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General Discussions => Skepticism / Science Talk => Topic started by: superdave on August 12, 2019, 09:11:46 PM

Title: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: superdave on August 12, 2019, 09:11:46 PM
https://www.fastcompany.com/3044877/the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-myth

I posted this because the brand new math curriculum I am using this year perpetuates this myth on what is supposed to be the opening lesson of the year...But now I think this could be a good chance to talk some skepticism.  We can talk about why the myth persists and how it could be tested.


The myth says that all kinds of art and nature follow the ratio of about 1.1618... to 1, and that we are inclined to find that ratio pleasing.  There is one obvious problem which is that the first number in the ratio is irrational, which means the whole proportion is irrational, which means it is literally impossible for any object to follow that proportion.  But bigger problem is that all the typical examples used to describe how the proportion are used in art or architecture make their rectangles in entirely arbitrary ways just to fit the picture into the ratio.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Sawyer on August 12, 2019, 10:04:16 PM
There is one obvious problem which is that the first number in the ratio is irrational, which means the whole proportion is irrational, which means it is literally impossible for any object to follow that proportion. 

The golden ratio is probably nonsense, but this isn't true either.

E is irrational.  It shows up in nature all the time.  I'm pretty sure there are chemical bonds whose angle measurements that are irrational in both radians and degrees.  I don't see what's special about physical proportions that they cannot repeatedly follow the same irrational ratio.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: arthwollipot on August 12, 2019, 10:21:02 PM
There is one obvious problem which is that the first number in the ratio is irrational, which means the whole proportion is irrational, which means it is literally impossible for any object to follow that proportion. 

The golden ratio is probably nonsense, but this isn't true either.

E is irrational.  It shows up in nature all the time.  I'm pretty sure there are chemical bonds whose angle measurements that are irrational in both radians and degrees.  I don't see what's special about physical proportions that they cannot repeatedly follow the same irrational ratio.

Indeed. The ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius is also irrational, and yet circles exist.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 12, 2019, 10:24:53 PM
There is one obvious problem which is that the first number in the ratio is irrational, which means the whole proportion is irrational, which means it is literally impossible for any object to follow that proportion. 

The golden ratio is probably nonsense, but this isn't true either.

E is irrational.  It shows up in nature all the time.  I'm pretty sure there are chemical bonds whose angle measurements that are irrational in both radians and degrees.  I don't see what's special about physical proportions that they cannot repeatedly follow the same irrational ratio.


You beat me to it.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video on August 13, 2019, 12:13:10 AM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)

This video does an interesting comparison to using the Golden ratio vs the rule of thirds in cinematography.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTx6va0sBHc

It doesn't exactly work with all aspect ratios we use in film so you have to cheat it in but I do think it makes some shots much better.   He says when he stretches the curve that it no longer works mathematically but its still close enough to the same curve that becomes pleasing to the eye.

on a side note Its interesting that he uses a Wes Anderson film to demonstrate film aspect ratios at the beginning of the video when Anderson does not use the rule of thirds nor the golden ratio. Not too many people can get away with that, the other two framing styles are almost always used.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 13, 2019, 02:01:09 AM
Golden ratios or similar (there are a family of such ratios, it's not confined to just the Golden ratio) appear in nature often because of evolutionary selection pressure. Distribution of leaves around a stem, or flowers petals, or seeds are often optimised when the pattern used follows such irrational ratios.

e.g. if you want to maximise the light collected from one stem, then rotating the placement of leaves around the stem using such an irrational ratio will do this, or if you want to maximise the packing of seeds in a flower, then it represents a optimal design strategy.

If you think nature doesn't do irrational numbers, then you'll probably not want to know about how often fractals appear in nature as well. Just look at a fern leaf. Classic fractal pattern. Indeed, fractals are a brilliantly efficient way to encode a method of replication (which is why computer graphics use them all the time). The simplest of algorithms can lead to very complex and intricate patterns, as well as lead to optimal outcomes.

Then there are the appearance of prime numbers in nature as well, e.g. the number of years between when a species of cicadas appears in season is often a prime number of years (2,3,5,7,11,13,17). This evolved over millennia to be a very efficient survival strategy as it minimises the chances that two or more species emerge in the same season.

Another "natural" irrational number of course is ∏. ∏ appears everywhere in the natural world since spherical and related forms are a consequence of physics (e.g. gravity). The meandering ratio of rivers is a function of ∏. Biological processes are ultimately the consequence of physical laws, and is why ∏ appears in various places in nature. e.g. the patterns of spots and stripes on many animals has ∏ encoded within them. It's a key value in many periodic biological processes.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 13, 2019, 02:08:54 AM
There is one obvious problem which is that the first number in the ratio is irrational, which means the whole proportion is irrational, which means it is literally impossible for any object to follow that proportion.

