Author Topic: Skills of 'restraint'  (Read 919 times)

Offline Dimitris Platis

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Skills of 'restraint'
« on: 2017 April 02 11:13:59 »
I would appreciate your opinion on the so called skills of 'restraint' one must show in order to achieve a more pleasing, natural look in his photos.
For example, it is interesting to notice that we are immediately impressed by a natural-looking photo but not being able to clearly at first glance say why that is the case.

Any tips on how to achieve this?

Offline aworonow

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Re: Skills of 'restraint'
« Reply #1 on: 2017 April 02 13:30:55 »
A reading of the fine book "Coloring the Universe" by Travis Rector goes a long way toward addressing your question. I strongly recommend it. It's not just a picture book!
That being said, I do not really subscribe to the premise that "natural" looking images impress the most. To me, those images are one-dimensional and boring. Clearly, many, probably most, people subscribe to the idea that ethereal, dreamy images spawn a relaxed mind and a personal happy-place (and like to imagine that such images are realistic renderings of nature). But as a past scientist, I foremost appreciate the images that show greatest detail and boldly direct ones attention to the conflict and turmoil in colliding galaxies, birthing of stars, and super nova explosions. Those places physics and chemistry live and dominate. And the ability of PI to render those environments and processes, and the PS propensity toward warm and fuzzy renderings, makes me prefer the former!

Art comes in all flavors. What is popular today, will not be popular tomorrow--you can bet on it!


Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Skills of 'restraint'
« Reply #2 on: 2017 April 02 14:18:01 »
I nearly always find that the first round of processing goes a bit too far and if I look at a result a day later, I go back and tone down contrast, colour and sharpening.


Offline Niall Saunders

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Re: Skills of 'restraint'
« Reply #3 on: 2017 April 04 06:05:51 »
Alex and Chris have both made extremely valid points.

Your image should end up the way you want it to end up, however your efforts in trying to achieve that can end up making the result very false.

The first thing that needs to be done - always - is to refrain from looking at anyone else's images - especially those from inagers who have 'made a name for themselves'. Don't do it - it is against the law  :police:

The problem is that, unless you have access to the same six-figure equipment as them, under the same inky-black skies as them, then it is highly unlikely that your normal data will ever have the basic quality required to end up looking like theirs. And that will just make you mad, becuase you invested five-figures in your kit, and you drove hundreds of miles to get it to the top of a mountain, and you spent all night trying not to let sleep overcome your feelings of hypothermia.

The good thing is that, constant practice (by which, for me personally, means perpetual failure) will leave you ready to process that fantastic data set when you get it. You will gradually learn that pushing your image any further just won't make it any prettier.

I have been imaging since around 2005, I have bought (and sold) astronomy equipment that must be well into five-figures by now, and I can count on one hand the images that I would show to others. I don't need any fingers to count how many I would consider good enough to 'publish' (even on the internet).

But, when I have pulled out a nice image from seemingly hopeless raw data, I get a warm fuzzy glow inside, that gives me confidence enough to approach Lady Saunders (my financier) to ask about the possibility of purchasing a new, different kind of, gumble-twerk for the observatory, using my latest image to justify the exponential investment that has already been made.

Skills of restraint? I think not  :D
Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
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Offline Warhen

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Re: Skills of 'restraint'
« Reply #4 on: 2017 April 05 12:29:49 »
Dimitris, as other's intimate- it's a matter of artistic interpretation. 'Natural' of course has many elements we don't want, such as gradients and noise. Once these naturally occurring undesirables are 'tamed,' it's purely up to us. I find that personally, I like the naturalism of an Adam Block, for instance for galaxies, while I enjoy seeing nebulae pushed a bit harder so they really pop. Just my taste. Obviously, contrast and color saturation titillate the eye and should be used as artistic devices. That being said, many processors 'Jump the Shark' and turn many of us off by ending up with a garish result. Study the images of several people with disparate styles considered 'good' at the craft, and decide what level of color and sharpness feel right to you. Enjoy!
Best always, Warren

Warren A. Keller