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Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

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  #1  
Old 07-30-2007, 07:44 AM
jamz jamz is offline
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Question Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Hi,

I'm helping out a local photographer who has recently moved into the digital photography world. I am giving him some pointers in Photoshop here and there.

He has a very large studio with different stations/scenes around the perimeter of the studio. At one station I suggested he paint the wall chroma key green to help with selecting the background and possibly dropping in various digital backgrounds. There are a few issues he must work out first. Pull the props farther away from the wall and evenly light the wall to eliminate shadows.

I have a few crude sample shots with bad lighting and shadows etc...but I thought I would clean them up and try out a few sample backdrops just to see how they would work.

The problem here is that there seems to be a lack of depth or separation between the subject and background. In other words the image sort of has a flat look. I know I could blur the background a little and simulate some depth of field but some photos I want a large aperture (full focus) from foreground to background.

Are there any tricks that I might be able to do to the background to give it more depth/separation? I'm not having to much of a problem with the muslin/pattern types of background. I can play around with vignette - lighting etc..

The problem seems to be with background scenes - landscapes, buildings or any real life images. They all have sort of the pasted look where the subject seems to be sitting right on top of the background. It's not the background selection that is bad (no cut out look around the foreground).
I'm starting to think that there must be specially designed backgrounds that have special lighting/shadows/highlights/open areas that would surround the subject and simulate the depth that I'm looking for.

Maybe you can't just grab any image and make it work or maybe you can with some Photoshop manipulation. Anyone have experience with realistic looking background insertions? Not the typical hand painted look but a real image like a city background, forest, garden etc..

Any input greatly appreciated,

jamz
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:57 AM
des151 des151 is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Hi jamz,
Have you seen Pellepiano's site www.studiobild.com
Ray

Last edited by des151; 07-30-2007 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:21 AM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

I have found that perspective, proportion, lighting and shadows are key to good compositing. Many times the lighting of the background is different that the foreground subject, i.e. background is warm, foreground is cool or the light sources are different. This should be easy enough to control in a studio.

Here's a composit I did with outside lighting. I think the key to "believability" in this piece is the shadows that I added under the foreground subjects.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:32 AM
jamz jamz is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by des151 View Post
Hi jamz,
Have you seen Pellepiano's site www.studiobild.com
Ray

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the link...there are some nice shots there. Now I'm not sure which photos have digital backgrounds and that must be good. I would assume the Yamaha and the guy standing in the water...very nice..believable. Now I have to study why it looks believable.

jamz
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:09 AM
BillFrey BillFrey is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Hi jamz,

I'm sure Pellepiano will correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall him posting that ALL of his pictures have replaced backgrounds.

Edit, found the thread:

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...tml#post156956
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:15 AM
des151 des151 is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

You're welcome jamz. Pellepiano posts on rtp, maybe he can help you.
Ray
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:43 AM
duwayne duwayne is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Here's one I put together from a couple of photos from this site. As Swampy said, there are a lot of factors that determine how realistic the composite is. The woman had to be re-sized exactly for her position in the perspective. Slightly larger or smaller and she didn't look right. If I move her up or down, she needs to be re-sized. I had to reverse the woman to get the lighting to match.

Also, the color balance of the two images needs to match. It's funny how picky the brain is in determining what is real.
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File Type: jpg IMG_7274[1].jpg (55.5 KB, 73 views)
File Type: jpg wnspoolslt-composite.jpg (82.8 KB, 123 views)
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:17 AM
pellepiano pellepiano is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Thanks for linking to my site =), and yes all images have digital backgrounds.

The foreground and backround images have to share about the same type of lighting and color temperature to be believable. So either you adjust the lighting on the model to fit the selected background or shoot the background so it will fit your lighting setup. Of lately I have been experimenting a lot with images with shallow depth of field ( simulation in Photoshop always seems to fall short ), this sometimes adds some realism.

I try to use my own backgrund images as much as possible, but its hard to find deserts around here so sometimes I buy images from www.dreamstime.com or find free ones at www.sxc.hu
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:40 AM
jamz jamz is offline
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Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampy View Post
I have found that perspective, proportion, lighting and shadows are key to good compositing. Many times the lighting of the background is different that the foreground subject, i.e. background is warm, foreground is cool or the light sources are different. This should be easy enough to control in a studio.

Here's a composit I did with outside lighting. I think the key to "believability" in this piece is the shadows that I added under the foreground subjects.
Thanks Swampy..sorry for the delay in the reply..our internet connection was down at work as we combined T1 circuits to double our bandwidth..

I agree with everything perspective, proportion, lighting and shadows are key. Your image seems to work just right.

Thanks much..for the input..

jamz
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:43 AM
jamz jamz is offline
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Newbie Re: Digital backrounds - depth/seperation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duwayne View Post
Here's one I put together from a couple of photos from this site. As Swampy said, there are a lot of factors that determine how realistic the composite is. The woman had to be re-sized exactly for her position in the perspective. Slightly larger or smaller and she didn't look right. If I move her up or down, she needs to be re-sized. I had to reverse the woman to get the lighting to match.

Also, the color balance of the two images needs to match. It's funny how picky the brain is in determining what is real.
Picky it is for sure! I see what you are saying and your image also works! Good deal...so I can assume that these "canned" backdrops/images require a lot more work than just plopping them in..

jamz
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