Irrational ratios appear in nature all over the place. The Golden ratio is but one and it's certainly not ubiquitous. There are others.

It is most certainly not impossible to create them. Indeed it's a consequence of minimising energy states (physics) and optimising outcomes (evolutionary pressure) that leads to the common appearance of such irrational ratios in the natural world.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 13, 2019, 02:20:45 AM
and that we are inclined to find that ratio pleasing. 
<snip>
But bigger problem is that all the typical examples used to describe how the proportion are used in art or architecture make their rectangles in entirely arbitrary ways just to fit the picture into the ratio.

Well the first is subjective, so any claim as to how pleasing such forms are is probably just because nature using these forms is often pleasing the look at.

As to overlaying such ratios onto art and architecture yeah sometimes that looks a bit arbitrary and a case of post hoc rationalisation, when really one should examine the planning and design stage to see if use of such a ratio was a deliberate intent.

You can make a paper rectangle in the Golden ratio by simply performing a series of paper folds. It's just a consequence of trigonometry.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Ah.hell on August 13, 2019, 10:08:54 AM
My thoughts:
A.  Repeat the stuff folks have said about irrational numbers, nature, and repeating. 
B1.  I'm pretty sure some Greek came up with the notion that the golden ratio is pleasing to the eye and thus had some special properties.
B2.  Western artists have been aping the greeks ever since, so I'm also pretty sure the golden ratio is often featured in western art and architecture as a result.
B3.  This could easily be the case whether or not the golden ratio is pleasing to the eye and westerners may well be conditioned to think the golden ratio is pleasing thus it is. 



 I'd be curious if there is anything similar in eastern art.  I'm sure there is though.  No fours if nothing else. 
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: seamas on August 13, 2019, 11:23:33 AM
I recall first learning about the Golden Ratio./Golden Mean some 25 years ago when I was very active in oil painting.
What is interesting is the whole thing was barely (if ever) discussed much during time earlier when I was getting my BFA in painting.
I think it was slightly touched on in my freshman 2-D design course, but overall other proportions were far more illustrated in Art History and design analysis.

Anyway, upon learning about the ratio I stretched a couple canvases that conformed to the ratio, marked the ratio within the rectangle and set out to compose within the "ideal".
Meh.
Your mileage may vary, but I didn't get much liftoff at all.

There is a certain truth to a composition having a little more interest--or dynamics-- if the central interest point of the composition is somewhere kinda close to that point of the ratio, but it is not in any way exact or a tell-tale formula.
Put the central focal point dead in the center, (say something like Leonardo's Last supper, or any number of Renaissance Madonnas) and the dynamic becomes more calm, still, serene balanced. Have it off the center--more or less where the golden mean would describe and the eye is more free to wander the composition. Have it too far to one edge and the composition will usually look cropped, unbalanced or otherwise weak.

of course this part of a pictoral composition is but one of many interrelated elements that an artist or designer will exploit to accomplish their aim.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: seamas on August 13, 2019, 11:25:41 AM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: superdave on August 13, 2019, 11:34:31 AM
OK I admit I might have been really sleepy when I wrote some of this,  the golden ratio being an irrational number doesn't disprove anything...but it does have consequences.

Because the number is irrational, any real life application has to be an approximation, but most of the examples you read about take that approximation to the extreme, justifying anything remotely close to 1.618 as being a golden ratio.  I think many of the other examples are just post hoc rationalizations.  Letterbox format is close to the golden ratio but the traditional TV standard before that was 4:3, which isn't close.   

The number is of course real, and there are going to be rectangles that come close to fitting it's proportions that exist in nature by virtue of the fact that there's just a lot of rectangular things out there. 


https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/why-is-the-golden-ratio-seem-to-be-everywhere-in-nature/


The real myth is that the golden ratio is tied to human perception in some way.  That doesn't seem true and the article in the OP explains why.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video on August 13, 2019, 12:01:26 PM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 13, 2019, 02:26:15 PM
Because the number is irrational, any real life application has to be an approximation...


Any real-life realization of any geometric object will be an approximation, wether the dimensions are rational or irrelational.  IRL, you can't construct a perfect square any more or less than you can a perfect circle or a perfect golden rectangle.  However, for any of these objects, you can come arbitrarily close to perfect, or at least as close as your construction technique permits.  With a compass you can construct an approximately perfect circle, even though the ratio of the circumference to the radius is irrational.  The error in the real-world circle does not stem from irrationality, but rather from limitations of precision of the real-world construction materials.  Similarly, with a compass and a straight edge, you can construct an approximately perfect goden rectangle.  The error, likewise, has nothing to do with the irrationality of the ratio of the sides.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: superdave on August 13, 2019, 02:46:39 PM
Because the number is irrational, any real life application has to be an approximation...


