guynamedbilly / Member

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The Blur Factor - Depth of Field

I'm sure any of you who are up to date on the PC gaming community have seen a lot of the graphics mods on Skyrim and some games' default engines are including a feature called Depth of Field. If you don't know what that is, Google it. I'm curious why people think this feature, even if it's not too overdone, is a good thing.

Clearly, artistic value is a subjective thing, which would not be worth me getting into. What one person thinks looks good versus what another person thinks doesn't really matter and that argument couldn't be settled. What I'm more poking a hole in is the argument that it looks more realistic or that that's what we see in real life.

Look at the monitor in front of you. Depending on how big and how close to you it is, you probably have a really clear view of a small circle of the monitor and outside of that circle all the rest of your vision has what seems like the same amount of blur. For instance, when looking at the bottom right corner of my screen, I feel like the top left corner, and the bookshelf to my right side, and the door to my left all look just as blurry. This is just the natural way things work with vision. They can get blurrier the farther away they are, but mostly you see blurry images outside of your focal point.

In a game, the image on the screen is a flat 2D image. You may play in 3D, but that won't make any difference to the general point I'm making. When you are playing, your eyes jump across the screen as you focus your attention at different places. When you focus in on a point, your eyes naturally adjust to make the image clear. Your eyes will always be the point where blur and focus matters. When Depth of Field is introduced into the game, not only do your eyes have to focus on a point, but the camera in the game has to as well. To say that this is a realistic effect is akin to saying that when you walk down the street, your eyes float in the air a few feet behind you and they have a controller that turns your head towards whatever they are looking at.

Again, if you just think blur and depth of field make a game look better, fine; that's your opinion. Just don't say it's realistic. I have enough blur outside of my focal point to suit me fine.