OK, Vegas — it’s here: Photoshop World kicks off today with the pre-conference workshops; the parties start tonight, Photo Walks, and tomorrow we’re live-streaming Adobe’s keynote. Here’s a real quick look at what’s happening:
1. If this is your first time to Photoshop World, make sure you:
(a) Watch the series of short videos we did for you to help you get the most out of the event. They’re called “Insight” and if you go to this page, and scroll down a little bit, you’ll see a bunch of them. They’re only a minute or so a piece but you’ll learn a lot. I posted one above, about the House of Blues party Wednesday night.
(b) Make sure you attend Larry Becker’s first-timers orientation meeting today. You will learn a ton! He teaches it twice today, once at 3:15 pm and again at 5:15. It’s free and open to any attendee (even if it’s not your first time). It’s held in the Tradewinds Ballrooms C-D in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
2. Don’t miss the “Meet Up” tonight at 9:00 pm It’s at the EyeCandy Bar inside the Casino of the Mandalay Bay hotel. It’s just a fun, casual hangout with the instructors, staff and NAPP crew and everyone’s invited (see the 45-second video above). There may be liquor and gambling very nearby. I’m just sayin.’
3. If you’re attending a Pre-Conference workshop… you can register for the full conference today to save time (instead of waiting in line tomorrow), starting at 10:00 am. This is just for folks attending Pre-Cons. The workshops mostly kick off at 12:00 pm or 1:00 pm depending on which one you’re attending.
4. Go download the free App right now We have a really handy App (for IOS and Android) that has details on pretty much everything. It’s free, better than ever, and you’ll totally dig it. Here’s the link.
5. There’s a SmugMug Photo Walk Tonight and you’re invited Joining SmugMug’s Google+ Community Manager Michael Bonocore and the+PhotographersAdventureClub on a fun photowalk down the famous Las Vegas Strip, starting at 6:00 PM sharp on the sidewalk in front of the New York, New York hotel. Then you’ll hit the streets to take photos and talk photography. They’re wrapping up the Photo Walk at 8:00PM and then heading to dinner (location T.B.D.).
6. Wednesday’s Adobe Keynote is being streamed LIVE There is usually a big announcement (hint, hint) or a sneak peek of new technology (hint), so you don’t want to miss this, and you can watch it live, free, anywhere in the world. Here’s the link (it starts a few minutes after 9:00 am PT (Noon East Coast time).
7. You can still get a Free Expo-Only Pass If you just want to check out the Expo floor (and visit some vendors, see Adobe’s booth, watch some expo floor classes or live shooting demos, thanks to friends at B&H Photo you can get a free Expo-only pass right here for Thursday or Friday.
There’s no Guest Blog Wednesday tomorrow, as we’ll be sharing Photoshop World photos, the Live Keynote stream links, and other conference fun stuff, so check back here to stay on top of any (ahem) announcements. :)
Hi Gang: I thought I’d share the painful, behind-the-scenes step-by-step lighting set-up for the BMW 650i I shot a week or so ago at Studio 75 in Seminole, Florida (I shared the final shots on my Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages).
Since I had all the test shots as we were piecing the lighting together, I thought I show you how it looked in stages, all right out of the camera (until the end when you see the final shot). It’s not going to be pretty, but here goes:
Above:Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of where we finally ended up. lighting wise. It looks like a simple two-light set-up, and it is, but getting there was….was…well…it took a number of hours and there was a lot of “scrunching of my face” during the entire shoot to get it where I was hoping to be. We’ll start at the beginning, just after we put up a long roll of black seamless paper behind the car.
Above:I thought we’d start by putting a large strip bank softbox over just the very front of the car, since I was going for a very dark, dramatic look. So, we put the stripbank on a boom stand, put it right over the front of the car and I took a test shot at f/11 at 1/125 of a second shutter speed, just to see where we were as a starting place. It looked pretty awful (as seen above).
Above:Luckily, I knew I could make the light fall off to dark pretty easily by just using the “tried and true” f/stop I learned from Tim Wallace’s classes on shooting cars, and son of a gun if ol’ f/22 didn’t make a huge difference. We also moved the soft box back a little further over the hood of the car, but we lost all the highlights in the front grill.
