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Fake Studio Shot - Harley V-Rod - Is there a better way?

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  • Fake Studio Shot - Harley V-Rod - Is there a better way?

    I have a client that wanted me to create a studio shot of the Harley V-Rod Motorcycle for their website. The problem was I had not lights, nobackdrop, etc... in short, just the camera and ambient lighting.

    I have three images I would like you to view so you can see the problems I faced. After viewing those image and the text that accompanies them you may have a better way to accomplish what I was trying to do.. create a studio shot from think air, so to speak. There also appeared to be some differences in viewing the image on a CRT as opposed to an LCD display. I use CRTs so I did not notice the problems until they were pointed out to me.

    You'll find the images at

    These are rather large images, about 70K each. If you've got broadband access this will be no problem, if you're on a dialup.. go get some coffee and then see if you've got anything to add.

    I appreciate and help or suggestions you might have.


  • #2
    The BEST way would be to have a "backdrop". It is difficult at best to extract an image from a "busy" background, as you have discovered. Try parking it in front of a van (solid colored) or a stucco or other fairly smooth surfaced wall. Have some white sheets in your vehicle, and some people "volunteered" to hold them/it up behind your subject. Barring that, the BEST, but most tedious, way I have found is to zoom in on the image and use the lasso tool (or pen tool) to go around the outside of the subject, then inverse and delete the background. Hope some of this helps. I'm sure you've thought of most of this already.


    • #3
      Not quite what I meant....

      I guess what I am asking is not what I should have done but what I could do to make what I have to work with better.

      I normally would have used a backdrop of solid color but all I had with me was the camera... so.. with only the orignal image to work with... what is the best procedure to use.

      Forget about everything that could have or should have been done and consider only the original image as what you have to work with... now, what is the best way to convert that orignal image (with the cluttered background) to something that resembles a studio shot? Did I take the best route or is their another technique (in photoshop) that I am overlooking?


      • #4
        Jim, as Blacknight mentioned, cutting out the background would probably be the best answer.

        Here's a tutorial on a similar task (don't look at any of the other tutorials on the site, or you'll be there for days

        "creating" a Studio shot - car


        • #5
          Thanks... I'll check it out and see if it works on this image.



          • #6
            I cannot possibly imagine what else you are attempting to achieve under the conditions that you took the photograph. Afterall, it's all about chrome and style. I think you've captured both on the second shot.

            Myself, I question if your last attempt is better than the try before. Seems you have more contrast on the chrome than the attempt afterwards. The black background seems to blend too much on the final shot, and the chrome is less pronounced. The second shot seems to be more three dimensional and more inviting.

            By the way . . . a beautiful machine


            • #7
              True.. second shot looks better on CRT but not on an LCD display.. one of the problems.

              I'm just trying to find a technique I can use on future shots. Maybe there is a technique I have not tried or heard of.

              I'm fishing for different ideas on how to handle this particular kind of shooting/retouching situation.

              Everyone in the Photography forum is suggesting the client hire a photographer to do the shoot.. they are missing the point of my question... but then they are mostly pro and serious amateur phtogrpahers... forest for the trees syndrome.



              • #8
                Is this what you had in mind?

                Presuming a higher res file than the one posted for the best work, but if this is only for web display...

                Assigned sRGB, cleaned up JPG hue/chroma artifacts, extended background by 25% at the foot of the image for a planned later step.

                About 10 min to etch out 90% of the bike with the pen tool, 10 min with a brush mask for the complex handlebars etc. Cleaned and removed composite layer mask edges then defringed and then reapplied a very subtle edged soft mask again.

                Dropped onto a new background, added a motion blur opacity reduced vert. flipped reflection to the backdrop...small colour and luminosity tweaks and a sharpen.

                More detail can be supplied if needed on substeps.

                If the originals could be shot on a 'matte' or 'key' background for easier extraction it may save some time but no biggy if you love the pen tool and manual masking methods.

                Attached with before after view.


