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  • How to achieve this kind of look

    Hello,
    I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, so excuse me if I am wrong.
    Since a lot of time I was wondering how to achieve this type of look in pictures. The skin tones are perfect and against the cooler background the whole effect is amazing. I really want to know how they get it like this and I will appreciate your help and suggestions! I am most certain that this is mostly post production.

    It will be nice if you can recreate this overall effect in a random picture so it looks like this.

    By the way, these are screenshots from the french band "Gojira" new video clip. It is amazing.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: How to achieve this kind of look

    Good director should have even better operator.
    That is why this images looks so perfect.
    conception -> production -> execution -> post-production ->
    Approximately 6-40 persons hired for 7 days.
    answer: XXXXX$

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    • #3
      Re: How to achieve this kind of look

      Thanks for your reply. Yeah I agree, this was an expensive production for sure. I think they even used the same camera model as Peter Jackson in LotR trilogy.
      But the question is is it possible to turn any decent photo into something like this and how to fake this effect.

      I made a try, but it looks fake and overdone again..

      I will appreciate further comments and ideas.
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Re: How to achieve this kind of look

        Is this closer? It was a very quick try as an example, so there are lots of edges and highlights wrong, her hair is unfinished and her clothes are too dark, and I just noticed that I oversaturated the red in her face.

        Start with putting a blue/grey cast over everything, including the model so that overal colour is consistent. Then use a mask and paint out the skin and hair areas so that they look relatively normal (to taste).

        Add blank layers and paint in black, blue, green and brown to give some variation to the background and to darken the edges of the picture.

        When you are happy with the tone and colour, merge the layers and make a dulplicate. Apply gaussian blur and apply it selectively using a mask and paintbrush.

        Any of the above can be toned down or removed from selective areas by using opacity and masking.

        The rest is adjusting saturation and contrast to taste.
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: How to achieve this kind of look

          Thanks for your rather *wierd* solution, verywierd I think that I got the idea. No problems with the over-saturated parts. Actually it is mainly my bad that I always shoot at highest saturation on mu camera and for portraits this can be tricky. My approach was also related with tons of small corrections and masking, and at some point I just forget how I did something and I can never do it again... (ending up with 20-30 layers). So I thought there might be some standard trick people use (after all they did this to a video), because I've seen this way of look in pictures a lot of times.

          Anyway, what do you think of my version? Is it too colorful or with too much contrast, I just cant decide for sure, but it looks fake to me.

          Thanks in advance.

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          • #6
            Re: How to achieve this kind of look

            As I tried to point out in my example, the problem with your (retouched) image is that the lighting of the model's face and hair is not consistent with the rest of the picture. If you are standing in an area with dark, heavy clouds and ominous shadowy lighting, her hair and face will not be bright, warm and saturated.

            There must be a different light source to give the model's skin a more natural skin tone, like a campfire, street lights, lights from a nearby house, a flashlight held under the face, a camera flash etc. But none of these will have the same direction and shadow pattern as light from the sky and reflected from the surrounding environment, and the light coming through her hair and around her body will still be that of the environment, i.e. bluish grey.

            So, assuming I turned on the imaginary flash of my camera when I took the shot, you would get something like the attached.

            In terms of processing in PS, you can just mask out the areas facing the camera from the blue grey effect and even add a lighting/saturation layer or curve, if you want it brighter and warmer, but mask it so that it doesn't spread to the gaps in her hair or the edges of her body.

            Think of when you take a snapshot of a friend with a point and shoot camera in the street at night. Shadows and darkness creep around your friend's body and through the hair except where the flash has managed to light it.
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Re: How to achieve this kind of look

              Thanks for your detailed explanation! I got the idea now and will try to see how it will look.

              Another question more related to Photography. When shooting portraits, should I use the maximum saturation value in my camera (nikon d70s) or should I lower it. By default I use on maximum, so I can have more color information to work with, and it works perfect for landscapes, but in portraits I am not really convinced. How would it be better if I'll post process it later for different skin colors for example? More or less saturated images are better?

              Thanks again

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              • #8
                Re: How to achieve this kind of look

                Hi cruelframes,

                You should definitely not use the max sat setting on your camera. You are not recording more color information, you are just begging for crazy skintones. Yes, it will work fine on landscapes, but beware: it may produce colors that no printer can replicate.

                Alot of cameraes oversaturate the reds (the main component in skin) out of the box. Boosting the sat will just make it worse.

                I'd suggest using your normal setting, or less, when shooting portraits, and maybe shooting raws as well as jpgs. Then you'll get a better feel of what you're camera is really recording. If you want more saturation at some later point, it's much easier to add, than to remove, since an oversaturated image might clip the color channels, killing detail.

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                • #9
                  Re: How to achieve this kind of look

                  Hi Macint0sh,
                  Thanks for the advice! Stupid me never thought that more color can clip the color channel. I always thought that more is better, but it makes sense now. Especially when I end up with red portraits and then wonder for an hour how go get rid of all that color.

                  Thanks to all for your contributions. I want to devote my Bachelor project on photography and post-processing and any advice will be highly appreciated!

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to achieve this kind of look

                    Hi Cruelframes,

                    Could you achieve this effect photogrtaphically? A while ago I experimented with adjusting my camera's White balance by setting it through some coloured celophane. This would throw my colour balance way out. I would then attach the same celophane to my flash. The flash would ancel out the colour cast on the subject without affecting the rest of the scene.
                    Attached Files

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