Above:I knew I wanted the headlamps on, so I had Brad jump in the car and start it (you had to start it to get the fog lamps on bottom to come on. I figured I’d have to do a bit of Photoshop magic when it came to the headlamps — maybe blending two separate shots into one (one exposed for the lights, the other for the car), but I got lucky — the headlamps used LED lights, and it looked great first time out without any fancy stuff (and the f/22 gave us starbrights in the lights). Another lucky bonus. By the way, I’m totally cool with lucky things happening during a shoot. In fact, I embrace it!
Above:So, I knew the headlights would look good, so I had Brad turn them off (and the car so we didn’t get asphyxiated), but the front grill was missing altogether so we moved the soft box just a tiny bit forward until the grill appeared again (as seen above). Then we put a large white v-flat on the ground right in front of the car, so we’d get some highlights to come out on all the edges (also seen above), but now it’s too bright right below the grill, so we fixed two problem and created one new one. Hey, I see it as a 50% win. LOL! The whole shoot was kinda like that, but I was mentally prepared for it after my last car shoot. It’s all a matter of controlling how the light reflects and having the patience (and enough black and white reflectors) to make it happen.
Above:I needed that area right under the grill to be dark, so I asked Dan (the owner of Studio 75) if he had a thinner black v-flat we could use to block part of the white v-flat that was reflecting the light back upward to bring out the highlights. He didn’t, but he had a thin roll of black felt material. We rolled it out on the floor way in front of the car, and Brad and Dan each picked up an end and walked it toward the front of the car until I yelled “Stop!” right when that area below the grill turned black. That little two-foot strip (see above on the floor right in front of the car), covered just enough of the white v-flat bounce card to do the trick. Sweet!
Above:I left like we were getting close, so I was starting to get excited, but it kind of looked like just the nose of the car was there, kind of floating on its own, so we added 2 large white v-flat fill cards — one one either side of the car to fill in the sides a bit, and it worked really well. I lowered the power of the overhead light a bit so I could see how the fill cards would look without being overpowered by the light (see above).
Above:Now that things are starting to get close, I wanted to get a really low perspective; lower than I got last shoot by just splaying out my tripod’s legs, so Brad came up with the idea to use a f/plate (the same one I use for shooting remote cameras at NFL games) with a Manfrotto bullhead (seen above). One reason it worked so well was I use trying out a Canon EOS 70D camera, and it had a tilt-swivel LCD screen on the back, so I could aim it back up at me and use Live View to aim and level the camera. Then I’d switch off Live View and take the shot (I couldn’t get the flash to fire in Live View mode, though I think there actually is a way). I also switched from a 24-70mm lens to a 70-200mm and moved all the way to the very back of the studio.
Above:I was happy where things were going, but I felt there was still something missing — I originally thought it would be cool just to see the front of the car lit, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought I wanted to see a least a hit of the windshield and side mirrors, so we rigged up another large strip bank and put it right over the enter of the hood. I knew as soon as I took the test shot above this was going to be what it needed. I had Brad jump back in the car and turn on the parking lamps (seen above), just to get an idea of where things were going. So far, so good, but we’re not quite there yet. NOTE: as I learned later, I probably should have stopped here. More on that in a moment.
Above:I thought it would be cool to see a highlight in the windshield and more of the highlights on the rear view mirrors and roof. I was half right. Here’s how it looked after we moved the 2nd softbox farther up the hood, closer to the windshield.
Above:I liked where it was going (and I liked the way the 2nd softbox looked reflected in the hood), so I had Brad move it back even farther, so it showed up 1/8 of a circle in the windshield. It was almost time to turn on all the headlamps (with Brad inside the car again), and zoom out just a bit to take in a bit more of the floor.
Above:Here’s the over-the-shoulder view from my shooting on the floor once we had all the lighting in place. You can really see the black strip in front of the car, and the white v-flats on either side and again in front of the car which is creating those strong highlights in the front.
