Your opinion on this technique

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by edgar_njari, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Hi

    take a look at this Volvo ad. Shot by Peter Gehrke

    http://free-os.t-com.hr/redmist/volvo.jpg

    I'm really wondering about ways to make the colors look like that.
    They almost look like they were painted instead of photographed.
    Now I have a theory about how this was made, I'll first say what I
    think, and then I'd appretiate if you have me your opinion on how this
    was made.

    My guess is, the car was shot in a studio with nice lighting, hence
    the shiny "fashion" look. Then composited to this background photo.
    Then the car was retouched by painting highlights and shadows with
    tools such as dodge/burn in photoshop, just like they do on fashion
    model skin.

    But what I don't get is how come the background shares this almost
    cartoon-like look. The cars in the background which are obviously shot
    on site still look painterly.

    Something must have been done to the whole image to affects its
    shadows and tonal distribution, but what. Anyone know of any photoshop
    tricks that can do that?
    One thing that comes to mind is masking, using a combination of
    different masks, one can alter the image to look more surreal like
    that, but there must be more to it.

    Peter uses this unknown technique in most of his older campaigns, and
    some new too.

    thanks
     
  2. One can do wonders for color and texture with an airbrush (digital or otherwise) but the in-camera work such as the strong fill-light accounts for a lot of the effect. The windows may, or may not be polarized. Look at the light on the car - double shadows. Check out the bright concrete buildings - the background is down a stop from actual, which brings the car farther forward.
     
  3. So you think the background buildings were also airbrushed in some way?
    It looks like the effect is of more "global" nature, insted of local painting. I mean, every part of the image in the background is affected by this strange look of colors, if it were a result of airbrushing of some sort, one would have to practically repaint the entire photograph
     
  4. Looks like the car was photographed in a studio against a green screen and then dropped into the street scene via photoshop.
     
  5. Edgar-- Car photographers have become a dying breed lately, because ad agencies have found that they can plug the CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer aided manufacture) specs into an image editing program and literally build the image right on the screen. They can even specify the exact lighting angles, distances of light sources, type of light sources, and etc, and the computer can create the image with an amazing degree of realism.

    Since high-end car shots often take massive banks of lights and time and crew, resulting in about $30,000 to $70,000 worth of cost per shot, the companies can save quite a bit of money if they go the CAD/CAM approach.

    I can't say if that image was created with such a technique, but it is within the realm of possibility. -BC-
     
  6. It looks like a straight shot of a car parked on the side of the road. Then a fill light used accounting for 2nd shadow. Then in photoshop the car was isolated (lasso) and background desaturated. Personally, that photo looks terrible. I didn't study it much, just 1t impressions, so I could be wrong. I would prefer to look at photos exhibiting more talent before I would study it in detail.
     
  7. Edgar, I think that this image was created on location. Using available light, the sun from above and left camera, one light source(probably multiple strobes, behind large diffusion panel)left and behind camera, another lightsource from camera right(probably thruogh diffusion)lighting the front of car and top of washing machine. Lights were powered up just a bit higher than the ambient. I think that photoshop had little to do with the creation of this image. I've seen articles about the CGI guys doing car ads, and from what I have seen, it's pretty impressive. They certainly would have done a better job at creating believeable highlights and shadows. This photo however, appears that all effects were in camera and as Van has already expressed, very poorly. It's hard to believe that Volvo actually used this image.
     
  8. I have quite an experience with Photoshop and I can tell the whole picture is made up. Apparently, the author spent several hours putting together this picture from at least four separate shots (car, background, washer, and rope).

    Lighting of the subjects and corresponding shadows are inconsistent to each other everywhere on the picture. Look at the double shadow of the car. The stronger one is definitely drawn. It doesn't follow the contour of the car's front, not mentioning that having two shadows from a subject outdoor feels a bit Sci-fi (like you're on a planet with two suns). The author, probably, decided to add the second shadow just to comply with the way in which the rest of the picture is lighted, but not bothering to remove the original shadow of the car. And the angle shadow that is supposed to be a shadow of the washer is completely out of place! It's drawn too. The picture of the washer itself is awkwardly dropped on a top of the car, and the whole combination "washer-on-a-car" doesn't look very realistic either, taking into account the highlighted farther corner of the washer's top, which should be in a shadow. Even the author's attempt to paint dark lines on it to make it look old and dirty didn't hide the fact the washer was lighted differently from the car (and background). The shadow from the washer down on the windshield glass and hood is missing. The shadow from the rope is also painted in photoshop, and the shadows on the washer don't match the rope. The reflections of the rope on the lower side of the door and beneath it, although, it looks unrealistic as well, still, I think, is real. Look at the highlights on the car's grill and front bumper. This part of the car is supposed to be in a complete shadow! The shadow from another car behind Volvo is also painted and unrealistic. Note, it's a single shadow, not double!

