never use black

Just found a nice article about black and it’s usage in images in general.

I wonder if someone knows of more articles like this one. Where more general topics for images are talked about, because stuff like that helps to analyse why your image looks ugly.

You can google all sorts of artistic advice, but you still have to keep your critical thinking cap on. In the case of the article you mention, you’re getting bad advice.

I’m not so sure if that’s correct what you are following out of the histograms of the posted examples. Because when you say that black is only the one brightness slot on the far left of a histogram, you would also implied that black doesn’t exist in reality. Just take a tone you would normally describe as black and illuminate it with a very bright light source. It would look brighter than without that light source because it would reflect more light.

The problem is that black in theory doesn’t reflect light at all per definition, but that’s completely unpractical because only a black hole doesn’t reflect light in reality. So you couldn’t violate the rule even if you would try really hard and that would make the rule completely useless.

So in practical terms it would be more suitable to describe very dark shades as black and looking at e.g. the second example you provided you can see very dark shades, also in the histogram.

A completely other thing is the method of digitalizing a painting. Which could depending on the used method create pure black.

But you are right. Googling for “artistic advice” brings up all sorts of articles which go in that direction I was looking for. Guess I always searched for the wrong stuff*:rolleyes:

As a hobbyist, I feel a bit confused by this discussion. Still, I feel there’s something to learn for me in it.

One one hand, if “black” can’t exist in real objects, then real objects like a computer screen or some paint on a canvas can’t be black. On the other hand, if an artist wants a scene with a lot of contrast, I don’t understand why he shouldn’t use the darkest and the brightest possible colours on his monitor to get that effect.

The only logical explanation I have is that when my software says “this pixel is black”, the only thing I can be sure of is that it is “a very dark something”, which color I can’t control. Therefore, if I want to fully control the visual effect of my scene, I should use a very small amount of reflectivity with a precise color. This would be the only way to tell “how black is black”.

Since I never studied art in school, could anyone direct me to some reliable reference material on this issue ?

black = best thing you can use most of the time. But it’s not about “black vs not black” it’s more about “dark vs light” IE if you have pure brightness, you most likely need pure darkness.

Two things that pop in my head are “Doom 3” & “Serenity/FireFly”. both used liberal very bright to very dark tones (I’m sure if you pulled those up on a scope you’d see black & white in there very much).

for forum specific examples where black is used check out the Gauss Tank & Realtime Boom threads in the gallery. They both use it like Doom3/Serenity did, to compliment the bright areas.

In the planetarium field, we go to great lengths to get as close to black as we possibly can. (And alpha channels whenever and wherever we can.)

This sentence is here because the messenger wouldn’t let me post just this:


Take a closer look at the histograms. It’s not just the one extreme value that isn’t present. If you are trying to make a better oil painting, stay away from black paint on your canvas. If you are trying to make a more realistic CG image stay away from black pixels.

If your image looks off, run a histogram on it. If it’s got pure black or anything close to it, try removing those shades. Same thing goes for pure white.

very true, especially if you work with photos and videos.

This is also very good example why it’s good to avoid use of black:

Your explanation is definitely most convicing! I’ll never use black anymore in whatever i’ll do! I will not fall into the vacuum of an alpha chanel… NOOooooooooooo…!!!

I’m pretty sure the original Dark Sucker Theory should come into play right about now.

@pixelman: Good memories :slight_smile:

@popski: somebody should introduce that man to the Rolling Stones.

If your work is styled like comics, or you’re doing noir, or just decided on a lot of negative space, black might be not only desirable but unavoidable, but the point is made. Black is no good on realistic work most of the time. And certainly I wouldn’t give any of my Blender objects a pure black as it immediately brings ref down to zero.

As a trained art historian all I have to say on this subject is it is a known fact that the only way to get ahead in the art world is to follow all the rules.

And no, I didn’ t actually RTFA.

There was a good article linked in this thread about the “rule of thirds”. Excellent stuff for any artist to review.

I want to render a piece of charcol in the middle of the night in the countryside when its overcast.

Now what am i going to do?:mad:

Once you use black, you never go back.

sweet acid, thx*:slight_smile:

Here is a source with lots of articles

hmm… there is nothing here this thread that i think is worth of keeping alive.
especially after reading the last couple of replies.

(if other mods disagree, then unlock)