Above:Here’s the rear view so you can see the placement of the two softboxes right over the hood and windshield. Also, if you look way back in the back, you can see me sitting on the floor, and the incredibly helpful owner of Studio 75, Dan, so has a gadget for everything!
Above:By the way — how do you move a car around in such a small studio like this? With wheel lifts (and McGuyver-like took in Dan’s bag of tricks). You basically put this lift under both front wheels — lift them up, and you can just slide the car pretty much wherever you want it. It’s how we did the dramatic side shot I posted over on my Facebook page.
Above:Here you can really see that black strip of cloth that got rid of the reflection under the grill (of course, you see it from this angle without the flashes firing, but from the low perspective and with the flashes firing, it went solid black).
Above:Once I zoomed way out so I could see more of the floor, another lucky thing happened. Where the white v-flat ended on the floor, the gray paint in the work area just happened to perfectly reflect the headlamps. Since I was going to half to paint over the white v-flat on the right side in Photoshop anyway, I could just paint over the crack in the floor and the white line where the white v-flat ended. So, besides turning up the power of the strobes a bit more, this is nearly the final shot. Just a little tweaking here and there with the lights.
Above:Here’s the final image, but it wasn’t my original final. After I posted it on my Facebook page, I emailed my automotive photography hero, Tim Wallace, and asked him for his honest opinion, because I really value Tim’s opinion (everything I’ve learned about shooting cars, I’ve learned from Tim), and I really want to get better at this. Tim said he liked the lighting overall, but he would change two things:
(1) He didn’t think I should have that softbox reflection in the windshield because it took away from the what the shot was about — the front of the car. And…
(2) He thought I should make the highlights on the front of the car brighter and more prominent.
Of course, I immediately did both (I faded the windshield reflection to where you can hardly see it at all). He wasn’t as crazy about the headlamp reflections on the floor as I was, so I toned them down quite a bit in this final version as well.
I had a lot of lucky things happen during this shoot (I like to call them “happy accidents”), but at the end of the day, I’m luckiest to have Tim Wallace as a friend that will give me his honest feedback, and I know that when he gives it, he’s trying to help me move further ahead, and that means a lot. He’s a quite a guy (beyond his extraordinary skills as a photographer and a teacher).
I still have a long way to go… But it won’t be for lack of trying. I’m out in Vegas now, trying to set up yet another car shoot — this time borrowing one of Scott Bourne’s new Jaguars and heading out to a dry lake bed not far from here. Not sure if the timing will work out right (ya know, with Photoshop World starting on Tuesday and all), but hey — ya never know!
Hope all these behind-the-scenes shots helped …and I hope you weren’t cringing as much as I was during the process. I knew it would take a while for me to get the lighting where I wanted it (it always does), but I will say this — it’s sure a lot of fun getting there.
Above:Here’s a behind-the-scenes video we filmed during the shoot, since it was my first time trying out the Canon EOS 70D (Larry and Mia were doing a training class on how to use this just-released camera, and I borrowed it for this shoot, just for the day), so it’s a first-look at the camera (good and bad), plus you’ll see more shots from the shoot, and some of the details shots I did using a Priolite flashhead and a smaller stripbank.
Today’s a really good day! I’m out here a few days early with my wife Kalebra celebrating our 24th Wedding Anniversary, so no work today — just lots of fun (taking in a show tonight, having dinner at our favorite restaurant in Vegas, and staying up later than we should, cause the next day things get really crazy as we kick off pre-conference workshop day). I’m all smiles! :)
Have a great Monday everybody, and if you see Kalebra and I walking hand-in-hand through the casino on our way to dinner or a show, make sure you stay the hell away from us. LOL! Totally kidding!!! Cheers everybody!
Above: I snapped this iphone shot of of the 200-400mm before I left for the game last night. You can see it’s a lot skinnier than the 400 f/2.8, and so lightweight you could hand-hold it without a monopod.
Hi Gang: Well, it wasn’t a pretty game, and the Bucs lost pretty miserably, and the stands were pretty empty and….well….(he pauses searching for some redeeming nugget), but at least I did get to try out some cool new gear.
