Emulate A Photographer

One of the last assignments in my Origins of Photography class was to emulate a photographer. We were told to choose three photos that we were interested in trying to emulate, and the teacher signed off on one or two of the photos. Once we knew which photo we were doing, it was our job to make a photograph as similar as possible to the original one.

One of the requirements was that we had to show a before and after- or if using a lot of Photoshop, we needed to show the unmanipulated photo. I chose a photo by Colin Anderson (http://colinanderson1.wordpress.com/), because I like his style and the science-fiction/adventure illustrations he has created appeals to the type of work I would like to be able to do.

His Original:

emulate a photographer photo

My Emulation:

emulate a photographer5_small

All of The Photos Used:

emulate a photographer - behind the scenes_small

The point of the assignment was to be able to carefully scrutinize a photograph to study lighting, poses, placement, color, and any number of things. In general, it was not expected that we would be able to perfectly replicate the photograph. And in any case, it is not meant to be an infringement on copyright, only a learning tool. The things that I learned in this process were how to previsualise, along with gaining a better understanding of digital painting in combination with photography.

First of all, I looked at each part of the image and decided how I would get the picture, or where. All of the images needed to be our own work. For the car, there is a hill overlooking a parking lot, which I wandered by several times until I found a car that looked close enough for my purposes. I took a few different shots of it from different angles to achieve the needed angle. For the model, I started her off in the basic pose, then slowly worked up to the actual photo in the picture. This turned out to be a really good exercise in direction, a skill I’m weak at.  It also turned out to be a learning point in Photoshop CS5, when I discovered that the puppet tool allows you to move the subject matter in a realistic fashion to obtain the final pose you need. I never did get the back leg quite right, however. One of my favorite things to play with was the fire- which was done using digital painting techniques and a Wacom tablet. Her armor is also made using digital painting, and the overall image underwent a number of layers with blending modes to try to achieve the finished image.

There are still a number of issues that I can see with the final image I created that keeps it from being at the level of Colin Anderson’s work. A lot of that comes from a need to practice more with Photoshop, and to learn more techniques that will finalize the image. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this assignment, as it forced me to test the boundaries of what I can do in an image while learning new Photoshop skills.

Photos posted with Colin Anderson’s permission.

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Filed under Origins of Photography 2010

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