Skip to toolbar

#08-267 Short Film Reflection – Practical Digital Filmmaking

Inspiration

#08-267 was inspired by my childhood growing up in a strict family. My parents were extremely strict to me when it comes to academics and i was expected to excel in all subjects. As a child growing up in such an environment was not ideal and I constantly felt pressure and hated going home. The thought of running away from home never strayed far from my mind however i never did run away from home as a kid. Writing the script for this short film i wanted to explore what it would’ve been like for a young man to run away from home and fend for himself in the outside world without the protection from his family.

Synopsis

The short film explores a polytechnic dropout that had enough of his mother’s treatment towards him and his studies. We take a look back at Sherwin’s past as a kid when he fails his mathematics test and his mother would punish him by using physical abuse. The tension created in this scene would justify the next when Sherwin is older and believes that he can fend for himself. He leaves home after dropping out of school. As a result of his lack of qualifications, Sherwin has to resolve to selling insurance by going to people’s homes in search of redemption.

I created the short film and implanted the symbolism of doors within the film to portray irony. Sherwin first leaves home by closing a door on himself, and now being an insurance agent he is desperately knocking on doors in hopes of someone to accept him. Ultimately he has to go back to the one door that he shut himself out of realising that even when everyone rejects you, your family will always accept you back home.

Difficulties Faced

The script for the short film had 16 scenes and scheduling the shoot  was not easy. Overall the film had to be separately shot over a span of 2 weeks as there were many locations involved in filming. Maintaining continuity was a major consideration and with careful planning and help of my group members we managed to ensure smooth continuity throughout the film. The montage scene for the closing of doors was also difficult to execute. Having no prior experience in montages, I just shot multiple takes at every door and tried different cuts in post. One of my concerns for the montage was balancing the number of doors closing. I didn’t want the scene to be too draggy and i also didn’t want it to be too short to portray Sherwin’s feeling of rejection.

Fortunately for me I was able to use my old house where most of my childhood was spent to film and the memories of just being in that space really inspired me to want to create this short film.

The title sequence where Sherwin was waking up sounded too empty so i composed my own music to incorporate with the beeping of the alarm.

A lot of sound design was considered for this short film, from the reverb and echo of Sherwin screaming for his mother to stop hitting him, to the doors closing. I wanted to use my background in sound design to support the storytelling of this short film.

Conclusion

It was extremely fulfilling to see the short film come to life starting from a fresh sheet of paper from day 0 a few months prior to filming it. Watching it on the big screen and receiving compliments from my classmates was a pleasant experience that will motivate me to want to continue telling stories through motion pictures.

 

Concepts of Digital Imaging Assignment 4 – Dystopian Reality

Password: Stevenmeisel
Artist Statement
dystopia
dɪsˈtəʊpɪə
noun
  1. an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

In this project I wanted to revisit my self portrait assignment “Oblivion” 2 assignments ago. Taking the same concept of a dystopian environment, I wanted to use animation and visual effects to further enhance the message I was trying to tell as an artist. To me the world is not as beautiful and naive as it seems. A lot of what we see on the internet and the media feeding us is just a curtain shielding us from the ugly truths of the world. As a result, our vision of what we think is real is blurred and only time and experience will be able to lift this curtain revealing the dystopian society that we live in.

As a step up from Oblivion, the colours in this project are more distinct. The separation between the subjects in the photo are more apparent with the different colours. The city in the background is mainly made out of muted dark blue and cyan hues representing the state of depression. The foreground has brighter highlights of orange and yellow portraying a sense of hope. Using complementary colours to create contrast in this composition made my message as an artist more apparent.

Technical Decisions

The animation can be separated into 3 components. The background of the city, the foreground of the rocks/bushes, and the human subject.

The effect I was trying to achieve is known as the vertigo effect in film. The effect is achieved by either moving the camera toward the subject on a dolly while zooming out or vice versa.

