Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creative process of "By Moon's Pale Light"

I had the idea for this scene in my head for months and the final result turned out better than what I had imagined. Of course, it took a lot of work to get there...not counting the morning spent with Lita shooting the main image, post processing took about eight hours.

I ended up with about 115 shots from the session. This was the one that I ended up choosing as the main image I wanted to work with.

I liked the closeness between Lita and I, as well as the positions of our bodies and the expressions on our faces. However, the Gothic tree is in a tropical setting so my first order of business was to remove all the greenery, leaving just us and the tree.

Transporting us into a haunting graveyard was the next step and I chose this one from my files:

This shot, taken last year in Wales with a point and shoot needed to be rescaled to fit in with the image of Lita and I. I wanted to have the ivy-covered tomb be in the front so that was the driving force as to what was kept. The large tree and most of the background were masked out as were a few of the graves. I kept only the trees in the far distance to achieve depth in the shot.

I went through several versions of a final image before I finally got satisfaction which included one where the entire background was just a dark and cloudy sky. Another in high contrast b&w and yet another where I had the image a chocolate color with texture and grain. One of the images to nearly make it to completion was one where I had used many clouds. In the end though I decided only a few wisps were needed over a large and luminous moon. I used a background of b&w clouds from a Photoshop CD and masked out the ones I didn't need. I chose this shot from my files for the moon:

I needed something to fill in the rest of the image so the tops of these very branchy trees were added to the background:

I now had my composite image created. My next steps were to convert it to black and white, run some filters over it to give it the cool tones and to use the burn and dodge tools to cast my shadows and highlight the areas where the moonlight would fall. The final step was the Render Clouds filter which added the fog. I masked out most of it except around the front and used a slight blur to make it a bit less patchy.

Be sure to visit Lita's Blog to read some behind the scenes and see outtakes from this shoot and to also see how she came to her final masterpiece of "Touched":


1 comment:

Lita said...

How INTERESTING to see all the pieces you extracted and compiled into the shot. I swear, your creativity and talent know no bounds. You did a fabulous job of turning your vision into such a transcendent work of art.

This inspires me all over again!!! :)