Any real-life realization of any geometric object will be an approximation, wether the dimensions are rational or irrelational.  IRL, you can't construct a perfect square any more or less than you can a perfect circle or a perfect golden rectangle.  However, for any of these objects, you can come arbitrarily close to perfect, or at least as close as your construction technique permits.  With a compass you can construct an approximately perfect circle, even though the ratio of the circumference to the radius is irrational.  The error in the real-world circle does not stem from irrationality, but rather from limitations of precision of the real-world construction materials.  Similarly, with a compass and a straight edge, you can construct an approximately perfect goden rectangle.  The error, likewise, has nothing to do with the irrationality of the ratio of the sides.

No one is arguing that it's impossible to make a golden rectangle, I just did a few minutes ago with a compass and a straight edge.  The argument is that the golden rectangle and the golden ratio don't actually show up in many of the places that it is claimed.  For example, you can find people who argue that the ratio of certain lengths of body parts converge on the golden ratio, but this is just cherry picking.  There is no biological basis for why the golden ratio should apply to the length of your arm or torso.

or the above example from the movie.  A piece of the curve is cut completely off!  Clearly saying the golden ratio applies to that frame is opinion only.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 13, 2019, 02:57:09 PM
Because the number is irrational, any real life application has to be an approximation...


Any real-life realization of any geometric object will be an approximation, wether the dimensions are rational or irrelational.  IRL, you can't construct a perfect square any more or less than you can a perfect circle or a perfect golden rectangle.  However, for any of these objects, you can come arbitrarily close to perfect, or at least as close as your construction technique permits.  With a compass you can construct an approximately perfect circle, even though the ratio of the circumference to the radius is irrational.  The error in the real-world circle does not stem from irrationality, but rather from limitations of precision of the real-world construction materials.  Similarly, with a compass and a straight edge, you can construct an approximately perfect goden rectangle.  The error, likewise, has nothing to do with the irrationality of the ratio of the sides.

No one is arguing that it's impossible to make a golden rectangle...


Actually, as the embedded quote above shows, you were arguing that it is impossible to make a golden rectangle as a consequence of the golden ratio being irrational.


Quote
The argument is that the golden rectangle and the golden ratio don't actually show up in many of the places that it is claimed.


That's probably true.




Quote
For example, you can find people who argue that the ratio of certain lengths of body parts converge on the golden ratio, but this is just cherry picking.


Is it?  It would be simple enough to design a study to test whether it is true or not. 


Quote
There is no biological basis for why the golden ratio should apply to the length of your arm or torso.


At least, no known biological basis for it.

Quote
or the above example from the movie.  A piece of the curve is cut completely off!  Clearly saying the golden ratio applies to that frame is opinion only.


It appears to me, too, that the spiral was arbitrarily fitted to the picture, with essentially infinite degrees of freedom.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 13, 2019, 03:16:13 PM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,

Come on, man. The space between the right edge of Clint's mustache and beard is not the center of attention in that shot. The viewer is obviously intended to focus on his eyes, and possibly also the movement of the cigar between his teeth.

I'll give you the golden ratio with his nose as the rough centerline of the composition though.

But do you really think Leone intentionally set the shot up to utilize the Golden Ratio? If so, what mechanism did he use to measure the position of the nose when setting up the shot? Did he bring a tiny ruler to stick in front of the eyepiece of his Arriflex IIc?

It seems far more likely it was a happy accident, perhaps guided by blind intuition at best. Leone was a master.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Shibboleth on August 13, 2019, 03:46:05 PM
The lower left cheek is the window into a person's soul.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 13, 2019, 06:15:39 PM
Other areas we are seeing Golden ratios embedded include quantum mechanics (eignenvalue probabilities), ratios of atomic hydrogen radii in some molecular structures, black holes physics, natural Quasicrystals and in theories on Quantum Gravity (given the black holes stuff I guess this isn't surprising).
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Sawyer on August 13, 2019, 07:33:55 PM
Other areas we are seeing Golden ratios embedded include quantum mechanics (eignenvalue probabilities), ratios of atomic hydrogen radii in some molecular structures, black holes physics, natural Quasicrystals and in theories on Quantum Gravity (given the black holes stuff I guess this isn't surprising).

Assuming for a moment that these are valid examples, this still kind of showcases how the Golden Ratio is just a godawful teaching tool to learn about science.


WHY is the golden ratio showing up in these situations?  In the previous post you claimed it was the optimal ratio for staggering leaves in plants.  Really?  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?  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.  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.  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.  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.

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

Sorry to be a dick, but if you can't tell is dislike 99% of talk about this topic, both for and against.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: amysrevenge on August 13, 2019, 07:45:10 PM
I just remember being pleased with myself in high school when I worked out for myself that it was the solution to x^2-x-1=0, x=0.5+sqrt(1.25)
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video on August 13, 2019, 07:49:55 PM
Because the number is irrational, any real life application has to be an approximation...