 

To imitate the real life motion of achieving this effect, I converted the layers into 3D objects and used a camera layer to keyframe the zooming in of the composition. To achieve the zooming out effect that would cause the background to push further into the distance, I keyframed  the city layer’s scale with an initial value of 200% and decreased it to 100% at the end of 5 seconds. To disorientate and further emphasise the idea of dystopia, I rotated the city layer by 45 degrees and keyframed the orientation back to 0 degrees creating a swirling motion throughout the animation. Furthermore, A camera lens blur effect was added to enhance the message that I wanted to tell with this animation, that as we unveil the curtains behind the ugliness of the world, our vision starts to become clearer. Thus, the effect of the city starting from a blurred image becoming sharper and clearer is achieved by using keyframes on the blur radius of the camera lens blur effect.

This effect was repeated on the foreground layers, namely the human subject layer and the rocks/bushes layer. The keyframes however, were reversed with the lens blur effect starting at full sharpness slowly increasing the blur throughout the 5 seconds of the animation. This was to imitate a real  camera’s change in focus from the foreground to the background, which helps the viewers understand the elements of the image throughout the animation. Apart from the focus change, the foreground elements were keyframed to retain its position throughout when the camera is zooming in.

In order to create depth, i separated the human from the foreground layer and changed the gradient of which the foreground increases in size. Starting with a value of 80% on the scale keyframe I gradually increased the human subject’s scale to 120%. The difference in speed of the camera zooming in and the human subject increasing in size helps to add depth to the animation and prevent it from looking too 2 dimensional.

Before & After

Before carrying out the animation in after effects, i composited the layers in photoshop and colour graded the RAW images accordingly to set the tone of the animation.

Before Colour Grading

 

 

 

 

 

After Colour Grading

The focus of the city colours were to make it look super depressing and somewhat having a consistency throughout the landscape. Cooling down the white balance and darkening the shadows helped to create a mysterious looking city with minimal highlights, portraying the landscape to be dull and dead.

Before Colour Grading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Colour Grading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vibrance of the initial image shot on the mountain was too saturated. Desaturating some of the unnecessary colours and concentrating on a few helped make the image more consistent in the mood i was trying to achieve.

To create a dystopian look, I duplicated the city image and stacked them up on each other. Rotating the combined image 45 degrees helped to add onto the theme of a twisted reality.

Next i had to mask out the unnecessary background from the mountain image. It was not an easy task to mask the bushes as the intricate details required close attention in order to make it look as real as possible.

Several adjustment layers had to be made in order to seamlessly combine the 2 drastically different images together.

A basic curves adjustment layer was added for the background the increase the highlights and darken the shadows in order to match the foreground image. On top of that a colour balance layer was added to add some magenta into the image and to match the warmer tones of the foreground image an orange colour fill was added with a low opacity %.

The human layer consisted of a curves adjustment layer to darken the shadows to match the dark tone of the cityscape. A blue colour fill layer was added to cool down the image creating a consistency throughout the composition. On top of that a dodge and burn layer was added to clean up some areas and create extra contrast to make the image pop.

The final composition thus looks like a seamless image.

 

Artist/Film References

Inception

A major influence to this concept like much of my other works is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The idea of stacking cities on top of each other has baffled me and made me interested in exploring photo manipulation. As an experimental cityscape photographer, Inception has opened up new horizons to my imagination and paved the way to some of my latest works.

 

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is another movie that plays with perception and alternate realities inspiring the concept behind my project. Doctor Strange being a more recent movie, contained better visual effects than Inception. The process of how complex buildings folded and behaved fluidly amazed me.  Scott Derrickson and his team has heavily influenced this project and helped me conceptualise “Dystopian Reality”.

 

Jaws (1975)

The animation part of the project was hugely inspired by movies that incorporated the vertigo effect in their scenes. One example that inspired me is Jaws from 1975. The effect created a sense of uneasiness and surrealism that cannot be achieved with our eyes. Incorporating that into this project has hugely pushed the idea forth of creating a world that had distorting realities.

