On Borders, Relative Tones, and Printing

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On Borders, Relative Tones, and Printing

Postby AratiRao » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:35 am

I am struggling with borders :)
And in a previous thread, Krish posted this excellent link which gives you much gyaan about the science behind "relative tones," and much much more.

Do read, re-read as you deem fit. Ten Tips For Better Prints

Of course, unfortunately, the gyaan is not translating into any a-ha for me ... yet! still freely making mistakes in border-choice :D

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Re: On Borders, Relative Tones, and Printing

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:19 pm

Arati, there is no clear scientific way of doing it, it is also an art :)

I tried to study the effect of borders a few years ago and wrote a little note.
Later I removed that page from my site since I felt there is some amount of subjectivity there. Anyway, the dangling (now un-connected to the site) link is still there at my site.

Here are some more thoughts -

- A good border acts as container for the frame which facilitates the visual flow from all four sides to the actual image itself.
- If that is true, then the border should facilitate that flow, it should not arrest the eyes on it. So it may not be effective to have either complementary colors or complementary intensity range as the border.
Colored borders in general doesn't seem to work (for my taste buds). But there is always an exception.
- How can I then choose a matching border ? I had mentioned one possible method in the thread above (as critique in your image). Another way could be to take "Average" of intensity levels in the frame and then trying
some tonal ranges around that level. We can do this in PS by Filter -> Blur -> Average and then storing grey level corresponding to that average color as foreground color and then using that
for the border. Again a rough approximation but might work around that range.
- What should be the width of the border ? Too wide is ineffective and too narrow is ineffective too. If too narrow border might work other way round !! Eyes will be pulled towards the border instead
of containing the image. From my experience about 25-30% of the image width may be a good size for the border.

These are all some generic logic/science I arrived at after some experimentation but as we know art is aberration of logic/science :)

Here is an image with few different borders. The one with grey border is determined using average tonal range in the image and mapping it to the grey tone.

cranes_flight_leaves_0.jpg (152.48 KiB) Viewed 4970 times

cranes_flight_leaves_2.jpg (171.42 KiB) Viewed 4970 times

cranes_flight_leaves_3.jpg (173.21 KiB) Viewed 4970 times

cranes_flight_leaves_1.jpg (169.66 KiB) Viewed 4970 times

May be some further tweaking of this average intensity might give us optimal grey tone for the border. Just my thoughts.

I would encourage you to do some experiments and share your findings with us !
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life
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Ganesh H Shankar
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Re: On Borders, Relative Tones, and Printing

Postby AratiRao » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:47 pm

My goodness, Ganesh - you have given me so much to chew on. thanks so much.

i must also say, there are some things i have learned deeply since joining CNP in September 2011: your sincerity, humility, selflessness, and diligence. Very few people stop to take out time and help - every single time, with every single query - like you do. I know i speak for a few of us when i say we salute you!

Thank you :)
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