths in their harmonies and I loved it!!
I broke the rules ever since!
I can still set a tune to a choral formulae if needed with the cadence at the end but mostly like to deliberately leave people uncomfortable with my music on purpose just to mess with them! tongue rolleye

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Posted: 14 September 2012 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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head wax - 14 September 2012 12:56 AM

I paint by the seat of my pants and if it doesn’t work I other throw it away or examine it in thelight of the ‘rules’ that I know. Using these rules I can improve the painting, sure.

But it’s never as good or refreshing as those that come from the gut/heart whatever you want to call it.
By gut I mean subconscious.

I believe you, and others here, are confusing skills with talent. You need both to produce good music, good art, good anything.

Skills are, in large part, a knowledge of the rules. For example, every single piece of music you’ve ever heard obeys those rules. It all uses the same available group of chords and notes. Major, minor, 7th, 9th, etc. That’s it. Because that’s what you and I like and what sounds good to us. A piano has only 88 keys. That’s it. The rules include the fact that you can’t play any other notes than are on your piano. Plus you can’t use anything other than a set group of chords if you want people to like what you play. With 3D art, there is a vast amount of more room to play with, and vastly more rules. Not just 88 keys, but color, light, shadow, composition, etc. 

Talent, on the other hand, is what you use to produce stuff within that framework of rules. If a large group of people like your artwork, it’s for a reason. It’s because your work resonates with them, it speaks their language. It follows their rules, what it takes to please them. But your talent takes that a step further, and is the way you reach into your gut to find the best way to produce stuff, while still being mindful of those rules. Talent is innate, it’s what you’re talking about that comes from your gut, or wherever it comes from. To use Rashad’s example, Michael Jackson had an insane amount of innate talent, but lacked some of the skills and knowledge of the rules. But at some point, the work he produced for the public followed all the rules for what makes us enjoy music. He learned it, and others helped clean his stuff up. 

You can have the most incredible innate talent for the piano, but if you don’t know what a chord is or how to put the notes together in a pleasing way, you’ll probably produce junk. The greatest piano player on the planet probably sucked before he took his first lessons.

On the other hand, I am a reasonably skilled guitar player. But I have zero talent for it. I know most of the rules. I know the chords, and have decent timing, my fingering is pretty good. But I have zero talent, and basically have nothing to say musically. As a result, I’m a sucky guitar player, other than being able to copy stuff I’ve heard.

You may be absolutely convinced that your innate talent includes an innate knowledge of the rules needed to resonate with your audience and all of the skills you need. You may be the kind of person who can sit down at a piano for the very first time and play Tchaikovsky. You may know exactly what resonates with your audience without any training. You may be an artistic master who never had to study a day in his life.

But you’d be one of the first.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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Hi Joe, intelligently said, as always.

Thankfully I am experienced enough not to be confusing skills with talent - though thank you for suggesting it.

I might be confusing ‘experience’ with ‘skill’ mind you.
It’s interesting Michael Jackson should come up

Michael Jackson had an insane amount of innate talent, but lacked some of the skills and knowledge of the rules. But at some point, the work he produced for the public followed all the rules for what makes us enjoy music. He learned it, and others helped clean his stuff up.

Now of course I don’t know if that’s true or not. I guess he was bought up with a bunch of family members who appeared to be musically talented and I imagine this indicates he neglected or didn’t need to learn the rules from them etc. It begs the question though - at what point is a person gifted enough to be the one who made the rules? In other words, he is making his art without rules - the rules are then formed around his art….

It happens often enough in art. Oh I suppose I need to give a list. Heh, but I won’t.

I know you know your art history.

But can I tell you a story….. you don’t have to read it….

One of the Red Rose Girl’s used to tell a story about attending a lecture given by a visiting famous European artist (French german expresionista fauvist blah blah whatever) . The visiting painter espoused with great vigour during the lecture on the value of using the Golden Mean as a compositional rule.

During question time one of the audience, noting how free and expressionist and refreshing the lecturer’s paintings were, asked him if he really did design his paintings along the ratio of the Golden Mean.

The lecturer said “No of course not, but when I do a good painting I measure it up, and sure enough, I can fit the Golden Mean in somewhere”

Now the details are mine. But I’m sure you get the relevance.

You may know exactly what resonates with your audience without any training. You may be an artistic master who never had to study a day in his life.

But you’d be one of the first.

I’m surprised you’ve never heard of the Naive “School” (read not school) of painting.
Or the Lascaux Cave.


So given the above,  I guess, if one of us here really was “an artistic master who never had to study a day in his life” then,  in truth that person really wouldn’t be one of the first.

Quite the opposite. They would be following along a well established path.

Of course there’s the value of Jungain Archetypes and their relevance to our innate imagery ..... but I don’t have enough time to babble on about that… I have to go and watch my favourite soap opera….. smile

 

 

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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I have always loved naive art!
and “cottage” art tongue wink smile

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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wendy♥catz - 14 September 2012 01:18 AM

and for musical clichés, I find the techno/trance pattern or ALWAYS having to have a “drop” followed by possibly a wob wob wub dub dub dub a bit predictable and unexciting.
having actually learnt music theory btw, I was immeadiately hit btw when I first head the B52’s singing “Rock lobster” that the girls were using parallel fifths in their harmonies and I loved it!!
I broke the rules ever since!

Rules are meant to be broken.

wendy♥catz - 14 September 2012 01:18 AM

I can still set a tune to a choral formulae if needed with the cadence at the end but mostly like to deliberately leave people uncomfortable with my music on purpose just to mess with them! tongue rolleye

Purposefully messing with people’s subconscious minds…bad girl!

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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heh Wendy, I am supposed to be watching TV, it;‘s so hard to get a real Naive artist, the rules usually get to them first…

check out this guy

https://www.google.com.au/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1680&bih=925&q=alfred+wallis&oq=alfred+wallis&gs_l=img.3…123.249.0.597.2.2.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0…0.0…1ac.1.gzg1zbqclgk

discovered by Ben Nicholson, I think Wallis started painting when he was in his early seventies?

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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Okay, Andrew. For a brief moment I thought you wanted to engage in an intelligent conversation. My mistake.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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Hi Joe,

Okay, Andrew. For a brief moment I thought you wanted to engage in an intelligent conversation. My mistake.

I’m afraid that’s a sentence based on on Argumentum ex culo = specifically Generalisation from fictional evidence

Your previous post before that was nicely phrased and had a lot going for it.
I think all of your points were well thought out and quite relevant.
And non emotive.

This topic… well it’s a hard topic. There’s a lot of words that have shades of meaning involved.

Don’t be put off that I threw in Jungian Archetypes.
I happen to like them.

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