Playing around

IMG_1572

I have been playing around with both the the new Lightroom and CS3 and I have to say that I am quite enamored with both of them.  Grated there are a couple of quirks with CS3, it is still the beta I am working with.  I wish that there were some more play in between the two however (a la Photoshop and Imageready), because there are some features that I need to use that are only in Photoshop, so I end up jumping in between the two a lot.  But Lightroom does a great job at providing the tools and a workflow for digital photography.  I'm loving these new programs.

Now to find time to go shoot more...

HD TV/DVD Etc.

I was watching a video on CNet the on porn industry and the move to HD DVD the other day, and something in the video struck me as true, not just for porn, but for films at large.  In the video, they mentioned that with filming in HD, it's much harder to hide blemishes  with makeup and other traditional movie magic, because everything is up there on display in HD.  Where porn and other movies overlap is that they are both dependent on fantasy and the suspension of belief, and I wonder if the higher level of realism that HD, be it HD-DVD or Blu-ray, threatens that suspension of belief. In 1970, a Japanese roboticist named Masahiro Mori put forth a hypothesis called the Uncanny Valley.  In the hypothesis, he states that with robots, as the characteristics become more human-like, the more sympathy and empathy is aroused in the human observers.  However, as the appearance and movement of the robot become less human-like, the response quickly becomes that of disgust, until a point at which the appearance is sufficiently  non-human, and empathy levels return to that of a normal human to human interaction.  Part of the reason for this response is that if there are more human characteristics, those differences that are non-human will be highlighted, and seen as repulsive (he gives the example of a zombie).  But for those robots with more non-human features, the human characteristics will be what is highlighted, and garner empathy.

I bring this up because with this advancement of formats and media, I wonder if we have, or will come, to this Uncanny Valley in our home media formats.  Already there have been many issues with CG characters in movies and television, such as the Final Fantasy movie, the Polar Express, or the new Orville Rendenbacher commerical, and numerous ones to come.  I think that in this race for the bigger, better, higher definition media, we will run into this uncanny response, not necessarily with a CG character or robot, but with our own human reflection.  At that point, we will have to take a step to one side of the valley or the other, be it either forward or backward.

Safari, Firefox and Color Profiles

So a while ago, I posted a crash course of sorts about digital cameras, and I mentioned Flickr, and their stripping of uploaded color profiles.  As an update to that, I discovered today that in addition to the stripping, Firefox also has no current support for color profiles.  That means that  even if an image is uploaded with an ICC profile, it is ignored.  IE and Safari have have support for ICC profiles, with Safari going a step farther and if it comes across an image without an ICC profile, it applies your monitor's output ICC profile to it.  All of which is really frustrating for me, because Firefox is, in every other respect, the better browser, and my preferred browser.  But since I spend a good amount of online time looking at art and photography images, color correction is an important thing for me, and I don't want to have to switch browsers depending on what I am looking at.  But the more important thing is that as someone who spends a good deal of time working on his  images for presentation, it's frustrating that there's not cross browser support for the standard ICC profiles, so that the colors that I see and want others to see, are the ones that are delivered, correctly.

Virtual reenactment of the Milgram Obedience Experiments

We Make Money Not Art has an interesting article about an updated Milgram Obedience experiment with a virtual shock recipient (the emphasis is theirs)

Participants who could see and hear the avatar were affected by the experiment as if it were real. Their stress responses were raised (as judged by sweating and heart rate). And when the woman protested, the participants tended to give her longer to answer before administering the shock. Some participants emphasised the correct answer among the available choices, as if trying to help the woman avoid a shock.

As Yishay  Mor notes, the results put in a new light the idea that we should give human rights to sentient machines.