Definition of done (DOD) in TFS online

Definition of done have been around for a while now. It’s a part of the scrum framework and also used in other contexts. The purpose of the definition of done list is to have a checklist that team together must follow before they can say they are done. The list is often unique and shall be created by the team in the startup process.
Some common topic if using TDD (Test driven development) can be
– Test must have been written
– Test most pass
– Code has been reviewed etc.

The list can be split into many lists if used for different phases in a Kanban board. In this post I will show you how easy it is to add a DOD list mark for alla the columns that you as a team think needs a DOD list before you can move the user story (card) to next column.

First login to your TFS Online account and your project. After that just go to the board settings.

1

In the settings area, go to the columns and select the column you want your Defition of Done checklist for and just add what you as a team think must be made before the user story (card) can be moved to next column.
2

As soon you are done and enter the board you will see this little mark

3

In this case I just added some text on the Active Columns Definition of done textbox.
Move your mouse over and a box will appear with the text.
4

Easy and very nice and helpful little feature in TFS Online.
Who is Johan Normén?
Johan Normén is 37 years old, work as a speaker,mentor, team leader, agile coach, and senior .net developer at Softhouse in Gothenburg Sweden.
He has over 18 years business experienced and worked in many different projects and roles. Was one of the creators of Swenug (Sweden .Net User Group) with over 3000 members all over the country. He started the computer era as game designer at the age of 12 with his Amiga and team. Has been nominated two time as the top 100 developers in Sweden in the Swedish version of Computer Sweden.

Twitter: @johannormen

The top 3 most important skills for being a great team-working agile developer

1. The Skill of Collaboration
Why agile work with teams in agile frameworks is because of two factors. Cooperation skills and collaboration skills. Cooperation is the part when you work as a whole with the customer, product owner (if scrum), agile coach (scrum maser if scrum) , organisation and the team. Cooperation skill is one of the most important requirements for continues delivery and success. Without it you are lost. On top of cooperation you got collaboration. Collaboration is the part where there is room for innovations. When you as a team brainstorm, discuss how to go forward together, innovate new features or maybe effective ways to solve hard problems. Collaboration is working with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals. Agile works because cooperation and collaboration is a must. In other methods like waterfall this is often split into all the different phases and different roles that poorly talk to each other. Every phase do its own work and deliver it to the persons in the next phase. It’s not effective at all and cooperation and collaboration will get lost.

You also need to welcome changes of the requirements. Waterfall mostly don’t. And we know that customers never know what they really want in detail so we really need to have a model that welcome changes. To welcome changes we need to cooperate and collaborate as a whole team. Use Collaborative Design if needed, use Agile UX, Lean UX or whatever you need for the user experience model. The UX people must talk to the designers and the developers to understand if the idea is too expensive or even possible to do. Testers might also have inputs regarding the UX. The developers might have learned some new technical frameworks that make the UX even better. Technical information that UX people often do not know about if no one present it to them. And it’s also important for the developers to understand the UX ideas. It’s also important for you as a developer to be curios and ask why to understand. Never assume anything (we will come to that later.) It’s also important as a team to be able to explain the goal to each other so we are all on the same page all the time in the whole process.

To get the most out of collaboration shared workspaces is important. The more distance to each other the harder it will become to collaborate with less misunderstanding. So as a team it’s important to have the possibility to talk to each other, and understand that talking with each other is a must. Your mission is to help each other despite your role. If you are not willing to spare time for a discussion you will probably harm yourself in the long run. The team as a whole will probably get problems. The team’s problems is also your problem. You are not alone in an effective team. The best tool for collaboration is people standing with a whiteboard. Different people understand information in different ways. To draw, talk, use metaphors mostly is enough for the teammates to understand the issues. If you are unsure if the persons you talk to understand what you just told them, let them explain for the team the same thing you just did to see so everyone is on the same page. Second best collaboration tools is video or skype calls, the worst media for collaboration is chat-programs and e-mail conversations [Cockburn – Agile software development].  So as a team try to demand for an open space where you can draw, talk without disturbing other teams any time you need to. If that’s not possible the collaboration part can be tricky and not as effective as needed. As a team member it’s important to understand that communication and meetings are not bad things. Meetings are held to solve problems and conflicts, communication in general to understand the goal and help each other reach this goal. Work close to each other so you can ask a question, let others review your work and you others and so on. Be open to share your ideas and thoughts and listen to others, work with the same principles and guidelines.

