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MAKING OF: BEAUTIES IN THE DARK


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#1 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 05:54 AM

Hi guys!

Some of you expressed interest to learn more about how I did my studio-like low-light pics of the Uhlenhaut Coupe.
http://www.diecastxc...ut-coupe-again/

I'm happy to do so - absolute no secret about this. I only hope that at the end your are not disappointed when you see how simple the set-up is... :nice:

1) Equipment
A good camera and a good lens are key for good results, of course. I'm using a full-format DSLR and 24-70mm zoom lens.
To achieve best results I only shoot my models by using a stable tripod (also see below: shutter time).

2) Some basics w.r.t. to shooting (hope I'm not boring you with matters of course)
No automatic function of the camera is used, everything is managed manually:
- focus: I use the camera's live view and magnification function to precisely focus the lens on a central detail.
- aperture: Use max value (e.g. 22) for maximum sharpness over a wide area.
- shutter time: When operating with max aperture value you have less light available and need longer shutter times (typically 5-30 sec, depending on available light and iso value) - making the use of a tripod inevitable.

3) "Foto studio"
As some of you might know I have only very limited space available - for my models as well as for a foto studio.
So when I shoot my models I do it on a white side board which carries our TV and has roughly 20cm free space in front of he TV. For daylight shots I need a bright day to have the appropriate light.

4) LIGHTING for low-light shooting
For those special pictures I use 2 additional ingredients:
a) Create a dark background by use of black fabric (e.g. cloths or scarfs)
b) I use the indirect light of my TV screen for lighting the model - sending a constant uni-color picture from my smartphone to the TV. All other lights in the room have to be down, of course.

To give you a better impression I add a quick smartphone picture of my "foto studio":
Posted Image

And that's already the whole "trick" - the rest is done by processing and improving the pictures with Photoshop.  :rolleyes:
So really nothing spectacular as you can see... :occasion14:

Edited by vulpex, 03 March 2018 - 12:22 AM.


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#2 ONLINE   ironsim

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 07:24 AM

Nice, thanks for sharing! Can I have that 250 GTO now?! :yahoo:  I really need to add one :10:

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 11:07 AM

Thank you man! I'm thinking to get myself into pictures/video and this is very good to know. As far I as I saw so far, biggest issue can be lighting and if you can do that part well, practically, you have done the biggest part of job.

#4 OFFLINE   janositamas

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 02:57 PM

Nothing spectacular? I really like the TV idea, I did a couple of light-painting pictures, but never had the idea of using my TV screen from above to get those silhouette shots! Brilliant idea, I definitely will give it a try, thanks for sharing!

#5 OFFLINE   emanuil.hv

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 03:28 PM

I've always wanted to make silhouette picture like this but never could make it work. Thanks for this, will try. :)
Posted Image
My collection - click here ^

#6 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 11:34 AM

View Postironsim, on 03 February 2018 - 07:24 AM, said:

Nice, thanks for sharing! Can I have that 250 GTO now?! :yahoo:  I really need to add one :10:

Haha - nice try Simon! :giggle: :giggle: :giggle:
Unfortunately I'm more a buy-and-hold guy. But if you still don't have one you should definitely add - it is truely a little gem!! :omg:

Thank you guys for your kind words! :danke: :danke: :danke:

Many of people seem to believe that lots of expensive equipment is needed to achieve good pictures.
That's not the case! Of course you will need a decent camera/lens and a tripod.
But by far more important is what I would call a "loving eye" for the object you want to shoot and a certain joy to try new things.
Not every experiment will give the result that you wanted to achieve :dizzy: but other ideas will work as planned and a success will guide you how to proceed.  :rolleyes:
Just be a little adventurous and you'll have fun - I promise!! :yahoo:

#7 OFFLINE   Uzair

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 05:55 PM

Using the TV as a light source is a genius idea :10: I would never have thought of it, but then again I am not even an amateur level at photography. Did you get the idea yourself, or is this a known trick in macro object photography?
And thank you for sharing your technique here  :rock: for your :coolpics:
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#8 ONLINE   ironsim

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 06:43 PM

View Postvulpex, on 04 February 2018 - 11:34 AM, said:

View Postironsim, on 03 February 2018 - 07:24 AM, said:

Nice, thanks for sharing! Can I have that 250 GTO now?! :yahoo:  I really need to add one :10:

Haha - nice try Simon! :giggle: :giggle: :giggle:
Unfortunately I'm more a buy-and-hold guy. But if you still don't have one you should definitely add - it is truely a little gem!! :omg:

Thank you guys for your kind words! :danke: :danke: :danke:
Yeah, when it was released in 2015 I didnt move fast...I have a dark blue HWE 250 GTO(Vanilla Sky one), I like it but its obviously not CMC quality, but I like the color a lot, the dark blue CMC's price is insane but would love the red/blue/yellow! There was a red one on kijiji for a good price and I sent a message to the seller but never had any reply, and the ad was gone the day after so I missed it!

