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Thread: separating background and subject

  1. #1
    Davey's Avatar
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    separating background and subject

    2008_11200022.jpg

    avalo_small.jpg

    avalo_3light_small.jpg

    Is there any way I can separate the background more on images like this but keep the subject detail. Basically The effect I am after is the middle shot with a few changes. The Lighting is kind of a combination of the first and last images. The last is shot in darkness using lighting gel on a 6LED torch and the first is the same angle etc but with just the room lighting and the black balance and brightness at normal level to show the background. The middle image is the same lighting as the first but with higher contrast and lighting gel on torch to give subtle colour tones.

    The main problem I have is I want the subject to show but not the background. I used black bedsheets with the idea of turning up the blacks when processing the raws, this works perfectly apart from it darkens parts of the subject too much, particularly the greens and lapis blues. Short of masking off the whole backdrop and changing it separate to the subject is there a better way to achieve this?

    I like the middle image apart from the loss of shadow and dark colour detail from turning up blacks, compare to the bright version to see what I mean. I'd like it to have more subject detail like first image but with more contrast to stop the washed out look and give it more impact but keep the brightness of the Lapis Blues and greens so they don't look too black. I want the background to be as close to black as possible. Any advice of achieving this would be much much appreciated. Any other advice or criticism is more than welcome since I know what I want but am certainly no photographer so need all the pointers I can get and miss a lot.

    The lighting btw is 3 ceiling 60w bulbs (completely shaded in white paper orb type shades) behind/roughly above and infront of subject, 1 40w lamp lower than subject level (to avoid lighting the table too much I put it lower down). I don't want to set up lighting especially for this but any tips on what to do with the current setup is fine. All ceiling lights have independant switch so can have on in any combo.

    Oh the detail is quite sharp but looks crumby due to scaling down and compressing the jpeg. Any tips on making sharper/softer welcome still but just imagine it's clear and compression artifact free.
    Last edited by Davey; 7th December 2008 at 09:30 PM.

  2. #2
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Chris

    Re: separating background and subject

    I think you can do a lot more with the middle version; you have got the light level about right. Here is a version increasing the contrast and saturation favouring the gold against the red and green and thus restoring the metalic lustre nearer to the solid gold effect the statuette is possibly aiming to reproduce; also I see no harm in it apparently floating as if not resting on solid background at all - but please excuse if this way off beam as I am way out on the cultural background
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  3. #3
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: separating background and subject

    Will try that, didn't think of that but could change angle to get floating look, that's exactly what I want. The pic when I get it right is for a friend, want to get right as they are using it in a brochure (long story).

    The brass is a litle dull so I like the gold you picked out more in your tweaked one so will probably try go for picking out more yellow. I thought about polishing the brass before the shot but it's awkward as turns black easy and have to relaquer and damaging paint is big problem (cost a fortune as it's ground gold on face and it's way beyond my skill to repaint which means even more to repair, had a friend wipe the face off a similar statue not knowing it comes off easy, REAL easy).

    As for cultural bacground there isn't anything potentially offensive or the like so no worries. Anyway I think even if there was potentially offensive suggestion it's unlikely to get a reaction otherthan amusement, most my friends are Buddhists and it's hard to wind them up or offend, I've tried.

    I think I will try it again and maybe even use yellow lighting gel on a background light to increase golds. I have a pack of the stuff and no real use for it so might as well use it. Thanks for the suggestions.

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