If you put people in different rooms they will surly produce something but without collaboration it will probably be something no one wants. The assumptions will increase and the blame as well. To blame people in your team indicates bad collaboration and only destroys it. So it’s important to handle conflicts in the collaboration part as well. Conflicts will be there when working so tight to each other, it’s unavoidable. So don’t be afraid of conflicts. But handle them as soon they arise.

Story:
I was one of the developers in a project for a big company that own buildings. The company I worked for was very fond of roles. UX, Designers, information Architects, Developers, Testers. All grouped together in different rooms based on their roles. Testers in one room, Designers in one etc. Every role had x-total time to deliver their part. The UX person got 100 hours. After 100 hours the UX person went to another project and the Designer gets the material and had 200 hours to add look and feel of the wireframes. The designer only got 70% of the work needed from the UX person. Because the UX person was assigned to other projects as soon the time was out the designer was forced to do the best he could. When the designer’s time was up the UX material and design sketches was delivered to the developers. The designer only managed to give the developers design for 55% of the projects main requirements. The UX never talked to the designer and the developers, the designer never talk to the UX person or the developers. When the developers needed to understand all the missing parts the project manager gave us this answer: “The UX and Designer are now in other projects” when we told the project manager that this is an issue, he just told us to assume what to do. We are the experts, how hard can it be? I think you can figure out the rest…

You are the expert [You tube]

2. The skill to gain respect/trust
Respect is a powerful skill, but also a really hard one. Respect others and you will also be respected. We all have different skills and talents, if we respect that we also get stronger together as a team. A respected team will get better relationships with the customers and the organization. Try to understand the strength and weakness within your teammates. Don’t blame a weakness, it’s your responsibility with the team to compliment them. Get rid of “me” and increase the “we”. We are doing this together, we support each other to solve the problems together, we can do it, we will do it… It’s not one person’s code that’s failing it’s ours (even if it’s a certain person who wrote it). If something is broken, fix it. If you blame the creator it will only split the team with conflicts and trust issues. One day you will be the one that break something and find gratitude if someone help you fix it.

Show gratitude to each other, compliment the achievements of each other. Even small parts count. If you say you will fix something, do it. Don’t commit to something you can’t handle. Offer assistance if someone got a problem and respect each other abilities. A highly respected team will get less conflicts and will cooperate and collaborate better to meet the same goal. By trust you get respect. Trust and respect are both two ways communication. You must trust others and respect others to gain both. Some organizations think that developers are the solution to everything and forget that the organization as a whole is. With bad leaders you get bad teams. It’s important to let teams coach leaders and leaders to coach teams. In agile frameworks like scrum you have retrospectives as a golden opportunity to bring this up if it’s a problem. If you got many conflicts in your team, then you know that you have trust issues. Bring them up early before they end up in resentments.

Be open minded, let go of control and make you vulnerable. It’s important to make mistake and it’s also important to be able to. Making mistake is not a weakness it’s you motivation for establish strength and knowledge. See things from other perspectives is a skill. That’s why you also must let go of fear and control and make yourself vulnerable. Let others know when you did a mistake rather than activate defensive mode. Take a moment and reflect how you act in front of others that just made a mistake. You don’t blame them, right? You often give them your hand and help them do better, right? We are all the same, other people have the same feelings, don’t judge yours. Be transparent with your team. The same goes with collaboration with customers. Be transparent, try to see their side before you criticize them. If there is some kind of conflicts with the costumer it’s mostly because you don’t see the vision and goal the same way. Open up your mind for new ideas and give yourself the opportunity to change how you think and how you view the world. Doing so increases the options to enter new ways to solve problems and increases your confidence with others and you will gain more respect and trust too.
Coach your teammates, let them know that mistakes are not bad, give them positive feedback, don’t blame them for their mistakes. And most of all listen to what they have to say.
That doesn’t say you cannot have strong opinions, but you need weakly held.

