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ravnostic
Post subject: I'm running out of time, would like some advice.  PostPosted: 11.06.2013 14:21



Joined: 14.02.2010 Posts: 2898

This is a project I'm working on for a G+ venue, theme "Industrial".

Obviously photoshop is employed. I'm totally unhappy with the shadows; I know they need work (it was my first try; I need to employ some skew).

I'm not thrilled with the layering, either. I am a newb with PS Elements, the whole point of doing this is to improve my skills (self challenge; I didn't have to go this route). But I think I need some advice on where to go with this.

http://fossilspringsaz.com/pics/2013/jun/12/indyblendprojectsepia.jpg

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ravnostic
Post subject: RE: I  PostPosted: 11.06.2013 14:28



Joined: 14.02.2010 Posts: 2898

Color: http://fossilspringsaz.com/pics/2013/jun/12/indyblendprojectcolor.jpg

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fluffybunny
Post subject: Re: I'm running out of time, would like some advice.  PostPosted: 11.06.2013 15:10



Joined: 07.10.2011 Posts: 653

      ravnostic wrote:
This is a project I'm working on for a G+ venue, theme "Industrial".

Obviously photoshop is employed. I'm totally unhappy with the shadows; I know they need work (it was my first try; I need to employ some skew).

I'm not thrilled with the layering, either. I am a newb with PS Elements, the whole point of doing this is to improve my skills (self challenge; I didn't have to go this route). But I think I need some advice on where to go with this.

http://fossilspringsaz.com/pics/2013/jun/12/indyblendprojectsepia.jpg


IIRC PS tools have a "drop shadow" function somewhere that let's you assign a "direction" and maybe other physics parameters before laying it down. I'm unsure if you used this or did it manually so apologies if I am being redundant. Looks like you have (or had) everything in layers which will allow you to pick the same angle for all elements. Just tweak it until it matches the shadows in your background (in this case the clockworks). Stretching and warping after "drop shadow" are good if your light source is oblique and distant (think evening sunlight).

My aesthetic opinions (disregard if offensive, not intended that way):

Awesome concept.

The clouds are too "out of place", unless you are after a dreamlike un-reality motif. Maybe a different type of background all together.

The shadows at the bottom of the right most mast seem out of place.

I think I like the monochrome version better but play with that. The workmen seem to get lost in the composition. Maybe have them in multi-chrome and everything else in mono?

Try to soften or smear the clock edges (a few pixels wide) to make the transition to sky a little more natural.

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Yugoboy
Post subject: RE: Re: I  PostPosted: 11.06.2013 16:16
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Joined: 24.04.2011 Posts: 1011

Screw "Drop Shadow"... that's for lazy people. If you're having trouble with a shadow's direction, using a filter is partly the cause. Duplicate whatever layer you need to have a shadow of, put it behind the original layer. use "Levels" to make it black, blur to taste, change opacity to taste, and shift it to wherever it needs to be. Using this method, you have 100% control over your shadow. Let's say the shadow is cast over an uneven surface; "drop shadow" simply cannot account for that, but this method can. You'd have to make different layers of your shadow, but it's flexible enough to do that.

Really terrific concept you've got there. I think the shadows need some blur. There's a couple that are completely black - in this shot, as well lit as you've got it set up, there shouldn't be. Go outside and look at some real shadows. Nothing, but nothing will help you more. How do shadows get thrown, how do they change in intensity as they fall away from their source, when are they blurry, when are they sharp??? When you get to noticing these things, your shadows will fall into place.

As for the rest of it, about the only thing I notice to even remotely criticize is that the workers are blacker and more contrasty than the rest of the image. Rather than wash them out to match the rest of the image, see if you can jack up the curves/levels/contrast of the rest of the image (except the sky). I disagree with fluffy on the clouds. I do agree with fluffy on the edge of the clock - when you cut it out, you should have used "feather" of .4 to .7 pixels (unless the source was HUGE, then 1-1.3 might have been called for.)


I think your one major mistake when you began the whole enterprise was picking a source that contained many of the color elements of the sky. It blends in too well and looks almost transparent. A smidgen of darkening (levels/curves) would help separate it from the sky more.

I hope any of this helps.

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ravnostic
Post subject: RE: Re: I  PostPosted: 11.06.2013 16:53



Joined: 14.02.2010 Posts: 2898

Both comments are helpful. I did do the 'copy layer' and levels for the shadows; it was my placement and skewing that I'm not liking (for example, the gear wheel needs to be stretched, and the 'hole' needed to be altered to match a high sun-point shadow). And I did work on altering the shadows to try to match the different surfaces, but not enough. I chose images of the guys that matched the sun angle (as closely as I could, at least), so now I need the shadows to match as well--and I'm way far off (fortunately I'm thinking it will be the easiest of fixes, and the tip on blurring the shadows is a really good point.)

Personally, I liked the clouds (also my image); for me it gave a 'dream-like' quality to the image that contrasted to the 'industrial' concept. I'm also planning on working on the 'face' side of the watch. It was my great-grandfathers, damaged first by a house fire at my parents, and then by the water used by firemen to put the fire out. Had a devil of a time opening the backside!!

The frontside is sans-hands, and charred. I took some images of a friend's (very expensive) watch, and plan on making a mosaic of giving the watch a 'facelift', so to speak, using the same workers. It's actually a far-more complicated project, and will take many, many more layers than this one (which is two watch shots, 4 worker shots, duplicates for shadows, and the background sky).

Input appreciated, further points welcomed.

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Choc-Ful-A
Post subject: RE: Re: I  PostPosted: 12.06.2013 02:54



Joined: 29.11.2007 Posts: 477

I agree, blurring the shadow will make them look more realistic, assuming that's your goal...

Also a natural shadow will be a distorted version of the original shape, with the areas that are farther from the object throwing the shadow bigger than the other areas. So you can use what GIMP called the "perspective tool" to pull the shadow into a different shape making the far end wider/bigger until it looks right. And if you're just learning, I'd recommend using GIMP over other free software. But that could turn into a religious argument so I'll leave it alone. Smile
 
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ravnostic
Post subject: RE: Re: I  PostPosted: 13.06.2013 11:49



Joined: 14.02.2010 Posts: 2898

There's a perspective tool in PS Elements, so I went with that. The shadows are much better now. Unfortunately I didn't save a copy with the sky layer earlier; I flattened too soon, so I can't seem to get the edge of the watch to look more realistic. But the shadows are much better, at least. And given I took on the task to learn, I'd say I've been successful. It's not like I'm going to be putting the image up for sale.

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fluffybunny
Post subject: RE: Re: I  PostPosted: 13.06.2013 14:07



Joined: 07.10.2011 Posts: 653

Yes, I have also flattened something important away. Now if the work is non trivial, I save in a native format (Gimp is *.xcf) and layer everything. I flatten as a last step to export but do not save after flattening.

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