Researching into Lavazza:
So for our final Digital darkroom project we had been given a brief to create a composite with a minimum of three elements/shots; background, portrait and still life being the coffee cup. The final image that we produce must be able to fit into a double page spread and single page. I began looking at previous Lavazza campaigns to get some inspiration for my ideas.
So these are some of the previous Lavazza coffee campaigns, many of these you can see have been constructed of more than one element within the whole photo and all have the Lavazza coffee cup incorporated into them whether they are holding the cup or have the cup in the main frame. The also have sic-fi, fantasy, surrealism connotations behind them to make these advertisements more interesting. I quite like the majority of these campaigns especially the one with the cat which could be a good one the sort of recreate but with different ideas on top of it. I also like the second one in from the bottom left which looks like a quite Alice in Wonderland theme.
So I had a few ideas for this project.
So these are two sketches of two initial ideas, the one of the left would have the coffee cup on a large scale in the main frame with coffee beans raining into it and a model coming out of the corner as if she is a giant looking at the cup in surprise; the model would have dramatic makeup like in some of the previous campaigns.
The second sketch is like a backup idea in case my actual one doesn’t work. So for the idea I was thinking of having the coffee cup either up right or tipped on its side in the centre frame on a large scale again with the model sheltering herself in it or under it from the coffee beans which will be raining down on her. The background could be on a roof top with loads of buildings in the background, so this could be shot in central London to get the large buildings of London. The photo of the Lavazza campaign with the cat is a good reference to this as it shows the model on a small scale with the cup towering over her.
2. Alice in Wonderland
I began looking at Alice in wonderland as well as another idea and decided to continue with this one if all the elements could work together. This is my sketch and my inspirations for this. I started to research alice in wonderland falling down the rabbit hole online and came up with these ideas but instead of having mirrors and globes etc calling with her I could incorporate the coffee beans and cups and saucers in this and maybe watches to reference the Alice theme and the white rabbit.
These were more images that I found when researching this idea. As I found the element of the model falling quite difficult to come to grips with how to shoot I thought that by doing this it would give me a better idea of how to do it. These images are more ways of how you can create the falling; with the first and middle image you would have to create some sort of prop that you could just edit out in photoshop after shooting into create those sorts of poses.
This image on the left is a different perspective of how to shoot the model, if it’s done this way you could have the model sitting on the floor with her legs to the side and her arms reaching up and the camera will be facing downwards towards her as if she is looking up at you to create the falling down the rabbit hole effect.
Focusing on Alice in Wonderland theme:
I began to analyse the Alice in wonderland animated film and Tim Burton film looking at the rabbit holes and if how they were both presented in each film. The rabbit hole in each film are sort of different from each other, in the animated film the hole is in a kind of hill next to the tree almost like a rabbit burrow whilst the hole in Tim Burton’s film is a hole in the ground by the a tree. However, both films present the inside of the holes in the same way, a circular hole going deep underground with objects falling or static in the hole when Alice is falling down.
Backgrounds (1st attempt):
I started to think about my backgrounds that I could produce for the rabbit hole and if I was going to focus on the falling down the rabbit hole inside it or whether she would be at the tree where she’d just fallen into the rabbit hole thinking of the direction and angle of the camera and the model.
My ideas had changed around for my background, I thought that I could recreate the first scene in Alice in wonderland where she is reading her book under the tree and then have the rabbit hold somewhere near the tree. So I went to a local park and started shooting some background ideas for this, as there were loads of trees that I could use here I thought this would be perfect for my background however, after having a tutorial I found that this idea of having the tree on the left hand side and the field wouldn’t really work as I would have to think abut where the rabbit hole was going to be in the photo and also the lighting and shadows would be very hard to recreate on my cup and model etc. The idea of this wouldn’t really give the Alice in Wonderland feel to it and wouldn’t be very interesting or exciting as I would have to think about loads of other elements in my shot to make it exciting.
The idea of the tree was a good starting point I think and it had some good points that would’ve worked if I was doing another idea or had my of an idea of the sorts of elements that would work within this piece. I think that the idea of basing my project around the falling down the rabbit hole is good as I can do a shoot of the bottom of a tree and the dirt on the ground, or of like loads of tree roots to make it look like a hole underground. Maybe incorporating some dried up leaves and bits would add to the texture of this as well.
So after having my feedback from my first attempt at my background I decided to go away and have a think about what I could do instead. I decided to think about photographing tree roots, dead leaves and stones etc to make it look like a rabbit hole. I went into my garden to find some soil with tree roots running through it and then gathered together rotting leaves, stones, sticks etc, things that you would get underground amongst the roots of trees to make the rabbit hole effect.