Story:
The first time I was a full time Team Leader I did the biggest mistake ever. I thought I could handle everything. The requirements with the customer and the team, the architecture of the system, the design of the system and to lead the team. I got trust issues, the respect was very low, the collaboration was bad, and everything was bad. I could not understand why. I was there supporting the team with every little question that was delivered to me. I told them what to do all the time. I worked overtime for my team and all I got was angry comments, no respect at all. When I told something they ignored me and went to someone else. Later on I found out that my good will was just bad. I wanted so badly to help my team to succeed so I took all the responsibilities from everyone. That’s a nightmare for a team. You can never create a self-going teams if you take all the responsibilities. It’s important to hand it over to the team, let them solve the problems together. I took all the trust from them not letting them decide by them self. I was not open minded, I never saw the forest for the trees. This is also important for the team members, don’t take too much responsibilities let other have some. Even if you are or think you are better than them. It’s so easy to be the one taking most of the responsibilities, the one the team must ask if they want to go forward. In the end you are the one your teammates will blame if anything is broken. Let all take responsibility and let them learn from each other’s and their own mistakes, just be the mentor and the mentee.

3. The skill to challenge Assumptions
Assumptions are our worst enemy. It often give us bad business. We often make assumptions when we don’t fully understand a situation or a need. The reaction is natural for making up our own story by filling in any missing information. We do this because we try to make sense of uncertain requirements or customers need. The problem with this is that most of the time our story is incorrect and most often causes all kinds of complications. Assumptions is like the red devil on our shoulder while the good angle is on the other side and try to tell us something but we won’t listen. We are afraid of showing weakness and think we do well by our assumptions. Bad assumptions just don’t give you bad decisions or features it infect the whole team.

Challenge assumptions by getting more information about something if you are not certain. In some mysterious way questions seems to be a weakness but it’s not. To not ask is. So when you don’t know it’s a clear sign you need to get all the facts. Coach your teammates to be open with questions. Don’t blame or reject questions, they are often you and your teammates guide to success.

There is no stupid questions only stupid answers. The fact is, we don’t know what the truth is unless we ask. If you find a bad requirement go ask for more details. In agile frameworks like scrum you got the product owner as your service to help you understand the requirements. Never blame the product owner for bad requirements, the product owner also need help to get the best out of the team.

You also need to be curious to challenge assumptions. If someone talk about things you don’t know anything about, just ask or go and google it for a while, you will be amazed what you will find out. Don’t stop with “I don’t know”. If you can’t find any answers at all, remember it’s no weakness to ask for help on forums or in other teams. Ask for help is strength. It also increase respect and awareness. With high curiosity you will also grow up and continue to learn and practice new topics. Knowledge is your tools for success.

Let your teammates know that words like “how? Why? etc. are the words of curiosity and also very important to understand to move forward as a team. If you feel that someone in your team are not curios at all and always want you to fix the problems for them, try to motivate them by ask them questions back rather than just give them an answer.

Story:
Some years ago I took over a project after a team leader who quit his job for another one. The project was one month late. I asked the team how long they had come. The answer was that 70% was done. When I asked the customer if they were satisfied so far. I got the answer NO. We haven’t seen anything yet. I found it odd and asked the team do demonstrate the system for the customer. What we found out was that it was only 30% done. The rest was just assumptions by the team. I asked how this was possible. The team told me the team leader and product owner was too busy in more important projects so they were never around. When I asked the customer they told me they wanted continues deliveries and continuous feedback loops but got none so they thought we know what we were doing because of the silence. I think you can imagine how that project ended. I bet most of you have been in this kind of situation before.