    The car itself has been heavily edited. Highlights on the fender and just above the rear wheel have been reduced, but not very well. There are still ugly round white spots on the fender and the front bumper. The side of the front headlight block has been burned out. It looks just as a big white flat piece of something (definitely, not glass).

    The car's painterly look comes from the fact the photo has been adjusted in photoshop by increasing contrast and saturation, and, perhaps adding a little bit of noise (although, grainess may come from the film, if it's been shot on a film and then scanned). Also, most likely, the car has a modern "pearl" paint coat, which contains a lot of small reflective speckles. Those speckles diffuse the light to some degree, and it might contribute to the fact how the car looks this way.

    And, finally, the background. It's simple. The picture on itself already looks almost monochromatic. It has also been warm tinted and partially desaturated (may be except the sky). Look at the car behind the Volvo. You can't even tell what color it is. Dark blue, burgundy, black? And, perhaps, noise has been added as well. Although, based on all old cars you see on the picture (except the advertised one), one can guess, it's an old photograph, may be from 80's. If so, then, most likely, it's been shot on a film and then scanned, therefore the grainess.

    Overall, it's a decent advertisement picture, which serves its purpose well enough.
     
  9. "It doesn't follow the contour of the car's front, not mentioning that having two shadows from a subject outdoor feels a bit Sci-fi (like you're on a planet with two suns). The shadow from another car behind Volvo is also painted and unrealistic. Note, it's a single shadow, not double!"..............The double shadow is quite normal reflecting the fact that each light source does cast a shadow. In nature there is one hard light source (sun), and the sky is your large softbox, so you see only one shadow normally. Since double shadows are considered a flaw/unnatural in the scene, I would think he would have removed the extra shadow to make it a single shadow like the car behind it, but he didn't (why would he add it, it must have been there). So I tend to believe this is a location shot, the car wasn't added to the scene, it was there and he left the extra shadow from the flash which he should have removed.

    "I has also been warm tinted and partially desaturated (may be except the sky). Look at the car behind the Volvo. You can't even tell what color it is. Dark blue, burgundy, black? And, perhaps, noise has been added as well"..............The car behind is dull in color because it did not get any flash fill on it, so it remains blue from the deep blue sky (high color temperature), while the gold car has the proper color rendered by the flash (likely shot through a 4x8 framed bedsheet). This is one reason I believe this to be a location shot again.

    The fridge on the roof looks added, because the bottom of it that touches the roof has a curve to it (not natural, unless someone bent the fridge to fit the curve of the roof). But maybe he was cleaning up something like a blanket that sat between the roof and fridge (I doubt you want to scratch a new car), so the fridge likely was there. The ropes would be very hard to add later, so it is one other reason why I think this was a location shot, and the shadows naturally get mixed up a bit because now your seeing double shadows from 2 light sources (sun and flash). I bet he cleaned up a few to make it look more natural. For example, there are only 2 ropes at the top left edge of the fridge, but I see 3 shadows (obviously there should be 4 shadows cast by 2 ropes due to 2 light sources, but he neglected to remove both and only removed one and so you are left with 3 shadows). It is obvious with so many lines running across the fridge due to 2 light sources, that he felt the need to remove some of them. It would be very easy to be confused and not remove the right ones.

    "The car's painterly look comes from the fact the photo has been adjusted in photoshop by increasing contrast and saturation, and, perhaps adding a little bit of noise (although, grainess may come from the film, if it's been shot on a film and then scanned)." ..........I didn't see any grain, and the extra contrast and saturation are due to the fill flash.

    At first I thought the shot was really bad, but I think it had to do with a poor scan done likely from a magazine. When I added some more blue, the background came alive, a little hue/saturation fiddling and the picture started looking more brilliant. I doubt your going to figure it all out exactly from such a small shot.
     
  10. Here are a couple of more photos from Peter, tha feature the same kind
    of technique for making the colors look almost like painted:

    http://free-os.t-com.hr/redmist/lake.jpg

    http://free-os.t-com.hr/redmist/woman.jpg

    Hope it is more clear now what kind of a look I'm talking about (if you see nothing in common in these 3 photos, then I think you can't help me with this, but thank's everyone for your imput)
     
  11. The last two shots are very basic. You obviously need to improve your flash technique. I'm not about to start writing a book on how each was exactly done, when you missed the point on the car shot....it had no painterly affect. The car had saturated color because it received illumination from a flash..giving balanced light to the film, the rest of the scene didn't. That simple. The rest is PS, in camera techniques and combinations of the two. What your asking seems to center around flash techniques. Get a book!
     
  12. I'm not even asking about lighting.

    And you obviously don't see what I'm talking about
     
  13. By flash technique I meant controlling the background with shutter, or affecting background color with a filter over flash and a filter on lens of opposite color for background control. There are many ways to achieve something. All your shots revolve around flash and knowing how to use it, and I am not referring to just pointing the light source at the subject.

    I'll try to be nicer if your try to be smarter.
     

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