Friday, December 04, 2009

Size and detail

I've long been interested in the way size and "resolution" affects art. I once asserted that bigger size (or resolution, or more detail) allows for deeper and stronger art. I got a lot of protests against that, and I think the reason for the protests is that you don't need a lot of size/detail to do pretty powerful art, but I think it's true nevertheless. For example a picture made of 4x4 pixels in two-bit mode (black or white, not even grey tones), how much art can you make with that? As soon as you expand it to 8x8 pixels, the possibilities expand greatly, and so on.

I just found a funny example of size and expression. In the big version of the picture below, it's clear that the girl is smiling. In the scaled-down version of the same picture, she no longer appears to be smiling! Just the subtleties lost by that scaling has changed such an important characteristic.


No smile:

... nothing has been changed at all, except scale.


Monsieur Beep! said...

The same with pre-viewing thumbnails. Viewing the original size ( big when click ) usually gives a totally different impression.

David L said...

Seen this one?

John said...

So that settles it ... size matters!

John said...

I mean, if you want to make her smile!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Oh, John, you rascal!

MB, you're right.
I love Apple's Snow Leopard OS, you can get "file icons" up to around 4-500 pixels, which is a great help in browsing images.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

David L, yes it's a good one, and it did cross my mind when writing this.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Yes, good one, John! :-D
I *HATE* you for having thought of it before I did. ;-)

Relinds me of Mona Lisa's elusive smile. Which was probably the first know optical illusion of the sort that David mentions:

BTW, you don't NEED to back away. It also works (admittedly less nicely) if you squint.

In the present case, I think what causes it is the slightness of that subtle smile. She's JUST smiling, so if you don't see clearly enough because of lack of image detail, you miss it.
This is why focused face-to-face communication between lovers is so important.
And why love MAKES you focus so!!! :-)

Miserere said...


I suspect that had you posted the whole picture (which I'm sure continues downwards), the smile would have become forever invisible, no matter the image size


Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Maybe to most. But I for one am like Oochigeas: I can see the invisible. :-)

Anna said...

This illusion is just great, thanks ! :-)

marc said...

good one.

so what's her name?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...