After my post about last week’s Falcons/Titans game, Canon offered to let me take their new 200-400mm f/4 with a built-in 1.4 teleconverter out for a spin for last night’s game.
I got in well after midnight and still had a 2nd round of uploads for the wire, so I don’t have any game action shots ready to post this morning, but while I was at the game, I did think to take three shots to show you how the 200-400mm with the built-in tele works, because it’s really worth seeing:
Above:Here’s the view from the end zone. With the Bucs at center field, being out at 200mm makes them look like ants. Of course, the 200mm length is for when they’re much closer, but this does give you a good idea of why a 70-200mm alone makes shooting football pretty tough.
Above:Zooming in to 400mm definitely brings the action a lot closer. Of course, the lens doesn’t just have just 200mm and 400mm, like any zoom you can choose any focal length you want in-between those two.
Above:If you flip the switch to turn on the built-in 1.4 teleconverter, it zooms in to 560mm. You don’t have to do anything fancy — it’s just a switch on the top of the lens — flip it and bam — you’re zoomed in even tighter.
When you flip the switch, you lose a stop The 200-400mm is an f/4 lens, and if you switch on the 1.4 teleconverter it becomes an f/5.6 so if you’re shooting a day game, this is really pretty much a non-issue. However, at a night game, I had to increase my ISO from between 5,000 ISO to 6,400 ISO (depending on where the teams were on field, as the lighting changes). Believe it or not, those shots above are at 6,400 ISO and you still don’t see any noise (that 1Dx is insane!). However, this is something to keep in mind if you have a body that doesn’t do well at high ISOs at night.
You can get spoiled really fast I will say this — it’s easy to get spoiled with one lens that pretty much covers the whole field (unless they get inside the 10, which sadly really wasn’t an issue for the Bucs last night). Being able to cover that range keeps you from running up and down the sidelines so much, and you’re more likely not to miss any action that’s just out of reach of a regular 400mm. The only thing is, you have to keep an eye out on your ISO especially since the 1Dx’s Auto ISO minimum ISO setting won’t go up to 1/1000 of a second (it stops at 1/250), so Auto ISO won’t help you out in this case. (So far, this is the only chink in the armor of the 1Dx that I’ve found).
The lens itself is sharp as anything, and the focus is really fast and crisp. Plus, the lens is so lightweight you could literally hand-hold it. Also, this is just a little feature, I really like that when you rotate the lens on the collar (switching the camera from wide to tall or vice verse), the center is “detented” making it simple to make certain that when you rotate it for wall or wide that it’s perfectly straight, just by feel. Hope that gives you insights into the 200-400mm.
Above:OK, here’s one action shot from the game, and I’m posting it because it pretty much tells the story of the whole night in just one shot — one of the Bucs lying on the ground as Redskins Running Back Chris Thompson strolls in for a touchdown. Hey, it’s just a preseason game. A “practice” game. None of our starters even played. I keep telling myself this stuff over and over. LOL!
OK, I’m off to Photoshop World Whew — it’s been a whirlwind week, but there’s another one coming up for me as I’m heading to Vegas for Photoshop World. I’m hoping to see a lot of you there (and since we already have more folks registered for this year’s conference than last year’s, that’s a pretty good bet).If you see me around, I hope you’ll stop me and say “hi” so I can thank you personally for reading the blog, and sharing a part of your day with me.
Hope you have an awesome weekend and I’ll see a whole bunch of you in Vegas next week. Whoo Hoo!!!
Get A FREE Pass for the Expo Floor at Photoshop World! Thanks to our friends at B&H Photo, you can score a FREE pass for the Expo Floor at Photoshop World Vegas! Come check out all the Bonus Classes on September 5 and September 6, check out the latest gear from Canon, Epson, G-Technology, Hoodman, Westcott, Wacom, and tons of other companies, and even find out how you can get a killer new website from SmugMug or Squarespace! You can see the full list of exhibitors right here.
