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Shaping Water

Lesson 10 from: One Flash Splash Photography

Gavin Hoey

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Lesson Info

10. Shaping Water

Using a wine glass to create S shaped curves of water

Lesson Info

Shaping Water

they're set up. Makes use of a glass, wine glass. So what I'm gonna do is fill this will not with wine, don't worry, we're not gonna waste any wine at all. It is in fact water with red food coloring in. And the idea is really simple. I'm gonna fill it with red water. I'm gonna give it a little bit of a throw in the air. The water will come out in a fantastic s shape. I'll press the shutter and capture the perfect picture easy. Well it's not too difficult if you set things up correctly. So before we get anywhere near this, let's set up this end of things, the technical bit first. So where do we start? I guess with the light would be a good place to begin. So let's take a picture as I am Now. I've gone for the vertical format so you can see how this is gonna work because I need the extra space when I get to throwing the water. If I set things up no different to where I was before I get what I've been looking at out for throughout these sessions, which is that nice hot spot in the middle ...

and then vignette it around the outsides. That's worked really well for me up until now. So what I'm going to have to do is not only take a picture of this being thrown in the air, but also the stem of the glass. Unlike last time where we had a fixed point, remember where we're doing the dangling thing and we're letting the water come out, That was much easier to control. This is, trust me, a lot more random. So rather than having that vignette, I'm going to try and get a nice pure even white background. So I'm not going to get that using what I'm currently using. So at the moment I have a reflector back here, which of course is condensing the light and giving me that sort of drop off. That looks so good. So let's get rid of that and change it out. So if I undo that take the light off, so I'm gonna take the reflector off of here and get my finger in there. Here we go, Okay? And I'm gonna change it to a soft box. So a soft box is gonna give me a much larger source of light. So I won't have that pinpoint spot of light. There we go, I will have a much bigger source of light. This is a 60 by 90 centimeter soft box, a two ft by three ft soft box, pop it onto the light stand and pop it in here. So that's going to go back there somewhere, It's just out of shot, but hopefully you get an idea of where we're going with that looks all right to me. Okay, so how did this affect the picture? Well, first of all, if I don't change the power, then it's gonna be pretty great. But at least you get an idea for how this is working. It's no longer a circular spot. It's now a rectangular area. Obviously, I need to increase the light output, So let's go up a little bit brighter, we'll go up to maybe one 32nd power. Let's try that. And that's getting a lot brighter, but it's not really white, it's still quite gray in color, so I'm gonna go up even more. Let's go to maybe 1/8 power and we'll see how we're doing 1/8 power. We're getting somewhere. That looks pretty good. I'm kind of happy with that. There is definitely a spot in the middle, but it's still quite gray at the edges Now, I don't want to go past 1/8 power because if I'm on 1/8 power, this particular flash now has a flash duration of 2775th of a second. If I increase the flash power that's gonna drop even lower and I start to get into the area where there's potential for blurring my splashes so I need to modify something else. The other options that is so I don't really want to do that. I'd like to get the quality as good as possible. That leaves me just one other option, which is the aperture. So rather than shooting at F 11, I'm actually gonna shoot at F eight the extra stop of light. That's twice the amount of light. That's what one stop of light is, Double the amount of light I will lose a little bit of depth of field. That's okay because I'm actually shooting something that's not moving towards or away from the camera, particularly, at least it shouldn't do. And I'm shooting with quite a wide lens and that's going to affect the depth of field as well. So let's have a look at this. Here we go. Yeah, that looks pretty good, checking the back of the camera. Looking at the history ram and the blinking highlights. I can see a large, rectangular, oval shaped blinking area there. That's exactly what I'm looking for. So that's pretty good. But we're not quite done yet because I need some sort of guide. I need to know where to start. Now. I've got less depth of field. I don't want to be slightly in front or slightly behind and also how high can I let the water go before it's too high. So to give me some guidance on that, I'm actually going to use the boom arm again. So we're gonna use the same boo mama's before we'll pop that in there. I'll get my screen flipped around so I can see it here we go. And then I can see where to put the boom on the right height. So somewhere like that is about the top of my frame. That's pretty good about the center of the pool. All right, something like that. So that gives me a focusing point and also an idea of height. So I'm gonna manually focus on that just to get it nice and sharp, correct? There we go. That's great. Frame it up so it's at the top of my picture. So I know that if I'm throwing the water in the air and it hits this, I've gone out of the frame and that shot is not going to work. So I've got a pretty good idea of how far to throw it. If you throw it so high that it hits the ceiling, you're not going to be very popular with anyone and you've wasted a shot. So this is a great way of