Summary:
Delete the “Me and you” and add the “We”. Never assume anything and ask when uncertain and give feedbacks and be open minded for all kinds of collaboration, even if it’s about solving a conflict within the team, with the customer or just find out how to solve a problem.
Who is Johan Normén?
Johan Normén is 37 years old, work as a speaker,mentor, team leader, agile coach, and senior .net developer at Softhouse in Gothenburg Sweden.
He has over 18 years business experienced and worked in many different projects and roles. Was one of the creators of Swenug (Sweden .Net User Group) with over 3000 members all over the country. He started the computer era as game designer at the age of 12 with his Amiga and team. Has been nominated two time as the top 100 developers in Sweden in the Swedish version of Computer Sweden.

@johannormen

Special thanks to Linus Norén for the review of this post.

#NOESTIMATE, SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS IN AN AGILE WORLD. PART 2.

The big difference between agile methods and other methods is that you focus more on value and results before time and deadline. The word focus does not mean that time is an unnecessary factor, it is but agile is more about using it effectively in an agile manner.

Many of us that are really passionate about the agile methodology, have actually succeeded with good results in our projects. And our customers have been extremely satisfied and in return we got good relations.

Our highest priority as agile coachers and team is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
We welcome changing requirements, even late in the development phase. The agile process yields change to the customer’s competitiveness and give us as team leaders or developer the creativity to do good.
We want to deliver working software usually with the timeframe of few week sprints or within few months. Together with the team we want to create good design and code to get out as much of the customer’s requirements as possible, based on requirements with the highest ROI (Return Of Investment) value. And deliver it all within the client’s budget and desired time frames.
We know that business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. We also like continuous meetings to synchronise with customer continuously. We are simply motivated to deliver high value to the customer together with the customer. And we remove unnecessary management works to visual instead. Therefore, we must constantly work to reduce factors in our own process that does not give teams and customers a good ROI. That is what Agile is all about. As agile team we also know that our time costs money and we need to use it effectively and profitable. We use product owners and agile coachers to remind us.

Heres where #NoEstimate comes in as one of many factors to decrease waste in our projects. #NoEstimate does not mean we should stop estimating, we shall. #NoEstimate focus is to make it right to bring out the best value for both the customer and the team. In Part 1, I talked about the Chaos report that more or less says that about 78% of our estimates are wrong. And therefore classic estimates are waste of time in our process and can instead be used for other things. Like delivering value to the customer, right?  So why not use it to deliver more value to the customer instead? We can never trust our estimates, they are truly lying for us.

Let me give you some more examples.

You estimate with planning poker or something similar to get as close estimates as possible right?
There is a problem with planning poker. Say that a team set an user story with the number 13. What does that mean? 13h? (2.1 days?). A space of time against Another User Story? 13 as in 13 days? The higher the number is, the harder it is to get the correct estimate. Higher numbers are higher risks. The higher it is the more complex it is. If we want to trust the Chaos report, then 13 user story point has 78% chance of being wrong. It even has a chance (if it is a medium sized company) to go 220% over  the time.
That mean that a 13 user story point can result in about 30 instead. If 13 is a estimate number for days it’s 78% chance that such a point would take 30 days (a month, it is more than a full sprint if you have four weeks sprints.). Imagine then if our project has 10 x 13-day points then it is 78% chance that our 130 days user stories instead will take about 290 days.
(Remember there is also statistics that say that the more experienced you are as a team the better you will hit the right time. But how many elite teams do we have in today’s society? We must constantly replenish with new people so we will never be able to have 100% elite team. That is how our reality looks and the reality we have to adapt.)

