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What to Look for in a Base Plate Model

Lesson 38 from: Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Renée Robyn

What to Look for in a Base Plate Model

Lesson 38 from: Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Renée Robyn

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Lesson Info

38. What to Look for in a Base Plate Model


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Why You Should Sketch Your Composite


What to Look for in Your Background


Posing Your Model


Communicate with Your Team


Elements of Compositing


Learning from Failure & Criticism


On-Location Safety Tips


How to Nail the Right Perspective for Your Composite Photo


Gauging Light & Exposure On-Location


On-Location Posing


Cliff Shoot Location Final Thoughts


Tips for Culling Images


Culling Images Q&A


Preparing Your Image for Composite


Composite Image Cleanup


Adding Background Image to Composite


The Difference Between Flow & Opacity


Composite Sky Elements


Using Curves to Color Match


Adding Atmospheric Depth to Image


Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color


Using the Liquify Tool


Color Theory & Monitor Calibration


Adding Smoke Layer to Image


Selective Sharpening


Crop Your Image


Goal Setting for Digital Artists


Review of Location Composite


Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image


Base Plate Focus Point


Base Plate Lighting Tips


How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image


Capture On-Location Base Plate Image


Student Positioning Demo


Base Plate Sketching


On-Location Sky Capture


What to Look for in a Base Plate Model


Building Composite Model Lighting


Composite Model Test Shots for Angle Matching


Composite Model Shoot: The Art of Fabric Throwing


Composite Model Shoot: Working with Hair


Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques


Composite Test with Final Shot


Lighting Setup Overview


Culling Model Shoot Images


Adjusting Skintone Colors


Merging Background with Model


How to Mask Hair


Creating a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool


Creating Shadow Layers


Removing Visual Distractions with Stamp Tool


Replacing Sky with Layer Mask


Drawing Hair Strands and Atmospheric Depth


Creating Contrast in Your Composite


Adding Atmospheric Elements


Using Particle Shop


Selective Color Adjustments


Cropping, Sharpening, & Final Touches


Closing Thoughts


Lesson Info

What to Look for in a Base Plate Model

So we have our mermaid. Come on up pretty lady. So this is our model. I'm gonna squirrel over here. So if we're sitting here and we're like okay, this is our base plate but this is after hair and makeup. So you have to imagine her with hair just in a ponytail and no makeup whatsoever and we're sitting here going like okay, this is our base plate, what can we do with it? So in this case I basically told the makeup artist I was like okay this is her outfit. Her outfit is going to be, is gonna have some gold. It's gonna have some creams and we're gonna photograph it from a long ways away. So what the makeup artist did, which is awesome. This is why we hire people that know more than we do. I was like okay, I kind of want dark makeup on her eyes but I want a little bit of something that's gonna pick up some of the fabric in the dress. And so what she did, just close your eyes for me. Is she put this gold highlight-y stuff across the lid of her eye because she knows what works with her eye ...