                Stephen Marsh.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  I noticed that the top of the seat is black and blends into the new black background and the floor doesn't really need any changes except for clean up of spots, so this is what I did;

                  duplicated background layer twice

                  used eyedropper to select tone next to seat, filled background layer with that grey color.

                  moved to layer one layer up from background; added mask, filled mask with gradient; white from bottom of pipes to bottom of image, black from lowest part of seat to top of image, transition in between.

                  moved to layer on top, added mask, painted mask with black on backround to show new background.

                  moved to background layer, added a little noise, then gausian blur to give enough texture to go with existing floor.

                  Did a quick cloning on a couple of spots and the cement line on the floor.

                  Also: I was just reading "Photoshop 7 Artistry", on page 326 there is a technique for knocking out backgrounds that is perfect for this, it goes something like this;

                  Take your photo, then take another photo from exactly the same position and setting without the object that you want to knock-out.

                  Open both files and create a mask using "calculations" using the Difference blending mode. Difference goes black where the same and white where different. Set source 1 to one image and source 2 to the other image. Experiment with different channels in Source 1 and Source 2 until you find the ones that give you the cleanest mask, then adjust the mask with levels, or screen it with itself to clean it up.

                  Loads of fun - Roger
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Stephen - way cool on the blue and the reflection


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the input... nice to see other ways of achieving the desired end result.



                      • #12
                        Thanks Roger.

                        FANTASTIC TIP on the difference mask approach.

                        I use difference masking for a few things, but being a lowly prepress guy I and not a photographer I did not think of it's application in this case...NICE ONE! I am all for photographic help instead of the person shooting saying 'well just fix it later in Photoshop'.

                        A tripod and unchanging studio lighting would help - but perhaps not too much finesse would be required on the lighting for producing a difference mask.

                        With around ten years experience with bezier pen curves I feel very comfortable with them and they can produce very good sweeps and edges, but if this can be avoided with a good mask...

                        So while I am on difference masking, it might be good to mention the book 'Photoshop Channel CHOPs' and to share this link to a Deneba Canvas tutorial on CHOPs, which is pretty much the same for Photoshop.


                        P.S. I am giving this thread my first ever 'rating' of 5 stars for your tip on difference masking when shooting a 'well behaved' subject (I have not used the rate this thread feature before). <g>


                        Stephen Marsh.


                        • #13
                          Roger, nice job on fixing the background, and a ton of thanks for that great tip! I can see it being very useful when shooting people (school, club, family, etc.) that are to be masked to be placed elsewhere later...such as on an island vacation, on a Xmas card by a tree, etc. Really has great practical value!

                          Stephen, WOW! That brilliant blue is exactly what the client wants, I'll bet! And the reflection makes it really special!

                          Speaking of Deneba Canvas, I have it, use it exclusively for putting together booklets etc. Anyone else use this program? I've been using it since version 3.1 and now have 8.0, and it just gets better and better. Has always had Illustrator beat by a long shot, and the price is really reasonable.



                          • #14
                            Stephen, WOW! That brilliant blue is exactly what the client wants, I'll bet! And the reflection makes it really special
                            Thanks Phyllis.

                            Just hope that the client does not want this to be done in CMYK!!!

                            As web was mentioned...I decided to go with 'power point blue'. <g> Totally unrealistic for press - but if monitor presentation is the media in question, then you can't beat a pure primary fading to near black.

                            I use difference masking for isolating healing or cloning when performed on a duped layer over the original and for automated dust spotting and some other things, but as I mentioned I did not think of it when it came to acquiring the original image/s.

                            I briefly mention difference masking here:



                            Stephen Marsh.


                            • #15

                              JIm I am not sure that this is what you want but I rode and if I wanted to accent my bike this is one way of doing it.

                              I used the grey color of the wall and cloned it to te rest of the picture.

                              Then i went into render, lighting and used a soft omni. I emphisized the motor and front end and faded the back but kept it visable.
                              HOpr this is what you are looking for.
                              Attached Files


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