Land of Pagodas: Dan's comments + theory pondering


Edward Bateman
 

Hello everyone-

Mine was #811. Thank you Dan for your blending suggestion… Ha! It was such a small change but made a HUGE difference!

I wanted to bounce an “Ed Theory” off of this remarkable group. (I always have a lot of “Ed Theories”… notions based on observations and thinking that I really haven’t read any specific proof of - outside of my own experience.)

I have learned from Dan’s writings that our brains/eyes do a lot of processing on what we see in a natural scene that differs greatly from what cameras do. (Such as enhancing colors/contrast in areas we are interested in, etc.) So I have often wondered why this doesn’t quite seem to take place in viewing prints.

My suspicion is that 2 related things are taking place. One is that the dynamic range of prints is quite limited (I’ve read that 175:1 is about the limit) so our visual processing isn’t being activated so strongly. The other factor is that our eyes key off of the brightest source of illumination - the sun in an outdoor scene and the viewing conditions with a print (along with metameric failure:) So that swamps the brain processing effect with prints.

But I have been wondering lately… our displays have a much greater dynamic range than our old CRTs. Maybe enough to activate our brains to a much greater degree than looking at a print… making it harder for many to accurately evaluate their prints. So looking at the “numbers” really becomes our friend! I have seen students who think their prints don’t match the screen (and think the problem is the printer) when if I look at the numbers and make an adjustment, they can see with before and after that they really were off in their color observations :)

I was just curious to see if my “Ed Theory” held up to scrutiny to this very knowledgeable and experienced group.

Thanks!

Edward (Ed) Bateman :)


sj_90000@...
 

I think most of the difference has to do with scale. Two things to think about. When it's foggy outside, does reality look less real? I'm sure you can think of many other low contrast situations. So contrast probably isn't a factor. Also, if the print/screen were large enough to completely cover your field of vision, so there were no visual cues from "reality", would you be more likely to accept the limited output range as being "full" range? So it seems the fault, if you can even call it that, is our *wide* field of view that takes in way more than what we're "looking" at. So Dan's techniques try to counter act the limited range and color by amplifying them, as much as reasonable, so they more closely match the world beyond the edge of the image. At least that's my take on it. I'll be curious how others see it. (haha)

Steve J.

-----Original Message-----
From: Edward Bateman
Date: Sunday, March 28, 2021 09:50 PM
To: colortheory@groups.io
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Land of Pagodas: Dan's comments + theory pondering

Hello everyone-

Mine was #811. Thank you Dan for your blending suggestion… Ha! It was
such a small change but made a HUGE difference!

I wanted to bounce an “Ed Theory” off of this remarkable group. (I
always have a lot of “Ed Theories”… notions based on observations and
thinking that I really haven’t read any specific proof of - outside of
my own experience.)

I have learned from Dan’s writings that our brains/eyes do a lot of
processing on what we see in a natural scene that differs greatly from
what cameras do. (Such as enhancing colors/contrast in areas we are
interested in, etc.) So I have often wondered why this doesn’t quite
seem to take place in viewing prints.

My suspicion is that 2 related things are taking place. One is that
the dynamic range of prints is quite limited (I’ve read that 175:1 is
about the limit) so our visual processing isn’t being activated so
strongly. The other factor is that our eyes key off of the brightest
source of illumination - the sun in an outdoor scene and the viewing
conditions with a print (along with metameric failure:) So that swamps
the brain processing effect with prints.

But I have been wondering lately… our displays have a much greater
dynamic range than our old CRTs. Maybe enough to activate our brains
to a much greater degree than looking at a print… making it harder for
many to accurately evaluate their prints. So looking at the “numbers”
really becomes our friend! I have seen students who think their
prints don’t match the screen (and think the problem is the printer)
when if I look at the numbers and make an adjustment, they can see
with before and after that they really were off in their color
observations :)

I was just curious to see if my “Ed Theory” held up to scrutiny to
this very knowledgeable and experienced group.

Thanks!

Edward (Ed) Bateman :)


John Gillespie
 

The effects do exist in prints, after all they are real objects in the real world perceived in the same way as any other object.
In fact these effects are easier to perceive in print because we can create artificial situations to reveal how they work - this is clearly seen in the illustrations of simultaneous contrast of both colour and greyscale in Dan's Chevreul book. If we couldn't perceive this in print there would be no point showing them!

But taking a photograph of a scene will always lose information as the dynamic range is limited, even more so for a print, So our ability to adapt locally to different levels of illumination in a real-world scene doesn't really help us when we look at a print. - we perceive the whole of its limited dynamic range with little or no adaptation. 

As for colour, in his Lab book Dan explains that pictures of canyons are boring not just because the camera does not produce simultaneous contrast, but also because it cannot capture the heat, the dust, our binocular vision and the ability to move around the scene - all of which add to the variety of our perception. As does our selective memory.
So increasing the colour contrast and variety is a stand-in in some respects for all these missing sensations, adding back drama to the camera's very literal and limited interpretation of the scene.





john c.
 

Let me add that this is why good matting and framing can be an art in itself, and why the display conditions for prints are so important as well. It’s kind of obvious to us, but most people have no idea how much these things matter.
 
john c.
 
 

Sent: Monday, March 29, 2021 6:23 AM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Land of Pagodas: Dan's comments + theory pondering
 
The effects do exist in prints, after all they are real objects in the real world perceived in the same way as any other object.
In fact these effects are easier to perceive in print because we can create artificial situations to reveal how they work - this is clearly seen in the illustrations of simultaneous contrast of both colour and greyscale in Dan's Chevreul book. If we couldn't perceive this in print there would be no point showing them!

But taking a photograph of a scene will always lose information as the dynamic range is limited, even more so for a print, So our ability to adapt locally to different levels of illumination in a real-world scene doesn't really help us when we look at a print. - we perceive the whole of its limited dynamic range with little or no adaptation.

As for colour, in his Lab book Dan explains that pictures of canyons are boring not just because the camera does not produce simultaneous contrast, but also because it cannot capture the heat, the dust, our binocular vision and the ability to move around the scene - all of which add to the variety of our perception. As does our selective memory.
So increasing the colour contrast and variety is a stand-in in some respects for all these missing sensations, adding back drama to the camera's very literal and limited interpretation of the scene.