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View Full Version : Cheesehenge photo composite: what needs improvement?


TomBurns
08-26-2010, 07:44 AM
Hello everyone:

This is a piece I am doing to be part of a photo collage/image compositing portfolio I am putting together.

I made the cheese pieces in ZBrush, imported them into 3DS Max 9 and touched up the render in Photoshop.

The other elements (people, grass, trees and combined sky photos) were various photo sources found on the internet and manipulated into the result you see here.

While the raw photo pieces were not my own, this was done mainly to experiment with my abilities to piece various photos taken under different lighting conditions together into one (hopefully) plausible final image.

What I would appreciate is hearing what looks wrong and needs improvement (i.e lighting, contrast, shadow consistency) and generally anything that just looks doesn't look believable. I am sure I have missed many things and much could be done but after staring at this for so long, I have probably lost all perspective and fresh eyes could probably point things out right away.

Thanks very much!

Tom

http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/6270/cheesehengerough.jpg (http://img810.imageshack.us/i/cheesehengerough.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Kanga
08-26-2010, 11:50 AM
Hi Tom.
Ha ha,... cool shot. Do druid mice worship there?
First off the comp. Look at all the shots available for stone henge and find the ones that most impress you. This one is pretty straight on. Really big drama to punch the image would ask a very cool setup. The grass is sharp at the horizon and it looks like henge is perched on the edge. There is a wee bit to suggest grass but not much depth. The cheese edges seem sharp, and new. The god rays from the right are a sort of wash and the sky is quite relaxed. The illustrative link to why cheese could be helped by making a link, eg a bunch of mice standing around with cameras or something. Just some suggestions.

Cheers.

TomBurns
08-26-2010, 05:00 PM
Hi Tom.
Ha ha,... cool shot. Do druid mice worship there?
First off the comp. Look at all the shots available for stone henge and find the ones that most impress you. This one is pretty straight on. Really big drama to punch the image would ask a very cool setup. The grass is sharp at the horizon and it looks like henge is perched on the edge. There is a wee bit to suggest grass but not much depth. The cheese edges seem sharp, and new. The god rays from the right are a sort of wash and the sky is quite relaxed. The illustrative link to why cheese could be helped by making a link, eg a bunch of mice standing around with cameras or something. Just some suggestions.

Cheers.

Thank you very much for your helpful suggestions, Kanga.

I did plenty of photo research beforehand regarding impressive shots of Stonehenge and for me, many of them were alright but I settled on this view because it just appealed to me rather than any of the cropped shots I saw or tried with my own camera placement in Max.

I am definitely going to change the grass as per your suggestions in that area.

Thanks so much, again!

stuh505
08-29-2010, 02:49 PM
It is a funny concept. Mice taking photos would be a cool addition, too.

I think the most important thing though is to nail the material of the cheese. Right now it doesn't look like cheese. It's too grayish/pale, cheese has a warmer color, and also too reflective (specular). Compare color palettes,

http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/4/cheesepalette.jpg

TomBurns
08-29-2010, 05:30 PM
Thanks again for your suggestions, Kanga.

I touched things up a tad and I think it improved things.

And thanks for your suggestions too, stuh505. I actually did have the cheese more along the lines of your colour palette before I made the thread here and several people said it needed to be more paler/creamier in colour.

So please don't take my lack of implementing your colour change as not appreciating your suggestions, ok? :)

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/6270/cheesehengerough.jpg (http://img529.imageshack.us/i/cheesehengerough.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

stuh505
08-30-2010, 08:31 PM
And thanks for your suggestions too, stuh505. I actually did have the cheese more along the lines of your colour palette before I made the thread here and several people said it needed to be more paler/creamier in colour.

Considering that you have a fairly dismal grayish tone in your image, I can see why people might tell you to tone it done and stick with a less saturated milky color for the cheese. There's a lot of variation in cheese and it depends more on the lighting conditions than anything else so I don't disagree with that suggestion. However, it is still important for the success of this image that it does look like cheese...and I wouldn't say this material resembles any cheese I've ever seen under any lighting conditions right now.

First it appears much too reflective. The second issue, which I had hoped to demonstrate with the palette, was that your cheese is essentially monochromatic, whereas a real cheese would have many varying hues depending on the amount of light and angle of reflection. Sort of like human skin. Perhaps this is also due to subsurface scattering. Regardless, when in shadow or light, it should have a slightly different hue. Another reason it looks too homogeneous in color is because a real cheese would dry out faster near the edges causing a bit of a color gradient.

Anyway, you are certainly entitled to ignore my suggestions :)

TomBurns
08-30-2010, 08:55 PM
Considering that you have a fairly dismal grayish tone in your image, I can see why people might tell you to tone it done and stick with a less saturated milky color for the cheese. There's a lot of variation in cheese and it depends more on the lighting conditions than anything else so I don't disagree with that suggestion. However, it is still important for the success of this image that it does look like cheese...and I wouldn't say this material resembles any cheese I've ever seen under any lighting conditions right now.

First it appears much too reflective. The second issue, which I had hoped to demonstrate with the palette, was that your cheese is essentially monochromatic, whereas a real cheese would have many varying hues depending on the amount of light and angle of reflection. Sort of like human skin. Perhaps this is also due to subsurface scattering. Regardless, when in shadow or light, it should have a slightly different hue. Another reason it looks too homogeneous in color is because a real cheese would dry out faster near the edges causing a bit of a color gradient.

