Author Topic: The golden ratio is still BS  (Read 1632 times)

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Offline seamas

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2019, 10:06:09 AM »
I do think that people find non-symmetrical images more pleasing, but I don't by that the golden ratio is better than any other ratio.

It isn't a matter of being MORE pleasing.

Symmetrical images and asymmetrical images (of a considerable range) are BOTH pleasing, they just create different effects.

I would suggest a collection of Western illumination with an asymmetrical composition would have a fairly variable focal point, and were you to average those focal points you might have some convergence close to one of the GR nodes--as it sits noticeably off center, but not so far to the side where it pulls balance to the edge.

Much like the ratios of the rectangles used for the canvas or picture plane.
Only rarely does one see a perfect square, which is fairly static.
Usually a rectangle is used. If you average all of the rectangles (rotate if necessary so they are all landscape or portrait), you would likely see the "average" rectangle to have an aspect ratio somewhere between a 4X6 (which is GR) or 5X7 (which isn't).
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Online The Latinist

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2019, 11:22:39 AM »
I think the inclusion of the spiral is misleading people, here. It's the vertical and horizontal lines that Captain Video is claiming are being used to frame the shots. Since he is the only one of us here who actually is a film industry professional, I will take his word that directors are doing that; I have no reason to doubt it.  Does anyone?

Note that this does not mean that the golden ratio is in any way magical or that it objectively creates better compositions.  But that is not necessary for CV's claims to be true; all that is necessary is that directors believe it creates better compositions.  It may be entirely woo on their parts, or merely something that their eyes have been trained to appreciate; but that doesn't mean that they aren't doing it.
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Online CarbShark

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The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2019, 11:40:53 AM »
I think in most cases frame composition is arrived at naturally or instinctively without concern for rules or ratios, but good composition can naturally fit those forms.

I know of cinematographers who study composition in art, mostly paintings but also sculpture, and compose every shot based on their years of study rather.


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Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2019, 12:07:25 PM »
I've seen research done with modern art in which blinded subjects rate paintings from modern artists and similar but random splashes of paint and color. And the results do find the artists work more pleasing, so saying "Even a child can do that" requieres a gifted child.

I would be surprise if a similar experiment cannot be perform using ratios like this, to definitely test if they are more pleasing.

I do think that people find non-symmetrical images more pleasing, but I don't by that the golden ratio is better than any other ratio.

Also:



In this example the golden ratio is forced on the image as it doesn't really fit in the image and is cut off on the top by the letterbox.

They often see a larger aspect ratio in the viewfinder (like 2:1) then the film crops it down. With video they sometimes shoot at 2:1 then crop later. 

With the GR you stretch it width wise to fit the frame when setting up.

this is another way of thinking of it,



I'm sure a DP or 1st Camera will line these shots up instinctively without actually needing to see the lines and certainly no need to draw a curve.

Online amysrevenge

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2019, 12:19:48 PM »
I think the inclusion of the spiral is misleading people, here. It's the vertical and horizontal lines that Captain Video is claiming are being used to frame the shots. Since he is the only one of us here who actually is a film industry professional, I will take his word that directors are doing that; I have no reason to doubt it.  Does anyone?

Note that this does not mean that the golden ratio is in any way magical or that it objectively creates better compositions.  But that is not necessary for CV's claims to be true; all that is necessary is that directors believe it creates better compositions.  It may be entirely woo on their parts, or merely something that their eyes have been trained to appreciate; but that doesn't mean that they aren't doing it.

At the end of the day it's probably a chicken/egg self-fulfilling cycle, where good directors/photographers use this blocking technique, therefore good films/photographs have these ratios in them, therefore future directors/photographers use the techniques because that's what good films/photographs do, etc.
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2019, 01:01:46 PM »
The lower left cheek is the window into a person's soul.
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You are correct. That is my mistake. The lower left cheek is a mirror that reflects the viewer's soul.
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Offline superdave

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2019, 01:17:19 PM »
As was mentioned, cutting frames into thirds is similar to the Golden Ratio and I am much more willing to believe someone might intentional cut their frame or artwork into thirds than that they would shoot for 1.618:1
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2019, 01:24:46 PM »
How much of this crap just confirmation bias. Sure the golden ratio shows up in places but so do a ton of other ratios. Is the golden ratio's appearance statistically significant or just the nature of variability?
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2019, 01:37:49 PM »
As was mentioned, cutting frames into thirds is similar to the Golden Ratio and I am much more willing to believe someone might intentional cut their frame or artwork into thirds than that they would shoot for 1.618:1

would you indulge me for 5 minutes and watch the video I posted above? start at 7:00

It shows the difference between the 2 shots back to back with several examples and aspect ratios.  The choice of shot is arguable but you can clearly see a difference. The videos author draws his own conclusions on which he thinks is better for different situations.

