It saddens me to forward the news that our good friend and fellow photographer, Matt Quinn, has passed.
As some of you may know, he had been battling cancer for a while and was on his way to recovery.
Please take a moment to remember him in your prayers.
"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." - Leo Buscaglia

― Artistic Expression CritiqueCastle Creation, Help Needed

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minniev
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Re: Castle Creation, Help Needed

Post by minniev » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:44 pm

Duck wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:35 pm
Hey Minnie, I'm stepping in a little late in this thread but I'll toss in just a general comment. Hopefully it may add a little value for people.

...Once everything is cut out and looking like individual items in the scene I do an overall survey and make notes of what "looks" off. The first consideration is establishing global lighting as that will guide a lot of the editing going forward. Comparing the luminance of the individual items and the background I can quickly determine the average and push and pull all the layers to that averaged luminance level. This becomes the starting point.

The editing stage is about finding balances between the background the the separate elements. Each element will have it's own challenges to overcome but the key here is to not think so much as to how to force it into the background but how the two (subject and background) can be massaged into a cohesive whole. Some are easier than others, of course, so will need to be addressed from project to project. There's no "one size fits all". As I start working on integrating each element into the background I switch to thinking locally. Meaning I will work on getting the subjects, starting with the main and supporting subjects (the important ones) to fit into the scene as best as possible. This means starting to build up the various local adjustments. One hint; if I start getting into more than three layers of adjustments I will group them together as an organizational tool. If I come across a technique that requires any kind of image flattening I will try my best to save it to the end. The majority of the work is done in this stage.


Once everything looks fairly integrated I will switch back to a global mentality. Exposure, dodge and burn, saturation, noise, color toning, etc... these are all the things that will start pulling the whole image together. It's also where you can place your individual style to the image.
Thanks so much Duck. This detailed summation could be considered a tutorial, and I've never seen one that addressed this type project. Up until the part of your post in red above, my workflow was pretty much the same as you described - finding the balance between the actual photo and the new components is the hard part. Then, when I get everything situated, I'm ok with the part about the global adjustments you listed in the past paragraph. But this balancing is a challenge. I agree that keeping the adjustments for each element in grouping folders helps. And I don't ever really flatten things. I may create a composited layer for a particular purpose along the way but I can easily get rid of it or mask parts of it out if I need to. Usually, like in this case, my biggest problem is lack of expertise: I can see that the colors or lighting or shadows may not be quite right but either I'm not sure how to address it or my skills with the tool I want to use aren't good enough.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:48 pm

minniev wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:22 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:27 am
and running a couple of NIK filters against it unified it a little more... (perhaps)..

But for what it is worth, the science of adding fragments of pictures together and making them read right has long been used in the Movie industry. It is called "Matte Painting". There are a few books on it and tutorials - it is worth spending some time on, but it eludes me!

min2.jpg
Never heard of matte painting but it sounds interesting. I’ll get Mr Google on the case. You tamed the light and color differences far better than I had. Which NIK filters?
I almost always try pro contrast but can't remember if I used it or not, but I definitely used Viveza sliders.

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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:19 pm

I can't leave this topic alone... it speaks to me about what we do and why we do it. One thing Duck mentioned was that it is difficult to blend a painting component and a photographic component. So on a lark I ran the thing through Topaz Impression (I think I used photo painting) with the goal of making the photographic elements appear more painterly and for that reason, hopefully the figures would feel more at home.
min5.jpg

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Post by minniev » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:36 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:19 pm
I can't leave this topic alone... it speaks to me about what we do and why we do it. One thing Duck mentioned was that it is difficult to blend a painting component and a photographic component. So on a lark I ran the thing through Topaz Impression (I think I used photo painting) with the goal of making the photographic elements appear more painterly and for that reason, hopefully the figures would feel more at home.

