SuperGirl – Her Creation

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SuperGirl Her Creation

 T West is an amazing model. I was lucky to have her as my model for demonstrating lighting and posing at the Canadian Imaging Convention.

 This image started out as part of a lighting and posing presentation.

 So let me walk you through the creation to finish of my New SuperGirl image.

 Part of the reason for walking through this image is to show you don’t need a lot of gear to get images like this.

 On a stage presentation setup you dont have all the luxuries of a studio; simplicity is the norm. Here we had dark fabric across the background, with the limitation of how high it could go. I had one mono-light where we taped a collection of speed-light orange filters over the flash tube. We shot it with no modifiers, so we could get the sharp edge shadow on the background while sculpting her body.

 The tungsten gelling the light transformed more than just the color; it affects the quality and feel of the overall image. Without the gel the light gets very harsh and hard.

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 The light is raised little higher than T Wests head. The light is not aimed at her but feathered just off her for the reasons described in my previous blog.

 T West is positioned close enough to the background that she casts a shadow on it. I love working with dramatic shadows. Her body is turned slightly away from the light so it cross-lights her figure. This brings out the texture of her muscles, sculpting her figure.

 Her face is turned back into the light giving her face glamour lighting. This is the most flattering lighting for the face.  This also gives the wrinkled background increased texture.

 With her spike heeled boots accentuating her long legs, she has great height but we need “Supergirl” height. Sorry could not resist that.

 To create even more height I am using the Canon 24-105 lens at the 32mm length. By dropping below her waistline and tilting the lens up, we bring the wide-angle optics into play. It will make her legs longer and gives T West that dominating stance and POV.

 In this pose it is important the subject looks up and away. Looking down as the camera shoots up makes for a really unattractive neck.

 With the shot in the card its into Photoshop. I always process in camera raw. Just clicking auto then tweaking the exposure so it pulls in the hotspots and gives detail in the shadows. You can see the start with this first image. We will to do some minor retouching on T West along with getting rid of the ceiling.

 Next is the color and tone tweaking of the image. I have pulled most of the yellow from the image but you can still see it in the shadows and background.

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This is needed to prepare the image for the next step, the overlay.

 In this image I have added a beat up book cover jacket using a Soft Light blend on that layer. This process adds the yellow hue back in, building on the spectrum that already exists in the image. It adds some texture with grain and grunge essentially aging her image too.

 Now the final step; giving the image that old movie reel look. To achieve this I added a base white layer followed by a rough chalkboard layer. T Wests image layer is duplicated with each set to 100% in Soft Light mode. The chalkboard layer opacity is reduced to keep the texture while not making everything above the layer too dark.

 The next layers hold the text with their effects. The extruded letters of the title in black and white gives the image that old Hollywood film look.

 The final layers hold the scratches.

 Now, I did not have this all envisioned when I took the shot. I did know that I would be doing some overlays, so I made sure there was enough density in the background to be able to do so.

 Once I started working with the effects in Photoshop, I knew the look I was going for. This sense of knowing what you need to get what you want, to have the intuition on which modes, textures etc. to pull into the image, comes from practice.

 In Photoshop, that means spending time repeatedly trying effects, overlays, etc. Most of the effects will not work out, but that is not the point. You are doing all that to internalize the process, to know what happens when you mix up blends and texture layers.

 I hope you found the journey from raw image to finished art informative. This is the flow I enjoy the most, watching an image evolve into a personal creation.

 3-_763977 old movie final

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