Creating a bar

The bar in the background of the “Happy hour” composite I made in Photoshop using a couple of stock images.
If you would like to try this out for yourself, you can find all the links to the used resources in the text below.

The complete project looks like this:Bargirl_scr-1

After placing and manipulating all the resources the empty bar looks like this:

A wall of bottles is a paid stockimage and can be found here: 123rf I copied the image and flipped it horizontal to fill the whole wall. The part in the middle will be covered by the model, so it doen’t matter that it won’t fit completely.


The next couple of resources are alle great and free resources.

The lensflare can be found here: PSDBox

A cocktail neon sign came from a public domain image that can be found here: PublicDomainPictures.

And the bar can be found on CGtextures. Also the wooden texture used for the bar can be found on CGtextures and also the front of the bar is found on this great resource.

The two neon signs are scaled, placed with screen blending mode and masked out parts I didn’t wanted to use.
On the wood for the top of the bar I did a perspective transform (Edit/Transform/Perspective) to give it depth and with a curves adjustement layer placed in multiply blending mode I darkened the edges. With a gradient mask I masked out the end of the bar. The reflection was a layer copy of the wall with the neon signs flipped vertically on a very low opacity.

Adding smoke and light

Adding smoke and light really creates the right atmosphere I was looking for.
bar_bg_empty_smokeyThe smoke is added by creating a new layer, set the colors to default back and white (CTRL+D of CMD+D on a mac) then go to filters/render/clouds.
The whole layer will be filled with clouds.


Now select the rectangular marquee tool and pick a small part of the layer as a selection and copy your selection on a new layer by pressing CTR+J of CMD+J on a mac. You can now delete the rendered clouds layer so that you are left with only the small copied part.
Now resize this small part of the clouds to fit the complete image so that you have a zoomed in version of part of the rendered clouds.

clouds2Now adjust the blending mode of this layer to screen and place a black layer mask on the layer to hide all of it and paint with a soft large white brush set to 10% opacity on the places where you want to let smoke appear.
I did this render clouds process two times to create some depth by combining two different smoke layers.

Add some light on/in the smoke by creating a new layer on top of the smoke layers and set this layer to overlay blending mode and paint with a soft large white brush on the places where you want to have some more backlight.

For the last part place a cutout model on top of the bar. and some final touches, color grading, etc.

A ringlight project

After reading a DIY tutorial on making a large lightring with lightbulbs and especially after seeing the results I knew I wanted to try this myself one day. It took some time to get around to it but last week when I was playing around with some led-stips I started thinking of this project again. So today on my day off I went to the hardware store and bought the necessary parts to make myself an awesome ringlight.

The design
I bought twelve lights, so I made a circle just big enough so all the lights would complete a circle. I added enough room to be able to be able to add a second row in the future.
ringlight design Then it was time to start sawing:
ringlight sawingWith all my fingers intact, I started placing the light sockets on the wood placing the wiring along the way:
ringlight placing socketsThe wiring I did parallel btw.

I connected a standard dimmer on the back and added a standard plug:
ringlight plug
Then came the moment suprise. I placed a lamp in the last light-socket in the chain to test the wiring.
ringlight test lampLuckily it all work fine, so time to finish placing the dimmer on the back:
ringlight dimmerI first thought to mount the ringlight on to a lightstand but figured this would not be very stable so I used an adjustable cloth rack on wheels that I wasn’t using anyway. This means a stable way to use the ringlight and an easy way to get it out of the way.
I mounted the top bar on the ringlight with tie-wraps after drilling three holes:
ringlight topbarand placed it back onto the cloth rack:
ringlight cloth rackThe finished ringlight (for now):
ringlight finishedA quick test with my girlfriend posing to see the results:
ringlight Veraand a 100% crop of her eyes with the reflection of the ringlight:
ringlight Vera eyesI can’t wait to really test this ringlight during a model-shoot.

To be continued…

Making of “Big black dress”

The following video is a timelapse of the editing I did on the Big black dress photo. The photo consists of a background (hdr) photo I took in the “De Rotterdam” building. I combined this with a studio photograph of model Nisa. To make the dress I had my sweet assistant Vera hold and move a large black sheet in the studio while I took the photo’s.
The result image:
[singlepic id=282 w= h= float=center]

The making of video

Do you want to try such a project for yourself and you are interested in a bunch of hi-res images of the black sheets I used for this photograph then download them here. Non-commercial use only and a link back would be appreciated.
This file is a psd file for use in photoshop and contains different images each on its own layer. I have already made the images transparant, but that was a quick and dirty way, so you might want to finetune the masking here and there.

Another before/after

This image will show you the before and after retouching of the photo “Flagged” with model Anne.
The steps involved are:
– double RAW (see the tutorial on my website)
– Softening and retouching skin using frequency seperation
– dodge & burn two passes (see the tutorial on my website)
– toning using Nik’s color efex pro 4.

Flagged before & after retouching

Cleaning up (white) seamless background

Everyone that shoots using a paper white seamless background will recognise the problems cleaning up spots and stains on the paper while retouching. Especially the floor will become dirty very quickly. Changing the paper very often is a way to avoid the stains and spots but can become an expensive task.
Take a look at a shot I made during a recent shoot. I cropped the image to only show the floor of the seamless background.
Seamless background dirty floorThis can take a long while to clean up by hand using the healing brush or clone stamp tool. I know I have been doing that for hours and hours in the past. Not a great way to fill up your day.

Another option to make life easier is to blow out the white background so the spots and stains won’t be as visible. But blowing out the background also means changing the image. Maybe you don’t want a blown out background, maybe you want the shadows to be visible. A seamless background that is completely blown out on the floor doesn’t really look good because your subject/model will seam to be floating in mid air.

My solution is very simple and super fast!
First of all I made a copy of the layer and in the filters menu I selected blur/surface blur.
surface blurPlay around with the radius and threshold until you can’t see the spots and stains in the preview. I used a radius of 20 and a threshold of 25 for this image.
Rendering the surface blur might take a couple of minutes depending on the performance of your computer.
Now all the spots and stains are gone, but so is all the detail. Time to add a layer mask and fill the mask with black to hide the effect. This way all the detail is visible again.
Now with a soft white brush with opacity set to around 60% paint (on the mask) on the floor. Don’t worry too much if you hit the shoes for a small bit because you won’t notice it when you go over the edges a small bit. Paint the harder spots and stains for a second time to make sure you can’t see them anymore.
maskAnd there you go. All the spots and stains are gone but shadows and detail in the shoes and pants is still there.
tut_seamless_postHope this trick will save you some time editing the seamless white backgrounds so you can spent your time on being creative.