This is how composition is set up in advance and taught in school, not as a magical phenomenon where people find patterns in videos on youtube.   

I'm sure some people do it naturally without even knowing about the phi grid but I think thats what amysrevenge is talking about the chicken/egg, you see it so often in film without actually knowing it is what it is that you mite instinctively frame your shot that way because you are used to seeing it framed that way.

Now does that apply to the GR in nature and all that woo? I don't know, probably not.  It looks better in many situations, I could not scientifically say why it looks better.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 01:41:50 PM by Captain Video »

Online jt512

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2019, 01:38:39 PM »
As was mentioned, cutting frames into thirds is similar to the Golden Ratio and I am much more willing to believe someone might intentional cut their frame or artwork into thirds than that they would shoot for 1.618:1


You are assuming that they intentionally "shoot" for the golden ratio, rather than find it naturally because it is aesthetically pleasing.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2019, 02:03:12 PM »
In the previous post you claimed it was the optimal ratio for staggering leaves in plants.  Really?

Yes.


Has someone calculated the overall number of photons of light that are incident on leaf surfaces based on the geographic location and growing season, adjusted for the efficiency of chlorophyll and other photoactive compounds, estimated energy expenditures for either the formation of buds or the overall growth of a leaf, and then proved that setting (L1+L2)/L2 = L2/L1 maximizes overall energy intake?

I doubt it's necessary to calculate the "overall number of photons of light" in order to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of a particular leaf arrangement along a linear stem. Geographic location and growing season would seem to be interesting variables, but remember most plants also tend to grow their leaves toward the direction of maximum light.

Here's a study that used mathematical modeling to investigate the advantage of leaf arrangement on light capture and minimizing shadow overlap in plants with different stem lengths and leaf shapes.

                   
Quote
DISCUSSION

We have analysed the phyllotactic spiral under the assumption that evolutionary pressure has driven plants to optimize light capture under natural conditions which guarantees maximal photosynthetic activity, and thereby maximal carbon gain. With two quite natural and simple assumptions for plants which receive light mainly coming in parallel to the leaf stem, we can derive the ‘shadow function’ which represents the shadow thrown upon a lower leaf by leaves above, and thus diminishes light capture for the lower leaf. Summing over all leaves above the lowest, one obtains the total shadow function for the lowest leaf in its dependence on the divergence angle of the phyllotactic spiral. The inverse, the light capture function, measures the light capture as function of the divergence angle. Comparing this function with empirical results obtained by Pearcy & Yang (1998) from data on the Redwood understorey plant A. bicolor with the architecture model YPLANT
(Pearcy & Yang 1996) shows an almost perfect fit of our model over the whole divergence angle range. The qualitative behaviour of our light capture model is preserved when one simplifies it according to Eqn 7. In particular, the global
optimum of the simplified model lies close to the optimum obtained from numerical evaluation of the full model, corresponding to Eqn 3, and the data of Pearcy & Yang (1998). Application of number theory then shows that within our model, the golden angle is the divergence angle for maximum light capture, and that this limit will be more and more approached with decreasing leaf width and increasing total leaf number.