Any real-life realization of any geometric object will be an approximation, wether the dimensions are rational or irrelational.  IRL, you can't construct a perfect square any more or less than you can a perfect circle or a perfect golden rectangle.  However, for any of these objects, you can come arbitrarily close to perfect, or at least as close as your construction technique permits.  With a compass you can construct an approximately perfect circle, even though the ratio of the circumference to the radius is irrational.  The error in the real-world circle does not stem from irrationality, but rather from limitations of precision of the real-world construction materials.  Similarly, with a compass and a straight edge, you can construct an approximately perfect goden rectangle.  The error, likewise, has nothing to do with the irrationality of the ratio of the sides.

No one is arguing that it's impossible to make a golden rectangle, I just did a few minutes ago with a compass and a straight edge.  The argument is that the golden rectangle and the golden ratio don't actually show up in many of the places that it is claimed.  For example, you can find people who argue that the ratio of certain lengths of body parts converge on the golden ratio, but this is just cherry picking.  There is no biological basis for why the golden ratio should apply to the length of your arm or torso.

or the above example from the movie.  A piece of the curve is cut completely off!  Clearly saying the golden ratio applies to that frame is opinion only.

I have to disagree, it was thought out in advance regardless of what John Albert thinks

Did anyone watch the video I posted above?  You will see how the G R is used to frame the shot, it was absolutely done intentionally and nobody had to draw any curves. Those lines are available the same as if he was using the rule of thirds, the cinematographer knows where they are in the frame based on the aspect they are shooting.  The line is right there on Clints nose where he placed the center of his shot, if using the rule of thirds it would be farther to the left. 

The red lines are rule of thirds the blue vertical line (and its opposite on the other side not shown like with Clint) are Golden ratio.

(https://petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2016/10/thirds_feat-800x533.jpg)
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Sawyer on August 13, 2019, 10:33:22 PM
But look at how many objects/lines/arcs that the spiral and rectangles do not pass through.  And how many lines are kind of close to focal points on the image, but not quite.  The whole point of superdave's original post (which I still disagree with parts of) is that there is nothing special about the exactness of the Golden Ratio.  Images are often pleasing when they have symmetry, and when symmetry is not appropriate, they'll still look good when they have objects that scale somewhere in the range of ~4:3 to ~2:1.  Doesn't it make way more sense that your eyes and your brain have adapting to seeing anything within this range, and that maybe the 1.618 value is just an arbitrary value that's kind of close to the average?

It may help if you think of extreme examples - what if some awful artist or photographer tried creating an image that followed a 1:10 ratio (and wanted it to be a "natural" scene that's enjoyable to look at).  It wouldn't work.  The scale at which our minds can process images quickly and make sense of them is relatively narrow, and the golden ratio happens to fall into that range.  Not because it's special - it's just a convenient goalpost that falls somewhere between symmetry and order of magnitude size changes.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: arthwollipot on August 13, 2019, 10:39:50 PM
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there are very good reasons why artists, photographers and cinematographers use the golden ratio in their work, but many of the claims about it - and I have seen some astoundingly woo-filled claims - are BS.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 13, 2019, 11:01:25 PM
In the previous post you claimed it was the optimal ratio for staggering leaves in plants.  Really?

No, not really.

I never claimed it was THE optimal ratio. I said it and other ratios like it were often or commonly found in nature, not that it was universal or unique.

Please read what I wrote and don't put words into my keyboard...

This is what I actually wrote:
Distribution of leaves around a stem, or flowers petals, or seeds are often optimised when the pattern used follows such irrational ratios.

e.g. if you want to maximise the light collected from one stem, then rotating the placement of leaves around the stem using such an irrational ratio will do this, or if you want to maximise the packing of seeds in a flower, then it represents a optimal design strategy.

If you think nature doesn't do irrational numbers, then you'll probably not want to know about how often fractals appear in nature as well. Just look at a fern leaf. Classic fractal pattern. Indeed, fractals are a brilliantly efficient way to encode a method of replication (which is why computer graphics use them all the time). The simplest of algorithms can lead to very complex and intricate patterns, as well as lead to optimal outcomes.

Irrational ratios appear in nature all over the place. The Golden ratio is but one and it's certainly not ubiquitous. There are others.

It is most certainly not impossible to create them. Indeed it's a consequence of minimising energy states (physics) and optimising outcomes (evolutionary pressure) that leads to the common appearance of such irrational ratios in the natural world.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Sawyer on August 14, 2019, 12:26:55 AM
So I know I could simply google it to find out for myself, but I would really like to see a mathematical explanation of why the Golden Ratio (or some other specific irrational ratio besides pi or e) is an actual solution to any optimization process in nature.  I accept that there are situations where the solution to a problem in nature will not automatically be an integer or fraction, but most of them will be akin to "your car engine is maximally efficient at 63.26828629 miles per hour".  But there's nothing inherently special about that number, it's just a combination of a dozen different equations that do not all have integer solutions.