So this was my second attempt at my background, as you can see I have sort of completely changed the idea for the background, instead of basing it off of the tree in Alice in wonderland I decided to try and recreate some sort of idea for the rabbit hole. As I had a lot of dirt and soil in my garden I decided to use this along with stick, stones, leaves etc to make it look more interesting than just having dirt which could look quite dull. I cut it down to my best 10 photos and then from that chose the one that I thought would look more interesting to work with and started making slight adjustments before processing it into photoshop to begin editing it in Nik collection.
So I decided to edit my background so that it had more contrast in it and to make it look a little bit darker to emphasise that rabbit hole idea, I did this using the Nik collection filters and started playing around with the different filters on this to see which one gave my background more contrast and made it look more interesting. So once I had got my photo of my background up making any adjustments to it in capture before processing it out, I then started to play around with the Nik collection filter, I went to filter and then down to Nik collection and then colour Efex pro 4 and it then processed it into a window with all the filters. There were two filters, contrast colour range and graduated neutral density. The contrast colour range filter was really good as you could give the dirt more contrast and this would make it darker slightly. The graduated neutral density I really liked as you good darken one area of the image, so if you wanted the bottom darker then you could do this. This was a good filter for my image as I could make the bottom darker than the top to suggest the rabbit hole going deeper and deeper into the ground as it would get darker too. The top right as my starting image and the bottom right was my finishing image.
This is my final image from my background shoot.
Photographing the model:
So after encountering the problem of my model not being able to find the alice in wonderland costume that she had and my shoot being the next day, I had to improvise slightly. I knew that she had a goldilocks costume so I had something to work with for this shoot. After showing my model exactly what I wanted to do with the research I had done for this project with the ‘Alice’ theme I began shooting with my model in order to recreate this. I started to think of ways I could get the effect of the model falling and thought of using a chair for this as she could then balance on it with her legs bent to create the falling and with her arms slightly bent in the air. I also had the idea that my model could jump off of the chair so that you did actually get that falling effect when she jumped off. I thought the jumping off of the chair was a really good idea as originally I had the idea of using a trampoline and photographing the model jumping on that to create this.
- Underneath are my five final images of my model that I was going to play around with, the first four are ones where my model has jumped off of the chair. I really like the first one as it has worked really well with the skirt of the costume puffing up from the jumping and also her hair too; it gives it a really theatrical look which is good for this project. However, I also like the others as well because of her facial expressions in them and the way her legs are bent. I think by playing around with all of them in photoshop and seeing which one works better with my background that will then decide the final outcome.
- These are photos of my lighting diagram and equipment list. My lighting was very simple for this project, to start with I only used one light which was the main one on the left hand side of the model. The light was very high up with the soft box on the end pointing down towards the model. Through the shoot I then decided that there wasn’t quite enough light coming onto the models legs and feet so then decided to add another light pointing straight at the models legs with the light being as low down as possible and only on the minimum setting possible too. I wanted to use minimal lighting to reflect the rabbit hole as it would be very dark underground so with the shadows coming more on the right hand side of the model this reflects the hole well as it would then look like the hole she fell down isn’t that far away and is on the left side of her. The first and fourth images of the model represent this well.
Editing the model:
So as I was doing Alice in Wonderland for my theme I had to sort out the colour of the costume that I had used in my shoot as it wasn’t actually an Alice costume it was a Goldilocks one so I had to change the yellow to blue.
- To begin with I started by removing the teddy bear from the goldilocks costume, as you can see I have given a step by step of how I did it. I started by going to the patch tool on the left hand side and then drawing around the bear, once the patch is highlighted I then dragged it to a different part of the apron part of the costume where it was completely white and then the patch had been recreated like the bear was never there.
- The next editing process was to then change the colour of the yellow part of the dress itself, I had gone online and looked at different ways of how to change the colour of clothing in photoshop, I first tried by going to select and then colour range to try and change it that way however, it was very fiddly on trying to get all the yellow parts in the main frame without highlighting everything else and when I thought that I had got everything it didn’t actually change all the yellow and got bits of the hair as well.
- I also tried going to layer, new adjustment layer, selective colour and playing with that but that just changed the colour of everything in the image so that didn’t work.
- I then tried the colour replacement tool, which is what I’ve shown in the photos above, this was my last option to try to change the colour of the clothing and worked quite well. On the left hand side where the two boxes of colour are I changed the top one to a blue that I wanted to use and then went along to the colour replacement tool further up and started to paint the yellow with blue carefully going around all the edges making sure that all the yellow was gone but that none of the white was covered in blue. The far right image is the final version of it in blue.
