Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Native American ... beauty and fantasy

Still on the Western theme ... the Native American side of the fence ... pretending to have a fantastic vacation in Colorado and meet this really cool guy who's actually shooting a movie about three yards out of the frame to the left --!

Seriously: the backdrop is a tiny swatch out of a wallpaper image of Colorado ... and I didn't soften it by much to make it look realistic for these conditions. Why not? Well (I slap my photographer's hat on here!) look at the daylight. It's brilliant. To get a well-balanced shot here, you'd be shooting at f/22, if your camera "stops down" that far --

There's a generation of digital photographers going, "Huh? Say what?" But this is the photographic theory behind great shots. The modern camera is closer to a computer than a camera, and it's doing the work for you, but here's what it's doing: it's closing your lens to stop most of the light getting to the virtual film, so the photo doesn't "burn out." Now, f/2 is a BIG aperture, and f/22 is a tiny aperture. Small holes let less light through, right?

But there's one other thing that tiny apertures do! Here's the rule: there smaller the aperture, the more depth of field you get. Meaning, everything from about five feet from the lens to infinity will be in focus. (Penny drops! Loud ringing sound! here's a Eureka moment.)

So in these lighting conditions, don't soften the backdrop image. When you get your model(s) set for the shot, throw loads and loads of light onto them to brighten them up to match the backdrop.

This shot needed six distant lights and our point lights to get enough light onto it to look realistic enough to match the glorious Colorado backdrop. The rest of the shot is:

Michael 4
Midnight Prince hair set to raven black
Falcon skin map with some of the warpaint turned on
Falcon face heavily modified by me (it's Joe Ramos from NARC!)
Loincloth from the Wood God set
Moccasins from the Wood God set
All costume set to "brown"
Millennium Horse
CWRW Pro texture: appaloosa
MAT-Mor Mane Pack to design the long, curl mane
Western Horse tack -- saddle and bridle
Textures on the tack ... lose the saddle blanket.

With everything imported, then you have loads of fun getting the poses right. It ain't easy -- and the toughest part of it is getting the reins to lie right. Yeeouch, that's a job!

Lastly ... the lights. Light maketh the picture. Trust me, the first time you render a shot like these without any lights, you'll see the difference!

Jade, 25 February
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