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What does the term isolation mean?

An object on a solid background (usually white or black)
10 (90.9%)
An image that includes a clipping path around an object
1 (9.1%)

Total Members Voted: 11

Author Topic: What does the term isolation mean?  (Read 9688 times)

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« on: October 04, 2006, 16:30 »
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There was a thead on one of the other microstock forums that discussed the term "isolation". It did not coincide with my understanding of the term, so I thought that I would ask for your opinions.

Please remember to cast your vote in the left-hand column...


« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2006, 16:53 »
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I voted (b) but I do not beleive it needs a clipping path.  I believe it needs to be " cut out" as opposed to photographed on white.  The difference is minimal except when you need to cut out the image to put elsewhere.

« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2006, 16:54 »
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I voted (b) but I do not beleive it needs a clipping path. I believe it needs to be " cut out" as opposed to photographed on white.

What does it mean to be "cut out"???

Quevaal

  • Rust in Peace
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2006, 19:38 »
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2006, 22:32 »
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I either list my photos as "isolated" or "isolated and with clipping path" so my vote is for isolated being the first.

« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2006, 00:44 »
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i usually say isolated on white if it has a white background
isolated on white with clipping path if it is cut out.

I think the isolated means simplified, or barren, or 'the only thing'.  It is those even if there is a slight gradient in the background.

« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2006, 14:49 »
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isolate  /v. ahy-suh-leyt, is-uh-; n., adj. ahy-suh-lit, -leyt, is-uh-] lat‧ed, -lat‧ing, noun, adjective

verb (used with object)

1. to set or place apart; detach or separate so as to be alone.

Despite the insistence of one designer in that thread the presence of a clipping path is not a deciding factor in an image being an "Isolation"

If an image is shot and or processed (mine are shot this way) to provide a shadow free evenly lit (flat light) pure white #FFFFFF background whereby the designer may select the background with the magic wand in Photoshop set to a tolerance of ZERO pixels, reverse the selection and then have only the subject of the photo minus background and or shadows then the image is an isolation.

If the image contains a shadow then it is NOT alone and it is NOT an isolation it is "shot over white" which does not mean that it is not a useful stock photo it just means that it "Is not an isolation"

For a designer to insist on clipping paths in Micro Stock is crazy, creating clipping paths is in my opinion the job of the designer. As a photographer it is my job to provide the designer with access to well executed photographs which they can then use as design elements in their designs. Clipping paths and light modeling are in the realm of the designer not the photographer.

For my isolations I shoot them so as to be isolated to a zero pixel tolerance right in the camera, they are also shot with a very flat lighting which then allows the designer to model the lighting of the image to exactly meet their needs in the design.

If I offer them images that show a strong lighting from the right creating modeling and shadowing on the left hand side of the image then I have restricted the use of my image to designs that are also lit from the right with a similar light modeling. Unless of course the designer does not care that the object does not match the light modeling of the design which results in the object appearing to be simply pasted into the design instead of appearing to be a natural part of it.

Others may disagree but to my mind the true isolation is an image that is "alone and shadow free"

Bobby Deal
« Last Edit: October 05, 2006, 16:01 by photoshow »

« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2006, 15:01 »
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nice to see you active on the boards photoshow. :)

Thanks for the input.  I hadn't thought about the flat lighting element before and I imagine that it is a feature that lots of designers would look for in an image... (in an isolated in anyhow)

dbvirago

« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2006, 19:00 »
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Great info and clarification Photoshow. Until I get enough lighting or set the lighting I have correctly, I'll be stuck with shadows. In most of my shots, this looks ok. Usually, when I try to take the shadow out and isolate the object, it looks like it.

I've seen sites and tutorials on both the lighting and the isolation in PS, but any direction, threads, or websites you want to point us to wold be great.

Thanks

« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2006, 19:18 »
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The best advice I can give you is to spot meter off the object and then expose the object properly while over exposing the BG by 1 1/2 - 3 stops. This means you probably need to be able to put a bit of distance between foreground and background to prevent light spill from the BG and to provide the proper sense of separation.

For people this takes a fair bit of lighting gear but for objects you can accomplish this with minimal gear if you shoot from a tripod and use a remote or timed shutter release. The biggest secret to it all is "SPOT METER" if you use Matrix or Averaging Metering your backgrounds will ALWAYS be grey.

Those who think they know better will complain that a truly isolated image lacks warmth and appeal because it is floating in space. They make these complaints only because they do not understand that an isolated image is not meant to be a finished product, it is not meant to be grounded it is meant to be ISOLATED. A proper isolation is nothing more then a design element. It sells because it is useful not because it elicits a physical or emotional response in the way a finished piece of art does.

A properly isolated shot will appear to be floating in space, if it does not, if it contains shadows that can ground it then it is not properly isolated.

dbvirago

« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2006, 19:32 »
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So if I understand correctly, the 1 1/2 - 3 stops is the difference in proper exposure from the subject to the background? How about if your subject is lighter in color, i.e. off white, silver, etc?

Also, for small objects, how do you set up your lights? Currently, I'm using daylight directional lighting coming in through the garage door on some white posterboard. The brightest ights I have been able to find are two 300 watt bulbs. I am trying to use them to cut out the shadow, but wihtout much success.

I appreciate your help and advice.

« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2006, 01:02 »
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Another question, which has always given me hassle (which is why I have used clipping paths). How do you completely isolate an object on white?

Example:

Say you want to take a photograph of a green bottle isolated on white. The bottle has to stand on something. And it seems to me that no matter how hard you try with lights, you won't be able to avoid a bit of a shadow where it is standing.

In the past I have used clipping paths to knock that shadow out. But am I missing something obvious?




« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2006, 09:17 »
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Perhaps I'm too new at editting to know better but if I want a completely isolated image,  I carefully dodge/burn (white/black background) the shadows.  I do a quick "equalize" to see where there might be noise I don't want, undo it, dodge/burn some more.


« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2006, 12:57 »
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So if I understand correctly, the 1 1/2 - 3 stops is the difference in proper exposure from the subject to the background? How about if your subject is lighter in color, i.e. off white, silver, etc?

Also, for small objects, how do you set up your lights? Currently, I'm using daylight directional lighting coming in through the garage door on some white posterboard. The brightest ights I have been able to find are two 300 watt bulbs. I am trying to use them to cut out the shadow, but wihtout much success.

I appreciate your help and advice.

Well I shoot mostly models and not small objects but the technical aspects are the same, if you can provide enough separation between the key light and the background lights you will accomplish your isolation.

Should there be slight amounts of light shadow around the bottom of a shot, be it the models feet or the bottom edge of a bottle it is quick and simple to clean up with the dodge tool set to Highlights and at a tolerance of between 2 and 50 depending on the contrast levels between background and the edge of your subject.

On my model shots they typically will come out of the camera isolated to the ankles and below that there may be a very light bit of shadow / grey that is easily cleaned up with the above technique. If I had one more strobe and soft box in my gear I would be able to eliminate this tiny bit of post processing but it is so minimal it really does not slow me down enough to justify the added expense of the additional investment in gear.

dbvirago

« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2006, 13:28 »
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That's what I've been looking for. I know I have heard someone mention the dodge tool before, but there are so many threads and different opinions on this, I couldn't remember. Just whacked a couple of shadows in no time. It will take a little practice to get the exposure setting right.

Thanks!

« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2006, 13:41 »
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Just be sure that when you are dodging in close up to the edge of the object that you zoom in to 100% or more so that you can get the edges truly clean and be careful of adjoining highlight. If the object has a lot of highlights along the edges that may get burned out you may want to work from a duplicate layer so that the highlights are not lost


 

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