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Old 26-10-2006, 03:45   #1 (permalink)
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Where does the eye go first?

I read somewhere a summary of where the viewers eye goes first when looking at a photograph. In order they are areas of:

High Contrast
Highlights
Warm Tones
Mid Tones
Cool Tones
Shadows With Detail
Black With no Detail

This would indicate that contrast and brightness are key.

Does anyone know of real psychophysical studies that prove or disprove this? What are your opinions.

I really didn't know where to post this, so if it is in an inappropriate place, sorry, and let me know.

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Old 26-10-2006, 08:13   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

I think it is in the right place for discussion

I don't know of any studies but you can get a pretty good idea of how accurate the list is by looking at a cross section of different photos yourself and thinking about where in each photo your eyes land first.

I would suggest that you may have missed one thing of the list though...focus, although it probably wouldn’t be the first in the list, it would certainly appear somewhere before ‘Shadows With Detail’ ?
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Old 26-10-2006, 13:49   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Hi Steve.

Focus - You nailed me on that one. The story of my life

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Old 26-10-2006, 15:32   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

I totally agree with Steve. Who cares what psychobabbalyst reports say. You only need to try it yourself and you'll see it is true. The eye is generally claimed to go first to any really bright spot on your picture and that is definitely so as I have tested a number of times.

Where the eye goes after that tends to be towards points of interest as the brain gathers the evidential information that tells it what the picture is about. After all that it is not so much about optical awareness and more about spatial awareness and different people will see pictures very differently.

So whilst a non-photographer who just happens to like rich colours will look at a gorgeous sunset and say 'Wow, that's great' and then they will stop looking deeper, another person who is more analytical in their photographic viewing will continue looking for 'hidden' detail and so forth. They will become more aware of 'distractions' than the former person. for example, show a photographer a portrait with a lamppost directly behind and they will immediately say 'She's got a lamp coming out of her head!' and yet someone not so analytical will have it pointed out to them and say 'Oh yeh, I never really noticed but now you mention it...'

It is over-simplistic to create a long list and proclaim that the cognitive process is the same with everyone. We all think things differently so some will align to the Fisher theory that they will not accept that there is any 'error' at all and thus will not pick any out. Others, the more analytical assessors of an artistic work will follow Krashen's Monitor Principle and apply their previously held schemata in deciding whether this piece meets their accepted ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, etc.

Sorry, I am now sounding like the same psychobabbalists I started out criticising! I guess once a teacher always a teacher.

Just one little point though: it could be argued that Sparhawk did not miss out 'Focus' as he he mentioned areas of high contrast. In order to have truly high contrast, the area would need to be in focus, wouldn't they? Especially if we are talking about contrast at the close-border level.

Still, that just makes you both right so now everyone is happy. Ahhh, if only I could always achieve that

Cheers,
Rob the Babbler
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Old 26-10-2006, 17:05   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Sorry Rob
just to add to it it was Skipper not me
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Old 29-10-2006, 08:47   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Hi Skip,
OK This is my very first Post on pixalo and very fitting if you ask me as it was Skip who first told me about this site.
I would have to say that for me it depends what the photo is, as from my point of view it is very different from looking into a landscape of a sunset, to a portrait of a person or animal.
If I am viewing a portrait, human or animal My eye first and foremost goes straight to the subjects eyes, whether it be a high contrast portrait, Black and white, even if it has had very different effects added I seek the eye to eye contact first, From there my eye views other areas of the shot, Generally following your rule Skip (However I must say if the eyes are not in focus I sum what lose interest in the rest of the photo).
If I am viewing a landscape say a sunset my eye first seeks out the sun from there moves over the rest of the shot.
For all other shots I would say that for me what draws my view would first be The Point of Interest, be it a tree or mountain in a land scape but if the shot contains a person or animal first their eyes and if it's that back of their head I seek for where they are looking.
So I'm not sure about your rule, for me what needs to be at the top of the list is the point of interest, or focal point.
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Old 29-10-2006, 14:20   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Hi Bella. Welcome to the site. You are going to love it. Look particularly at the critique section under the community forum for the best comments.

You are correct about where the eye goes. It is certainly an individual thing, and the image first has to have content that interests the viewer.

If you have questions about the website, don't hesitate to ask dave, steve, or any of the "crew". They have been incredibly helpful in my travails here.

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Old 29-10-2006, 15:42   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

I think that it depends on the individual viewer,
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Old 30-10-2006, 17:06   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Although not the 1st place you may look, the use of "lead in lines" etc can force the eye to follow a certain route around the shot. Wonder where that would come in the list
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Old 31-10-2006, 07:14   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Where does the eye go first?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Although not the 1st place you may look, the use of "lead in lines" etc can force the eye to follow a certain route around the shot. Wonder where that would come in the list
I guess the lead lines would have to be high contrast, rather like train tracks to the horizon.
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