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Contrast with digital cameras - Adobe Photoshop Mac CS, CS2 & CS3

PShock, nice shot, nice subject. Hope you don't take this wrong and think I'm disparaging your work. It's quite professional. I'm just making an observation. But is it the nature of digital to show skintones under that kind of light to show up flat and chalky or is it like that in film as well or maybe it's the makeup base? I've noticed this as well on high quality TV broadcasts, in particular cable and local news station talking heads, and in print. I have a feeling it's the makeup because it doesn't show up all the time. I think ...

  1. #21

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    PShock, nice shot, nice subject.

    Hope you don't take this wrong and think I'm disparaging your work. It's quite professional. I'm just making an observation. But is it the nature of digital to show skintones under that kind of light to show up flat and chalky or is it like that in film as well or maybe it's the makeup base?

    I've noticed this as well on high quality TV broadcasts, in particular cable and local news station talking heads, and in print.

    I have a feeling it's the makeup because it doesn't show up all the time. I think the makeup reflects light differently or reacts with artificial studio light.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

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  3. #23

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    From an outside observer of digital photography it seems to me that digital is either terribly flat or it is attempt at contrast simply fails to make the grade.

    It is it's Achilles heal. They'll have to come up with something better.

    Phil that is a bit flat, no? Even if the client liked it!
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #24

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    I don't think digital is flat relative to film. The major difference I see is occasional colour artifacts in n out highlights, but proper lighting and exposure effectively prevent that. It seems that contrast may be increased in digital compared with film, but recovery of shadow detail is better than with film, so accurate post processing should fix that. With studio lighting, both should work fine. With difficult out of studio lighting, I find digital easier to fix. If one wants 8x10 film, tilting and shifting view cameras etc, film still has no peer.
    Philo_Calhoun@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #25

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Phil:
    Don't have energy right now to post link, but I re-examined those hard light shots I did and in fact, perhaps it was a combination of the subject and make up. (not sure yet) The subject, woman 39, is pretty, but no longer a 20 year old spring chicken with flawless skin.

    also see greasy hotspots on forehead, nose and under parts of one eye. Rest of face is better. So either there was not enough powder in first place, or make up would have been ok with umbrella flat light but could not handle hard snoot light. That's the thing, though, I did umbrella soft light too, and they look much better as far as hotspots go, so I was thinking digital was not handling the hotspots that occur with harder light (as well as print or slide film), but maybe it's this one model/make-up combination. have to keep testing........
    Scottie_G.@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #26

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Since, I don't have a digital camera, yet, I was curious to find out the bit variances seen on a zoomed in area of this flatness as well as the transition point into the outs on a high quality digital capture. Bit variances meaning how many individual pixels have different chromatic variations of color to give the illusion of depth much like what multicolored film grain gives.

    I dont' know if I'm discribing it right, but usually compression algorithms of digital captures destroy this affect leading to the flat look or choppy transitions into outs.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #27

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    The *really* cool thing with digital is that you can show the stylist/makeup folks what it looks like, real time. Then lighting, makeup, etc. can be adjusted very quickly.

    Loading images to the TiBook from the D100 card is a bit slow. I am looking forward to my next Nikon digicam SLR that will easily support real time computer images review. The D2h does it now, but I await a few more pixels...
    Allen_Wicks@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #28

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Then it is the makeup that gives that look. I'm noticing this also in restored classic color movies like Jimmy Stewart in Hitch's Vertigo. I've never seen so much makeup on a man.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #29

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Scottie -

    You can keep testing if you like, but I can tell you right now that your problem is not due to "digital" or even the age of the woman but the combination of makeup/facial oils and hard light/overexposure. Of course the problem won't be as pronounced with soft light because it's much more forgiving. That's the point. I could post a shot of 70 year-old woman with the same type of light as my previous example and you'd not see a trace of n highlights. Oily skin = specular surface --- specular surface lit with hard light = specular (n) highlights. If you had no control over makeup, you still could have dealt with it at time of capture by NOT overexposing the highlights and then later dealing with the underexposure in Photoshop. Just like with E-6, once highlights are gone, they're gone forever. It's completely possible to "fix" makeup and even lighting problems afterwards, but the detail has to be there to begin with. If you need to error - error on the side of underexposure.

    Wade -

    Oh, boy ... here we go again. ;--)

    "Flat" as in levels contrast or as in flat light/makeup? I've already commented on the light and makeup so I assume you're talking about levels. Doesn't look flat on my monitor. But keep in mind that my screen is calibrated at a gamma of 2.2. If yours is 1.8, it's going to look washed out and flat. And anyway, as i said earlier I really didn't spend time on the image. Didn't realize there was going to be a test.

    But really - statements like, "digital is flat", or "digital is muddy" are false.

    Tell you what, how about you and I play a little game? (anyone can play if they like) Since you seem to have the unique ability to judge the weakness of digital from looking at small jpeg images on the web, you should have no trouble in picking out which of the images posted below are film and which are digital. If you can accurately tell me which are which, I'm here to state publicly that I will never again question your opinions. (I realize asking you to reciprocate if you fail is pointless so I won't even bother.) ;- )

    13 unrelated images - some film, some digital. Answers provided at the conclusion. Have fun!

