Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chromatic Aberation - Enough is Enough

It's a funny situation: many if not most photographers wish it would go away, with some going to expensive (quite literally) extents to avoid/minimise its effects. And yet, we as CG artists are all too trigger-happy to apply it liberally, adding into nearly every comp, and boosting the intensity until its effects are smeared across the screen for the world to see. Enough is enough!

If you've ever had to sit through more than a few multi-hour long presentations with a bad-quality/uncalibrated projector that's giving 2-5 cm color-fringe shifts (yellow/blue or red/green in opposite directions on one or more axes), eyeballed a batch of photos (*) only to notice that they're blighted with severe fringing in the worst/most noticeable places, then perhaps you'd think twice before trying to apply this effect next time. At the very least, if you must have it, keep it down to 1-2 pixels max. Please.

(*) IMO, a similar argument goes for camera shake/blur. After suffering countless instances of severely motion-blurred photos from a point-n-shoot a few years ago while on holiday (nearly every second shot in more than a few situations ended up suffering some degree of motion-blur, admittedly due partly to operator error and ignorance at the time about said camera's tendencies, though the slow and unpredictable response times also played a role in this), and then spending hours oogling at them trying various processing techniques to hopefully clean them up somewhat after the fact, it's hard looking at an images exhibiting that degree of blurriness.

It's understandable if a bit of unavoidable/accidental blur creeps in when shooting a unique and difficult to control situation. But deliberately inducing this type of blur on an image - you've gotta be out of your mind! In the worst cases, it is positively vomit-inducing. Yuck!


  1. I think C A is for fx shots and old cameras.
    You don't need it (much) for cartoons or
    compositing a charactar into a scene

  2. I hope people will take this serious.

    I already sick of chromatic aberration on almost every render that comes from Blender user.

  3. As a rant, this seems a little overboard. Considering it's a byproduct of most optical photography, I'd say chromatic aberration is pretty much a requirement in most imagery generated with the intent of looking photo-realistic or being composited with live action footage. I'd only consider the basis of this rant valid for imagery not intended for the previously stated reasons, and then you should still consider whether it's appropriate to criticize what might be someone's artistic choices. At least with art, you can like it or not, but "vomit-inducing" seems a little strong for critiquing someone's less than provocative artwork.