Many of you may be familiar with Photoshop’s Photomerge, but this artist is in a panorama class of his own. Jook Leung has been recognized worldwide as a master of panoramic photography.
Some if his most captivating work comes from a project titled, “Times Square New Year’s Eve at Midnight.” For the past decade, Jook Leung has been capturing the ‘famous’ moment in 360VR. View his most recent 2010 image here.
Jook on his work, “I’m quite passionate about crafting the kind of panoramic images that reveal a unique perspective while conveying a strong sense of intimacy with the subject. Here the viewer becomes fully immersed in the same moment in time the photogapher is trying to capture. This is what masterful photography is all about. New technologies like Apple Computer’s QuickTime VR and Helmut Dersch’s Panorama Tools have made it possible to construct, publish and view full 360° x 180° spherical images. For me, this is the ultimate panorama and is what I specialize in doing well.”
Are you ever in a situation with a model or subject and can’t get the perfect position out of them? If yes, then this is your luck day. I came across a great article that gives 10 top portrait tips to help you capture the uniqueness of your subject.
One that I found interesting is #9.“DO make sure to separate the arms from the waist. Arms flat against the side of your subject create the illusion of a very wide waist.” Or you can always adjust for that in Photoshop ;)
More photos from our model shoot for Beauty Box, our video skin retouching plugin. Debbie had a little downtime while the set was being shifted around and became very interested in her feet. Then Maggie’s feet and finally the whole room of feet.
Yesterday I stumbled upon NotAlwaysRight.com. The website covers customer service bloopers and my favorite entry by far is Beyond Even The Power Of Pixel Dust. This entry details a customer asking a copy shop employee to remove one of three people in a photo.
“Customer: “Hi, I’d like a copy of this photo, but I need one the people cropped out. “ (The customer hands me a photo of three men, arms around each other’s shoulders in front of a brick wall.) Me: “Which one needs to be cropped out?” Customer: “The guy in the middle.” Me: “Well, we really can’t do that. That is more for a photo-refinishing artist.” Customer: “Can’t you just erase the guy in the middle?” Me: “We could, but then there would be a blank space were he once was. It would be pretty obvious.” Customer: “Oh, you won’t just see the wall behind him if he is removed?” Me: “No, the camera doesn’t take a picture of what is behind the person, just what you see.” Customer: “What if it was a digital camera?”
Since Digital Anarchy specializes in Adobe Photoshop plugins, I talk to a variety of folks each day with a different level of understanding about how digital imaging works. I wonder how many of you have experienced this kind of question from your clients or customers. The blooper comes from my hometown of Philly, PA, which is cherry filling as well as that much more embarrassing.
Ever since they started shooting motion pictures one of the biggest questions have been… How do you keep the damn camera steady? And what do you do about it if it’s not? If you’re a photographer just getting into shooting video with your DSLR, you’re likely to have the same questions. I’ll give you some answers to the first question and a few tips on dealing with the second.
While a shaky camera can be used, on rare occasion, to good effect… it’s usually something to be avoided. More often than not, it just means your watching a B horror flick and the owner of said shaky camera is about to be bitten in half. Hopefully we can get you shooting stable video so as to insure you are not similarly attacked by creatures that are aggravated by shaky video.
When we first launched Primatte, we tested a variety of ‘greenscreen’ backgrounds to determine what to recommend. Paper backgrounds turned out to be worst and we had the best luck with a velcro/foam material.
Well… apparently not all paper backgrounds are made equal!
I don’t remember who made the paper background we initially tested. But it was awful. Very reflective and prone to hot spots. We figured all paper would have the same problems. After listening to a talk by another company that does greenscreen software, I decided to revisit this and give Savage Paper’s ‘tech green #46’ a try.
So how’d it fare vs. the foam materail we’ve been recommending since day 1?
Digital Anarchy exhibited at the Senior Portrait Artists (SPA) Event earlier this week. It was yet another trade show, but this time we were on the island of Coronado, just off the sunny coastline of San Diego, CA.
We stayed and worked in the grand Hotel de Coronado, which is a grand hotel dating to 1888 and considered a National Historical Landmark. (Interesting history is here.) It was wonderful to be in a hotel that was next to the beach and lined with palm trees, especially during the winter, but the lush surroundings did present a small problem. Continue reading Trade show amid the palm trees.→
It’s no secret that digital cameras have been big business this, er… last decade.