We stress light capture as the selective pressure in the evolution of spiral phyllotaxis optimizing Darwinian fitness, and we present a mathematical model together with analytical solutions which agree with experimental observations and an empirical model (Pearcy & Yang 1998). However, one may ask why identical rules of phyllotaxis not only apply to vegetative photosynthesizing shoots but also to reproductive shoot structures, such as flowers and cones of cycads and conifers, angiosperm flowers, capitulae (Asteraceae), etc. Is it then not a packing problem after all? One must, however, recall that reproductive structures evolved from leaves. This is still seen in extant fern allies, i.e. basic cormophyte taxa such as Lycopodium and Selaginella, where spirally arranged leaflets at the tip of the shoots bearing the sporangia in their axils mark the very early stages of flower evolution (Ehrendorfer 1998a). With respect to our theoretical finding that the golden
angle increasingly perfectly optimizes light capture as leaf width decreases, it is also interesting to note that the basic taxa Lycopodium and Salaginella have rather narrow photosynthetic leaves spirally arranged on their shoots. Phylogenetically the early leaves in these groups of Pteridophyta (Lycopodiopsida) evolving primordial flowers certainly were microphylls, in contrast to the mega- or macrophylls in the other Pteridophyta, namely the ferns (Pteridopsida) in which flowers did not evolve
(Ehrendorfer 1998b).

In conclusion, we can explain the observed and longstanding mystery of the golden angle in phyllotaxis with quite natural assumptions on leaf sequence and shadow casting by an appeal to the result of number theory that the ‘golden mean’ is characterized by the ‘most irrational number’. Thus, strong evolutionary profit explains the occurrence of divergence angles close to the golden angle in nature and this aspect goes beyond the level of optimal primordial packing at the shoot apex. The fact that the mathematical result of nature’s optimization coincides with that of aesthetical perception must remain intriguing.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2004.01185.x


Based on those factors I listed, I'd bet that whenever you get something close to the golden ratio it is a coincidence rather than a fundamental organizational structure.

It's a mere geometric consequence of evolution. I don't think anybody here is trying to argue it's a deep insight into the mind of some Creator God.


I could (maybe) write out some differential equations and boundary conditions where the golden ratio really *does* represent some sort of min or max, but I doubt they'll correspond to any realistic situation that we encounter in biology or physics.

Other mathematical studies (by Fermat, Vogel and others) have examined geometric packing of oval shapes and found that the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower is optimal for cramming the maximum number of seeds into a circular shape.


We should also consider the fact that just because a particular design is optimal does not mean there is an evolutionary pathway to get there or maintain it.

Yet there it is, observable in nature. That would appear to indicate that an evolutionary pathway exists, unless you have some theory of biological morphology that overturns Natural Selection.


Perhaps a lot of classes of plants reach ~1.5/1 distances between leaves but then hit a kind of barrier where there's no way to further increase without drastically altering their morphology.

Do any such plants exist in nature? That might be the place to start looking. 


This is what bugs me so much about this topic - instead of inspiring people to think about the why or the how, the Golden Ratio is just thrown out there like it's some sort of mythical force that automatically explains everything.  If it's not immediately intuitive why it's so special, or if there's doubt about it's significance, it's up to people that tout its utility to do actually do the math and prove their thesis.

The problem is the quasi-mystical, unscientific approach of some teachers. The math and biology have been done. The mathematical proofs and scientific explanations are readily available, if you bother to look for them. Most people just don't. It's a lot easier to fall back on "Godidit" or some New Agey bullshit. 


Or even those that tout the aesthetics - come up with something beyond Psych 101 explanations of why people find it pleasing.

A convincing explanation for the aesthetics is something I would also like to see.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 03:04:43 PM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2019, 02:57:06 PM »
I have to disagree, it was thought out in advance regardless of what John Albert thinks

So you're a mind reader, eh?

Weird that this skeptics forum seems to be a haven for so many psychics.


I think the inclusion of the spiral is misleading people, here. It's the vertical and horizontal lines that Captain Video is claiming are being used to frame the shots. Since he is the only one of us here who actually is a film industry professional, I will take his word that directors are doing that; I have no reason to doubt it.  Does anyone?

I have reasons to doubt it.

To clarify, I'm not saying all directors don't do it. That would be just as much of a hasty generalization as asserting that all of them do it. Film directors and DPs are artists, and as such they all have their own personal approaches to aesthetic decisions.

Specifically, I'm saying that Clint Eastwood example is not a reasonable example of the GR being used in film shot composition.