Sorry if I was being rude Alex.  I really do feel like this is a topic that hardly anyone ever bothers to really get down to the basics before they make up their mind about it.  It's also something that middle school science teachers tend to overstate or botch the explanation of, and I'm no longer satisfied with discussion that is not enforced by hard numbers.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: CarbShark on August 14, 2019, 01:06:18 AM
The lower left cheek is the window into a person's soul.
It’s his lower right cheek.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Alex Simmons on August 14, 2019, 05:42:15 AM
So I know I could simply google it to find out for myself, but I would really like to see a mathematical explanation of why the Golden Ratio (or some other specific irrational ratio besides pi or e) is an actual solution to any optimization process in nature.

One of the reasons the GR is a good one for optimisation is it is the ratio which takes the longest to settle into a fractional approximation. That can be shown mathematically - will leave it to you to read up why.

It's a packing optimisation problem when considering a growth scenario (i.e. how to optimise as a plant grows). There have been various mathematical analyses of such things but some key work was by a pair of French physicists Douady and Couder, e.g.:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519396900247
I don't have full text link.
edit, I think this is full text:
http://www.johnboccio.com/courses/Physics120_2008/docs/douady.pdf

This paper covers their work amongst other mathematical investigations but like all science it also expresses the limitations and unanswered questions:
http://cs.smith.edu/~cgole/PHYLLOH/NSFcritiques/propose1.pdf

Here's another paper on the topic which discusses the biological, physical and mathematical considerations examining and expanding further on the work by Douady and Couder:
https://www.math.arizona.edu/~anewell/publications/Plants_and_Fibonacci.pdf

But by all means do some searching and reading on the topic. It's fascinating. I don't propose to go deeper, I've no real need or desire to. Reality is such things do occur in nature, are not confined to one specific example and so there will be good reasons for it. In nature and in physics (esp energy), optimisation is everywhere.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on August 14, 2019, 06:30:51 AM
Haven't read the whole thread yet, but let's be clear: phi is the limiting ratio of the Fib seq, and hence there is a mechanistic reason why it emerges in the results of many simple growth processes. Unfortunately, people have used this as a motivation to find it in a variety of goofy places.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Guillermo on August 14, 2019, 08:31:30 AM
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:

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: seamas 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).
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: The Latinist 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.
Title: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: CarbShark 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.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video 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:

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)

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,

(http://u01.appmifile.com/images/2017/09/08/2e04540d-e847-4ce9-b3ce-2e3e6975f4e9.png)

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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: amysrevenge 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Shibboleth on August 14, 2019, 01:01:46 PM
The lower left cheek is the window into a person's soul.
It’s his lower right cheek.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You are correct. That is my mistake. The lower left cheek is a mirror that reflects the viewer's soul.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: superdave 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
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Shibboleth 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?
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllotaxis).


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 (https://thatsmaths.com/2014/06/05/sunflowers-and-fibonacci-models-of-efficiency/)) 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 (http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert 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 (https://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,51397.msg9626068.html#msg9626068), 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.

(https://i.imgur.com/mxXXPbH.jpg) (https://i.imgur.com/n0Z7QER.jpg)


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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 14, 2019, 04:17:06 PM
I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 14, 2019, 04:22:16 PM
I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.


I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: gmalivuk on August 14, 2019, 04:36:15 PM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose. That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit". (Plus in artistic compositions it's pretty self-fulfilling. Past artists believed it was inherently pleasing so they used it in art we find pleasing which conditions us to think it's inherently pleasing and to use it in our own art.)

I would really like to see a mathematical explanation of why the Golden Ratio (or some other specific irrational ratio besides pi or e) is an actual solution to any optimization process in nature.
The golden ratio is equal to 1 + 1/(1 + 1/(1 + 1/(1 + ...))). In a precise sense it is the irrational number "farthest" from rational numbers.

For things like leaf arrangements, rational ratios are bad, because they lead to leaves being directly over other leaves in a repeating pattern which is obviously a disadvantage for the amount of light lower leaves can collect. Irrational ratios would never repeat exactly, and the farther a ratio is from a rational number, the better it would be for this purpose.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 14, 2019, 05:01:15 PM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose.

And the left edge of the Golden Ratio box doesn't go all the way to the edge of the frame, either. You can see a gap there.


That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit".

This is what I'm getting at. It's just too easy to project these kinds relationships onto a finished piece, and ascribe specific intent onto artists without actually knowing their mind.


I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.