shape. Right, you can open your eyes now, it's cool. (laughs) So but she knows how to make her look her best within the rules that I kind of applied. We're like okay this is her outfit, we're gonna be shooting her from far away. So if you're gonna put any color in, we need it to be quite bold, right? And so that's kind of what we did. So I know by looking at her jawline, she has a great profile. Just turn your head sideways for me. Yup, she has a beautiful profile. She looks like a doll. (laughs) She has a great profile. So that means that this is the kind of face, you can straighten out now. This is the kind of face that if we were to pose her nicely, we can actually turn her face sideways. Some subject matter, sometimes they have a strong jaw but can be a little bit too strong, and so sometimes the chin sticks out a little bit and some people are gonna be self conscious about that. And even models are extremely self conscious of their body 'cause they're very aware of what's going on. Not all models, somebody in the chat room right now is flaming me over it I'm sure but, (laughs) they're very aware of what their strengths are and what they're weaknesses are and sometimes if you have a really strong jaw, it photographs beautifully from the straight on but it doesn't photograph great from the side. But she has very soft, very petite features, a very soft chin. It's strong but it's still very delicate. And all of her features are very consistent which is why essentially we hire models 'cause they won the genetic lottery. (laughs) And so, in this case here, another one of her strong features is her hair. Her hair is very beautiful. So it's very textured so it's gonna be a masking fun time. I'm gonna hate myself later but I love textured hair and I can't help it. So in this case, another strength of hers is her hair. Now it's been styled in a way that doesn't take away from her face because she has petite features and she's quite petite in general. I'm not that big and she's smaller than me. So she's quite tiny. But so this means that like we have a lot of attention that we can pay attention to her eyes. We styled the makeup so that her eyes really come off of her face and they don't disappear in this massive tangle of hair. Right so we can also look at, she has a nice shape as well. I mean the shirt also helps, it's gonna amplify an hour glass shape but she has that naturally. So these are things that we can work with, right? So these are things that we sit here and go, okay this is our base plate now. We haven't even costumed her yet. Right and we already have this fun thing. And so knowing how her body shape works and how this looks, we have a lot of room that we can play with. So say for example if we had a model that was a little bit more curvy, right? And we've all photographed curvy girls. And so one of the things we can do with a lot of models, you can actually turn them and like, pull the hand up for something like this. With curvier girls, especially girls that carry some of the weight in their arms which some of us do, that is a very unflattering pose. With her, she can do that. She has the body type that she can create that kind of line with her body. The curvy girl, if you're gonna do it, you're gonna wanna turn and pull the elbow out so it's taking the bicep away from the part of the body so that this is gonna lean out. Alright and this is posing. So anybody who says, like oh a little bit of liquefy is bad and like posing is totally like life liquefying. (laughs) How you learn to hold your body. So, she's nice she has a great body and then we know that some of these notations. She's short, so the skirt that we have is very long and so I know that if we get this fabric going everywhere, she's gonna look even shorter. So in post production what we might have to do is we're gonna photograph her, first off, from a lower angle 'cause it's gonna make her look taller. But I also know with a skirt with a ton of material, it might amplify that she looks a little bit short. And so what we might do in post production is to stretch it just a tiny little bit just to change that illusion because it's amplifying more than what it is and nobody wants to be amplified on something where, you know, it's as something that's like you're a little bit tiny and then we're making something look smaller. It's like the dress that we did, the shirt and the outfit that we had yesterday. So with the where we had the dress sitting which is quite high on the hips, right? The shirt itself was rolling up. And so it's creating the illusion that her torso's quite short. Her torso is not short. Her torso's quite long. We had to keep rolling the fabric down and just amplifying, you know, what she already has with her. And so that is something to think about when you're going forward. When your thinking about styling and everything else. So this dress, even on her, it's going to sit quite high on her hips. But the shirt is going to counteract that. Alright so if we had just the skirt here and then short top, it would create this illusion that she had a very short center and mid section but she doesn't. But in this case, the costume-ing's gonna balance the two out. So does that make sense? Does that make, okay cool. So one of the things, I'm just gonna see what we do here. So she stands very nicely. Do you have any kind of like performing background? Yes. There we go. (laughs) You can tell people who have gymnastics and dance because they way they stand, they lift and bend one knee just a little bit. They all do it. (laughs) Anybody who has a dance background, you just like, you can pick them out in a crowd, nine times out of ten. I was actually at Bar Lenses the other day and there's a girl there on the computer and she was standing like this working on the computer and I was like, you did gymnastics. (laughs) So it's just something that they all do. Because it's just ingrained in their brain which is great so this means she has dance background so she's gonna pose very very nicely naturally. So basically if I kind of give her a green light and like okay can you just do something for me? She's probably gonna be aware of her hands. She's probably gonna be aware of her toes and these are little tiny things that can make or break a pose, right? And so, I might be able to guide her into something and say, you know okay, let's see. The knees are already bent. (laughs) So let's get you to stand and let's just put one foot in front of the other just a little bit. Yeah, just do your, good just like that. Okay, I'm gonna squirrel around here. Sorry guys. Okay and so, let's let's just like turn your body a little bit. Yup exactly. Look what her fingers did. Wham! (laughs) So now we know, that we have an even better base plate to go from because we don't have to think about those little tiny things. She's automatically gonna do them. Alright so if you're looking for somebody and you don't have any like model friends or anything like that, it's always fun if there's like a dance school that's kicking around, you know. If they're under 18, just get the parent's consent. And have mom and dad come hang out for the shoot. You know, photographing dancers or anybody with that kind of experience is a pleasure. So I'm super stoked that we have this today. So in other case, this is kind of our base plate going forward and posing. And so now we know, alright, the little tiny details, I'm probably not gonna have to worry about because she's probably gonna do the little things that I need and I'm just gonna be trying to figure out what kind of posing is gonna work for the story. 