Conclusion

With this as the final assignment for this module, I have learnt a lot from starting how to mask an image in photoshop to rendering an animation on after effects. The creative process for each assignment has been unique and dear to me. Each assignment has helped me express a side of me that I will not have been able to do so in words or actions. With “Dystopian Reality” I wanted to end of on a high note and create one of my proudest works to date.

Assignment 2- Seconds to Eternity

ULTIMATUM

by Ryan Sng

https://sngwk94.wixsite.com/ultimatum

Starting this project I faced many difficulties on creating an interesting story that had to take place in a fragment of time. Being used to creating narratives that involved time it was very new for me think of 15 images that would interconnect and form a story.

In my opinion an interesting story would consist of a protagonist, a goal and a conflict. Every interesting story contains conflict, to show all these elements in a single moment in time was what phased me.

However, after multiple ideas I decided to settle on a basic storyline and focus on how the story is told.

My story revolves around around a retrenched man in his late 40s that is facing financial issues at home. His wife is critically ill and her hospital bills are a huge burden to Dylan, the protagonist. Dylan is a well educated and respected engineer in SMRT, however due to the economic downturn and recent SMRT setbacks, the company had to let Dylan go.

Losing his only source of income Dylan is forced to sell everything in his home to help pay for his wife’s hospital bills. He now lives in a small HDB apartment and sleeps on a mattress.

With the economic downturn, terrorist groups are taking advantage of this crisis to spread radicalisation and attack countries when they are weak. ISIS is one such group that has offered to help Dylan’s financial issues with his wife if they agree to cooperate with him.

ISIS wants Dylan to sabotage SMRT’s operations and spread terror in Singapore while the city is facing one of its worst downturns.

Presented with an ultimatum, Dylan decides to bomb one of the MRT stations in order to save his wife.

 

Concepts of Digital Imaging Assignment 3 – LIFE

Artist Statement

In today’s society a lot of us are going through motion and living life “safely” afraid of what makes us feel insecure. With LIFE, I wanted to show my take of what it means to live life to the fullest with combinations of sound effects, thrilling video clips and intense transitions.

The footage used in LIFE  are specifically chosen to convey what my voiceover is portraying. I used a combination of my personal footage and footage that I’ve found online to create something totally new. Throughout the video there are many symbols used to further enhance the storytelling. One such example is a crowded crossroad of people walking past each other almost as if there was a higher being controlling them like puppets to convey compliance.

I wanted to tell a story with the visuals that I used, accompanying it with sound effects to further aid the delivery.

The second half of the video focuses on risk taking, which inspired me to use clips like skydiving, rooftopping and other adrenalin rushing activities to help viewers get a better sense of what I am trying to say.

1 Minute Cut

Password: stevenmeisel

30s Cut

Transcript of Voiceover

In a world filled with conformists
A lot of us are comfortable with our lives
But through that comfort comes a lot of anxiety
A lot of worry
A lot of stress
Why? because we are still living the same old routine
Most people go though life following that routine
Going through life playing it safe is like a breathing corpse
The only way that you can grow, is you gotta risk
You gotta challenge yourself
You gotta take some chances
You gotta live out of your comfort zone
They say if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space
I choose to live by my own rules
How about you?
Short Descriptive Text Premise
With society complying to whatever that makes them feel safe, sitting through countless exams growing up and living life through motion, they become lifeless zombies being manipulated.
Only through breaking free and doing things out of our comfort zone can we fully live our lives and realise our fullest potential.

Technical Decisions

I used a lot of zooming and whip pan effects to transition my clips to create a fast paced, adrenalin rushing feel.

The beginning few clips were normal jump cuts to set the pace for the video introducing how mundane life is.

After that I incorporated layers of sound design like people chattering and a train passing by to create a sense of messiness. The whip pan transitions used in this segment of the video helped to create a sense of irritation and anxiousness.

Following that to emphasise how society is living life monotonously I used a clip from “Shaun of The Dead” where a series of zoom in transitions and quick cuts were used to show how the protagonist went through his morning routine.

Approaching the end of the video I used more zooming in effects to emphasise the rush I’m trying to compare to the mundane boring life of compliance.

