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I was browsing a book earlier this morning and I stumbled upon a piece of code (for a gradient) that is supposed to take one step closer to looking like something that might be found in the real world. An image shows an actual use of the code.

The problem is that in my opinion, it looks really bad, as I've been playing with raytracers and juggling balls for 20 years, and this is supposed to look like a red ball.

The author clearly doesn't specify how far it is from looking real, but I would like to know whether you think it is more very far, or not so good, but acceptable.

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    So long as the question is phrased in a way which allows the answers to be factual with a clear criteria, it should be fine. Here you've got a clear criteria - you're asking "Is this method for a realistic gradient really an improvement over other existing methods, in terms of realism and natural appearance?", and that's a clear factual question, people can answer in terms of facts about real shading. If the question was, "Hey random internet people, do you like this gradient? Does it appeal to you personally?" that would be a bad question, but it sounds like that's not what you're asking. – user56reinstatemonica8 Nov 4 '12 at 19:30
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I'm not a graphic designer (I'm a community manager, actually), but I'll offer my best off-the-cuff guidance:

  • Questions that ask, "Is this ugly?" are likely going to be closed as not constructive.
  • Asking for critique or feedback on a design is on topic, as long as the question is specific enough to be generally answerable-by and useful-to others (see the end of this question for a little more insight).
  • If you decide to let the poster know that his/her design is ugly, you must back up your statements with references to design theory, statements by influential designers, art theory, layout theory, etc. No references means your answer is likely not answering the question and your answer will be removed.

Remember: if you're going to be critical, be constructive. Constructive criticism will shield you from being considered mean or impolite.

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It's a matter of perspective. Approach a question (and answers, for that matter) with the thought in mind of how this topic will be of help to others in the future. Is there something about the design and its critique that can help others? If yes, then the question is valid, imo.

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