limiting the height at which I get this water up in the air. Mhm. Right. That is all of the things set up. I think we should now try throwing some water. So my red water is ready down in the pool. I've got a couple of jugs of red water right underneath, so hopefully when I throw this up in the air, some of it will land back in the jugs and I can recycle it. Yeah, that sounds about right. Let's just take a test picture just so we can see how this looks and it looks pretty good. I can still see detail inside the wine glass. I haven't completely blown it out, so I'm happy with that. Okay, so all I have to do is start down here somewhere. Give it a little bit of a throw. Yeah. Okay. And we got a nice little shape. Okay, that works quite well, but it's not necessarily the shape I'm after, I'm not gonna fill the glass up, I'm just gonna have another go. So here we go. Yeah, and with a little less water in the glass, get a completely different shape. Now, this is not an exact science, This is something that takes quite a bit of practice practice practice and when you've done practicing practice some more, because the more you practice, the better you're gonna get your shapes. Here we go. Uh pretty good. But again, it sounds slightly out of frame. Let's try that again. Mhm. Wait, that's pretty good. Again, I'm just slightly out of frame, but that's getting better, definitely improving. I'm also trying to make sure I don't get the cable from my cable release in the shot because that would be really annoying if it's a good one. Think that would have a little bit left. I think I've got to try and get a little bit more up in the air because we're just slightly going forwards. Okay, let's try that again. Well, that went backwards. How did I manage to throw water backwards? That's I mean, it's impressive. I'll grant you that. It's not the look we're going for. Okay, yeah, we go still in the shot. Yes, I am managed to catch some in the glass. Oh, that's pretty good though, that's getting better. Wait, yeah, when you've got water on your boom arm, you know that that was a shot that isn't going to be a keeper? Oh yeah, right at the top of the frame. Mhm. Hey? Oh that's a nice one. Look at that, that's a great, we've got a fantastic s coming through. Yeah, that's working really well, we're getting some good shots here. Okay, I'm gonna keep taking a few more. Mm. Yeah, so once you've got your perfect splashes then you're nearly done because once again my fingers are in the shot for every single picture, so we need to get rid of those and we're gonna do it in exactly the same way as we did before. So I'm gonna get the stem of the glass in the shot. Try and remember roughly where it was looking at my screen probably down here somewhere and we'll take a few shots like that. This should be reasonably easier because we've got the pure white background. We're not trying to match vignette ng necessarily. So hopefully this time I shouldn't need quite so many pictures to absolutely get this right. So here we go, strap yourself in because this one is a little bit more complicated, involves a little bit more work and preparation to get to the final result. But trust me, it's well worth it. So I've got one image, I've got another image that looks pretty good. And then I've got a couple of pictures of the stem of the glass and I'm going to combine all three to get all four together. But first of all, we need to do some work. Now, once again, really important that you select all of your images, anything you do to one you want to have repeated to the others. So there is a consistency in look, because these are all going to end up on the same image, the same sheet of paper effectively. So I'm gonna hold the shift key, click on the last one or press control a commander in MX So they are all selected. So once again, if I do anything for example, change the exposure. They all have exactly the same result. If I do something for example like set the white balance which is what I am going to do by finding a great corner and clicking there, then they will have the same white balance. That's obviously quite important. Now you will notice that these good as they are. They're not really very deep in color. They're a little bit burnt out. So we were trying or I was trying my very hardest to get as clean a white background as possible. That mean that I pumped a lot of power through these. It's quite thin water, it doesn't have much thickness to really show through. But I knew that we could do quite a bit in post processing to get the most out of these. So first thing I'm gonna do is any sort of general adjustments like white balance like well check the wipes so I'm going to turn on the clipping warning. That's this little triangle up here on the history graham and that'll show me anywhere that that is pure white. Now when I was taking these this was a lot more white than I'm seeing now. And this is one of the downsides of raw what you're looking at on the back of the camera is always a J. Peg and this is a raw file. It has more data within it. But that doesn't mean that sometimes you don't get what you thought you had in this case. It's quite simple. I need to get my whites and move my white slider to the right to increase the whites until it expands just outside of my little splash of water like that. The use of this will become much clearer as we go through blacks where we could put some blacks in here as well just to make sure there is a little bit of depth in here and maybe just a hint of contrast, but I'm always jumping back to my whites. Is this clip? Is it okay? Is it pure white behind? It? Is but it still looks really thin, especially around the center here. I mean there is detail there, but it, you know, it doesn't feel quite as as chunky and as as thick as I'd like it to