making a pure white background

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by kkamin, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    What would be the best way to make the background pure white but keep the products shadows if possible? (I'm not opposed to recreating the shadows if needed). Client wants a pure white background for this shot.

    I'm looking a an effective way to do this that won't take me an hour of hand painting. I was thinking so far that I could create clipping masks of the objects, forget about the shadows, bring the background to a clean white and then recreate the shadows. But is there a better way?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you can light the background separately from the product, you should be able to get it white. Then you can use lighting on the product itself, to achieve a bit of shadow.

    It's a little tougher when the product is sitting right on the backdrop, but not impossible.

    Adding a drop shadow in PS is pretty easy as well. I've seen the Photoshop Guys do it many times.
     
  3. LearnMyShot

    LearnMyShot TPF Noob!

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    try a big softbox over the top and then a separate light on the background on a boom to get it over the center and behind the objects....then all you need to do is balance out the light!!
     
  4. BKMOOD

    BKMOOD TPF Noob!

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    This is a very easy problem to fix. Use a grey card. I use them all the time. It's magic. Will solve that problem in a jiffy.

    Watch this video and see... [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5B4McYPls"]www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5B4McYPls[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  5. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    just blow out the background with a flash/light and touch it up in post.
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use the pen tool in Photoshop to create a path.

    -Pete

    [​IMG]
     
  7. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply. That's how I lit it. The problem is that you can see the "floor" of the sweep (where the product is sitting) and I can't blow that out without blowing the product out as well. The upper background is 255,255,255 - exactly where I want it. But where the product meets the paper it is about 210,210,210.
     
  8. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply. I understand how to meter shots. I was using a hand held incident meter, because I am using studio strobes. I lit the background and the product separately. I was able to control my exposure on the background to get a pure white. But if I lit the paper under the product to that same level, it would blow out the product, because it is white too.

    That video is BS. Buying that gray card isn't going to make magic fairies fly out of your camera and change the physics of light. The shots they showed were creatively processed and are nearing unethical. Especially the boot shot, there isn't a shadow.
     
  9. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    how about some stands for the product, light the backdrop for white f22, light the product f11, then Pshop out the stands. H
     
  10. iamcombat

    iamcombat TPF Noob!

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    Probably more work than you might want to do but you could always shoot 2 exposures...one of the background without the product which would be over exposed, then another with normal exposure with the product there and merge them in photoshop
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Way to insult the viewers intelligence :er:


    Everyone but Big Mike and flash harry are way off the mark.



    Distance is key.

    You don't want to put the product on a seamless and nuke the back. You'll put a bunch of spill on the product and you'll effectively light it from the rear, and you'll run into almost exactly the same problem as what you have now.




    There are two ways to get a knocked out background that you'll find in mainstream commercial product photography today in (at least the major) studios:


    The first, and generally most common with digital nowadays is to set up two sawhorses, prop the product up on something (C-stands are good for this because the knuckles are flexible for putting different tools in) and shoot the product IN FRONT of a gray seamless, NOT ON it.

    Gray seamless? Yes! becuase gray is neutral, it doesn't reflect much light back on the product if it's shiny (think shoe soles), and it's trivial to make a clipping path on it. You could even use the magic wand tool 90% of the time.




    The 2nd way, and this is how you did it on film and depending on the product, was easier, or more complicated, again depends on the product.

    Get the two sawhorses again. roll out enough seamless onto the floor and let it go in between the sawhorses. Put a big pane of clean glass on top of the sawhorses.

    style and place the product how you want on the glass. light the product how you want.

    with two heads, nuke the white seamless that's underneath the product 2-3 stops over what the product is.

    done, looks great straight out of camera.





    This completely unstyled shoe from a test shoot about a year ago was shot with the shoe on glass, white seamless just dropped and clamped down behind, and the two were lit seperate:

    Straight out of camera:
    [​IMG]

    After 45 seconds of painting in white:
    [​IMG]

    Another 45-60 seconds and drop in a shadow:
    [​IMG]


    Granted, the final product doesn't look great, i could have done better if i spent more than 105 seconds on it but the shooting was quick (we had 400 of these things and 5 days to shoot them 0_0), and we're ready for the next product.
     
  12. flea77

    flea77 TPF Noob!

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    It is always better to get the light right before the shot, but if you can't....

    [​IMG]

    I used the magnetic lasso, inverted, new layer via copy, maxed out brightness and contrast on the new layer, applied gaussian blur to new layer, sharpened old layer, done. I really should have cleaned up the edges of the bottles a little but for quick and dirty, less than two minutes, not too shabby.

    Allan
     

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