For the last scene I used a zoom out transition to show my eyes closed and at the very last second I open my eyes almost provoking the viewer to question how he/she is living life.

Colour Editing Process

As for colour grading I did some basic adjustments to the existing colour graded footage such as desaturating the beginning clips to show lifelessness.

Before

After

The part where the VO was describing routine was colour graded to make the footage cooler to again show how mundane it is to always go through motion everyday. The zombie footage was also cooled extensively and darkened to create a scary feel.

Before

After

Before

After

Toward the end of the video I used normal saturation for the footage  and increased the saturation of some of the clips to create a drastic change in mood.

Before

After

Artist Reference

I was inspired by Edgar Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead”. Throughout the movie there are multiple scenes that are quick cuts to show a sense of urgency. For example, there is one scene where the protagonist goes through his morning routine using  quick cuts accompanied with zoom in transitions. Even though the effect was manually done during the shoot for the movie, I had to do it in post as I was using online clips. This transition technique allowed me to emphasise adrenalin throughout the later part of the video and came in very handy when the scenes were not related visually.

 

Outside of movies, Sam Kolder is a travel filmmaker that really inspired me to create the voiceover for this assignment. Apart from the story behind my video, Sam Kolder’s colour grading was a huge inspiration to me when I was editing the RAW footage that I shot on my own.  Focusing on contrast and saturated colours I took that and included it into the video to enhance the visual experience of living life on the edge.

For my final artist reference, I looked to Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream”.  Throughout the movie there are a lot of quick cuts used. Even though the quick cuts do not exactly show what is happening during the time period of the scene itself, it helps to tell a better story of what is actually happening in real time. Like the scene where the drug dealer was selling drugs, instead of showing how he sold the drugs and what they were used for, the director used a lot of quick cuts and closeup shots to show snippets of money, cocaince smothered, pupils dilated to give viewers the idea of what is going on in the scene.

Credits

30 Days In Japan by Itchban

Why? by MOE Singapore

Aerial shooting: Wave Pool (China) by HUMAN the movie

Massive wave hits ship by GlobalLeaks

Man almost gets hit by a train! Really Close! by Luciano Jesus

Shaun of the Dead Official Trailer #1 – Simon Pegg Movie (2004) HD by Movieclips Trailer Vault

Dream Jump – Dubai 4K by XDubai

Indecent Proposal (1/8) Movie CLIP – Kiss the Dice (1993) HD by Movieclips

Scary Parkour Compilation 2016 !! by Ardit Gola Films

 

Concepts of Digital Imaging Assignment 2 – OBLIVION

Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss – Douglas Horton

Artist Statement

In a society where your credibility is deemed by ink on a certificate, it is tough not to be a guilty of materialism. Like zombies going through motion we are numbed and can only feel joy through possession of material items. What most of us fail to realise is that everything will eventually fade away and turn to dust.

In this image I wanted to portray how I am a victim of materialism and that I am lost in this never ending sea of always chasing happiness through the possession of physical items, be it the latest clothing trends, or the coolest tech gear in the market.

Hong Kong being one of the busiest and densest Asian city in our region seemed fit for this assignment. Hong Kong is known for being similar to Singapore in many ways. On my trip there I realised that life in Hong Kong was extremely fast paced and often times employees have to work overtime and are not even getting reimbursed for their extra efforts. The people in Hong Kong remind me of myself which inspired me to create this composite, that I am always constantly working and chasing happiness through material things such as money.

Art Direction

The idea of an hourglass is the focus of my project. I wanted to show that it is only a matter of time before everything in the world will fade away. Thus metaphorically using the sand to represent time and the inverted city to show that material items are just idealised sand ticking away.

The human subject portrays my view on how in today’s society even human beings are perceived as tools and will one day eventually be disposed when we become of no more use to anyone.

Before & After

 

Technical Decisions

The original background layer of this image is the city landscape of Hong Kong.

