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Fake frames, mats, textures, etc.

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  • Fake frames, mats, textures, etc.

    I've made no secret of the fact I detest fake frames, mats, etc. in images. If you want a framed photo, frame it I feel similarly, but not as strongly, about fake textured papers. If you want a texture, print it on a textured paper.

    My own personal take on these in the context of RP is that they simply detract from what's really important: the image. How can you judge a retoucher's work if it looks like it's printed on burlap and has a frame that takes up half the file?

    But I'm aware that these are my own views, and are not shared by many others. However, I'd like to get a discussion going about this.

    Am I being an old fuddy-duddy about this? I realize these images are being displayed on the web here, but web display shouldn't be their purpose.
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  • #2
    I agree in large with your response to frames and the like Doug, but (always a but) I have to disagree with your point about the intended images being for the web, surely by only giving us the options of jpegs and not lossless formats, you are in part admitting its 'for the web' purpose.

    Frames borders and associated extras are an acceptable way of displaying work for online viewing, I venture to guess that none of the Retouch gang would place a wood effect border on any photograph they were intending to print. But if people are displaying on the web, then by all means go and embellish your work with whatever feels right.

    Burlap textures and canvas weaves are not in theirselves inherently bad, if used in place of the actual medium in the printing process, then yes there may be an issue. We however are not outputting for printing (in the large), most of us are working at 72dpi not 300 + dpi, this means that we will consider this in our work, its only natural.

    Surely we are in the business of artifice, and because the chosen output IS the web, may be the reason many choose to simulate real world examples - I don't believe any of us were advocatiing the use of canvas textures as a substitute for the real thing.

    Do they detract from the original point? Maybe. But in a lot of cases they also hide a multitude of sins, one carefully crafted vignette can hide, without detracting (indeed adding often) from what may have been unrecoverable information.

    The most I would go to is a vignette or a white photo border, but not being as staid as Doug I could see myself one day flinging open my inhibitions and slapping a canvas texture on too More power to the uninhibited I say - Oh and are you a fuddy duddy? I wouldnt like to say Doug


    • #3
      Our images are displayed on the web, but making them for the web defeats the purpose of RP entirely. Perhaps one day we'll have in-person gatherings where our work can be shared on its intended medium (paper).

      As for lossless vs. lossy, that's out of my hands. We're moving to a larger server next week, and I'm nervous as all getout that we won't be able to pay the recurring annual bill for that. And even it's not nearly big enough. I'm certainly appreciative of all the donations we've gotten, but all the combined donations to date wouldn't pay two month's bill for a server large enough to allow lossless posting.

      And to me the necessity of compressing our work is an even stronger argument for starting with a sharp, unframed original before compressing for web viewing.
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      • #4
        "Am I being an old fuddy-duddy about this?" - Doug Nelson
        Oh, what a tempting question, Doug, but let's not go there!

        In all fairness (and honesty) let's say you hold strong traditional values in this regard and are very proud (and rightfully so) of skills honed over the years and of your craft in general. That's a good thing.

        While some may writhe in disgust, the fact is that some people opt for fake mats and/or frames. It appears rooted in keeping costs down. (Then again, perhaps its a function of my own not very big client base?)

        Even though they won't hesitate (much) in plunking down a nontrivial chunk of $$ for a retouch / restore or (Eeek!) some photo-to-art work, the prospect of ponying up additional money for real matting and/or framing just isn't in their budgetary plan. (I don't ask, "Why?") At client request I will include fake matting, texture and/or frames.

        As Mike noted in some circumstaances a "carefully crafted vignette" or border can enhance rather than detract from the final result.

        Last edited by DannyRaphael; 07-13-2002, 04:36 PM.


        • #5
          I must be a "fuddy-duddy" as well...I never use fake mats or frames (ack!!). Although, I do sometimes put a white border around images for the web just to offset things from a dark background or text. Most of the fake wood frames or textures just look cheesy to me and detract from the image (or try to mask mistakes in the image).

          I even hate most real mats and frames! I like simple white or off-white mats and plain frames. The focus should always be on the photo or least in my opinion.


          • #6
            I have framed my digital art for years. I like the way it looks with a definate border. I like the 3-D look you can achieve by making a frame and then moving a portion of the art outside of that frame. I will probably always feel as though my art looks better framed in some way or another. BUT I am not a retoucher. I don't have roots in photography and have extended into digital like I think lots have here. I do digital. I haven't used my 35mm in over a year. I need to develop the roll of film that is in it and then put it up on the shelf. I seriously doubt I will ever use it again for much.

