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Space Awaits! The making of by Krisitna Varaksina

1/20/2015 Matt 0 Comments

Space Awaits!
by Krisitna Varaksina

The project “Space Awaits!”is a personal photo shoot, I came up with an idea of young astronauts. My inspiration was retro futurism as a fashion style and the era of human excitement about space travel.

The story is about two kids sneaking out of their house before everyone is awake, probably to try out the lunar lander parked in their backyard.

I started with a sketch, because I wanted to find the best composition, considering having a house and a moon lander in the background.

After completing a very challenging task of finding and booking the right location and the right talents, we were ready to shoot. I knew I would be doing compositing, because the house's size and its windows' location weren't ideal. So I made a decision to shoot each kid separately and then put the picture together in Photoshop.

The lighting set up followed the idea that the story was happening early in the morning. Unfortunately, there are a lot of foggy days in San Francisco this time of year, and I didn't want to rely on the actual sunlight, so we brought LED's. It's very convenient to work with LED lights because they don't overpower the ambient light, which I wanted to keep in the shot.

Thus, we put 1 stop CTO gels on the lights that were on the left side of the subjects and above their heads to create a warm light effect, because the actual sunlight, if it wasn't so diffused by the fog, would be coming from that direction. I used another LED in front of the kids 1/2 stop lower than the other two lights, just to give their faces a little more light, since they were mostly backlit by the ambient and the LED lights. My camera settings were ISO:200, 1/80s, f/6.3, 27mm.

After the shoot I processed the raw files in Capture One Pro to make sure my highlights and the darks were good. I also worked on the colors a bit, to give the images that really nice warm tone as they had back in the 1960s-70s. In the mean time our 3D design team got 360 degrees location images from me and started working on reflections in the 3D model of the moon lander.

Composting part is always fun, because you can create something that doesn't exist in real life. I had to cover one of the windows of the house in post to make a better background for the girl. I placed the boy and the girl according to the height they had in real life. Then I did face, hair and clothes retouching, mostly using high-low frequency technique. The children's skin is always flawless, so I mostly had to fix the skin tones and highlights on the faces and in their eyes. But I did have a lot of work to do on their helmets because they weren't new.

I placed the 3D model of the moon lander with all the lighting and reflections made in Maya. However, I still needed to tweak colors, add some more warm light, shadows and grass reflections at the bottom of the lander and also a shadow from it on the ground. As a final step I put it slightly out of focus, since the focus is on the kids standing in the foreground, and added some“sunlight in the air”layers in the screen mode to add more space, dimension, and separate the background object from the foreground.

Finally, I added clouds to the sky to make the image look more dimensional and complete. I changed the sky color to make it look as close to the original as possible to avoid the effect of fake sky. After that I applied 0.5 blur to the entire background to put it slightly out of focus and let the kids stand out a bit more. And that was it!

Thanks a lot for sharing Krisitna.

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