Shot from the famous Lion’s Rock Peak in Hong Kong it used a 70-200 lens to capture the amazing cityscape below me. Using a focal length of 85mm I was able to get a tight crop onto the busy city making my focus of the image the tallest building in Hong Kong; The International Commerce Centre.

When i shot this photo it was approaching blue hour and i was running out of light thus i had to use an aperture of f5.6 to maintain a consistent clarity throughout the image and not sacrifice anything to be out of focus. As it was super windy and cold up in the mountains i tried my best to shoot as slow as i could while maintaining sharpness in the image. Fortunately my lens has in built image stabilisation thus i was able to get away with shooting at 1/100 with a combination of ISO 640 and still maintain sharpness in throughout the photo.

The other two images that make up the composite of the final image were taken from google. Some of the challenges i faced while making this composite was trying to blend everything together to make it seem like one seamless photo even though it was obviously photoshopped.

First i blended the skies of the city and the desert together by using a soft brush and fortunately enough the original photo of the city was also a little orange thus the skies blended seamlessly. Next I added an overall orange colour fill to maintain a consistent hue throughout the image with the addition of playing with the curves.

Adding the human in was the tough part. Finding a subject that was standing/walking in a position that expressed restlessness was not easy. Fortunately i found one image with a subject walking in the desert. I masked out the entire background of the image with the human in it and played around with curves, highlights and shadows to blend the subject into the desert background.

Artist References

Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson’s photos inspired me to create something that plays around with landscape photo manipulation. He conveys his message through the extensive manipulations of the environment and successfully conveys his message through unfamiliar perspectives of a familiar landscape.

Ricarddo Bognali

Ricarddo Bognali’s images are always centred around human subjects placed in contrasting backgrounds. A lot of these subjects don’t naturally belong in their environment that is portrayed in his works. This gave me inspiration to also include a human subject to further show the contrast of the environment that is set in the composite.

Conclusion

This assignment has allowed me to explore and put to use what i have learnt through the past weeks of digital imaging. The creative process was really fun even though i struggled to find images that fit together in the idea that i wanted to carry out. Overall it was a good learning experience and I will definitely apply these skills in my future week be it professionally or for fun.

 

Jumpcut – 7 Shot Narrative Assignment

I don’t dream all night, I dream all day; I dream for a living  -Steven Spielberg

Every shot in a film counts. That was what I learnt in school for the past few weeks leading up to my first short film assignment. To tell a story through using only 7 shots. To be very honest it was a challenging feat for me and I only solidified an idea after shooting my first scene of this film; JUMPCUT.

To fit into the theme of “The Seen and Unseen” I wanted to create something that we as creatives could relate to. The decision to chase our passion can be easily comprehended by others, but what they don’t experience is the unseen journey that made you make that decision. That was what inspired me to create this short film.

As a Chemical Engineering diploma holder specialising in biopharmaceuticals it was a leap of faith for me to leave that all behind and pursue an Arts degree.

The post processing for editing films was what inspired me to name my short film “jumpcut”.  A lot of the scenes that get edited out during the post processing of films don’t end up in the final cut , which links back to The Seen and Unseen theme. Much like how the decision making process is never taken into consideration and people only notice the before and after not the in between.

I will be breaking down each scene for the whole short film and what each scene actually means.

SCENE 1 – THE OFFICE

In this film the protagonist Sam is an average guy with an average 9-5 office job. He does not enjoy his work but is there because his job provides him financial stability. In this scene I used sound effects and a closeup shot of Sam’s face to express his thoughts on his job when he receives more work from his boss.

SCENE 2 – BUS STOP

As Sam is on his way home from work I wanted to portray that he is lonely. Using an objective shot and framing him with the rule of thirds I decided to use this scene as a transition to set up the next shot.

SCENE 3 – BUSKER

While Sam is making his way home just like any other day, he encounters a busker. The busker is playing Bob Marley’s – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright which was specifically chosen to instigate Sam and is also the inciting incident to his conflict. Which eventually sets him up to pursue his goal, happiness. By social norms, a busker is seen to have an unstable income which is a contrast to what Sam is now. However, the busker is happily pursuing what he wants to do and settling with whatever that he receives. In the scene the busker’s guitar bag only contains what might be enough for him to get through the day, and tomorrow might be uncertain, but he is content with what he has. Using a subjective OTS shot has helped the viewers have an intimate experience of Sam’s perspective.

