How do you guys take your TF pics?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by fschuler, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    I've seen a lot of awesome TF photography here at TFW, and I'm curious as to the techniques that some of you guys use to get such high quality results. I'm still working on it, but figured that some of you guys may be able to offer us photographically challenged members some helpful hints.

    This is about the best I've come up with so far:

    [​IMG]

    And here's a pic of my light "tent":

    [​IMG]

    I'm using 100W Reveal bulbs in the two large front lights, and "100W" fluorescent bulbs in the two smaller rear lights. There is enough extra white fabric (bunched on top of the tent in the photo) to pull down like a curtain in front of the tent when I take pics. I don't own any fancy editing software, so I'm basically limited to the brightness/color correction capabilities in MS Office Picture Manager. Anyone know of any low cost/free photo software that's actually worth getting? Thanks in advance for any insights you guys may be able to provide.
     
  2. kllrwlf

    kllrwlf Well-Known Member

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    I use my work's photography tent, forgot who made it... but I only use it if I'm selling something, or want really high quality photo of something...

    Usually, I just take a picture on my desk in the day time and that's that... :) 

    That's a nice picture you got there. :) 

    For software, Photoshop... not low cost or free, but does what I need...
     
  3. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Free software? The Gimp. I use it for all my photo editing, not just cleanup of standard shots. All the way up to photoshop-like beasts.

    As for taking the shots, looks like you've got the right basic idea. Though I'd do two things differently. Check into your camera settings. Look for the setting for incandescent lights. That should correct most of the yellowing you've got going on there. Secondly, in your photo editing software, add a blue filtering layer to get rid of the rest of the yellowing you've got going on.

    Then you get into the whole situation of learning how to sharpen your pictures once you get them set up the way you want them. Using the GIMP I've come up with a method that works, but takes some time. I take the original photo, run Van Goh with a filter length of 2.0 on it, run UNSHARP MASK with a setting of 2.0, scale the picture down for the web, re-run unsharp mask with a setting of 1.0 and then it's probably set.

    As for how to get the shots that are worth putting that sort of effort into in post-processing? I've gone through various phases, but I'd say you've got the basic setup down. Multiple lights. A good light-tent/light-filter. A decent camera that you can either use a remote trigger on or set a timer on to prevent the camera from shaking when the shot is taken, and that should do it. Then it's a matter of learning your camera's limitations, learning the perfect distance for good focus, and learning how to work with your equipment's faults instead of trying to work against them. Most of that comes with practice.

    It doesn't take much to get from where you're at right now to the super clear stuff you see around. You've obviously got the tools, so you're ahead of where most of us start.

    Here's a couple shots of setups I've used over the past few months:

    [​IMG]

    Which gave me this result:
    [​IMG]

    And this:
    [​IMG]

    Which gives me this result:
    [​IMG]

    That was my first experiment with that setup. I've since gotten somewhat better with it:
    [​IMG]

    I think my next step is to follow the advice of the professionals. When it doubt, get some distance between the camera and the "model." In other words, a telephoto lense. Offerse better focus all around, not as many depth-of-field problems.
     
  4. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    looks a bit like soundwaveCA and oro's pics.

    that is to say, nice lighting and background, but not really supah cleah due to camera setting/pixel resolution.

    my advice is to shrink the image a bit and use the sharpen tools in mage editing program.

    paging mister cheebs!
     
  5. alphie

    alphie Veteran

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    I just got a light tent from my husband during Christmas. I have two desk lamps with 60watt Reveal bulbs in the front and the lights that came with the tent for the back. Then I have a lamp, used for dining room lighting with a 60watt bulb in it as well which I hold RIGHT on my lens, shining it at the figure.

    [​IMG]

    Don't do much photo editing wise. Just fix the color, brightness and saturation. I then go to diffuse glow and play around with it till I get what I want. That's how I do super whites.

    End result:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mumps

    Mumps <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and

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    I was told use the "reveal" bulbs, and no flash. Whenever I don't use my flash, my pics turn out SO yellow that Photoshop can't be of ANY help to them.
     
