Re: Playing with color and shadows to remove 3D perception in living sculptures


 Also, the patterns of strokes and areas of color disguise or confuse the actual form of the three-dimensional subjects, similar to the camouflage patterns applied to naval warships, for example:


I disagree with the comparison with ship camouflage entirely, since  the logic behind that type of deception is mostly based on Optical illusions created by graphical/geometrical elements, which BTW in most cases imply painting only with black grey and white paints, so this looks totally different to the interplay with colors and the massive elimination of shadows in the sets. I feel her comment about higher contrast applies only locally, this is, the local contrast between neighboring strokes, because the lighting in those images HAS to be totally flat in order to achieve the effect. So there is only contrast by color at a local level, with inclusion of diminished contrast of color in the big picture view, this is, making a contrast match between subject and background.  
This may not be the only perception process going on, of course, It still haunts me!!
Perhaps the reference to increase of contrast in the shadows and highlights is more referring to the contrast between the individual strokes that attempt to portray shading or highlight rather than the absolute difference between shadow and highlight that we would commonly refer to as “contrast” ratio or dynamic range in a photograph.
This is the same I understand, but as a photographer I have to insist: this can only happen when the set is lit evenly, a shadow-free setup that by itself helps with flattening the image and then contrast by lighting does not exist, or at most is a constant parameter,  and contrast by color is the only way to generate -or eliminate-  the perception of contrast in the overall image.
So, would this be the equivalent of faking an expansion of the dynamic range by massively reducing contrast?
When we look at normal objects, there are transitions from the areas we can see in front to the areas on the sides/behind that are hidden from view. When the edges are curved, we normally see a gradual transition with subtle gradients in shading from light to dark. Changing that to a visually abrupt edge imitates what happens at the edge of a flat surface. 
One of the interesting cases of “special" lighting is that  one called Axis Lighting, that creates a well-define shadow border or limb effect. One of the impressive things about this is how you totally eliminate other shadows and all textures just vanish. Properly used, a ring flash will create this effect, but you can obtain it with natural light too. The border contrast or limb effect is basically the only element that helps you separate shapes ( subject and background) in an image. If you remove the limb effect, things can be perceived as merging. Add  matching color to the shapes and you may be getting closer to what this painter is doing from a rather intuitive approach.
 What keeps me curious is how can we apply this to retouching/adjusting images, and that is when my ignorance takes place and you guys can say and  understand something I still don’t grab.
Jorge Parra

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