I'm asking about the specific mechanism by which Massimo Dallamano lined up shots so that they conformed to the GR.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 14, 2019, 05:17:53 PM
This was not an accident nor BS

(https://img.culturacolectiva.com/content/2015/08/sergio2-1000x562.jpg)


Because what really captures that compositions's importance is Clint's lower cheek, which we all know is the most important part of a person's face.

in that shot it certainly was

the phi gridline is on his nose anyway,
Yeah but it misses the center of his nose.

And the left edge of the Golden Ratio box doesn't go all the way to the edge of the frame, either. You can see a gap there.


That's the issue with a lot of the golden ratio woo: people count anything vaguely close as a "hit".

This is what I'm getting at. It's just too easy to project these kinds relationships onto a finished piece, and ascribe specific intent onto artists without actually knowing their mind.


I get it.

I'm asking, for the third time now, what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s, when lining up shots, to get them to mathematically conform to the GR.

I suspect that he knew what he liked, and it was the golden ratio.

I'm asking about the specific mechanism by which Massimo Dallamano lined up shots so that they conformed to the GR. If you've ever looked through the eyepiece of a mid-20th Century film camera fitted with a telephoto lens, at a human being in extreme close-up (even an accomplished actor trying to stand stock-still), you'd recognize how difficult it is to be that precise.


Yet he got it pretty damn close, apparently.  And no more difficult than lining it up with any other desired focal point, anyway.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Sawyer on August 14, 2019, 06:39:18 PM
Thank you to John and Alex for posting some good links.  Don't know when I'll have time to read them, but I'll concede I've underestimated the prevalence of the Golden Ratio in nature.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: arthwollipot on August 14, 2019, 07:41:07 PM
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.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: CarbShark on August 14, 2019, 07:52:13 PM
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.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.

Cool.  That's one of the best things about those kinds of basic and simple rules, is they help dabblers and hobbyists.

Not so much the pros though.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: arthwollipot on August 14, 2019, 08:00:11 PM
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.

Personal anecdote, but I found that the quality of my photography improved substantially when I learned about the rule of thirds.

Cool.  That's one of the best things about those kinds of basic and simple rules, is they help dabblers and hobbyists.

Not so much the pros though.

Oh, and I was very much a dabbler and a hobbyist. :)
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video on August 14, 2019, 11:50:53 PM
Perhaps those who doubt what I have been saying think I am claiming the DP perfectly measured out the curve and placed the subject at the exact perfect grid line created by placing the curve and thats not what I am saying.

It does not work that way, there may be a million different factors that result in framing of a shot. Even with the rule of thirds you don't get it exact, you have a line to work with and you work around it.  Perhaps you have to cheat to the left because there is a turtle in the shot, or the  light, or an ugly spot in the desert because the sun moved.

Also you are looking at one frame and nobody is perfectly still. Clints nose sits in the general area they wanted for the shot, in this case using the golden ratio not the rule of thirds.   

John Albert keeps asking "what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s" he used his eyes.

I read somewhere that Sergio Leone did not use storyboards and showed Dallamano paintings to give him an idea on what to shoot.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 15, 2019, 09:59:40 AM
Also you are looking at one frame and nobody is perfectly still. Clints nose sits in the general area they wanted for the shot, in this case using the golden ratio not the rule of thirds.

Or maybe they did use the rule of thirds, measuring the negative space to the right of Clint's head to occupy one third of the frame. Doesn't that seem just as likely?

(https://i.imgur.com/N01Tyus.jpg)

Maybe they set it up that way, instead of choosing the left edge of his nose for some inexplicable reason. Why the left edge of his nose? Seems an arbitrary choice.


John Albert keeps asking "what mechanism you suspect Dallamano used back in the 1960s" he used his eyes.

I kept asking because you never answered.

So when setting up the shot Massimo Dallamano may have instructed Clint to stand perfectly still while he took great pains to adjust the camera so that the actor's nose was right at the dividing line. But despite Massimo's deliberate intent to use the Golden Ratio in his shot composition, he employed no guideline or ruler to see where the Phi lines were in the camera's eyepiece. Even if he did, that wouldn't ensure success because the aspect ratio of the viewfinder is different from the aspect ratio of the film frame.  But it's a good thing he was such a great cinematographer, so even without guidelines he somehow got it only slightly off.

We may never know why Massimo chose the left edge of Clint's nose to place at the Phi line, instead of the right edge or even the centerline of his nose. Or some other prominent feature like his eyes.

Alternatively, Massimo might have just eyeballed the shot in such a way that it looked good to him and his director.