SCENE 4 – RUNNING IN CIRCLES

In this scene i wanted to metaphorically show that Sam is going through motion everyday in his life just like how he is running around the stadium in circles as a daily routine.

SCENE 5 – REALISATION

Sam suddenly comes to a halt during his run and removes his earphones. The trekking shot and 360 panning around him reveals that he is tired and wants to seek resolution to his conflict.

SCENE 6 – WALK OFF 

In this shot, I used a drone to show an uncommon perspective of Sam leaving the stadium. He cuts right down the middle of the field which metaphorically represents that he has had enough and is going to call it quits. I got inspired by how in the military, personnel are never allowed to cut right through the parade square or any large open area as a form of respect. Thus in this scene I wanted to take that same idea and apply it onto the soccer field.

SCENE 7 – END

To give a conclusion, I repeated the first shot however something has changed in this scene. Sam is no longer at his desk and all that is left is a film camera. Ending of with an out of focus close up of the film camera gives viewers the sense of uncertainty and a hint as to what Sam has left his job for.

In conclusion, this assignment has given me a better understanding and realisation of how important each shot in a film is. The restrictions of only using 7 shots to portray “The Seen and Unseen” has challenged me to think creatively and will aid me greatly in planning for my future films.

Some behind the scenes of when i shot my film

Visual Storytelling – Assignment 1

They say an image speaks a thousand words, but does it really?

In this project I explore justifying the quote and experiment with different image composition styles to try and achieve that.

IDEATION

Coming up with a concept and deciding who i wanted to portray for this project was the biggest problem i encountered during this assignment. I was given the liberty of doing any character fictional or non fictional. My favourite movie is inception and since i am planning to major in film i decided to do a film character.

The character in this assignment that i portrayed is Cobb from inception.

If you haven’t already watch the movie let me try and give you a brief summary of who he is in the film. Inception the movie revolves around the life of Cobb and his memories. He earns a living through being an extractor, someone that extracts information out of people through their dreams. One day someone offers his a job to carry out a special type of job; “inception” where one plants an idea into someone else’s mind when their dreaming and when he/she wakes up they will believe that the idea was legit.

Cobb is struggling in the movie as he is known as a criminal that murdered his wife and is finding redemption and wants to get back to his kids. This job is the key to his freedom.

Thus I decided to go ahead and use Cobb as my character for this assignment as he has a lot going on in the movie for me to experiment with.

VISUAL ANALYSIS

The overall image has been composed as a portrait to represent Cobb’s nature as a character struggling to reach his goal in the movie

Water is a symbol of the unconscious. I wanted to include that into Cobb’s mind as it shows that he is drowning in his thoughts trying to meet his kids.

The Penrose staircase represents a never ending maze as he constantly tries to get closer and closer to his kids however it seems like he is going in never ending circles. The Penrose staircase was also used in the movies in quite a number of scenes thus i felt that it was apt to use it as a semiotic.

The distorted city is a very prominent style used in the movie and i included it in this composition to act as a frame and also the buildings are leading lines leading the viewers towards Cobb.

Jellyfishes symbolise painful memories that are rising up from your unconscious. I felt that it was perfect for this portrait as Cobb has painful memories about his wife’s death which keeps messing up his jobs because she turns up in his extractions and sabotages the jobs. The jellyfishes are in black and white so as to not draw too much attention away from the gold water droplet in Cobb’s head.

The tops in his tie adds texture and balances the image as the composition is very top heavy. The tops are also used a lot in the movie as Cobb spins it to make sure that he’s back to reality.

The rule of thirds was applied in this image. I positioned the head of Cobb to intersect the top third of the frame which makes the image look well balanced.