min5.jpg
I had wondered about running the whole thing through an art filter and working with masks again.. The incorporation of art objects with photographic objects is at the core of what I’m trying to create so it’s essential to me for sure! Thank you for hanging in there with me. I can pile the original stuff in a Dropbox if you get interested enough. Or ty a similar thing with your own elements including at least one photo and at least one art object. It’s the same as I did in the nudie tree image and the dam bird folly. Thank you so much for trying to help me figure this out.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by PietFrancke » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:01 am

minniev wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:36 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:19 pm
I can't leave this topic alone... it speaks to me about what we do and why we do it. One thing Duck mentioned was that it is difficult to blend a painting component and a photographic component. So on a lark I ran the thing through Topaz Impression (I think I used photo painting) with the goal of making the photographic elements appear more painterly and for that reason, hopefully the figures would feel more at home.

min5.jpg
I had wondered about running the whole thing through an art filter and working with masks again.. The incorporation of art objects with photographic objects is at the core of what I’m trying to create so it’s essential to me for sure! Thank you for hanging in there with me. I can pile the original stuff in a Dropbox if you get interested enough. Or ty a similar thing with your own elements including at least one photo and at least one art object. It’s the same as I did in the nudie tree image and the dam bird folly. Thank you so much for trying to help me figure this out.
I don't think the filter came out too good, kind of looks like something wrapped in that stretchy plastic stuff. I was just hopeful I wasn't irritating the heck out of you by not dropping it.

For sure, to look like something belongs, it needs the same characteristics, be it lighting, contrast, perspective, level of detail, etc. Unless it is a pure graphic like print or shapes or texture. So to go with Duck's comments about doing the proper homework before things get brought together, I need to find a bird I like, photograph a hand with the same lighting, and pose the hand in a position that would work as the bird's perch.
Though I'm sure with a lot of work, dissimilar things can be brought together, but then they have to somehow be made similar. Birds in the air are easier than people on the ground.

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Post by minniev » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:04 am

PietFrancke wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:01 am
minniev wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:36 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:19 pm
I can't leave this topic alone... it speaks to me about what we do and why we do it. One thing Duck mentioned was that it is difficult to blend a painting component and a photographic component. So on a lark I ran the thing through Topaz Impression (I think I used photo painting) with the goal of making the photographic elements appear more painterly and for that reason, hopefully the figures would feel more at home.

min5.jpg
I had wondered about running the whole thing through an art filter and working with masks again.. The incorporation of art objects with photographic objects is at the core of what I’m trying to create so it’s essential to me for sure! Thank you for hanging in there with me. I can pile the original stuff in a Dropbox if you get interested enough. Or ty a similar thing with your own elements including at least one photo and at least one art object. It’s the same as I did in the nudie tree image and the dam bird folly. Thank you so much for trying to help me figure this out.
I don't think the filter came out too good, kind of looks like something wrapped in that stretchy plastic stuff. I was just hopeful I wasn't irritating the heck out of you by not dropping it.

For sure, to look like something belongs, it needs the same characteristics, be it lighting, contrast, perspective, level of detail, etc. Unless it is a pure graphic like print or shapes or texture. So to go with Duck's comments about doing the proper homework before things get brought together, I need to find a bird I like, photograph a hand with the same lighting, and pose the hand in a position that would work as the bird's perch.
Though I'm sure with a lot of work, dissimilar things can be brought together, but then they have to somehow be made similar. Birds in the air are easier than people on the ground.
Keep sharing your discoveries and I’ll do the same. Tomorrow I’ll tinker again.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by minniev » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:37 pm

This is the last I'm gonna do with it before I start over with it and maybe swap out some elements. Sometimes even with layers and masks and everything labeled, you get to the point that you need a do-over. I'm at that point.

Here's the final rendition of this version.
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Post by Psjunkie » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:42 pm

It appears you fixed the spot by the bird and used some color around the edges of the window gal and other figure

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Post by minniev » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:41 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:42 pm
It appears you fixed the spot by the bird and used some color around the edges of the window gal and other figure
Got rid of the crazy spot, added some color and shadow, and took some out.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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