Then, some years later a GR true believer went looking for examples of the Golden Ratio in film shot composition, pored over numerous iconic stills from movies, and found the pic of Clint. There's no particular reason to have chosen this particular frame out of the 190,080 frames in the entire film, other than the fact that it kinds-sorta lines up. So out of the countless shot compositions in all of the cinematic arts, which employ countless arrangements of countless subjects (moving and still) in countless compositions with countless ratios from all 4 edges of the picture frame, this still frame of Clint stands as the proof of GR theory for cinema.

I dunno, man. Seems like a stretch.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Captain Video on August 15, 2019, 10:40:33 AM
yea except 4 frames down the line his nose moves to the right of camera, I don't know why this shit gets me so angry but your arguing style is infuriating as usual and I will no longer choose to engage with you. You win and are completely right, I was obviously completely wrong, my experience of being on set daily and all the work I have done up to this moment in time where you refuted me means nothing. Thank you John
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 15, 2019, 10:59:53 AM
yea except 4 frames down the line his nose moves to the right of camera

So then what is the point of this exercise of measuring a single frame of a 2 hour and 12 minute film? It's bullshit.


You win and are completely right, I was obviously completely wrong, my experience of being on set daily and all the work I have done up to this moment in time where you refuted me means nothing.

I never said your work means nothing, and I didn't mean to make you mad.

I'm saying it's a mistake to pretend you know the mind of another person, or an artist's specific intent in a transient moment of a performance. Unless Leone or Dallamano came out and said they were going for the Golden Ratio in that shot, it's just a post hoc assumption to assert that they did.

Art is largely subjective, so you can't necessarily say whether the Golden Ratio produces more beautiful visual compositions. Good composition is subject to lots of considerations such as form, color, chiaroscuro, use of lines, mass vs. negative space, etc. Some compositions rely upon symmetry, others benefit from the rule of thirds, and others work better with different arrangements.

There is a theory that creativity benefits from constraints. It's more difficult to make a choice with 100% freedom and no significant options. I have no problem with the idea that the GR can be a handy rule of thumb to fall back on, even when it's not 100% practicable.

But this idea that great art conforms to some arcane mathematical formula is just woo.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: seamas on August 16, 2019, 12:01:29 PM

Art is largely subjective, so you can't necessarily say whether the Golden Ratio produces more beautiful visual compositions. Good composition is subject to lots of considerations such as form, color, chiaroscuro, use of lines, mass vs. negative space, etc. Some compositions rely upon symmetry, others benefit from the rule of thirds, and others work better with different arrangements.

Yes.
Compositional schemes are varied and there are several that are employed to create different effects . Beauty being just one of them.
A symmetry will often be employed for an effect of serenity and perhaps stillness. a lot of devotional art will employ various degrees of strictness to this,.
As for the GM< or the rule of thirds, both have been employed to certain degrees by some artists, and then many, when not going for symmetry will choose their center of focus somewhere in the vicinity of one of those modes--not exactly, but close.

But the idea that having or choosing one of these compositional schemes --and sticking to it with some manner of exactitude --and declaring it the most successful--or best, or magical or whatever doesn't seem to be supported very well. Walk into any museum and you will see some great illumination that have some adherence to the Golden ratio, some with symmetry, some with rule of thirds and then a good number that are successful without any of them.

That said, the idea that the "Golden Ratio is bullshit" I don't agree with, as it does have considerable merit in composition.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 16, 2019, 02:37:18 PM
I didn't say "The Golden Ratio is bullshit." I didn't say that artists never use it, or that it doesn't figure prominently in the layouts of some iconic works.

But as you said, there are lots of popular techniques for laying out compositions, the GR being just one of them.

Is the GR more prevalent than others? Possibly.

But I surmise that would depend on which specific elements in a given composition that you decide to measure.

For example, measuring the distance between the right edge of the picture plane and the left edge of Clint Eastwood's nose, you get a rough approximation of the GR, but measuring the area of negative space to the right of Clint's face gives you a rough one-third.

Measuring from some arbitrary edge of the frame to Clint's right pupil would give a different ratio, measuring a different edge to the same pupil would give yet a different ratio; the same goes for his left pupil, his cigar, and so on and so forth. Those are all different ratios that reference the primary focal points in that image. Why aren't we paying attention to all those ratios? Perhaps because the GR is a specific thing we've decided to look for? 

Walk through any art museum and you'll find an infinite variety of proportions in the designs of the images and sculptures. You could pick any numerical ratio out of a hat, then take a stroll through the Louvre with a measuring tape and check the distances between arbitrary elements in every painting and you'd find countess examples.

Does that mean every randomly chosen ratio was intentionally utilized by all the artists? Or were they all employed unconsciously on the artist's intuition?

Does every random, arbitrary ratio have the ability to impart some mystical quality of beauty?
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: Shibboleth on August 16, 2019, 02:48:28 PM
This is a great example of what people are saying.


