Deeppara90 "Parabolic reflector" and central focusing pole thoughts and mini review

Started 10 months ago | User reviews thread
MayaTlab0 Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
Re: Unique qualities of paras

ronscuba wrote:

I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between soft and diffused.

Double diffused is the most flattering. I would normally say the softest. I guess this is the wrong terminology ? Adding the grid keeps the light off the background and adds some contrast to the subject.

What is the correct terminology for the differences I see ?

Softness is about shadow transition and diffusion is about skin texture ? So for less than ideal skin, diffusion is the key ?

While some terms have a precise definition that entails precise results, such as "parabolic reflector", from which it would be preferable not to diverge excessively unless one dares to risk the basic meaning of it (the idea of a white parabolic reflector makes no sense whatsoever, it's practically an oxymoron), I don't think that there is an agreed, constant and fairly clear definition of "diffused" or "soft".

To me "diffused" rather refers to a light source that's been transformed by something between it and the subject, while "soft" would rather be about the size of the light source from the subject's point of view, but I've seen these terms used in other ways and to be frank I'm not sure it's that important in the first place.

In general I just look at what the light source looks like from the subject's point of view (and if there are several it may vary between them), what the beam angle is, and which objects / walls the light source bounce back from, and that's already quite a lot of information to work with.

I made this a while ago :

To me the B2 head would be what I'd term "hard". The light source is very small from the mannequin's POV (that's visible in the reflections on its breasts), the shadow edge very sharp.

The two lower left silver umbrella shots are to me somewhat equally "soft", the shadow edge being roughly equally diffused, but the left one less "contrasty" (if you were to drop a RGB tool on the shadow the values would be higher than on the middle one). I believe that it is because of the beam angle : in the lower left shot I used a diffusion sock over the umbrella (visible in the different reflections in the breasts), this widens the beam angle and bounce light from the room.

The bottom right one if the same silver umbrella as the middle shot, but with the umbrella shaft shifted relative to the light source. In this configuration only the central area of the umbrella bounces light back towards the subject, making for a smaller light, and a slightly harder shadow.

Going back to terminology concerns, the deep octa naked shot starts to make things a little more difficult : is it soft ? or hard ? There's like two hard edges with the central area being a lot more contrasty than the outer one.

Which is why I don't get too worked up about terms like "soft" or "hard". In the end it's just about what it looks like from the mannequin's point of view, and something that the reflections on the breasts (or in real life a catchlight in someone's eye for example) make explicit to some degree.

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