Before and after Photoshop work


I’ve been endlessly working on several different projects, but one of them is a test we did on Monday.

The model is absolutely beautiful, and we were lucky enough to score a talent makeup artist to join us. The below image was certainly an immediate favorite, until you look closely at the image and see how bunched up her jacket is.

On set, we did our best to replicate the pose, but it’s never as easily done than said.

To fix it, I picked up a smooth jacket shot and masked it in. It’s not something gigantic in the Photoshop world, but I felt like this particular execution was strong and believable.






Meowy Christmas and Happy Howlidays!

Every year, we take aim at executing a creative, electronic holiday card.

This year was a particular challenge, because our hearts were set on creating a cinemagram created from a composite image. We bought a gingerbread house, decorated it, and shot it in the snow. Then we recreated the lighting and shot ourselves doing much more movement.

Then when it came to assembling a composite image, we learned that Photoshop didn’t treat our background like a green screen enough.

So we executed plan B, which you’ll find below (last image). We kept it simpler, used a candle and the lights on the trees outside our condo as the only movement.

After we made that card, I lost a lot of sleep wondering if I could make the above card work enough to at least share it. You’ll notice it’s not “perfect”, but it’s fun. Talulah and I are obviously moving, but Tina is blinking and Zoe’s head is moving slightly.

All in all, it was a great learning experience for generating successful cinemagrams that we plan on creating much more of in 2014.

Click on any of the images to enlarge, namely the cinemagrams.

Let us know what you think!







Focus stacking and applications of it

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 9.28.46 AM



Lately I’ve been thinking about the above tutorial on Focus Stacking given at Phlearn, which is a group that offers Photoshop Learning company based right here in little old Chicago.

Focus Stacking is the answer to all you macro photographers who get frustrated when your ultra closeup photography has a really short depth of field.

The video graphic above takes you to Phlearn’s web site, because I cannot embed Vimeo videos here.

But there are other applications of focus stacking, too.

In the above example, Aaron Nace photographed the toy unicorn about 10 times that stands about 2 or 3 inches tall (at most). All 10 photos are at different focus points. At one point, the horn is in focus and then the wings and then the back foot. Once in Photoshop, you can use a tool called “Auto Blending” to put them all together.

I was thinking how cool it would be if we photographed a child and took one of his or her small toys and made a scene of them both sitting together.

Or maybe an adult has a toy of some significance.

I’m trying to dream up other applications as well.

Below is Phlearn’s final image.



Whoa: photo manipulation before photoshop


There’s a new exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art called, “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop“.

Many of the images are blowing me away. Hopefully I’ll get out there to see the exhibit.



Jerry N. Uelsmann  (American, born Detroit, Michigan, 1934)

Uelsmann revived the technique of combination printing pioneered by such Victorian art photographers as Oscar Gustave Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson in the early 1960s, when darkroom manipulation was denigrated by many proponents of straight photography as a flagrant violation of photographic purity. His pictures, which he creates in a darkroom equipped with seven enlargers, are filled with mind-bending paradoxes, oblique symbolism, and bizarre contrasts of scale. Uelsmann’s work is now considered an important precursor to the seamless compositing widely associated with digital photography and Photoshop.



Oh, how they lie to you using Photoshop

; Earlier today, I posted the above photo to Facebook and I wrote:

Hey guys, we did a quick sitting with Bill Whitmire yesterday. We needed to rush a photo to someone for a presentation we’re doing in Oct. We wanted to clog your feed with us two cheeseballs. Nothing says sincere salesy like the double head tilt.

I posted it partly because I wanted to see what kind of reaction it would get from our friends and family. It appeared to be quite a hit. Which made me feel good about submitting it to represent us for a talk we’re giving in baltimore next month. We’ve talked on the blog about the benefits of Photoshop, and since this is our photo, I feel comfortable showing you how Photoshop is almost essential to even regular, everyday men and women. I’m posting the rest of this below the fold, because I want you to open up the photo (click on it) and see if you can spot all that’s “fake” about the image. Then go through my notes and see if you were right. Go ahead. Giver ‘er a whirl.

Continue reading “Oh, how they lie to you using Photoshop”

A 365 Photo-a-day project that makes our 365 Peeper Dee Project look like trailer trash



Photographer Aaron Nace recently moved to Chicago from North Carolina, and he opened a studio for making videos to help others learn Photoshop. It’s called Phlearn.

Our partner Bill Whitmire knew of Aaron before he moved here, and when he found out he landed in Chicago, he looked him up.

Now that I know him, I can’t help but be completely jealous of his ability. He’s a super cool guy, and frankly, I’d like to selfishly be his only friend so I can mooch soak up his vast knowledge.

In 2008, he challenged himself to a 365 Photo project. Only, his photos were well-though-out, heavily photoshopped images that will — frankly — blow your minds.

Above is just one. Go check his Flickr feed for the project and be inspired.

From his mind about the project:

Be prepared to get really sick of seeing this face. Average time spent to get photo as of now:

Planning 1-2hr
Setup 10min-1hr
Shooting 30min-1hr
Total 2-4hr

Finding an extra 3 hours everyday might get tough, looks like someone is going to have to get more efficient. Or sleep less.

I am going to try and take a (semi)interesting photo for all of the 365, so if I skip a day it pretty much means I didn’t find the time to do anything interesting, and didn’t feel like posting total crap.