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Clay models and applying texture and color

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  #1  
Old 03-08-2013, 03:40 PM
Pics2 Pics2 is offline
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Clay models and applying texture and color

I'm trying to use clay models in my studio photography. For example, I want to twist and bend objects in unrealistic way (scissors, chair legs etc), or to make miniature objects. I already made bended parts of objects out of clay. My idea is to use clay models for shadows, shape and perspective. But, I want to apply texture and color (material) of the original object (chairs wood, scissors metal etc) on it to look realistic. Are there any good techniques (blending modes didn't help, or I don't know to use them).
Does anybody have experience with this? Are there any good tutorials, lectures etc? I don't know where to look for it.
Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2013, 05:19 PM
redcrown redcrown is offline
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Re: Clay models and applying texture and color

Sounds like an interesting project, but I'm not sure I understand. Sounds like you plan to take pictures of the "shadows" only of the clay objects and then try to apply real images to the shadows? Not the actual clay image itself?

I'd suggest you look at 3 Photoshop techniques:

1. Puppet Warp
2. Edit/Transform/Warp
3. Displacement maps

Each of these would allow you to "form" an image around the shadow, using the shadow as a mask. Each has a fairly steep learning curve, espacially Puppet Warp. But there is a lot of power there. If combined with blending modes like drop shadow, inner and outer glow, etc, you might get where you want to go.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2013, 05:35 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Clay models and applying texture and color

I can think of a lot of ways to approach there, but you won't find a step by step anywhere, and it's going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out what will and will not work. There is no way to just transplant textures by cutting and pasting. You can scan materials and warp them to fit. It's difficult to make that look natural though. This stuff is more commonly done in CG these days as those programs are able to project textures based on the angle a given face is pointing. If I had to retexture clay, I would probably rebuild everything in a 3d program. This means rebuilding the entire studio environment, the camera, and any light sources as 3d geometry. I would come up with a clay shader if possible and test it against the response of the physical clay under various situations so that it could be used to gauge if the lighting is really doing the same thing. Then I would develop the final materials I want to use with textures applied from scans (possibly cleaned up and retouched) at the correct scale. I would then blend the renders with the clay version, or perhaps just use the rendered version for highlights depending on the material.

Assuming you want to do this with photoshop and a camera, you should try to match the materials as closely as possible prior to warping thing, and there needs to be some similarity in form. It's quite difficult to make something photographed as a flat plane appear believable wrapped around something else. They don't even light the same way, meaning you may be painting a lot of those highlights. That tends to be a pain in the ass, as you have to figure out the overall shape, but you also have to paint things like falloff and not make it look like a photoshop brush. It takes a long time as you end up going smaller and smaller to differentiate things close to the level of the photographic detail. I find it difficult and time consuming, as it's extremely easy to lose perspective, thus the reference material.
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:11 AM
Pics2 Pics2 is offline
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Re: Clay models and applying texture and color

Thanks a lot, Kav and RedCrown.
Yes, I would use only shadows from clay, but perspective for some kind of reference, too. I already did some tests with Edit/Transform/Warp, and I'm learning more about Puppet Warp and Displacement maps, as you suggested, combined with D&B for building shadows and highlights. A lot of trial and error, but very interesting and challenging. I think photographers knowledge of light and optics helps here a lot.
CGI is the most logical way, but it looks so time consuming to learn it from scratch now. But, maybe I'll have to.
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  #5  
Old 03-09-2013, 10:48 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Clay models and applying texture and color

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Originally Posted by Pics2 View Post
CGI is the most logical way, but it looks so time consuming to learn it from scratch now. But, maybe I'll have to.
It depends on a lot of things. It can be a pretty massive topic. I only mentioned it because the shapes and textures you mentioned sounded relatively simple, and you can always retouch it. You can also take a massive amount of resolution when applying textures so that these things hold up well when wrapped around something. I can't recall any really good ways to do this in photoshop's 2D tools when it comes to dealing with curved objects that are twisted in various ways, but I will say this. Capture your textures with as much resolution as possible, and do not be afraid of essentially pelting the object so as to avoid disproportionate stretching in a given direction. It sounds like a cool project. I would really like to see it.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2013, 11:36 AM
Pics2 Pics2 is offline
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Re: Clay models and applying texture and color

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Originally Posted by kav View Post
Capture your textures with as much resolution as possible, and do not be afraid of essentially pelting the object so as to avoid disproportionate stretching in a given direction.
That's really great idea. Thanks!
I'll let you know if any interesting result comes out of this.
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