            I like creating artwork on the computer or scanning something and making it different from the original. Taking that to the printed page is another story. That image on paper may or may not have a frame depending on the situation.

            In short (too late), I think that anything you put in or around your art is just fine, and if you can do it in a pleasing manner that adds to rather than takes away from the image then that is just another aspect of your "work."

            And as much as I would like to say you're a fuddy-duddy, I think by your bringing it up at all you have proved that you are not set in your least not TOO much.


            • #7
              Interesting subject, and I see I better hide some of my work from Doug(take a pill) as it fits into this horrible catogory of fake paintings with fake frames and matts.
              I consider myself a traditionalist, as I have painted and framed my own paintings in the past.
              I try to choose frames for my on line work that compliment the piece and they are only for display, as I always have good unadulterated copys in png, psd. I have noticed some folks do get carried away, in fact there was one in your challenges recently that must've made you cringe, it did me. The reason I have done it is because I can. When I painted, I could not afford to matt and frame everything, but now I can. I can't see all your posts now, so I can't address every point, but do have strong opinions about this, and thinks it's alright.

              Here's a pic to consider for this forum. Would it still say the same thing with out the frame treatment?
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Neat subject, Doug!

                I guess I'm a bit of a multiple personality on this subject. For the real world, I'd definately choose real mats, real frames and real textures. And, I think those real things enhance an image.

                For viewing on the web I think some images lose something if some of those things are not represented, because to me those things are part of the effect I want to convey.

                If I'm making an image and have in mind that perhaps in real life I'll have it transferred to canvas or printed on textured paper, I keep a clean image for myself, but I may add the canvas texture to a duplicate file to simulate what my vision of it would be in real life... Likewise with frames (but not so much). My choice of frames and mats is as much a part of my personal expression as the image itself. So, sometimes, if I have some kind of strong feelings about how I'd like to see something displayed, I'll add that feature to it for web viewing.

                All of the above has more to do with art than restoration though. I'm less inclined to want to add those extra features to restored prints basically for the same reason I'm less inclined to have an opinion about how a restoration should be displayed in real life. Restoration work belongs to someone else and isn't pure art or as much of a free form of self expression for me.

                About the only thing of that type I'm strongly attracted to in restoration work is vignetting. I love old vignetted photographs in oval frames and I think I probably use vignettes more often because of it.


                • #9
                  Interesting discussion. I don't think this is a black and white issue. When I'm working on a restoration, I usually don't even think about adding texture or a mat/frame to the finished product. If it wasn't there to begin with, I don't add it - esp. since I assume it will be printed and physically framed in some way. (On the other hand, I have a bit of a dilemma with a photo that I'm restoring right now because it was originally printed on a nice textured B&W paper and the scanner picked up the texture. I don't want to remove the texture because it looks quite nice, but I'm not sure what paper to print it on to match the look of the digital image.)

                  I also like to see as much of the image as possible - and since adding a mat/frame inherently decreases the size of the image because of our size limitations here, I don't like to add them. When I get around to doing my website, I have a feeling that I might put a small contrasting (to the background) border around my images to help them stand out more. But that's as far as I would take it.

                  When I working on "digital paintings" though, I feel differently. Because art is often created on textured paper that (to me) is part of the overall "experience" of the piece, and because there is no way to experience texture on a display, I like to add texture to an artistic image before displaying on the web. I would not print the image with the texture however. (Well, I can't say that for sure given that I don't yet have a printer that gives me that option - but my gut feeling is that I would try to find a good textured paper to print my artistic images on and leave the "digital texture" for the web.)

                  As far as mats/frames, or even various edge effects, on artistic images, I do think that mats/frames can enhance an image. Looking at the framed art that I have hanging on the wall of my office, I'm convinced that the mats/frames enhance each of the images in a way that a straight white mat with simple black frame would not. But mats/frames can just as easily detract, overpower, or even distract from the image.

                  On the web I think it is difficult to get realistic looking frames and I don't like the look of fake frames at all. So, I tend to stear clear of them. But, a small contrasting (black?) border (i.e., mat) might help an image stand out more, esp. against a white background.

                  My $.02.



                  • #10
                    Another of my favorite old threads.
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                    Take responsibility for learning


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by photomauler

                      Do you see many unframed, unmatted images hanging on walls?? Noooooooo!!!!
                      I do ...all over the walls of my apartment!