#9 OFFLINE   Maranello

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 03:02 PM

I'm not near the picture taking stage but this set-up is great and I never would have thought of the TV light to help with the background

#10 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 05:14 AM

Thanks again - your warm comments are very welcome!! :danke:

One remark to avoid any possible confusion:
I've just re-named my Uhlenhaut-thread to "BEAUTIES IN THE DARK" because I'm planning to add further picture fromtime to time.
The above link still works...

#11 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 02:59 AM

View PostUzair, on 04 February 2018 - 05:55 PM, said:

Using the TV as a light source is a genius idea :10: I would never have thought of it, but then again I am not even an amateur level at photography. Did you get the idea yourself, or is this a known trick in macro object photography?
And thank you for sharing your technique here  :rock: for your :coolpics:

Sorry Uzair, read your question and somehow forgot to answer... :sad:

I'm not aware that this set-up is commonly known or has been described anywere else.
So you can call it my own idea but I would rather call it a kind of mindful observation...

There's a little story how I came to the idea for this kind of photo shooting:

As you might know available space is a serious limitation for me and I have no cabinet to present my models. Like with many other collectors my models all sleep in the original boxes. I have only a single-model acrylic display case. So only one of my little gems is presented for some weeks until I exchange it against another. Unfortunately this display case is not placed in our living room. And from time to time when watching a movie on the TV I take my current presentation model out of the display case for some hours and place it on the side board right below the TV. :lurker:
So my eyes can easily switch down to the model and enjoy its beauty. :smile:

I guess you can easily imagine the rest of the story...
Back in last summer I had the Uhlenhaut Coupé out, it got late with the movie, sun went down, it became dark in the room and suddenly a little wonder took place:
The model disclosed its secret beauty: In the darkness and with the indirect light from the TV screen it unveiled its silhouette in a way never seen before. :omg:
During the rest of the movie I guess my wife had to agree about the beauty of this at least 10 times - what she patiently did. :nice:

It was pretty clear to me that this effect could (and should) be developped to a very special photo shooting...

Edited by vulpex, 01 May 2018 - 10:31 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   rony_dg

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 08:30 AM

Wow! This is a good trick! Thanks for sharing this info Vulpex. Meanwhile i'm trying to source a 2x2 Diffused light to try and mimic the big Chimera lights in the actual studio setup. :occasion14:

#13 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 03:03 AM

I really love to follow all the amazing build threads here on DX. Having tons of respect for the carftsmanship ship of my fellow DXers I very much enjoy to see how their projects evolve step by step. :rock:

Working myself only with my camera and Photoshop the idea came to my mind that it might be worth doing something similar with photo processing. I will try to create a typical Le Mans like impression of my 1/64 Porsche 911 RSR (class winner 2018 in retro design "pig" livery). Hope you will join and enjoy this little journey...

For this purpose I first needed to do some new daylight pictures with the right lighting and view angle. This is how the original pictures come directly out of the camera:
Posted Image
As you can see there is dirt/dust on the model - you will never be able to perfectly clean a model before taking pictures. On the driver side of the windscreen you can find the typical rainbow effect which is caused by the plastic material of the screen. More importantly only the front section of the model is sharp while the rear apperars very diffuse, even windscreen and mirror is not sharp.

These problems have to be tackled in the next steps which are standard photo processing - many of you know very well what I will briefly describe here.

First thing to do is to tackle the fuzziness with a technique commonly known as focus stacking. For this purpos you take several pictures of the model leaving everything unchanged like view angle, lighting, exposure etc. but only vary the the focus. This results in several photos which are alomst identical but are showing different areas of the model 100% sharp while the rest isn't. Typically you need to do 2-3 photos to get good results. With the help of a photoeditor you can now cut the sharp areas of each photo and compose a picture which shows a crsip and sharp model.