'Cause I want this to be kind of whimsical, kind of like pretty and soft and feminine and we're gonna have like fabric going everywhere. We may or may not have somebody on the reflector duty going huh to get her hair doing stuff. But I haven't decided if I hate myself enough to do that live, that kind of masking 'cause that's a lot. (laughs) So, I think there's a comment on the comment drive yesterday that said it was like watching Bob Ross paint and I was like, (audience laughing) I can't make this exciting guys (laughs) Masking is boring. (laughs) So that's just kind of how this is gonna go. So going forward into the posing, knowing she has very soft, feminine features, they're very gentle and she has a very petite figure which is great and it's gonna be really fun to photograph. I'm gonna watch to make sure that where the fabric's coming out of that we're not making her look shorter than she is. So we'll see how much we can get over that with a camera lens with the posing, with the angle, with everything else and then, basically we're gonna be leaving it up to the fabric genie. (laughs) 'Cause we're gonna have fabric ninjas, two of you are pulling fabric duty today. (laughs) Anybody who has thrown fabric before or has ever been involved in something that throws fabric, fabric throwing is totally an art. So if you find somebody who's really good at throwing fabric, hold on to them. (laughs) So I think that's what I've got for right now. Am I missing anything. You can sit down. You're awesome, thank you. Let's go to the studio audience to see if they have any questions about the pre visualization of working with a model. I kind of talked a little bit about this before but, I'm going to Scotland in July and I just kind of you know, what is like your ideal setup when you're going. I know you said you have a couple specific lenses but and you don't normally take lights or? Yeah I generally don't take lights just because sometimes getting into countries traveling with a lot of photographic equipment, they're like, you're sure you're not working here. I'm like, yes, we're I'm not working. I am running around like a little kid in the field taking photos of your amazing country. I'm not working but sometimes I can get a little bit cautious about it. If you're going to be traveling and you really really want to take a light. You can get those cheap little flashes, I don't know if they're like... Yeah there's some Korean or Chinese brand. They're like 40 bucks a piece and basically if they get wet, get lost, get broken, get taken away by customs, you're like eh, whatever. (laughs) But generally I take my 16 to 35. And I have borrowed before a 24 to 105. So if I wanted anything that was longer and far away, I'm actually probably thinking of picking up one of those. Just because it's actually nice if you want to zoom out and get something further away. It's just, it's not the sharpest lens on the face of the earth and if you're like a hard core landscape photographer, and you love shooting stuff with nice compression that's super far away with your tripod and everything, travel with a 200 mill lens. Whatever, it's like whatever works for you. But if you're just kind of, you know, running around and just seeing what's going on and taking a bunch of photos, I generally like to take a 16 to 35 and then a longer lens so that I can get stuff that's further away, if I want it. But it's totally also up to your stuff, your shooting style as well. So what do you like to shoot? Do you like shooting wide open, you know extremely, its like diverse images. Do you like shooting panoramas and so on so forth so, yeah, that's gonna take a little bit of thinking of what you like to shoot. (laughs) Yes. Speaking about some of the in particulars of this outfit and the model's size and shape. When you're setting up the shot, do those relate to each other like do you choose a certain model based on the outfit you're using or vice versa or do you just make the adjustments after you get all that? I've done both. I've definitely done both. So it's not, I don't always, in this case here with both models from the previous class and this one. I had never met them before and I all I had was the headshot. (laughs) And then I had their measurements but as I was discussing in the previous class, you know their measurements doesn't, you know, somebody can be a 34 inch hip and it can be distributed completely differently. That's just the measurement of the circumference. Alright so, when I'm going into this and I'm going, okay what are we gonna, what are we gonna use, you know. I'm gonna bring stuff that gives me a little bit of flexibility in this case, right? But in other cases, so let's say, I'm planning it ahead of time, and I go, well okay I have this outfit first. So I have this incredible outfit. What am I gonna do with it? Then I'm gonna try to find models that are gonna work for it really really well, or friends or whatever, right? So if i have something that has a very dark feel to it. I'm probably gonna get a model that exudes that in her personality or his personality, right? So, I will try to get that because then it's gonna be consistent. It's gonna make sense. So if i have somebody who's very meek and very feminine and very soft, I'm probably not gonna photograph them in you know, some leather or latex, right? So if I'm gonna do that, I'm gonna find somebody who has that strong personality that's gonna be consistent with that. Once again, I've seen great stuff with both sides of it and all of it so, but that's the way that i like to operate. Does that kind of answer your question? Thank you. No worries. I just wanna ask more about your angles and is that more personal style? You really enjoy that? Or is it technically easier for you to composite that way? Honestly, compositing is compositing. Whatever your camera angle is that you like to shoot at, the rules are the same. As long as everything's consistent. I just, I've always liked shooting from a lower angle 'cause I love making everyone look tall. (laughs) I think it's fun and I think it's pretty, so but it's different for everybody. Like I said, composite artists in all sides of the fence doing incredible stuff so. I was actually recently introduced just yesterday someone had pointed out a composite artist to me who does his own cosplay and he did a picture of himself or herself, actually I didn't check if it was a woman or a man but I, the costume's were incredible. But he did Edward Scissorhands and then the other model but he played both characters. And so he had everything on a tripod with like a wig and it was, it was awesome. And so I forget the name of the artist but whoever showed me that, that was a really treat to see. So and it was, once again, that was shot from top down and it looks amazing. So I mean, this is art right? If you do it well, it doesn't really matter what it is, what settings are or whatever else. I mean, if it's done well, it's done well. Yes? When you were taking the photos of the skyline, were you down below? In this case here, I was just standing up. Because I know with the sky, it's a little bit more forgiving and I know that the stuff that's further away, I'm gonna make it a little bit softer anyways so that's not quite as obvious. So in that case, not as much. I mean it's also not perfect perspective either because I was tipping the camera angle up at this point as opposed just flat. So it's one thing that the perspective doesn't quite line up with this because if I was shooting this accurately, I would've shot it from a low angle and got it a lot of the foreground and background and then just had the horizon line going off at the distance, right? That would be the most accurate way. But I wanted the most information of clouds possible. And with that I know I can perspective work it if I need to to get it a lot closer. So the sky can be a little bit more forgiving.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Texture Sample Pack
Layered Beach PSD Composite
Layered Cliff PSD Composite