    <http://shock.spymac.net/fvd-1.jpg>
    <http://shock.spymac.net/fvd-2.jpg>

    -phil
    PShock@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #30

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Were you addressing this to Wade or me? If me, I'm not offering opinions, just observations hopefully leading to an understanding.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #31

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    No Tim, I was talking to Wade. But go ahead and try to guess which is which. Seriously. There's no hard feelings here.

    For whatever reason, people try to make digital out to be an inferior tool when it's simply not true. There are differences sure, but many of the "digital issues" are unfounded. In the past, I've heard all kinds of problems blamed on digital when clearly the problem was elsewhere. This thread was started because Scottie had/has the idea that "digital can't handle hard light". Others have said, "digital is flat" and digital is muddy. I'm just trying to lay those misconceptions to rest. If either of those were true, it should be a piece of cake to pick out film or digital. Give it a shot. Actually, I think the more that participate will better help your understanding.

    -phil
    PShock@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #32

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Well said, Phil.
    Allen_Wicks@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #33

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    I'm already sold on digital. Long time ago. I looked at your links and I couldn't tell the difference. Fantastic work, BTW.

    But my observation has mainly been based on broadcast TV and bad Epson inkjet samples from pro photographers from the manufacturer and what I''ve noticed in gravure printed periodicals in the Sunday paper. I couldn't tell if it was the makeup, the type of capture or the medium in which it was presented.

    It's been the makeup work all along.

    Digital sees everything. Better than film. Catch some digitaly restored "Night Gallery" episodes on a digital broadcast. You can see every pore, hair and the tons of makeup they used. When they originally aired back in the '70's you couldn't see this.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #34

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    For a strictly scientific comparison, I would simply have to be in extremely
    close proximity to the subjects in #1, #4, and #10. Short of that, the
    ysis is simply frustrating.
    Doug_Katz@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #35

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras



    ... like Jimmy Stewart in Hitch's Vertigo. I've never seen so much
    makeup on a man.




    James Stewart was in Vertigo? I was too busy watching Kim Novak to notice.
    Ramón_G_Castañeda@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #36

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Kim had the pancake, too.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  17. #37

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Wade,

    Sometimes digital pics and SEEM flatter because you're seeing more detail in the shadows than you're used to seeing from film scans, but more often the reason is probably because whoever corrected the image did a lousy job of it. Having shot thousands of digital captures and scanned thousands more pieces of film, I can say that in the final ysis, that there is no inherent flatness to digital.

    In addition to shooting my own images, I often get paid to make other people's image look their best, and even digital pics shot on consumer grade, with good color and tonal correction, can look much better than one would ever expect.
    Peter_Figen@adobeforums.com Guest

  18. #38

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Hard to tell from the jpegs but I'll guess 1 4 6 8 11 are film although they all actually look digital to me but if you say some are film then those would be my choice.

    But in any chase they all look rather on the dull side and awfully flat.

    That is my observation!
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  19. #39

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Wade,

    I think a lot of what you call flat is more of his aesthetic choice of using diffused lighting, not the limitations of the capture medium if there are any. This IS my opinion and not an observation.

    His work is so over-the-top high quality from my layman prosumer point of reference that I can't distinguish what you are seeing.

    I saw an ad in PEI mag of the Phase One, shows a shot of the grayhaired hippy dude with head resting on his hand, and the realism was so freakish considering the low gamut of web offset. I compared this shot to the film based photography in predigital issues of CA and Print-high end ad business sheet fed pubs, and it doesn't compare in quality to the Phase One in my opinion. That shot captured very realistic translucent fleshtones.
    Tim_Lookingbill@adobeforums.com Guest

  20. #40

    Default Re: Contrast with digital cameras

    Interesting observation Wade --- wrong, but interesting.

    Curious though, what was your criteria in coming to your conclusion? Were your choices based on technical issues, (say, artifacting , tonal range, etc), or were you simply trying to guess which of the subjects I would have shot digitally?

    ... and awfully flat.




    Hmm ... again, not on my screen. There's probably a couple that could benefit from a bit of a boost but certainly not as you describe. Is your monitor calibrated? What gamma? (images on your "home page" look dark to me, leading me to believe you're using 1.8 - I'm at 2.2) How old is your monitor? CRTs DO lose contrast over time. Still, maybe you're right and I should thank you for pointing this out. Maybe I'm one of those that's in desperate need of Peter's services and don't realize it. Would anyone else describe these as "awfully flat"? (honest, I'm not interested in polite compliments.)

    Regardless, your comments - "it's hard to tell from jpegs" and "they all look digital to me", EXACTLY proves my point. Of course it's hard to tell! The mere fact that you think they all look one way or another should be enough for you to realize that trying to base judgement from web based images is pointless. On a monitor screen, a film image can look just as good - or bad as a digital image. Thanks for proving this fact publically. (And yes, there are film images in those pages - actually, more of them than digital.) But naturally, you'll continue to bash digital without any facts or experience to back it up. You just wouldn't be you otherwise. (And gosh darn it - I guess I wouldn't want you any other way - you're entertaining, if nothing else.)

    That's my observation! :p

    -phil

    (Tim - thanks) :)
    PShock@adobeforums.com Guest

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