Quote
For centuries, it was widely believed the Parthenon, with its appearance of balanced, straight lines, was also built according to the golden ratio. Only it wasn't. A reconstruction project that began in the 1980s, designed to save the crumbling marble structure, revealed something else. Each of the thousands of pieces of the Parthenon was different, and there was nary a straight line among them. It actually fit together like a complex puzzle, with each part fitting only in its particular space.

Another ratio, however, does appear throughout most of the Parthenon, and it would also have met the Greek sensibilities for harmonic proportions. For example, the Parthenon is 30.8 meters wide and 69.51 meters long (101 and 228 feet, respectively). This equals a 4:9 ratio. This 4:9 ratio also is found in other parts of the building, including the width of the Parthenon's front columns, and in the height of the façade to its width.

Designing and constructing the Parthenon was the equivalent of orchestrating a symphony, using many different instruments in perfect harmony. Although the majestic Parthenon wasn't built on the golden ratio, the effect wasn't so different: It remains aesthetically pleasing [source: Nova].
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 16, 2019, 05:19:59 PM
Doesn't it seem rather ethnocentric to declare the Parthenon to be the pinnacle of all aesthetic beauty anyway?
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: CarbShark on August 16, 2019, 05:23:51 PM
Art is largely subjective, so you can't necessarily say whether the Golden Ratio produces more beautiful visual compositions. Good composition is subject to lots of considerations such as form, color, chiaroscuro, use of lines, mass vs. negative space, etc. Some compositions rely upon symmetry, others benefit from the rule of thirds, and others work better with different arrangements.

But you can study it with scientific methods. You can do double blind randomized controlled trials were a large number of individuals are shown various images, and asked which they found more interesting, moving or pleasing; or tested to see from which images they recalled the most details.

The fact that something is subjective does not mean it's beyond understanding.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 16, 2019, 06:12:44 PM
You can do double blind randomized controlled trials were a large number of individuals are shown various images, and asked which they found more interesting, moving or pleasing

Appeals to popularity are not necessarily a reliable metric (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/boondock_saints) for art.


The fact that something is subjective does not mean it's beyond understanding.

I never said it was beyond understanding.

Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: CarbShark on August 16, 2019, 06:50:47 PM
No one is making an appeal to popularity.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on August 17, 2019, 05:17:48 AM
Mario Livio has a book on phi, called The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number.

It is written for the layperson, with only a little algebra. It won't satisfy people looking for the deep math, but it is great as a general popular survey of the topic. In particular, he does a nice job of separating the science from the woo (and from the unproven but plausible).
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: jt512 on August 17, 2019, 06:50:53 AM
I didn't say "The Golden Ratio is bullshit." I didn't say that artists never use it, or that it doesn't figure prominently in the layouts of some iconic works.

But as you said, there are lots of popular techniques for laying out compositions, the GR being just one of them.

Is the GR more prevalent than others? Possibly.

But I surmise that would depend on which specific elements in a given composition that you decide to measure.

For example, measuring the distance between the right edge of the picture plane and the left edge of Clint Eastwood's nose, you get a rough approximation of the GR, but measuring the area of negative space to the right of Clint's face gives you a rough one-third.

Measuring from some arbitrary edge of the frame to Clint's right pupil would give a different ratio, measuring a different edge to the same pupil would give yet a different ratio; the same goes for his left pupil, his cigar, and so on and so forth. Those are all different ratios that reference the primary focal points in that image. Why aren't we paying attention to all those ratios? Perhaps because the GR is a specific thing we've decided to look for? 

Walk through any art museum and you'll find an infinite variety of proportions in the designs of the images and sculptures. You could pick any numerical ratio out of a hat, then take a stroll through the Louvre with a measuring tape and check the distances between arbitrary elements in every painting and you'd find countess examples.

Does that mean every randomly chosen ratio was intentionally utilized by all the artists? Or were they all employed unconsciously on the artist's intuition?

Does every random, arbitrary ratio have the ability to impart some mystical quality of beauty?


It seems that you have either amended or clarified your position to a point where it is nearly indistinguishible from Captain Video's.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 17, 2019, 03:29:01 PM
It seems that you have either amended or clarified your position to a point where it is nearly indistinguishible from Captain Video's.

Cool.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: seamas on August 19, 2019, 10:22:55 AM
I didn't say "The Golden Ratio is bullshit." I didn't say that artists never use it, or that it doesn't figure prominently in the layouts of some iconic works.

To be clear,I wasn't referring to you, but to the thread title.
Title: Re: The golden ratio is still BS
Post by: John Albert on August 19, 2019, 01:03:45 PM
I didn't say "The Golden Ratio is bullshit." I didn't say that artists never use it, or that it doesn't figure prominently in the layouts of some iconic works.

To be clear,I wasn't referring to you, but to the thread title.

Cool!

I think I responded that way because you'd quoted me in your post.