  7. alphie

    alphie Veteran

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    Need to fix the white balance in your camera. I use no flash, my pics come out white.
     
  8. Autobot Dave

    Autobot Dave Photobot

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    Yup, white balance is key. Check up on that in your camera's manual. It sometimes reads a whole lot more difficult than it is.

    Other than that, my set-up is similar to NF's first one.

    If you want super sharp, super clear pictures, make sure that your aperture/f-stop is set to a pretty high number. Then, you'll have to adjust your shutter speed accordingly. My settings when I'm starting a shoot, are usually f 25 up to f 29 (depending on what my camera will allow), with a two second shutter speed. If it's too bright, make the shutter speed faster. If it's too dark, make it slower.

    Good luck, and have fun!!!
     
  9. Beastbot X

    Beastbot X The Toad Knows.

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    Dang, you guys spend a heck of a lot more time on this than I do... I don't have a buncha lamps sitting around, or an entire room to set up that kinda stuff in, I just clear off a table, place it against a wall, and then put a piece of white posterboard on the surface...
     
  10. Eric

    Eric RIP AND TEAR!!!

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    It's times like this I wish I had the equipment to be as good as the people here who can place their Transformers in an all white background.
     
  11. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I use lamps and curved paper at the moment but I'm looking to get a light tent thing. The real key is to play with levels and colours etc in photoshop. Adjusting saturation helps give the toys a more vibrant cartoon style look.
     
  12. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Wow! Thanks for all of the tips, guys, I'm going to give these things a shot. Special thanks to Nightflame for the software, setup, and processing tips...that may be the key to getting closer to what I'm looking for. The next step would be to get a better camera, as the one I have, a Fuji A345 4.1MP, is pretty basic and doesn't allow adjustment of some of those settings, though, white balance can be manually changed. I'll give these things a shot and show you all what I come up with.

    Thanks!
    Frank

    EDIT: I just installed The GIMP, and it looks pretty powerful, unique interface though. It isn't readily apparent what to download to install the software (the initial links you see are for uncompiled packages that require a fair amount of work to compile and setup before you can even install the software). Download "The GIMP for Windows" and "GTK + 2 Runtime Environment" from http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html. Then, install the GTK software, then install the "GIMP for Windows" software you just downloaded...much easier than compiling and rooting around for all the programs and libraries that you would need to get the uncompiled GIMP download to work.

    EDIT 2: The GIMP has got to be the best free photo software I've ever used.
     
  13. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    OK. Here's my first crack at adjusting the white balance and GIMP'ing the image:

    [​IMG]

    I still need to work on getting a brighter background without washing out the object, but this pic is, IMO, much cleaner and easier on the eyes that what I came up with prior. I'll keep working on it!
     
  14. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    yup. gotta work on making it not look washed out and bring out the details.

    keep at it my boy helps at hand
     
  15. Golden Age

    Golden Age BATTLE BEAST

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  16. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Oh yeah, never use a flash. That's a handy tip. Kind of a basic one though, but super important.
     
  17. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks again, guys. I'm gonna try a darker background for the Bee, since his yellow and light gray parts tend to blend into the background a bit. Thanks for the link, Golden Age.
     
  18. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    OK, last one -> Alt Tracks in stereo (view cross-eyed):

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Oh, one thing that may help you out is my color tutorial. Since you're using the GIMP, it'll be a straight transition for you. The only thing not discussed there is how to do the sharpening, but I already covered that above.
     
  20. wheeljaxx

    wheeljaxx Banned

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    i don't want to make any one hate me, but if i'm not in my studio,(yes, i own my own commercial photograohy studio) i use a regular flash gun, firing into a difusion umbrella on a stand, with bounce cards. only use the one light source, and thats all i need. i use seemless photo BG paper. it's how i got these.
    http://www.tfw2005.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/1453
    but everyone here is getting good pics, so the gear or price of gear doesn't matter. it's all practise and learning how to control the light.
     

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