So, a post on Photoshop Distasters struck me. Not the photo itself, but the responses.

Sandwiched between people valiantly defending home-schooling, I was surprised how many people were commenting, “Oh, you wouldn’t want a distorted and foreshortened reflection of here, it wouldn’t be as good,” or “you wouldn’t be able to see her face if they put a realistic reflection in the puddle.” When it seems quite obvious to me that a realistic reflection in a puddle wouldn’t show her at all.

And similar things have come up before; when shooting a movie, I was getting some glare off a window from a light, so I ask someone to move a light to the left. “Oh, you mean to the right.” I point the direction I want. “But if I move the light to the left, the glare will move to the right.”

Or another Photoshop Disasters example, where I showed the blog to someone, and they were like, “Yeah?” I tell them to look at the shadow. They shake their head. They don’t see it. I point out that stencil of “Wall-E” and the reflection of that stencil are not parallel. “So that’s wrong?” they say.

So I guess I have an above average sense for how reflections work. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that what’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to everybody and it takes things like this to wake you up to that.

But back to the puddle reflection. I’m willing to bet the Photoshop guy did know how reflections work, but there was a division of labour thing going on. Let’s say there’s two guys working at this company. Frank meets with the client, and George produces the final work.

Frank and the client meet, Frank pitches his idea:
“Yeah, so there’s this chick in a trench coat flashing these two guys on a bench, and her back’s to the camera, so it’s just like she’d flashing them, right? All you can see is the trench coat and she’s got it pulled wide open, and the two guys look all surprised. But there’s a puddle on the ground, and you can see her reflection in the puddle, and she’s not naked under the trench coat, she’s wearing your product.”
The client says that’s great, signs off on it.

Frank then goes to George, and explains the idea. George goes, “You won’t be able to see her reflection in the puddle. If she’s standing, she’ll be vertical. A puddle will be horizontal. If her back is to the camera, you aren’t going to see her front in the reflection from a horizontal surface.”

So Frank says, “Look, the client already signed off on the idea. The idea-generating stage of our process is over. Now we are in the production stage, and you’re trying to get me to do the first stage all over again because you can’t produce? Just do it. Who cares if it’s realistic or not?”

So George thinks Frank doesn’t consider the implications of what he promises the client, and Frank thinks George is a prima donna. The End.

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