However the Financial Times reports a new wrinkle. DSLR sales have slowed significantly less than point-and-shoot sales, meaning the DSLRs are making up a larger share of the digital camera market. Over 8 million DSLRs will be sold in 2009.
What does this mean? How does it affect photographers?
Beauty Box has been a very fun product to develop. The best part of releasing our new Beauty Box product, I think, was working with the models who lent their beauty and time. After the photoshoot, we treated their skin with our Final Cut Pro plugin in post-production. This smoothed out their blemishes, laugh lines and other issues with their skin quality.
Before the models arrived, Digital Anarchy spent the morning preparing the shoot area. We decided to convert the living room of our Chief Executive Anarchist, Jim Tierney, rather than renting a space. His purple velvet couch made a terrific rich backdrop and we hung black striped curtains to frame the shots. Some of the footage was shot outside; luckily the weather held. San Francisco in December can be very cold or very warm, often within the same three hour period.
Should photographers be shooting video? In most cases, I think the answer is no.
It’s not that most photographers aren’t capable of it, it’s just that videography is an entirely different medium that takes just as long as photography to learn properly.
If you’re willing to take the time to really understand video, then sure have at it. But while your capturing video, your not capturing photos. Will doing both compromise both, and make you a mediocre videographer AND a mediocre photographer?
With so much technology around, can you use it to enhance photographs to tell more complete and compelling stories?
One beautiful example comes from Todd Sanchioni. Todd is a San Francisco based photographer who recently had an exhibit that featured Laos street musicians. The photographs were compelling in their own right, but he added an mp3 player to each piece which played the music of the musician in the photo.
While Todd is certainly not the first photographer to do such things, I thought it was a particularly good reminder that as we’re out shooting, it’s easy to capture other media. Our cameras can capture video. Our cell phones can record audio. It’s never been easier to add extra dimensions to photography.
The photo should always be able to stand by itself, but if you can add more context and meaning by including audio or video, there’s a great deal to be said for that. Of course, some common sense should be applied to this type of mixed media. Mp3s along with photos of musicians and their instruments adds depth to the piece. Putting mp3s of war sounds next to war photographs would, in most cases, take away from the photos.
I think for mixed media to really work, the artist/photographer needs to really understand all the media types they are working with. If that’s the case, the overall effect can be quite stunning.
In late April, one of my favorite publications ceased to exist. Only a week earlier, Studio Photography magazine had announced their partial rebranding as a source of news for location and studio as well as photography software, equipment and technique. I saw that info come in through their Facebook profile, in the form of a letter from their wonderful Editor, Diane Berkenfeld.
The former brand, Studio Photography.
From Diane’s letter: “As of this issue, Studio Photography’s name is changing to Studio & Location Photography, which better signifies the type of shooting you — our readers — do. We’ll still be featuring articles on the different niches of professional photography: wedding, portrait, event, commercial, photojournalism, schools and seniors, sports and more. However, since 67% of your shooting is done on location or outdoors, not in a studio, we wanted the magazine’s name to reflect that. We’ve also changed the magazine’s tagline from “The business behind the image” to “Inspiration • Technique • Business” which also more closely represents the magazine’s editorial.”
One of my roles at Digital Anarchy is creating the web and print graphics. Whenever I tell someone that I do design collateral for a software company, if that person is not in technology, s/he almost immediately asks me to design a ‘small and easy’ site for free. (ps: no such animal) Either that or I am asked to help with his/her internet connection or email issues. Huh? This cartoon that I am reposting from the terrific Monstermunch.com says it all.
This topic of trying to get something for nothing — or asking the wrong person for help with a technology initiative — makes me think of a great article that I read yesterday called ‘What Price Pro for Hire?’ It came in through the e-newsletter from the magazine Videomaker.
“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.”
This sort of misses the point of inspiration. Obviously, you can’t stare at clouds all day, but that doesn’t mean you have to have your nose to the grindstone continuously either. I think a lot of inspiration is simply keeping your mind open and aware of what’s going on as you move through life. Inspiration doesn’t need to be lightning bolts and explotions. It can be simple things like ice cubes. Here’s a recent example of some macro shots I did:
A picture can not lie. We all know the untruth of that these days. But what do you do when a picture isn’t lying, yet looks ‘obviously’ fake?
