Lightboxes, dark images, pain in my butt

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by digital0verdose, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. digital0verdose

    digital0verdose TPF Noob!

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    Intro:
    My company has tasked me with taking images of products to be used for rendering 3D models of said products. They gave me an EOS Rebel XTi 400D digital camera and a lightbox with a couple of lights using GE Photoflood bulbs.

    The problem I am having is that the images are coming out too dark in the lightbox and I am trying to nail down what the issue is so it can be properly resolved.

    I was given this task because I have a rough knowledge of photography, but my limited expertise stems from video, not still.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Is there anyone, familiar enough with the camera I am using, that can suggest a better method of shooting these images?

    2. What is a cheap, effective lighting solution that will get the job done without putting hot spots on my images?

    Thanks in advance!

    Here is an example of what I am currently getting inside the lightbox.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    You can just adjust that with the exposure tool in Photoshop.

    But if this is for 3D do your artist a huge favor and additionally remove the label and place it on the flatbed scanner!

    Additionally if this is for CG he won't care at all about hot spots (specular hits). He needs basic shape and color reference.
    Use a longer lens from further back to get a good profile of the bottle shape.

    Also I would take shots of both with and without the factory seal tape!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  3. digital0verdose

    digital0verdose TPF Noob!

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    They companies that have been doing these renders based off the images do them straight from the photos they are provided and they actually do a good job of creating the models.

    We typically take 8 shots of the product (top, bottom, 4 side shots and then a 3/4 angle shot to better nail down the shape. Up to now, the models we get back look solid and very life like, however, they are either darker than we would like or the hotspots show up.

    Not trying to be a complete PS noob here but I don't think I have ever messed with the exposure tool. Does this exist in ImageReady? Do I have to use the RAW file to apply this or will it work on a JPG output?
     
  4. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    If those things are true then the company you have doing the 3D work are f-ups. It means they're not taking the time to do it right and are just Front Projection Mapping or using a seamed UV map and not even editing the images. I guess they could be using an "Image Modeler" but that's extremely unprofessional for a job like this. In cg ALL lighting properties should be generated by the software. They should never ever under any circumstances return a 3D model to you the client, with photographed specular hits in the textures unless their total n00bs. Sorry, I hope that didn't sound too gruff but this is what I do. I am such a company. Going on about 21 years now - when CG (3D) first started. Additionally I taught the subject at university here in Japan for about 10 years.


    Either RAW or HQ JPEG will do fine. RAW is a little better if you can swing it but not mandatory for this by any means. The "Exposure" tool is in the Image --> Adjustments menu and after selecting it - it should be pretty self explanatory.

    EDIT: I don't remember Image Ready so well - it's been awhile. If there's no "Exposure" tool in IR I think there is a Brightness/Contrast that will do the job.


    --
    On the spec hits you're getting with the light box I would have to see the rigging but I guess your strobe unit it too close to the translucent walls. Move it back 3 feet or so and the specular hits should soften allot!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  5. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    Here's just a quick run just bumping up the brightness and contrast.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yup. Thanks Bill. And here's using the Exposure tool:

    EDIT: I put all 3 side by side. If you're on a crappy monitor like I'm using here at home it makes a little difference where on the screen it is. :p

    With the Exposure tool............ With Brightness/Contrast............ The original.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  8. digital0verdose

    digital0verdose TPF Noob!

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    On Topic: I really do want to avoid as much post work on these photos as possible. A solid example is brightness/contrast. I have messed with these settings but you start to lose too much fine detail. Another reason is I will have to take a series of photos for over 600 SKUS in a very short amount of time so any post work will expand that process.

    Off topic: How much would you charge to render a high-res 3D model of something like this?
     
  9. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    On Topic: You can automate the process with actions in PS - all 600 should take about 1 hour to process if each is 5 seconds to process. If you reduce the contrast and increase the brightness at the same time you shouldn't lose detail. But if you don't want to do any post just set the camera on a priority (A or S) or manual exposure mode and adjust for a brighter image - and move the strobes further away to reduce the harshness of the specular hits you're getting.

    Off topic: I'll send you a private message in a few minutes - but it depends on how many there are and if it's a one-time gig or a potential for repeat business.
     
  10. digital0verdose

    digital0verdose TPF Noob!

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    You can delete it now.

    I am sending you an e-mail that is similar to my forums name.
     
  11. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yup, got it and replied. Thanks!
     

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