The golden droplet is golden to represent a glimmer of hope and also act as a magnet to the viewer’s eyes as it stands out from all the other blue tones.

I chose blue to be the main colour of this composition because blue represents regret and unsettlement.

CONCLUSION

The assignment helped me achieve a better understanding of semiotics and image composition techniques if used properly can speak a thousand words. Overall i had lots of fun completing this piece and hope to use these skills to tell better stories as a filmmaker in the future.

Concepts of Digital Imaging Project 1 – THRIST

Whatever you can imagine is real – Pablo Picasso

Artist Statement

With this piece I wanted to tell a story and evoke a certain feeling portraying a fantasy reflecting myself as a womaniser. The power of staged photography has helped combine the real and surreal together capturing a fragment in time where fantasy meets reality.

Upon receiving this brief I decided to create images based on my fantasies. Portraying myself in a different perspective that might not exactly be true allows me to live in that brief moment when the image is being captured what it is like to feel as a womaniser.

Image Description

The image portrays me as a high class womaniser. In this fantasy i see myself as someone that only dates women of status. To support this fantasy I had my female models to put on jewelry and have their hands all over my face to show that I am desired by them. The pearls and coloured nails on the female hands is to depict that the women desiring me are wealthy and exquisite. The expression on my face is to present that I am subtlety enjoying the attention from these women. To further support this fantasy, wearing a suit has helped to represent sophistication, masculinity and also arrogance. Unbuttoning the inner shirt and revealing some skin leads the viewer to understand that there is some form of lust and sexual desire involved.

The background and cropping of the image is also deliberate. The tight crop of this portrait is to portray a sense of intimacy. Having the hands emerging from the black backdrop hints that whatever that is going on in the image is happening in secret.

Camera Decisions & Technical Aspect

Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens: Canon 24-70mm F4L

ISO: 1000

Aperture: F4

Shutter Speed: 1/125

Focal Length: 41mm

Shooting on the 24-70 lens has enabled me to have the flexibility to zoom in and out of the setting. The lack of professional lighting has definitely made the surroundings darker than expected thus pushing the ISO to 1000 and shooting at F4 was necessary. Having he focal length at 41mm allowed me to have enough space to work with in post if I wanted to crop the image further.

Before & After

 

Before                                                                                                                   After

Straight of the camera, the image is very flat as it was shot in RAW.

Firstly creating masks for the highlights and shadows helped me separate and add contrast to the image. Thereafter masking the hands and myself i used a tone curve to darken out the background and whatever that was unnecessary in the image. Using the dodge and burn technique i have also deliberately darken and brighten the image in places that would enhance the lighting of the face and suit.

Touching up the skin i used frequency separation and retained the high frequency texture of the skin while gaussian blurring the blemishes to give my skin an overall consistency. Adding to that using the spot healing brush and clone stamp tool i got rid of all the odd speckles and imperfections in my face to make it look flawless.

The nails of my female model’s hands were not painted initially. To show the viewer that they are indeed female hands I went ahead to paint their nails in photoshop which helped the image look more realistic to support that the women were of status.

During the shoot pearls were added onto one of the model’s hands however due to the many reshoots and overlapping of hands some of the pearls eventually transferred over to another model’s hands. I went ahead to clone stamp the pearls instead of removing them to add more interest into the hands.

On top of everything I changed the white balance and made the image colder and also added fade on a overall tone curve adjustment layer creating a dreamy fantasy look.

Artist Reference

Sean Lee’s Two People

Flora Borsi’s Iréel

Some artists that inspired me to create this image are Flora Borsi and local talent Sean Lee. Both series are focused on the human body and how hands are used as a semiotic. Sean Lee’s images inspired me to create a very contrasty feel which gives a more exaggerated overall look. Flora Borsi’s series helped with the art direction of THIRST. I liked the pastel palette of her series however I think the colours would not fit in the context of my image.

Conclusion

This assignment has helped me look deeper into how i can use staged photography and digital image post processing techniques, to further enhance my images and my voice as an artist.

 

 

 

 

 

Carpe Diem