Bill Fortney’s Vintage Auto America Join outdoor photographer and author Bill Fortney in his class Vintage Auto America for an immersive trip through vintage auto Americana as he explores over 6 miles of trails filled with old cars, trucks, and the many other things that can be found at Old Car City, outside Atlanta, GA. There are classic treasures at every turn and Bill walks you through his gear, philosophy, and techniques for shooting on this kind of special self-assignment. From wide environmental portraits of a rusting DeSoto to up-close and personal gritty macros of decaying hood ornaments, Bill digs deep and shares from his wealth of tips and tricks to inspire you to get out to your nearest junkyard and have your own photographic adventure.
Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of this class!
Kelby Training Live Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby or Joe McNally? Check out these seminar tours!
Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!
Rick Sammon’s Photo Sundial Our friend and Kelby Training instructor Rick Sammon has a new iPhone and iPad app that will help you find the best light for the best pictures. It’s called Rick Sammon’s Photo Sundial and is on sale for $2.99. The app not only shows the sun’s position and where shadows will fall, but it also displays the phases of the moon, a five-day weather forecast, a sun compass, a shadows meter and 25 of Rick’s favorite sunrise/sunset images with tips. Read all about it right here.
Aviation Photography Workshop with José Ramos As a photography enthusiast have you ever walked the flight line at an airshow and wondered what it would be like to capture vintage warbirds without the crowds? Or have you asked yourself what would it take to plan a successful sunrise photo shoot with these amazing pieces of history? Have you wanted to create images of warbirds with models and reenactors, giving the image that extra vintage feel, but you just did not know where to start?
Throughout the coming months, 3G Aviation Media is partnering up with several warbird facilities to host a series of unique learning opportunities that will allow you to expand your knowledge and skill of photography. Through a mixture of classroom presentation, hands-on instruction and group interaction, they strive to provide their attendees with a controlled environment where they can try new techniques with subjects they may not have readily available.
You can get more info on the upcoming workshop in Peachtree City, Georgia happening November 15-17 right here.
Hi everyone! Aaron Blaise here. For those that don’t know who I am… I’ve been in the animation industry for almost 25 years now with 21 of those years spent at Walt Disney Feature Animation. I was lucky enough to have contributed to many of Disney’s latest classics including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan. I also co-directed Brother Bear. In the last few years I’ve been developing several films for various companies by way of story development and visual development/concept design. I’ve been a guest on Photoshop User TV a couple of times and will be an instructor at the upcoming Photoshop World event in Las Vegas! (That WILL be fun!)
There…now that I got the intro out of the way, I’d like to share with you the latest project my directing partner, Chuck Williams and myself have been working on, Art Story. First I’d like to give you a little background on this project.
A few years back, Chuck and myself were presented with an amazing opportunity. Leave Disney in California, and move back to our home state of Florida to head up the creative development of a brand new animation studio being created in Port Saint Lucie. The studio was to be a division of the then visual effects giant, Digital Domain. It was a big gamble for us, but ultimately we couldn’t resist the opportunity.
We started in April of 2010. Chuck and I were tasked with creating content for animated feature films and hiring the staff to make them. Over the next year we, along with a great story team, developed four original ideas. One was a fantasy piece (Art Story), another was a comedy, another was a sci-fi piece, and the last one was a big epic adventure called The Legend of Tembo.
After looking closely at all four projects we decided to go with The Legend of Tembo as our first film. It was a big story and one we thought would be perfect as a first film for our young company.
It was the story of a gentle, young African elephant named Tembo, taken from his savannah home and shipped over seas where he is forced to become a battle elephant. It’s here that he must fight for his freedom and make his way back home.
Tragedy struck though 13 months into making Tembo. After over a year of preproduction and development and literally 3 weeks from the start of actual production we came to work on a Friday to learn that the company had gone bankrupt and everything was shutting down. We had two hours to clean out our desks. Just like that the dream was crushed.
Over the next 6 months or so Chuck and I worked on trying to get Tembo out of bankruptcy with no luck. It was then though that our ex-boss, John Textor was able to get Art Story out of bankruptcy.
Art Story was going to be our follow up to Tembo, a completely different film from our big elephant adventure. It’s a story about an 11-year-old, meticulous boy, WALT, and his crazy, loopy GRANDPA — two complete opposites — who get stuck in a vast, imaginative WORLD OF PAINTINGS. Inside, they cross paths with a ruthless painted character determined to make it into our world. In order to get home and stop the villain, Walt and Grandpa have to set aside their differences, work together and navigate worlds where the rules can change around every corner.
