Tuesday
Jan
2009
20

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…..

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

….Author, Brooks Institute faculty member, designer, educator, and Photoshop World instructor Chris Orwig.

Chris is an incredibly talented photographer and engaging instuctor, and I’m just delighted to have him here on the blog, and I can’t wait to see what’s he’s bringing us tomorrow. In the meantime, check out some of Chris’ photography (here’s the link), and make sure you’re back here tomorrow to catch his special guest post.

Monday
Jan
2009
19

The “Dave Hill Look” Revisted, Part One

by Scott Kelby  |  102 Comments

10min-final-lr-web

The image above is from a promo shoot I did last week for rapper “10 Minute” and I wanted to apply a “Dave Hill” like look to the images, but I cheated—I used a plug-in. (click on it for a much larger view).

Now, let me say this up front: From the research I’ve done, I don’t believe photographer Dave Hill actually uses a Photoshop plug-in; I believe he creates his look without a plug, using a series of layer blend modes, High Pass Sharpening, Skin Smoothing, and Dodging and Burning (and I am working on that whole Photoshop-only workflow as we speak, and will do a post on it when I’m finished), but since I needed to get this job done fast; I used the Lucis Art Pro 6.0 plug-in, and I feel like it got me pretty close to the look (a mini-review of the plug-in is coming up tomorrow in the 2nd and final part of this post).

First things first: I was able to use something that I learned previously when researching this look; when Dave Hill says a lot of the look is in the lighting—he’s not exaggerating. This look requires a specific type of lighting, and if you don’t light it that particular way (which we’ll discuss in a moment), the plug-in, or the Photoshop-only technique, just won’t look right. It’s a formula that requires a combination of both the right lighting, and the right Photoshop moves.

THE LIGHTING
We’ll start with the shoot, and I gotta tell you—-it was a train wreck (and that’s being kind). First, we got to the location a little late, so we were already losing daylight. Then once we got our strobes set-up in place, we realized that we forgot to pack flags (large black 24″x36″ panels that you use to keep the light from flashes placed behind the subject from creating lens flare), so we had to run back to the studio and grab them.

Once we got our flags on the set, then we learned that we had a lighting problem—there’s something wrong with our main battery pack—-we accidentally dropped it a while back, and it needs to go in for service, but since it usually works…….well…it didn’t, and we didn’t have time to track down the problem.

Anyway, it just wasn’t working, and now we had maybe 15 minutes left to shoot (the sun was nearly down, and we were already under a roof, so light—or lack therof–was really becoming an issue). Luckily, my assistant (and general boy wonder) Brad Moore had thought to bring some Nikon SB-800s and 900s as a back-up, with some lightweight stands and an umbrella. So, we quickly tore down the strobes and we went with off-camera flashes. It’s not the ideal set-up for this shoot, but we had to get it done.

There are a number of ways you can set-up the lighting, and it will change depending on location, your subject, blah, blah, blah but basically you want two flashes behind your subject —one on each side—bare bulb (we would have used two strobes with just reflectors—no softboxes—if all had worked as planned). You want hard, bright light coming from behind skimming the edges of both sides of your subject (see the set-up image below–click on it for a larger view).

Ideally, you’d put them fairly far back—like 10 or 12 feet back, up high aiming downward (the farther back you go, the sharper the light), but since he was down in front of the car, we had to quickly improvise and we wound up having to place them right up on “10″ (that’s short for “10 Minute.” By the way; we were lucky—he was a really great guy; incredibly patient, and when we got ready to shoot, he just turned it on. He really couldn’t have been better to work with).

10minsetup1

So, here was the lighting set-up: Our main light was one SB-800, mounted on a lightstand, and shooting through a 43″ Optical White translucent Westcott shoot-thru umbrella. This was aiming down at “10″ and was off to my right side (as seen in the photos above and below).

10minsetup2

In the image above, you’ve got a better view of the SB-800 shooting through the umbrella, and you can see how the flags work to blog the light from the bare SB-800/900 in back.

We had two more Nikon flashes on stands just behind and on either side of him. We had them down pretty low, and we had spent so much time trying to fix the strobe situation, we didn’t really have time to try and position them just right, so we just played the hand we were dealt. (Note: Some photographers shooting with this lighting set-up use a Ring Flash as their main light instead of a regular strobe with softbox). I triggered the flashes using an SB-900 sitting in my camera’s hot shoe—it didn’t fire—I just used it to trigger the other SB-800s and 900.

Now, I do want to make this clear; what I just detailed is NOT the recommended lighting set-up to get this look, and certainly not a “here’s how to do it.” It’s just a “here’s how we did it.” Ideally, we would have used more powerful strobes, and had the time to aim and position the lights correctly, but….sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.