Another problem is also the negotiations on the requirements during the project. The customer wants a new requirement but would not extend the deadline. So we negotiate away less important requirement for this new requirement. But how? We do this by estimates the new requirements with Planning Poker and get the number 8. But what does it mean? Normally replace another 8, right?. But is an 8 equal another 8? What if the 8 we will replace actually happened to be one of the 25% chances you have to spot the right estimate and the new 8 happen to be one of the 78% that we gets wrong. There is therefore a risk that the new 8 takes about 18 days and the one you removed actually took 8 days to finish. So it’s 10 days overtime instead. It can also be the other way around, but less likely.
Why do we expose ourselves to this risks when we know about this? Why spend unnecessary time to estimates like this instead of use it to focus on delivery on time instead? In next part (part 3), I will describe some #NoEstimate ideas that will provide safer time estimation and much more measurable velocity quality and ROI for the team and customer.

Stay tuned…

#NoEstimate, successful projects in an agile world. Part 1.

It is known and has been documented that up-front work rarely delivers more than unnecessary time spent in our IT projects. CHAOS Report 2005 showed that this traditional approach was not viable. Approximately 16% of all projects were delivered on time 2005. Over 80% was delivered after budget and time, and the rest was more or less failed projects. Only 9% of the 16% successful projects had been supplied with all the requirements customer wanted. 78% of those 16% had about 74% of the customer’s requirements and expectations.

And the size of the companies did also matter, small and big delivered different results in losses on budget. The large companies went over with a budget of about 180% while smaller companies went over by more than 220% in several projects.

That means there is a 75% chance that a project of 1000 hours will cost a small business about 2200 hours for all the requirements.
Source: http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/docs/chaos-report.pdf

The numbers were changed in the CHAOS report 2013 when agile methods have reached their success by 2005. Approximately 39% of the projects was delivered in time and budget with a 100% agile methodologies such as Scrum, Lean, XP…

Why does so many project fails?
The answers are many, it is everything from how we manage projects, knowledge in organisations, how we manage our customers and attacking redundant work.

A big mistake is that we are so fixated with time. We use time to estimate the costs. This approach automatically more or less means that you agree to an up-front process that’s likely limit the customer the opportunity to request changes and you for welcoming them.  Customer thinks that estimate is almost a contract when we are done. This approach is often called Budget-Driven Estimation or Promise-Driven Estimation. And the real problem here is that customers know that estimate is just a “guess”. But they always refer to it as a promised timeframe. So in the community people want to change this word to something else though estimate is almost always converted as a promise. It would be much better to call it. “We guess it will take 1000h!” instead of telling the customer “the estimate is 1000h.” You get the point right?

And remember that estimate does not actually tell the story about the delivery time frames. The actual delivery time depends on current priorities, WIP and lead-time. But! When a customer asks “how long?” and we answer “eight weeks”, or “1200h” they think the clock has started, and expect to see results after 8 weeks or exactly 1200 hours. But the reality may be that the team will not begin work on the basis of existing PIA and priorities.

Another reason is when leaders see the team members as a developer that you can move around or replace whenever you want. We believe that a developer is equal another developer in skill and knowledge.
Two brothers created in 1980 an idea that people are not equals because they have the same title. They identified that people attack problems differently based on their experience and knowledge. And therefore created the Dreyfus model.
To rank where people exist in all there unique skills.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_model_of_skill_acquisition

It is also common to add people to an ongoing project and believe it will create greater efficiency when it’s usually do the opposite. Each new person has to be trained in collaboration, customer requirements, knowledge of the customer, etc. and it usually takes focus from an already productive team. “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month.” It’s called The Brook’s law.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks%27s_law

To prevent much of this we can focus out processes on the agile manifesto.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

It is important to keep an open dialogue with the customer to ensure that risks are lifted up early on the surface as soon as we learn about them.
Then there is also plenty of time to reduce them. Clients / stakeholders do not like surprises as for the development team!

An estimate should never be treated as a commitment or a promise. It’s not a contract. Therefore, avoid negotiating with time to calculate the budget. Instead focus on the value for the customers and charge for them instead. Be value-oriented not time-oriented. (Part 4 in this series will show some ideas how you can get paid and sell your projects value-oriented.)