Ratings and Reviews

Dino Maez

i have to say, the class was AMAZING! in every way from the tricks and technique's of mastering this art form to the personalized attention given by Renee. through the class you are able to learn information that would normally take the average person years of trial and error. Renee gives you the gift of benefitting from her her experiences and what she has learned THE HARD WAY! Renee is an outstanding instructor full of passion for what she does, and with a strong desire to not only improve the art, but more importantly, pay it forward, by sharing her knowledge with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event in person, truly a once in a lifetime experience for me, the staff at creative live were THE BEST! they are helpful in every way and really made this event something special, i can't say enough about the experience i had and would highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go down for a class, it will be an experience that you will never forget. but the best part of creative live is that wether you are there in person or wether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you are involved in the class in REAL TIME, you have the ear and attention of the skilled artist giving the instruction, being there myself i can tell you that Renee was regularly given questions and comments from the viewers via the creative live staff and she would respond to them as they came, in that way you are very much apart of the class you are never left without getting that personalized attention of an amazing artist or that specific question you have answered, and even better you have the option to purchase the class and have it as a constant resource in your tool kit that you can refer back to at any point that you need a refresher or want to recall that special technique that was demonstrated. thank you thank you to renee and all the staff at creative live you have a life long member in me. and i would recomend that everyone take advantage of this valuable resource dino maez

stephen lenman

I have completed many creative courses. This is by far the best so far. Quite the most amazing and inspiring presenter with a true passion for their craft. The core information is excellent, but the thing i liked most were her subtle tangents, dropping incredible information completely on the fly. A complete real world honest view of business and practical side of the industry. Especially her advice on how she started to her business. Saving up enough in her day job so she could pay the rent, and do photography for 3-6 months.

Sheldon Carvalho

Awesome class. I've been following Renee for a very long time. I love her work and to finally see her work and get an image done from start to finish was quite something.. I love the way she sees things and the way she treats her work and all fellow creative. I would recommend this to everyone interested in getting into composting. Looking forward to creating and making my own art work. But it now :) Have fun creating. :)

Student Work