be on top of the glasses. Again it's there, but we're really stretching it so to get those areas back, what I'm actually going to do is use a local adjustment brush. Okay? So local adjustments in this case, I'm actually just gonna click on one image. It won't repeat it on the others, but just for the sake of for safety and if you're using light room it works differently. I'm only gonna work on one image for now. I'll go back to the others in a minute. So what I'm going to do is just reset my brush so I don't have any particular settings in here. Now. I guess the temptation would be just to grab the highlights and say, okay, we'll bring back the lost highlights. Well, you know, that would work okay. But of course it would also mean that I start to lose my whites, that I've just spent ages getting to look really good. And if you go and bring the whites back it's it's a complete disaster. So we need to do something a little bit more out there, a little bit more um interesting. So let's undo that will clear that one. Just delete it so we don't have anything there. Okay, so I'm gonna reset everything and I'm actually going to use D. Hayes, there's no actual hes in here, but D Hayes will allow me to cut through some of the washed out effect. And if I apply a little bit of contrast in there too and I'm not using any magic numbers, I'm just gonna take a couple of guys let's just see what works. I think for the moment I'm just zoom in a little bit as well just so we can really see what's actually happening. Okay, there we go. That looks better. And let's go back to my brush so I'm just gonna click and you can see my brush is much bigger than the area I want to work on. But when I click and paint you can see how much more depth I get through and when I turn on my highlights. Okay so now we've lost a little bit of the top and as I go around you can see that I'm losing whites. So this isn't going to work either. Let's reset that. It's the D. Hayes that's doing it because I'm actually gonna use clarity, similar results with clarity. But this time I don't lose all of that white but I keep the depth in there and that clarity is 100%. I can bring it down a little bit. I guess we can just bring this in and paint around and around we go like that and this is how it works. So the settings I'm using may be different for your pictures. So you need to try and see what works and what doesn't. I'm just going through the things that will usually work. I'm going to increase the saturation with that brush as well just to try and bring a little bit more color through. No matter how hard I try, I can't really get anything through the glass and although the glasses clear and technically that's right, I'm actually going to apply a second adjustment brush just for the glass. So I'll reset all my sliders by picking the little reset button. And then this time I'm gonna apply D Hayes and I'm gonna bring the highlights back as well. So this time when I paint in here you can see how I can just bring a little bit more detail back into that glass. Yeah, there we go. That looks pretty good. There you go. Somewhere like that. And I'm not losing any of the whites. It's absolutely fine. I don't mind that there isn't a pure white within the glass itself. That actually gives it more three dimensions. But around the outside of the glass it's still very much a white background. Okay, that's basically done. Let's fit that back onto the screen and have a little look. So we've done one image but we got a couple more to do so and I need to repeat this on the second picture. I couldn't just copy across because of course the position of the water is in a completely different place. But what I've now got our brushes that I can repeat. So let me go get my adjustment brush. I'll click on the top one here, which is for the water and I'll paint this on the water. But before I do notice I just clipped the edge of the water dam. Don't worry. Once again. Micro four thirds to the rescue. I've got a little bit more space to the side. Yeah, that that really helps. So this time I can then come and just click and draw and color that all in. We can zoom in a little bit as well. There we go and get as much detail as I can back on those and on the glass like that. Lovely safe in the knowledge that I'm not losing the whites. Then I can come and click on the glass itself, grab that adjustment brush and you'll see as I click around on these adjustment brushes, my settings on the right hand side change to match the brush that I'm gonna use. I can use the same brush on different images. Okay, so we'll use that brush. Try and be a little bit more careful just like that. And on the stem of the glass. That looks pretty good all the time checking that my whites are white look. Now can you see on the left hand side? Will deal with that in a minute. We'll come back to that. Don't worry. I need to repeat the brush that is on the glass on these glasses as well because these glasses are going to have the same thing going on. Okay, there we go, lovely. So those are gonna be the base of the glass when I clone out or remove my hand in a little bit. No cloning involved. Don't worry. So that's pretty good. Now this is the one I was interested in. So notice that there is a large chunk of white missing. Well don't worry because there's chunks of background that aren't white around here as well. So let's fix that with one more adjustment brush. So I'll click on the new button, I'll reset my brushes and this time I'm gonna get my whites and my highlights and I'm just gonna paint and I don't know the exact amount. I'm just gonna try some settings. Okay. That seems to be all pretty close, maybe a little bit more in the whites. Yeah, there we go. And I'm just gonna paint these areas. So I have pure white pretty much everywhere. Not