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Mini-Tutorial: Cast Shadows

by Michael Newberry

NOTE FROM MSK: The actual tutorial has been removed at the request of Michael Newberry. The link to the tutorial on his site remains in the title above. I highly recommend you go there and go through it. Here is a small quote from it:

Cast shadow is a great compliment to painting light. Dali is a master of cast shadow and uses it often.

Dali, Young Virgin Autosodomized by Her Own Chastity, 1954

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When shadowing in a cast shadow. it's important see the middle tones inside of it--those tones get darker as they get closer to the edge.

That's certainly not true in general (it's of course always possible that reflections alter the brightness of a shadow). This is an optical illusion that is caused by the contrast between the bright environment and the edge of the shadow.

Edited by Dragonfly
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Dragonfly,

Although the quote appears to be me, it is actually by Michael Newberry. This is because I was the one who posted the mini-tutorials and the forum program does that automatically. When you use the quote feature in these mini-tutorials, this defect will appear so I suggest always mentioning the real author for the sake of clarity.

Incidentally, I am sure you know, but for general reference, the Dali painting is called Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity. I found a very good description of it on the Internet here. From that link:

She leans on a single metallic bar railing in a rectangular doorway, perhaps on a ship, looking out over the sea. The sky is littered with stratocumulus clouds. Hovering around her are seven large stylized rhinocerous horns.

We have a view of her from the rear. She has flowing golden-brown hair with ringlets falling down across her shoulders. She is nude. We see an expanse of back, a breast, a nipple, her calves, the back of a knee, ankles, a foot. Two horns intersect and converge to give the impression we can see her ass. Two white globes of ass-cheek, which are and aren't hers. We see the tell-tale arc of skin where ass ends and thigh begins, but it's an illusion -- a convergence of horn, not her flesh.

Above the knee her body slides out of this reality and she becomes invisible. We see sea where there should be flesh. The metal railing breaks into pieces about the not-her, reforming on the other side. One piece encircles the tip of a horn -- a phallic horn poised to enter her from behind.

Only on the third or fourth glance did I notice the brown line running up each calf. It runs across the back of one ankle and around her left heel. She's wearing pantyhose. For some reason noticing this detail made me feel like I'd solved a puzzle. Dali does that; presents puzzles.

Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity was created by Salvador Dali in 1954. It is part of the Playboy collection in Los Angeles, California.

I think Michael Newberry was deliciously wicked to make this a subject of a tutorial...

Michael

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Although the quote appears to be me, it is actually by Michael Newberry. This is because I was the one who posted the mini-tutorials and the forum program does that automatically. When you use the quote feature in these mini-tutorials, this defect will appear so I suggest always mentioning the real author for the sake of clarity.

Better now?

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When shadowing in a cast shadow. it's important see the middle tones inside of it--those tones get darker as they get closer to the edge.

That's certainly not true in general (it's of course always possible that reflections alter the brightness of a shadow). This is an optical illusion that is caused by the contrast between the bright environment and the edge of the shadow.

When you say "in general," are you speaking of actual shadows cast by actual objects? Isn't it true that painters, attempting to give an effect of shadows, darken the hue toward the edge so as to make what they're drawing look like a shadow?

Ellen

___

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When you say "in general," are you speaking of actual shadows cast by actual objects? Isn't it true that painters, attempting to give an effect of shadows, darken the hue toward the edge so as to make what they're drawing look like a shadow?

Of course I'm speaking of actual shadows, and I'm sure that was also meant in the original article:

When shadowing in a cast shadow. it's important [to] see the middle tones inside of it--those tones get darker as they get closer to the edge.

What artists do is a different question altogether. Another well-known illusion is the notion that the moon and the sun are larger when they are near the horizon, and countless artists have painted huge moons and suns (which would correspond to a very flat "tele" perspective, which is not consistent with the perspective they use in the painting), but that doesn't imply that you should make the moon or sun larger than an objective measurement would indicate!

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