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While the human eye and camera have similarities, how each sees the world is vastly different, particularly when it comes to dynamic range, the tonal differences between the brightest brights and darkest darks. Because of this, you should adjust a photograph's tonal range prior to interpreting it into a painting. In this video, I'll show you how both the camera and eye portrays the world and how you can modify a photo to make it look more like the eye of the artist sees it, a key attribute toward successful interpretation.
Now, the first fact you have to understand is that a camera is static. It's basically dumb. It can only expose for one condition. And I'll show you an example what I am talking about here, and this is an extreme example. Most photographs are not necessary going to have this much dynamic range from the darks to the lights, but this is a good example, the interior of a church. In this particular photo the camera was adjusted to expose for the shadows, so the darkest areas are exposed properly. But what happens is, in exposing properly for the shadows, the highlights get blown out; they get overexposed.
This is the crux of the camera. It can only see one way of exposing at a time. Now let's say we want to expose for the highlights. Okay. Now the highlights are not blowing out, but look what happens to all the shadows; now its way to dark, and this is the limitation of the camera in that it can only see one exposure at a time. The human eye, on the other hand, is dynamic. a=As we move around and look at a scene, our iris and our eye is constantly adapting and adjusting, so we don't perceive the world as a single exposure.
We have a constantly changing exposure and as a result, the way we see the world is more like this. We adjust for the brightest highlights. We adjust for the shadows. And it's not that we're going to stand in one spot and look at this as an overall image, but as we scan the image and look through it, that constantly changing exposure is what allows the eye to see it seen like this. And that's what happens when an artist is painting a scene, they are going to be looking at each part of this scene with the proper exposure for that part of the scene. And as they aggregate that image into the media of painting, well, you're going to get a properly exposed image for both shadows and highlights.
So this is a big difference between the language of photography, as we see in the two left images where only one of exposure is possible with the camera as basically a dumb machine that doesn't understand the differences in those values and the human eye on the right, where we are constantly adapting and changing and as a result we see a scene interpret it much different, and it's this key difference in the way exposure happens that is a major difference between the language of photography and the language of painting.
In the rest of the videos, I'm going to be showing you some different techniques you can do to get an image more into the proper range for painting as opposed to its photographic source.
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