It’s a big visual undertaking in that every time Walt and Grandpa enter a different painted world they take on the look of that world. It’ll be like having 7 or 8 completely different art directed little films in one!
It was at this time that we decided we wanted to try and create something from the ashes of what we once were. We decided we wanted to make this film. We didn’t have a studio anymore though and all of the staff we had once hired had moved on to other jobs.
Chuck and I had used up almost all of our savings and parts of our retirements just to get by over that year. We needed to figure out how we were going to get at least the start of this film funded. That’s when we decided we wanted to give Kickstarter a try.
For those that don’t know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding website owned by Amazon where you can present a project to the masses and they can decide if they want to donate to it or not. In return for their donations they receive different rewards that we come up with at different monetary amounts given. It’s a simple idea really but one that’s really taken off.
After figuring out what key work we would need done over the next year or so, we came up with an amount of $350,000 that we would try and raise to get the film seeded. Chuck and I then put together a short video explaining our story and process and attached it to our new Kickstarter home page and launched it July 7th. Kickstarter has a finite number of days for you to raise the funds. If you don’t do it within the days allotted then you get nothing. We had 47 days. We had until August 23rd to raise the $350,000 needed to get started. This is where we got our lesson in social media! We plastered ourselves and Art Story everywhere we could, several times a day. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram…and it worked!! By August 23rd we had exceeded our goal and raised $365,670 donated by 1,785 backers!!! We couldn’t believe it! You can see our Kickstarter page right here.
And now here we are. Chuck and I are in the early stages of utilizing the funds (we aren’t taking salaries) and getting Art Story to next stages of development. We intend to get our script finished and very tight, create all new visual development/concept pieces, create a new story reel of the film, and we also want to do something a little different. We want to create both a children’s book and an e-book telling the entire story and release them before the film. Where the big studios like to keep there original content secret up until their release dates, we thought we would get the story out there ahead of time and get the public behind it. Get them excited for the film version!
All of these pieces you see here were done in Photoshop CS6 on my 21″ Wacom Cintiq. I have to say that it is an incredible amount of fun for me to put our characters into these great pieces of art and try to emulate the various styles. (Keep in mind I’m painting our characters into existing high res pieces)
Creating animated features is a marathon process, taking up to 5 years to complete. We are just now in the beginning stages of Art Story and we have a long road ahead of us, but I hope you’ll keep up with our progress over the coming few years on our website.
Thanks so much to Scott for allowing me to share with you all our little movie and thank you readers for taking the time to read my ramblings. If you happen to be in Vegas for Photoshop World and you see me, please come up and say hi. I’ll also be teaching classes on Digital Character creation, Wildlife painting in Photoshop, and Character design. You can see more of my work at CreatureArtTeacher.com. Hope to see you there!! -Aaron
If you can’t make the full three-day training conference, how about a FREE Expo-only Pass for the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in Vegas in like 8 days? That way, you can check out the show floor, see some cool gear, check out Adobe’s tradeshow booth and all the fun stuff at the Expo portion of the show.
These passes are $20 at the door, but if you register for your free pass now, online, B&H Photo will pick up the tab for your Expo pass (how sweet is that! Makes you want to click on their link up there, as your personal way of saying thanks, doesn’t it?).
You can visit the show floor either day:
> Thursday, September 5th > Friday, September 6th
If you’ve never been to our Expo floor, it is truly awesome! There are lots of classes running on the Expo floor; tons of demos and special expo-only pricing on gear; Adobe will be there along with lots of software and hardware vendors (everyone from Canon to Epson to Westcott and more!), lots of cool stuff to see and learn (there are two theaters with free classes going all day), and totally lots of fun! Best of all — it’s free(if you reserver for your free tickets now, in advance).
Sign-up now for your free Expo-only pass (good for two admissions) right here.
See you in Vegas (or in San Jose if you’re here today at my seminar). :)