Don’t miss my BTS story about the Princess and the golden chair on Retouching Academy Blog.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“ -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.
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.
Most of the feedbacks was regarding to bright lights. So I fixed that.
Here is the final image
I hope you liked this story and got some ideas your self.
The boy and the Teddy
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.
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.
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 did some test shoots to set up the correct light condition.
And as soon I was satisfied we cut of the head of the teddy and start shoot the images.
and now its time to add him to the background and next part is the house.
to be continued…
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.
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.
After that it was time to glue all parts together.
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).
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.
to be continued….
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To be continued….
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
Preparing the lighting setup and gear.
In Part 1 I explained my idea and showed you my sketch. If you missed part 1 you can find it here!
In Part 2 I will explain my analyse of the light settings I probably will use.
As you can see in the image I got a moon. The moon will be my main light. I will probably create the background with different photos.
One on the road
One for the background
and one with the Boy and his teddy and flash.
So all this photos need to have a light source at the same level as the moon.
So I will be very picky regarding this main-light source on all my elements.
I will take the images in sunlight and in Photoshop make it look like its night and replace the sun with the moon. I will do that because of the shadows from the sun. It will increase the shadow contrast and bring some drama to the story of the image. In real life this will end up strange, though the moon will not cast that hard shadows in real life. But I like the arty-style and contrast and hard lines are important to create that effect.
For the flash on the boy flashlight I will probably use a motivated light source.
Motivated light source is when you use a light source to increase the ordinary light effect or add a light effect to the image. When I use a main light behind the boy and some fill light in front of him the flash will not appear because it’s effect is to low. I will therefore add a motivated light maybe a Speed light with orange gel for it.
I will probably use a beauty dish or a soft box for the fill light on the boy. The moon probably is simulated with a soft box or a beauty dish. This is something I will test when I shoot the boy. Probably I will use a beauty dish to simulate the moon though it’s a harder light source than a soft box.
Stay tuned for Part 3.
to be continued…