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Critique Request - Pyro

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  #1  
Old 12-16-2010, 11:13 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Critique Request - Pyro

Hi guys,

I've just finished working on this shot and would appreciate some feedback on my retouching. It's not as sharp as it could be but this is a result of the jpeg conversion.

http://matthewhalstead.com/wp-conten...10/12/Pyro.jpg

For those who are interested I've explained a little about the photography setup over on my blog:

http://www.matthewhalstead.com/blog

Thanks,
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:15 PM
goolug goolug is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

Shitty background, blur on skin, fake smoke, fake hdr on the guy, fake flames from the lighter.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:28 AM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

That first reply might discourage you unnecessarily, since your work is not nearly as bad as it makes it sound. Perhaps he failed to notice other more appealing aspects of the scene! ;-) Without Googling, your name is familiar. Did I read about you in Rangefinder magazine?

I agree with the points above about the smoke and background. I assume you have these elements (or at least the smoke) on separate layers so they're editable, in which case try a different smoke brush and experiment with degrees of blackness.

How about trying a brick wall for the background? Or cement; something like an underground dungeon or cell. And see if the distracting elements on the lower left (a trough? the edge of a stage? part of a different wall?) can be removed or vignetted.

Other thoughts:

What's going on here? A bad day at the office party?

If the girl were a professional hit(wo)man she would probably pool the gas around his feet more. Kind of like the "circle of trust" from a recent episode of Burn Notice...

The other work on your blog is much better. The only thing I'm wondering about is if topless girl ("Hands of the Beast") has bite marks, wayward werewolf makeup or scary large moles on her neck... If the latter, dab them out, thanks! She also qualifies for the "What's going on here?" award ;-). Maybe you should title that one "The Perils of a Career in Modeling"!

Last edited by plugsnpixels; 12-18-2010 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:55 PM
Jason Dulin Jason Dulin is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

Nice concept man. A few quick observations:

1. Your smoke may be too well defined. When you see real flames this smoke would begin a bit higher and not directly emanating from the flame. Also, you can see a few places where the smoke layer is cropped at the edges. You may try and blend these. You could also lower the opacity of the smoke and try blurring it a bit.

2. Just a thought as to the realism of this shot (along the same lines as plugsnpixels), that line of fire is not really going to do anything to this guy. I think to sell the idea you might try a pool of gas around the chair, or something underneath the chair that is definitely going to cause harm when it hits flame.

3. Texture and Color - The skin tones appear too blurred and muddy to my eye. Perhaps you used a filter or plug in such as Photomatix or a sharpening filter? A common side effect of these is the heavy blacks that seem to me to muddy up the edges of your image.

Just a few thoughts at a glance. Overall nice idea and I think you could address a few things and really sell this concept better.

Good luck!

___________________

www.heavytheory.com

Last edited by Jason Dulin; 12-19-2010 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Added own URL
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:32 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

Thanks for the comments guys, including yours goolug which made me smile!

Some very constructive feedback which which i will certainly use to refine the shot!
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:04 PM
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csuebele csuebele is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

Aside from what the others have said, I would also add that the smoke is too dark. some substances emit black smoke, but here it looks unnatural. Also the shape of the smoke seem much too convoluted and as mentioned too low to the flames. It appears there is a strong breeze blowing the smoke to the left. If that were the case, the curls of smoke would not to shaped like that. Add some singe marks to the floor and vary the line of fire a bit - too straight. The pool of fluid is a good idea. Take a photo of actual gas being lit on a driveway or something and see how it really looks.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:20 PM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

IMO the floor perspective needs work which the lady standing on a different surface tends to highlight. Upper torso flesh tone and texture not consistent all over. Lady shadow cast forward but petrol can side in shadow. It's not bad at all but I find that getting pictures to look right involves putting 90% of the work into 5% of the details! Do that and the other recommendations then post it and bill it!
R.
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:13 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

again, thanks for all the helpful feedback.

Re: the flame, i did in fact shoot a strip of burning diesel on a drive and then composited it into the shot. the smoke from the diesel was jet black and that's what I tried to recreate with a few custom brushes.

I do take the point about the shadows, wind direction and blackness of the smoke.

@repairman, totally agree, the devil is in the detail!
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:55 AM
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csuebele csuebele is offline
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Re: Critique Request - Pyro

Yes, diesel fuel would burn black. Regular gas might be different.
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