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PRO Tutorial: Banished Mermaid
PRO Texture: Stone and Concrete
Making of The Mermaid
The background plates for this image were taken on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago during Hurricane Sandy. The waves were so intense that I was almost knocked down several times just trying to capture them. Not to mention that this was at 5:30 in the morning and that I had to cross a police barrier just to get the opportunity. It was freezing, and I was completely soaked after just minutes but it made for an amazing and one of a kind background.
The Mermaid was photographed in our Chicago studio, using strobes to match the lighting from the background. We set black seamless paper on the floor to mimic the shine of the ground, and set up a giant 86″ paabolic reflector behind the subject.
Once hair and makeup were done it was time for our mermaid to get into the scene. Because there was no wave in the studio, we set up a v-flat as a barrier, and I stood where the wave was and splashed water onto our mermaid. Her legs were bound so as not no separate and she was propping herself on an apple box to mimic the rock. It was an amazing photo shoot and an amazing day.
Afterwords we photographed several fish including salmon, trout, and a beta. The beta won out for the best tail, and with a bit of Photoshop everything came together to create what you see here.
Bonus: Included Compositing Action!
Creating a Mermaid Tail
A mermaid is hardly anything without a spectacular tail. In this advanced photoshop tutorial we spend over an hour going through every detail on how to create an amazing tail. Learning these skills will allow you to create anything you can think of. We don’t focus on just one technique, rather the skills necessary to achieve these effects.
Getting a human to blend into a fish is no easy task, and you are going to be along for every step of the way. Including the original sketching and painting of form through coloring and adding scales and texture. Follow along and bring this mermaid to life.
A Body of Scales
Sometimes subtlety is the best way to tell a story, and we wanted the skin of our mermaid to be covered in a light layer of scales. Not enough to distract you from the overall image, but enough to give the person who looks close a visual feast.
We create scales to add to the body, fins on her arms, gills on her neck and ribcage, and even webbing between limbs.
Learn how to merge several photos together into one image to create the perfect head of hair. In this case we wanted it to be wild and whipped from the waves, but you could use these same techniques on a glamour portrait.
Adding a Light Source
To make the background much more stunning we add a giant light source. This can be very hard to do because light effects everything it touches. Once you add your light source, you then have to color and light everything else in the image. You also have to make sure that all the lighting works with the image, and that light decays at the same rate throughout the image.
We go over our exclusive techniques for checking to see if your light is behaving in the right way, as well as provide a free bonus action to compare!
Coloring the Background
This landscape is intense! To keep it from being too distracting we colored it in a monotone that would bring out detail in the mermaid.
Follow along as we go through every detail on how to color and dodge and burn a background to bring it to the fullest potential.
It would be nice if birds just happened to fly by exactly when and where you wanted them to, but more often than not you have to take care of those details on your own. We go over adding great details such as birds, sand and gravel, light shimmers and more!
The Perfect Color Cast
There are many things to take into consideration when creating a composite, and one of the biggest is how light and color interact with one another. In this tutorial we show you what to look out for when creating your composite and how to make sure everything fits.
In this case we brought the reflection of color from the tail onto the water underneath. Taking care of these details can make the difference between a good and great image.
Bringing everything together to create this stunning image is a lot of fun and an amazing learning experience. No where else in the world will you be able to learn these skills and techniques to bring your ideas to life!