So when estimate seams so bad, do we need them? Yes and no.
You can read more about it and #NoEstimate in my Part 2. (will be published soon.)

What happened to my Teddy? – Final Part

The final compositing

Part 1 was about my idea and my sketching.
Part 2 was about my idea of lighting setup.
Part 3 was scouting for background images.
Part 4 was creating the background in Photoshop as a concept.
Part 5 was about the UFO model and photograph of the UFO
Part 6 was about the photo shoot of the model Leon.

And now this final part is about the final compositing process.

I always start with the background this is almost a must to so I can analyze the lighting condition better. In this case I had the moon as my main light.

5

The main light is also important for all elements for the image therefore it was important to decide where the main UFO shall be located so I could shoot it with correct lighting.
So I created a studio at home, took some images and added the UFO to the background as a prof of concept for the lightning conditions.
Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 21.37.42

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 21.37.16

Then it was time to add the boy to the image.
When I took the photography of the boy I put the main light source at the same location as the moon and Marcus Person my assistant used a white reflector to reflect some fill light.
IMG_2861

leon

When the boy was added to the image I start to add motivated lights to the image. Motivated light is light you add extra to increase the effect of lights to the image. In this case the lamp.

I moved around the second UFO several times to find out where I want to put it to the story. That’s why you can see it all over the place in all my images under my process.

I also added some footsteps and a red apple to increase the story telling of the image.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 15.26.37

“ -What happened to the teddy? Some footsteps, a red apple and UFO in the skies, maybe the Aliens took the teddy thought it was a animal or something to eat, and the apple increate that idea.

I never found any house around here in Alingsås (Sweden) where I live so I got a stock image for the house. I
It was also important to add the correct light condition for the house and the light in the window as intended from the beginning.

house

When all the elements are added to the image I analyze it with the golden rules. I always do this as my last step before getting feedback from friends.
It’s important to add elements within the golden rules lines and points.

You can here see the rules and I also added some comments to show you how I think when working with them to increase the story telling.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 12.04.05
As soon I was done I sent the image to friends and uploaded it to Facebook, 500px, Instagram and Twitter. Sadly as usual I found some flaws in my image and corrected it for this blog post.

Most of the feedbacks was regarding to bright lights. So I fixed that.

feedbback

Here is the final image

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I hope you liked this story and got some ideas your self.

Also in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

https://www.facebook.com/JohanErikNormenPhotography

What happened to my Teddy? – Part 6

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 19.50.18

The boy and the Teddy

boy

Now it was time to shoot the model, I went to the city with Leon (The boy – model) and his father (Marcus) to find some clothes. After five different stores we finally find a shirt and pants at H&M.

FullSizeRender (1)

When we bought the clothes I wanted to find the last object of the card with the guy. His flashlight. Then the picture will be taken at the country so I wanted to have an old lamp. Marcus had one on his job, which fitted perfectly.

FullSizeRender

I chose to shoot the boy outdoor in the same lighting conditions as the background. This is because of my filters I already added in Photoshop would compensate the photo with the boy.

Marcus helped me with the reflective screen that was my fill light.

I had my Elinchrom beauty dish as motivation for the moonlight.
IMG_2855

IMG_2861

I did some test shoots to set up the correct light condition.

IMG_2859

And as soon I was satisfied we cut of the head of the teddy and start shoot the images.

IMG_2863

and now its time to add him to the background and next part is the house.

IMG_7074

to be continued…

Also in this series
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
.
..
Part 7

What happened to my Teddy? Part 5

top

The UFO

My UFO model arrived. So it was time to get it ready for my image. I bought the model on eBay. I wasn’t sure at the moment what I was looking for, but after I searched for “UFO Model” and after some scrolling and pagination I found something I did like.

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My main idea is to paint it in Photoshop, but I need the main parts on the UFO to look like metal, and that’s to big job to simulate in Photoshop so I bought a silver metal spray and fixed the chassis of the UFO.

