On the Law of Simultaneous Contrast of Colors

Tanya Metaksa

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Tanya Metaksa

On Feb 25, 2020, at 1:32 PM, George Machen <gmachen@...> wrote:

This past Sunday I was watching a story about the "sight-size" method of portraiture developed during the Renaissance on CBS Sunday Morning:
...and while I don't know what the method per se might bring to color correction, one incidental technique briefly mentioned in the story seems eminently applicable to what we do:

...Francis Kelleher, a 30-year-old who is four-and-a-half years into his studies, was working on perfecting the technique of chiaroscuro (Italian for "light and shadow"). He used the most technologically-advanced implement they employ: a mirror.

"So, the main purpose of the mirror is to refresh your perspective," Kelleher said. "And we generally use it because over the process of the three hours that we normally work for, the eye becomes tired. And so you stop seeing your mistakes.

"By seeing it with a fresh eye, it's the same effect it would be if I came back to work in three or four days. I'm seeing it afresh, it's brand new to me, and I can immediately spot the mistakes."

"A mirror is so important," said Cecil. "We all make the same mistakes, and that's what is comforting. Because the human eye stumbles in the same way."

Dan has admonished that it's important to step away from our work and come back to it hours or even days later, lest we become too desensitized to our screens shining light in our eyes, resulting in overly-saturated colors, more contrast than we intended in areas, etc. Maybe even the law of simultaneous contrast could work against us when we stare at our efforts too long. (Never mind confirmation bias.)

But maybe turning around and inspecting our work in a mirror could accomplish seeing it with a sufficiently blunt perspective on-the-spot, and not having to wait all that time — providing a boon to our productivity.

– George Machen

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