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Thread: Using the Golden Ratio

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL
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    Using the Golden Ratio

    I've been studying the golden ratio (or golden number or golden mean) and it's effect on paintings. For those of you not familiar with it, it is 1:1.618+ or phi. supposedly if you use this ratio of 1 to phi in your composition it is supposed to supe up the appeal of it. According to testimony it makes a portrait look more like the person than the person does. Is there anyone who actively uses this in their work? I'm still playing with it, but I was wondering if there are any tips from those of you who are old pros, or maybe some good articles around the net. There was one in the artist's magazine, but it was too general to be helpful.
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  3. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Dude, don't post on an open forum that you're using sacred geometry! The illuminati are watching...
    At least Icarus tried!

    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:

    My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
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  4. #3
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    Oct 2006
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    brianhammer, I've been dividing my comic panel lines in the 1.618 phi ratio, and a book on phi was recently given to me by a close friend. It's called "The Golden Ratio" by Mark Livio and has a chapter of phi's impact on art (specifically da vinci and durer) and music. Frankly, I don't know if I believe the ratio is universally the most aesthetically appealing thing... it could just be mathematicians trying to make the link by saying: if math=nature, then nature=art and math=art.

    My SVA precollege professor told us compositionally, 2:3 often looks better... but I suppose this is only because 1:2 is TOO perfect, you know? You never want to cut things TOO perfectly. Just like how sometimes diagonal lines are better than straight horizontal or vertical ones -- or pictures tilted at an angle look better.

    I would be wary about using it in portrature. Just like the ratio for eyes, 1:3. Not only is it hardly ever 1:3, but everybody has a slanted eye, or a slanted eyebrow, or something peculiar and off. And if you make everything too perfect, it's not true. And you want to capture truth in your art, otherwise it becomes generic and boring to look at.

    Compositionally, though, I would say go for 2:3, and play around with it. But don't take out a calculator and ruler and adhere to small mathematical details... sure this is fun (hell, I'm doing it right now with my comic paneling), but never more "beautiful". Beauty is completely subjective. Cliche, but true.
    Last edited by Forecast; October 12th, 2007 at 12:02 PM.
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  5. #4
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    May 2007
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    that ratio will melt your brain if you study it too hard.

    add cream to your coffee, the swirl will follow the ratio, sunflowers seeds bloom in the pattern of the ratio. the ratio is build into our very structure, from the spacing of our knuckles to nearly every anatomical form of the body.

    the ratio appears in the universe to an alarming degree, it could be that we just sense a certain amount of balance on a subconscious level when we see something that follows the ratio, whether we are aware of it or not. i'm far too ignorant to make any grand assumptions of if we would be able to detect such a thing in artwork, or if we percieve things using the ratio to be more (a)esthetic.

    i'm not sure if theres any way to quantify or calculate such ability to detect harmony achieved by the ratio, goodluck finding the answers you seek.
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