absolutely everywhere but pretty much everywhere. And I'm just being careful, I don't go too close to the water because I don't really want to affect the brightness of those areas. Let's just check these. That's absolutely fine. I don't have to do anything black as well. There we go, that's absolutely fine. Okay, good. That is all of the preparation done. So I'll select all of my images again, notice it's as 44 selected and I will open all of my images into Photoshop. So this is where the hard work that we've just put in should start to pay off. First of all, we need to get four high resolution images into Photoshop. Here we go. and final one comes in now. There we are. And then I'll change tools and I'll go to this picture here. So my thing, my theory is I want to start to combine these images together and you'll see how this is going to work in a second. Um in fact, let's just get the crop tool, clear out any preset crops in here and make sure that my background colour is set to white and just extend. So I have some some wiggle room, some room to play with. Here we go. That looks about right. Okay. Uh I've also started still at the top and the bottom. I've got the the paddling pool and the boom arm. So I'm going to get rid of those by getting a paintbrush that's also white and just painting them away. So all of that time, making sure that my whites were really white is starting to pay off now because I now have a much cleaner whiter image. Okay, that's pretty good. Most I've got this brush, I might as well just paint away my fingers because we're not gonna need those. Okay, that's good. Let's do the same with this one. Let's just paint away the top and the bottom like that. And part of the stem of the glass. Because we're going to add in our own stem in just a second. Right, select and all. Edit and copy. Close this image down. We don't need it. It's done its job. No need to save it. Edit and paste. So this is going to paste it in and I now have to splashes. You might think well what are you gonna do with those? Well the first thing I'm going to do is to change the blending mode to multiply. So that's going to make these two kind of It does the opposite of making black disappear. If you remember really early on with the ice cube where we use the screen blend mode multiply does exactly opposite. It makes white transparent. I can see a little area there. That's just annoying me. So we might as well just go and paint that away. There we go. That's done. Then. What I'm actually gonna do with these, Let's flip it over. So let's go to edit, transform, flip horizontally. So now I have two glasses coming in and oh look at that. If I just line them up, can you just see a little heart shape forming, heart shaped one of those power shapes in photography? It's almost like I planned this almost. So that's pretty good. I'm happy with that. Have we got a little bit of line coming through there? Is that a little line? Yes, there is. Got to watch out for things like that. We can again just paint that away with a little bit of white. You can spend time cleaning this up. But that is pretty good. I'm happy with that. Now, I need to add in the stems of the glass. So quick selection tool. I'm going to use the the political or polygonal lasso tool because it allows me to draw really odd selections, then go to edit and copy, close that down. Don't need it anymore. Choose edit and paste. And this is going to become the bottom. Let's try and get the move to their. We are the bottom of one of the glasses. Probably that one I would imagine. Um It doesn't look quite right even though I chose the ones that are roughly at the right angle, it's not quite right and it kind of cuts into the glass. Well I'm gonna use that multiply blend mode once again. So now I have a much neater way of putting this in and then I can use a bit of free transform. Control T. Or command T. Or edit free transform and just rotate this around. Just pop it in roughly the right place. Doesn't have to be exact. But as close as I can, something like that and then I'm either gonna mask or just because I'm pretty confident that's okay, I'm gonna get the eraser tool and just erase this in just to blend those two together. There we go. So now we have a base for that glass. Let's go get the other one. Use the polygonal or polygonal lasso tool and just select that one and we'll choose. Edit and copy, close it down. No need to save it. Edit and paste. And this is going to go in the other side on this glass over here. So once again make the blending mode multiply now I gotta be careful if I use free transform and I put this here, you know that makes sense. But there is a drop a drip of water here that really should be at the bottom because gravity would have made that come down. So that's not quite right. I need to actually go to edit, transform and flip this vertically and then spin that around. There we go. So now the drip of water is at the bottom where it should be. That that's you know, that's the logical place for it. Let's try and get those in roughly the right place and then I'll get my eraser tool and it raised that in just like that. There we go. You'd never know there was a joint there apart from that terrible but adjoining. Yeah, that's just so we can actually get this to line up a little better. Just a little bit better. Would be nice and we'll pop that about their somewhere. Okay, good. Happy with that. So there we are, there's my heart shape. It now has two stems, none of my fingers or arms are in the shot. All I have to do now is to crop this. I'm guessing a one by one, I'm getting a square crop is the way to go because it's a kind of a square shape, something like that. And there we are. There's my final picture completed.

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