Anyway, you are certainly entitled to ignore my suggestions :)

Hey, that's a good point about "lighter along the edges". I'll give that a try!

And toning down the reflectivity is also something I will try, too since that part is on a separate layer.

Thanks, stuh!

TomBurns
08-31-2010, 03:33 AM
Well, I added a bit more colour to the cheese portions as well as lightened the edges to make things look like the cheese was a bit dried out and toned down a bit of the sheen, too.

I think it looks a bit better due to the excellent suggestions provided by stuh and Kanga but I also suspect I have lost all objectivity here due to me looking at this stupid thing for so long.

What do y'all think?

http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/6270/cheesehengerough.jpg (http://img375.imageshack.us/i/cheesehengerough.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

stuh505
08-31-2010, 05:53 PM
The cheese definitely looks better, although not all the way there yet. I notice that the shadow color of your cheese is a purpleish-maroon color which does not fit. Cheese naturally has a warmer yellow tone in its shadows, but then, the grass will also be reflecting up to give a greenish tint so it's a complex balance between those two colors I think,

example:
http://celticmythpodshow.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/stonehenge_0319.jpg

The "stones" themselves need more integration into the scene. One problem is that there is a perfectly flat cutoff at the bottom. They also do not cast any shadows onto the grass like the people do. Even if they don't cast shadows the grass in their midst and around their roots should be darkened. Another possible way to integrate them more would be with some ground fog.

Here's some tests. I don't think my quick fog turned out very well but to me, warming up the colors of the stone shadows and breaking up the bottom edge helps a lot. Good luck!

http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/7917/chees.gif

TomBurns
08-31-2010, 06:04 PM
Holy heck, you are spot on about the base of the cheese pieces and the ground shadow issue, stuh505.

This is the exact type of thing I was looking for by posting this here. I meant it when I said I no longer saw what looked right or wrong after looking at this for so long.

I am going to take one more pass at this an implement your suggestions before putting it to rest.


Thank you!

Kobes
08-31-2010, 11:25 PM
It is alot better now than your original by lowering the cheese from the horizon. The suggestions stuh shows, with the grass and shadow intergration will definately take it alot further.

I think that it would be neat if you could put some small cheese rubble pieces around the pillars aswell. Considering it is cheese which tends to crumble fairly easily.

Cheers Kobes

TomBurns
09-02-2010, 01:29 AM
Well, I made the changes to the base of the "cheese stones" as well as some shadow adjustments and i really appreciate everyone's input on this.

How do things look now?

I think I am nearing the end of this collage. Unless something looks eally out of place this may be the finale pass on this puppy.

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/6270/cheesehengerough.jpg (http://img20.imageshack.us/i/cheesehengerough.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Proflooney
09-02-2010, 05:05 AM
looks really good though i think you need RATZILLA in there for some comic relief rofl

Wiro
09-02-2010, 04:58 PM
You've improved on the original but I still don't buy that all the elements exist in the same world. The people fit with the sky but the grass seems too bright and too green. It should be tinted slightly more towards blue grey, closer to the sky. The cheese too seems too bright in the indirectly lit sides for such an overcast sky. It also should in the dark areas be tinted towards blue. What colour is your skylight set to?

The cheese itself could really benefit from some subsurface scattering. Some very subtle fresnel reflections would also help tie it in with the ground and sky (if you have those as 3d elements to be reflected in the first place)

The fog seems very even and it doesn't fade out towards the camera convincingly. That close to the camera I'd expect to see wisps. The way you've done it makes it look more like distance haze but that wouldn't be visible in front of the stones and people.

And since you've picked a sky pic that's overcast with patches of blue, how about projecting that onto the ground to get patches of light and dark? Could help break up the even grass.

Wiro

TomBurns
09-02-2010, 07:03 PM
Thanks, Wiro!

And thanks everyone else, too. I really appreciate all your help with this and the time you all took to write up some some suggestions.

I am putting this one to bed and moving onto my next project. But here is the final image which I couldn't have reached without all your help.

Let's all go out for milkshakes! My treat!

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/6270/cheesehengerough.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/i/cheesehengerough.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

Quadart
09-02-2010, 08:11 PM
I was playing around with a PO when you closed on this. Well, here are some of my visual suggestions anyhoo. The cheese/ground interface needs much more work than whatís shown.

http://billmelvinart.com/cgs1/cheesehengePO.jpg

TomBurns
09-03-2010, 12:02 AM
I was playing around with a PO when you closed on this. Well, here are some of my visual suggestions anyhoo. The cheese/ground interface needs much more work than whatís shown.

http://billmelvinart.com/cgs1/cheesehengePO.jpg

Thank you for taking the time to post anyways, Quadart!

In my monitor, your revision seems way too saturated for what I intended. And I think when doing anything visual, that is a huge problem - everyone's monitor is very different in regards to saturation/contrast, etc.

So I am guessing my final version must look way too washed out on your monitor.

But trust me - it's the best photo collage in the history of photo collages. :-P (kidding)

But thanks again for posting your feedback and the time you took to adjust things. Much appreciated!

Quadart
09-03-2010, 11:30 AM
Thatís the Fujichrome Velvia look. Great for Velveeta cheese print ads. ;)

Itís saturated on my Apple display too, though the intension was to take the edge off that green. Ultimately, I was trying to show the cheese in a more delectable Ďlightí. I think the shadow contrast in your cheese monument is too high, compared to everything else in the scene.

Toned down version:
http://billmelvinart.com/cgs1/cheesehengePO4.jpg

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