CAMERA SETTINGS
There’s nothing too interesting here. It was shot with a Nikon D3, with a Nikon 24-70mm zoom lens in Manual Mode at f/6.3 at 1/60 of a second at 400 ISO. My actual focal length was 31mm, so I was shooting pretty wide. I told you it wasn’t too interesting.

tiOh, another thing we messed up; we forgot to bring music to the shoot, so Brad quickly pulled his car up right next to where we were shooting, and put in the new CD from T.I. (from his new album Paper Trail, shown at left) and cranked up his car stereo. The funny thing was; it was the filthiest thing you ever heard! The lyrics we so explicit, when it started we were all just cracking up  (and Brad was hugely embarrassed—it was the first time he popped it in his stereo, which made it all the better). I’d be setting up to take shot, and then this T.I. song “Every chance I get” came on (Here’s the linkwarning; even the preview is explicit), and and it was so nasty Snopp Dogg would probably blush. You just had to shake your head and laugh or you’d die from embarrassment (especially with all the people we had on the set).

10minunretouched

Here’s the before shot (shown above) of the shot you see at the top of this post.

10minbefore2

ABOVE: Here’s another where you can see the side lighting a little better. While the side light looks kind of subtle here, look what happens after you run the plug-in (see below). NOTE: The plug-in isn’t the whole technique (but the whole thing only takes about 5 minutes at best), but it certainly does a lot of the work, as you can see below.

10minafter2

Anyway, the shoot part was kind of a bust, and I’m even embarrassed to show you the unretouched shot (shown above), but I felt I needed to, especially for Part Two tomorrow, which is a step-by-step on the post processing, and includes my mini-review of the Photoshop plug-in Lucis Art Pro 6.0. In the meantime  here’s a link to 10 Minute’s site (Warning: Explicit lyrics).

Friday
Jan
2009
16

Take This Week’s Photoshop CS4 Tool Survey

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

If you use Photoshop CS4, could I bother you to take a moment and let me (and us at NAPP) know a little more about how you use Photoshop CS4, by taking this 15-second survey? Many thanks—-Scott.

Thursday
Jan
2009
15

Part 3 of our “What’s in Photoshop CS4″ Series

by webeditor  |  20 Comments

Here’s the third part of our 4-part series on Photoshop CS4. There are a few funny moments as you can tell we start to realize that we totally misjudged how long it’s going to take to cover all the new features, but I guess most importantly, it starts to uncover the depth of functionality that Adobe really put into this upgrade. Hope you enjoy part 3.

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Thursday
Jan
2009
15

Thursday News Stuff

by Scott Kelby  |  17 Comments

Hi everybody. It’s Thursday—here’s what’s up:

  • First, a big thanks to David Hobby for being my very special guest blogger yesterday. It truly was an honor having him on the blog, and from the comments from our readers, he was as big a hit as I knew he’d be. :)
  • Quick update the on the MacBook Pro laptops from Apple. When you buy one of Apple’s new 17″ MacBook Pros (just introduced at Macworld Expo last week), you now have the option of a glossy or non-glossy screen. Although I’ve adjusted to the glossy screen on my 15″ MacBook Pro, I would still prefer a non-glossy screen, and if Apple offers that option on a 15″ anytime soon, I would have to switch. That being said; one of my readers turned me on to this; there’s a third party company called TechRestore that will replace your glossy screen with a matte screen for $199. Here’s the link to the story about them on ZDnet. (Note: If any of you have swapped screens using TechRestore, let me know about your experience).
  • Friend of the blog Jason Moore has an interesting interview with Principal Photoshop Product Manager John Nack. It’s always so insightful to hear from John, and he brings a perspective on things we don’t always get to hear—definitely worth reading (here’s the link to Part 1).
  • Just a reminder: our Lightroom Live Tour, with Matt Kloskowski, is coming to Covington, Kentucky on Jan. 23rd, and it’s going to be a great day of learning taught by one of the industry’s leading experts on Lightroom. If you want to attend, you can snag a seat right here.
  • Terry Reinert has a review of a new iPhone/iPod Touch application that sounds like a very cool app for anyone into PhotoWalks. If you’ve got a second—check it out here.
  • You may remember the mini-review I did of the Ray Flash, which is a ring-flash adapter that fits over your existing off-camera flash (like Nikon SB-800s, or Canon 580EX IIs). Anyway, in my review my only real critisicm was that I thought it was a bit too expensive, but now that’s changed. As of Jan. 1, 2009 the retail price is just $199 ($100 less than when I initially reviewed it). Now, it’s a no-brainer. Here’s the link with all the details.

That’s it for today. Hope you have a great Thursday!

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