10450116_10152590383356273_7879540325126910019_o

After that it was time to glue all parts together.

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When I was done with the UFO I setup my light settings as intended. I wanted light from right to simulate my moon and some fill light in front of it.
I took images of it in frog-perspective (under and up).

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 21.37.42

When I was done with the photography of the model it was time to add it in to my background.

I moved the moon to get better composition, and also place the ship so the moonlight hit the chassis. I will probably add more UFO into the image.

To get it more realistic I added light to it this was done with some coloring and different blending modes. I will paint more scratches, shadows and lights on the alien later. I want the cockpit to reflect some red lights on the Alien and in the glass cup as well.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 21.37.16

to be continued….

Also in this series
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
.
..
Part 6
Part 7

What happened to my Teddy? – Part 4

What happened to my Teddy? – Part 4

intro
The Background.

I have now started my work on the main background for the image.
This will be a post with more images than text. So lets go…

1

The black thing on top of the image is my hand. I wanted to block some of the sunlight I had in front of me. 

Road
First of I looked for a main image for the road that got the most interesting perspective for the story.
Note: When I do my sketching I do not make it 100% accurate with the final result, my sketches are just guidelines for me. So the composition, size, format of things are not necessary my final result. And things can be added or removed later on. Part 1 – Idea the sketch

Background
As soon I found the version of the road I liked the most I start to replace the background in it, in this case the forest with a more flat background.

2

I never spend to much time masking out backgrounds from start though I need to see if it all works at all. In this case I liked it and will fine-tune it later on.

Clouds
When I got the background replaced I started to look for skies in my own cloud folder with tons of images. I found some I liked and added it to the image.

3

Moon
As soon I got the clouds in place I added my moon and increased the moon light to the image. Remember I do not have the UFO, House, and Boy yet, and as soon I got them photographed things can be moved around. So this is still not the final image.

4

Night feeling / Color tuning / glass
After the moon was added I start to change the image to look more like it was night outside. In this case I just added a blue solid color in color mode with opacity over the whole image. I never finalize the color tuning this early in the process. So at the moment this is just a test.
I also removed some of the grass and replaced it with a flat image of grass, this because I will add the house on that spot later on.

5

As soon the weather gets better I will start looking for the house I want in this image.

To be continued….

Also in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
.
..
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

 

 

What happened to my Teddy? Part 3

What happened to my Teddy? Part 3

Scouting

(I will not use my original images in this post, so I use my iphone ant took photos of them on my monitor. I do not like the idea to watermark them on my blog and this is a way to make them bad for other to use.) 

Next step in my process is to find the locations where I can shoot images for my background. I call this step Scouting. And the scouting step can take time. My assistant Marcus and me took my car and went out for a three-hour trip to find locations close enough to certify my idea.
The sun was to high when we found some spots so we took an extra trip to spend some time to let the sun go down more and probably also find new interesting places.

The biggest part of my image is the road. So my first mission was to find a road close enough to my sketch.

After a while we found a really nice road. I wanted the road to contain some grass in the middle to increase the story and drama in the image. A flat road isn’t that adventurous.
I also wanted to have lots of grass/corn, and I found that too.

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When I got the images of the road I wanted we went out to find open landscapes for the backgrounds, I do not want the forest in the background and will replace it with an open wide landscape.

It was easier, so I took some images of a wide landscape.

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I also want to create a more interesting road than a straight one. So we drove around for a while to find a more interesting road. I found one and will replace the asphalt with gravel and grass in Photoshop.

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I will also replace the sky with some other clouds, I haven’t choose the clouds yet. I got plenty of images of skies photographed by me so I will look for that as soon I start create the background in Photoshop.

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We did not found a house interesting enough for the image, so I will scout for a house as soon I got time and a sunny day.I want an old house, with some visible window so I can add light in one of them in Photoshop to bring a story to it.

 to be continued….

In this series:
Part 1
Part 2
.
..
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7