The example is a screencap of a single frame from For A Few Dollars More, directed by Sergio Leone, with Massimo Dallamano as director of photography. That movie has a 132 minute run-time. At 24 frames per second, that's 190,080 frames. I wonder how many frames, out of 190,080, could be cherry-picked to exhibit a rough adherence to the Golden Ratio in some arbitrary way.

And yet, as Guillermo pointed out, despite being cherry-picked, that example is not even correct! It's fudged in exactly the same way as GR proponents often do when talking about things like the Parthenon.




They often see a larger aspect ratio in the viewfinder (like 2:1) then the film crops it down. With video they sometimes shoot at 2:1 then crop later. 

With the GR you stretch it width wise to fit the frame when setting up.

(click to show/hide)

I'm sure a DP or 1st Camera will line these shots up instinctively without actually needing to see the lines and certainly no need to draw a curve.

You're insinuating this is the way everybody lines up shots, according to the Golden Ratio? And they do it that way even with full knowledge that the final image's composition will not conform to the GR? If that's true, then what's the point?

For A Few Dollars More, made in Italy in 1965, was shot in Techniscope. In the 1960s, that film format had a shooting aspect ratio of 2.33:1 and a print aspect ratio of 2.35:1. That's roughly comparable to modern widescreen computer monitors.

The actual difference in aspect ratios between the shooting stock and the final print stock would be barely perceptible to the average viewer, and definitely not enough to account for the extra vertical height that would be needed to impose a Golden Ratio onto that composition in the manner depicted in the screenshot.

In fact, there's no way to effectively shoehorn a golden ratio onto an entire image of 2.33:1 aspect. In order to make the entire composition fit the GR, the aspect ratio of the frame would have to equal the GR itself (which is 1.618:1). The best a DP could do would be to compose the shot so that some juxtaposition of elements within the frame visually conform to the GR (e.g. a window frame, a doorway, two telegraph poles, an alternating pattern of light/darkness, etc.)

To clarify yet again: I'm not saying that some directors and DPs don't find ways to use the GR in framing shots. I also understand the importance of the "rule of thirds" as a basic concept all kinds of in design (I use it regularly myself), and some people might believe the GR can be roughly approximated to that. But it's a simple fact of mathematics that the GR (1.618:1) does not conform to thirds (2:1).

What I'm saying is that image of Clint Eastwood is not evidence that Leone or Dallamano utilized the Golden Ratio in their shot composition. Hence I wouldn't go jumping to any conclusions that they intended to use the Golden Ratio, at least without reference to interviews or writings by Leone, Dallamano, or at least somebody who was present on set.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 05:06:03 PM by John Albert »

Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2019, 03:49:58 PM »
I take it you also didn't watch the video to see how the curve is used to come up with the phi grid explaining how it is handled with the crop/wider aspects.  Again the grid being more important than the curve itself for lining up the shots.

Its a pretty standard lesson/rule in film composition. I dont know what Massimo Dallamano had on his mind when shooting regarding the phi grid but he certainly used it with a ton of shots. Its clearly used in that shot I posted, I don't understand how you could be doubtful of it other than not actually understanding what I am saying about the process.

You also missed the part where I explained the aspect ratio may be different in the scope they used to set up the shot. It often is on any modern video assist monitor with most film and video.

Offline John Albert

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2019, 04:00:47 PM »
Yeah, I watched the video. What he's saying is quite arbitrary.

I'm not saying nobody uses Phi grids, I'm saying it's not a universal hard rule. And if you compose a shot according to the the Golden Ratio and then crop that shot, the final result no longer conforms to the Golden Ratio. 

You also never answered my question as to what mechanism Dallamano allegedly used back in the 1960s when lining up the shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

Offline Captain Video

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Re: The golden ratio is still BS
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2019, 04:12:16 PM »
Yeah, I watched the video. What he's saying is quite arbitrary.

I'm not saying nobody uses Phi grids, I'm saying it's not a universal hard rule. And if you compose a shot according to the the Golden Ratio and then crop that shot, the final result no longer conforms to the Golden Ratio. 

You also never answered my question as to what mechanism Dallamano allegedly used back in the 1960s when lining up the shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

The gr is stretched until it matches the width of the frame to come up with the phi grid, as he does in the video.  The proportions are the same. If you still don't get it I don't know how to convince you or what the point would be in continuing to try.

 

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