The below photo illustrates this to some degree:
This is a photo of a friend’s whale watching boat (Ultimate Whale Watch in Maui). Obviously, I shot this from a different boat while a whale swam up to and under the boat. I’m using a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, so I’ve got really narrow depth of field. As a consequence, the boat is razor sharp and everything else is pretty blurred.
If you saw the above image in a marketing brochure would you believe it?
There are those of you who might own a relatively large telephoto and like sports. Usually, if you have a big lens attached to the camera, you’re not going to be allowed in, especially for big events. However, here’s a trick I’ve used to get my Canon 100-400mm lens into the BCS Title game, NFL Playoffs, and the NCAA tournament (among other things)…
Put a normal lens on the camera and put the telephoto lens in it’s case. Let someone else carry the camera in and you carry the lens in. If anyone asks about it… say it’s a binocular. The guys at the gate have no idea what a lens is unless it’s actually attached to the camera.
I’ve never been denied getting in.
Once in, it’s a little different story. You have to be somewhat stealthy about using it… especially if you have good seats. Where security along the sidelines can see you. I have been threatened with being kicked out if I didn’t stop using it. Dumbest move: had sideline seats at the 2006 BCS title game and got busted taking shots of warmups. They’ll give you a warning… but it made using it during the game a bit riskier because they’ve already seen you. So… don’t take shots of warmups or pregame crap. Nevertheless… got some good shots.
So I just got a calendar from Maxon (makers of Cinema 4D). Some really nice examples of 3D art using their software. As I looked at the images, I was struck by how some were really difficult to tell from photographs and some were obviously 3D. The difference, I think, is depth of field.
Depth of field was really noticable. On too many 3D images the DOF is infinite. Meaning that buildings 300 yards away are in razor sharp focus and you can see every detail on the bricks that make up the building. While the artist may want you to appreciate all the hard work he put in adding fine details… I don’t want to see them. I want them blurred out.
Not exactly revolutionary technology but it does make one think about how digital photography (from DSLRs to cell phones) is really become ingrained in the culture. Not only in the US, but the entire planet, particularly in third world countries where the cell phone is being used more as an all purpose computer since computers are too expensive.
Digital Anarchy — that’s me and Jim Tierney — attended the Microsoft Pro Photo Summit this week. It’s a pro-level gathering that we have attended for three years, since the summit’s inception. I’m usually in contact with photographers about limited topics, like how to choose a chromakey screen or problems installing our software, so it’s refreshing to get a macro view of hot topics in the professional world of photography.
Speaking of ‘macro’, the two main topics of the Summit this year dealt with orphaned works and its related topic of internet image piracy, and competing with low-cost ‘micro’ stock sites (mainly www.istock.com). The topic of stock photography was especially succulent since not 24 hrs earlier, Getty Images and Flickr announced a deal of limited reciprocation.
My favorite job at Digital Anarchy is finding interesting customers to showcase their use of our products. It’s part detective work, part intuition, part fantastic reveal. I always come out of the experience having enjoyed the unique personality and creativity of the person I’ve worked with over the course of a few weeks
And with that statement… Here are our newest Primatte Chromakey gallery additions: Chris Ruhaak of Heartland Photos & Design (HP&D) and LENNON the Photographer of Los Angeles, CA. Both are very talented, established photographers. Their core businesses have a completely different focus and yet each man has been able to create a studio niche using greenscreen work and Primatte 3.0.
Chris Ruhaak specializes in many traditional kinds of portraiture, from seniors to children to weddings. As seen in the before/after images below, his HP&D studio uses Primatte to spice up the design for real estate business cards.
So let’s start off with the two basic points of this:
1) School is worth going to, but not necessarily the high priced ones. There is, usually, a lot to be gained from an education that can be difficult (although definitely not impossible as we’ll see) to pick up other ways. The truism “You get out, what you put in” applies to school as much or more than any other endeavor. However, ’school’ can have many meanings.
2) Starting off your career $50,000, $75,000, or more in debt is not a good way to kick things off. It’s difficult to say any education is worth that because there are so many good options for education that AREN’T that expensive.
It’s been an interesting phenomenon at Siggraph of late that the booths for the schools (Gnomon,Academy of Art, Brooks, etc) are bigger than the booths for most of the software companies or studios. This has always struck me as a little odd, until one of the folks I work with told me what the current tuition is at the school he graduated from. It’s pretty astronomical… which I guess explains the booth sizes.