» The Paint Splatter Image

The Paint Splatter Image

The Paint Splatter Image

One of the images from the Feterati Girls fashion show has been generating quite a bit of interest: the paint fight between Honeyhair and Lauren Taylor. The idea for this came from the very cool paint splatter skirt that Honeyhear was wearing (deisgned and made by the very talented Kimberlicious latex)… the photo should have paint being splattered in it!

The question that many peole have been asking is whether the paint in this shot was real, or not.

Now… I have to say I’m pretty excited by that! There’s no finer complement to one’s Photoshop work than to ask whether it exists at all :) But I like to share my secrets, such as they are, so:

… drumroll …

The paint was added back in London, in Photoshop.

Reality as captured by a camera is often not as dynamic as the world we think we see, and for me Photoshop (and the other tools I use) is just a way to present the reality that’s in my head :) So a real paint fight would have looked less real – or rather less hyper-real in the way I like – than this. It would also have messed up Mario Bouchard’s beautiful studio, which wouldn’t have been a nice thing to do.





Here’s the lighting setup.






The first image below is the shot straight out of the camera. You can see I had the idea in place and had even bought paintbrushes to use as props!  The second one is after correcting exposure, colour and working on skin a bit in Nikon Capture NX2.

















The rest of the work I did in Photoshop.  You can see from the final image (top of the page) how my “hyper-real” look on the models starts with the lighting but is developed in the post processing.  I use a lot of selective dodging and burning, luminosity mapping etc. to achieve the almost cartoony effects I’m after.

The paint splatters in the air actually came from a range of 3D paint splashes from a free online library. I used many of these and combined them to get the effect that I wanted. Essentially I cut each splash out of the image it was in (Photoshop lets you create distinct objects on different layers that you can then move around and work on), and bent/twisted them to do what I wanted (follow a trajectory, fit the paint brush, etc.). Then I lightened the edges to match the lighting in the main shot, and then finally changed their colour, saturation etc. to fit each other and the effect I wanted in the image. It probably took a good 4 hours in total.

The splatters on the floor were sample photoshop brushes I had collected along the way. One click on the floor, then flatten them to give perspective, change blending mode so they look part of the scene rather than dropped on… then a layer mask to allow the paint to go under the shoes and even be seen through the transparent shoes.

So there you go! Hope it’s interesting :) Let me know if you’d like more of this kind of post…

Richard Knightly Photography Up