- I then wanted to make the blue a bit darker so went along to adjustments, replace colour and then began to change the hue, saturation and lightness of the blue to make it slightly darker than it already was. I thought that this would just make the costume look bit more realistic as it wasn’t actually an Alice costume.
- After everything was edited I began to cut out the model as she would have to be placed into my background that I had edited for this. For this I used the paths tool on the left hand side, I actually used the freehand pen one as I found it a lot easier to navigate around the model. I began cutting out on the legs of my model and then slowly went around her making sure that all the points joined up and that there were no gaps in the path too. Once the whole path had been created I then went into the paths section on the right hand side and renamed it ‘model’, I then went down to the third tool along from the bottom, still on the right hand side, this would then highlight the path ready for copying and pasting it over to the background. I then pressed ‘cmd c, cmd v’ which would copy and paste it over to my background image ready for the next process.
This is my final image for the shoot with my model.
Placing into background:
This is my model placed into my background.
Photographing cups and saucers:
The next part of my composite was to photograph all the cups and saucers for this composite, this was the easier part of my project as all I really needed to do was photograph the cups and saucers at different angles. I had two different types of cups, one was a cappuccino cup and saucer and the other was an espresso cup and saucer so both cups relating to coffee. I decided to to two different backgrounds for my shoot, one on a white background the other on a black background, this was just so that I had a bit more variety in my images as the lighting on both backgrounds would be slightly different with the lighting on the white being more soft and the black more harsh.
- Underneath are the final images that I was going to cut out and put into my background around my Alice model. I wanted to capture the cups and saucers in all different directions so that it looked like they were falling down the rabbit hole around my model in the final image. All the cups and saucers I used were white so it would contrast quite well against a dark background and give good shadows too.
- These are photos of my lighting diagram and equipment list. My lighting again for this was very simple, I only used one main light for this shoot with a soft box on it and placed on the left hand side of where my assistant was holding the cups. I found the only using one light was more than enough as the cups didn’t need a lot of lighting and I wanted it to be quite subtle as you can see in the images above. I used the studio flash lights again for this shoot and had them on a minimal setting.
The only editing for this section of my composite was to cut the cups and saucers out, for this I used the paths tool again making sure to cut very carefully around all the cups and saucers I was using in my final image. Once everything was cut out neatly I could then start to place them onto my background around the model.
Placing into background:
This is the placing of the cups and saucers into my background, I placed 10 items overall into my background, cutting out each one individually, resizing them and contrasting them a bit more to suit the background too.
So throughout this term we have tutorials every other week, first weeks tutorial was basically just giving our ideas and signing them off with the tutor which was good. Our second tutorial was showing any photos of backgrounds that we had already as in this week we should of had our background shot already. As I had already began to shoot my background I could show this and get feedback for it, my feedback however, was not as positive as I’d hoped as my idea wasn’t quite solid enough yet as I was getting a bit confused about the whole project in general. However, now I have a better understanding of what I am going to do with my project.
Final composite and evaluation:
This is my final composite as a double page spread and single page, I think overall the project was good and I’m quite pleased with how my final image turned out. The first one is my double page spread at 460mm x 300mm, the bottom one is my single page at 230mm x 300mm. I am very pleased with my two final pieces overall, I like how my model is placed in the centre of the image and how she is looking down which shows she is looking down the rabbit hole as she is falling. I think the cups and saucers look good however, I think they just look placed in the image, if I was better at photoshop I would spend a lot of time trying to get these so that they looked more realistic but overall I think they look quite animated which is what I like about them as the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland is animated I think it links quite well. I’m quite pleased that my final composite worked as both a double page spread and single page, I was quite worried at first of how it was going to work as a single page but it turned out pretty good.
If I were to do this again:
If I were to do this project again I would probably start sooner than I did just so that I wouldn’t be rushing at the end to get everything done, I think because all the editing took the longest that’s what made me rush a little bit more as I wanted to get everything perfect looking, all the cups and saucers and the model cut out perfectly so I had to spend time before practicing how to cut it neatly which took up some time. I also think that if my idea was a bit more solid at the beginning this would’ve been better as well as I then had to go away and re-think my idea and how I was going to do them so that’s another thing that I would change for next time.
Another thing I would do next time is to make sure that I had an actual Alice in Wonderland costume ready rather than having to use a similar one and then change the colour in photoshop; even though it wasn’t much hassle changing the colour it would’ve been better if I had one to hand.