Welcome to my first post in what is (hopefully) a recurring blog about, well, the Database. Here I'm going to give you a glimpse at what's going on in the archives around YoJoe. But what to do for a first post?
I guess I'll give you a little glimpse behind the scenes at what I do to make the pictures I put on the site. Let's start with this pic of Kim Arashikage (v2), that I posted on our Facebook page not too long ago:
As you can see, it's a little "before and after" composite of her "Front" picture in the archive. The "before" half isn't entirely accurate, I have to confess - I actually cropped the image to be much closer to the figure than the original image. I figured you guys weren't all that interested in the outer edges of my photo box!
So what did I do to the picture? Well, aside from the cropping, it's all about the colors. I use daylight bulbs in my lamps to get the booth as bright as possible. But try as I might, my DSLR always tries to find that middle gray, and adjusts the colors of the pic to suit. But this is a relatively simple fix in Photoshop - I check the levels, and adjust the sliders appropriately.
Honestly, that's half the work right there! But while the colors may now be normalized, the photo box is a little too prominent in the background. So I'll duplicate my image and brighten until the background very nearly disappears. This has the effect of making for a much cleaner background, and it makes the shadows underneath the figure much more defined. True, I could crop out the shadows completely, but there's something a little off about a figure just floating in space like that. (Not that I haven't done that before - take a look at the Pit!)
But there is a side effect to all this brightening - while the colors of the figure are much more vibrant, many smaller details are now washed out. This is why I duplicated the image first - I can cut out the figure from the first image and copy it over this one. It means I have the properly color-corrected figure on top of a very clean background.