Image Manipulation

ggbutcherggbutcher Posts: 368Member
edited April 2015 in General Discussions
I don't usually post from work, but this article is well-worth reading:

Short and not too technical, but I think it drives home the point that none of our images are "true to life", nor would we want them to be...


  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    edited April 2015
    If you think about it, our brains do a lot of image processing automatically. I wonder what the definition of "true to life" really is?
    Post edited by ThomasHorton on
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    I don't know, but I am sure it would not be inspiring.
  • kenadamskenadams Posts: 222Member
    Exactly, define "true to life"... humans only see a small part of the spectrum of light. Our perception is hardly objective.

    Awesome article!
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    In some venues, I like to "create" what i want others to see. However, from a generic interpretation of the thread title, what I want in most of my images, is that they appear as if anyone could have snapped it, i.e., "snapshots" yet have a level of technical and artistic quality which is way above average. The "right place at the right time" look.....

    And, almost all my images are significantly processed in Lightroom....

    My "astro" work is highly limited at present, but there may be something coming up in the near future.
    Msmoto, mod
  • bigeaterbigeater Posts: 36Member
    I think the author is on the right track, but he is leaving out the human factor, the whole "the camera looks both ways" thing: The editors and scientists colored Jupiter that way because they were trying to communicate their excitement and joy at being able to show the world what the surface of this distant planet really looks like. It's an emotional decision rather than a scientific one and that's what's cool about it.

    This is a debate as old as photography. My experiences have led me to the conclusion that there's no such thing as "true to life" because your eyes are no different from a Nikon. A lot of photons get thrown at your optic nerve which then processes the RAW data into what we think of as vision. Some of us have brains that use the latest version of Capture One and some of us come pre-installed with Lightroom. Others brains stopped updating after Photoshop 8.0.
    You just have to go with what helps you communicate your inner feelings with others.
  • ggbutcherggbutcher Posts: 368Member
    Something to consider is that in the astrophotography world they do such manipulations to visualize data they could not ordinarily "see" to look for relationships with data they can normally see. That it happens to look stunning is simply a by-product of color choices that support the scientific analysis. What they do with photonic measurements is really for the same sort of end as what you might accomplish plotting temperature data in a line chart.

    The other thing that the article reinforces for me is that real "raw" from a digital photon sensor is simply not suited to almost any display for human consumption. If you want a taste of that reality, get a copy of the dcraw program and use it to extract the measured values, e.g. > dcraw -DT DSC_7890.NEF , where -D extracts the unscaled pixel values without Bayer interpolation, and -T produces a tiff file; you'll get a rather dark black and white (well, mostly black) image. Replace the D with d, and dcraw will scale the pixel values to a 'normal' black and white image and, there, you've done your first manipulation.

    Thing is, any recording of light for purposes of human consumption requires subsequent manipulation of the measured values. These manipulations are done for a very wide variety of reasons, and this article pointed out for me a very interesting one, that of data visualization.
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