Once this is done you clean the picture off dust etc. by use of the "Spot Healing Brush Tool" (Photoshop language), remove the rainbow colors from the windscreen with the "Sponge Tool".

At this point the picture looks like this:
Posted Image
Fortunately I didn't need to clean the floor/background because for this project we will need the car only.  :rolleyes:

Edited by vulpex, 16 February 2020 - 05:20 AM.


#14 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:09 AM

Now you can cut the model.
Posted Image
The rims are too sharp creating a static impression - for a speed feeling it is necessary to apply some "Radial Blur" (this is a special filter effect within the PS tools):
Posted Image
That's it for this weekend - more to come soon...

#15 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 04:12 AM

Now we need an appropriate background to create the impression of speed and a race feeling. This is the most difficult part because there is no set of rules how to do this.

Most importantly you should have a clear idea in mind what kind of scenery you want to create. Then you start trying this and that, compose different parts, work with lighting, contrast and colors. Not everything will work as planned and maybe you need to go one or two steps back and start again. I like to rather combine different elements than just do a copy of a scene 1:1 from a photo. So for instance you will never find the following scene exactly at Le Mans but to me it represents a kind of Le Mans like feeling.

This time I did not want the background to be super-realistic in oder to focus more on the car. So I worked intensely with filter effects. As PS is offering so many different filters this phase was a try-and-error game and time consuming. Finally I ended up with the following background:
Posted Image

Now you only need to adjust size and position of the model to the background and you can marry the two layers of background and model:
Posted Image

Of course still a lot of fine tuning needed but meanwhile you can see where this is heading to...

Edited by vulpex, 22 February 2020 - 04:22 AM.


#16 OFFLINE   T1000

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 05:11 AM

Very useful info :occasion14: :eusa_clap: :rock:
I'll be back
Posted Image
Rammstein lights the match again!
..-. --- .-. --.. .- | ..-. . .-. .-. .- .-. ..

#17 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:07 AM

View PostT1000, on 22 February 2020 - 05:11 AM, said:

Very useful info :occasion14: :eusa_clap: :rock:
Many thanks, T!!! :danke: :danke:
Having zero feedack here until so far I was already wondering whether I might be boring people... :nice:

Time to finish with this exercise...

As a first step to increase realism of the picture I wanted to turn the headlights on. Don't know how others handle this but my own approach is the following:
First I select the the headlight area of the pic and then strongly increase the brightness of the area.
Before:
Posted Image
and after:
Posted Image
Now I add an additional layer and start spraying white color with strongly reduced opacity and different diameters. For the 911 RSR you have to do this 4 times for each headlight to mimic the 4 LEDs of the RSR:
Posted Image

Now the complete picture looks like this:
Posted Image

Only 2 things left to do:
The model sit a bit to high IMO so I lowered the ride hight a bit:
Posted Image

Finally I reduced reflection on the glossy body of the model and added another layer for weathering - imitating the race dirt on the car. And here we have the final result:
Posted Image

Thanks for watching!

Edited by vulpex, 23 February 2020 - 06:22 AM.


#18 OFFLINE   T1000

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:08 AM

Oh, I am watching, but I was waiting for the lesson to complete, lol. Then realized the same - some feedback will be of help to you :yahoo:
I'll be back
Posted Image
Rammstein lights the match again!
..-. --- .-. --.. .- | ..-. . .-. .-. .- .-. ..

#19 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:40 AM

View PostT1000, on 23 February 2020 - 06:08 AM, said:

Oh, I am watching, but I was waiting for the lesson to complete, lol. Then realized the same - some feedback will be of help to you :yahoo:
Thank you, Sir - much appreciated!!! :occasion14:

#20 ONLINE   preisman

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 10:59 AM

Very cool effects in place, especially with the headlights.
The Lonesharks Volvo follow on Instagram

#21 OFFLINE   Cristi

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 11:35 PM

Nicely done :rock: . Wish I have your skills in PS :gaah:

#22 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 11:27 AM

View Postpreisman, on 23 February 2020 - 10:59 AM, said:

Very cool effects in place, especially with the headlights.

View PostCristi, on 23 February 2020 - 11:35 PM, said:

Nicely done :rock: . Wish I have your skills in PS :gaah:
Thanks a lot guys!! :danke: :danke:
I‘m glad you liked this little walk through photo processing!
@Cristi: It’s all about practicing - just the good old „hit and miss“ approach... :yahoo:




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