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Forrest Sav (front) | by Trevor Dennis
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Forrest Sav (front)

I’d borrowed the glass I composited into the last bottle upload, because I was getting into it, and it was too late in the evening to go out and Photograph it myself, so I have now put that to rights. The more I play with this sort of thing, the more convinced I am that compositing is the way to go. The bottle and glass have completely different lighting, with the glass using classic white field with dark cards either side to give the dark edges and delineate the glass from the background. The problem with white field lighting is that it can be tricky making the background look right, but by faking it, the problem goes away. It also means you can get your dark cards really close to the glass, making it far easier to cover the angles, and give you better control on the look of the shot. The same applied when shooting the bottle, albeit with completely different lighting set up.


With my own glass, I was able to fake a full background by running gradients down two layers and blurring the horizon. I did this bigger than I need so I could adjust the height of the horizon. This gave me room to make larger reflections, which introduced a further element:


The reflection was produced as before by copying the bottle and flipping vertically, and then warping the bottom of the reflection to match the bottle. The entire reflection layer had its opacity reduced, and then a gradient was run down a layer mask to make the reflection fade with distance from the bottle. Shadows were placed between bottle and reflection on a pair of layers. This lets you adjust opacity and clean up with layer masks.


I almost messed up with the glass because I initially didn’t work out that part of the reflection would be blocked, so I had to do it with two layers, You really do need to be disciplined with naming and grouping your layers with this sort of thing, as there were several dozen in this project and you can soon get confused. I Alt dragged the gradient mask from the bottle to glass reflections to ensure a perfect match. The motif on the glass was produced exactly as in the last upload.


You can see I have used the front label this time, but it is not right. Some of these labels do not scan well as they use metallic inks and microscopic glass beads to make them fluoresce. They photograph OK, but the tube lighting in a scanner makes them look wrong. I need to get some spare labels from Forrest to put this right.


An interesting point with the labels is that I warped the back label to exactly match the shape of the as shot in-camera label, and folk were saying it looked too flat. I think this is to do with my using long focal lengths (to minimise distortion). So this time I introduced some convex warping to the top of the label, and while it is not reality, it definitely looks better.


I hope this might help a few people. It’s a different approach, but having done it the traditional way for years, I find this so much easier, and am getting better results. And if you have a heap of bottles to do, you can probably save a lot of studio time by just compositing on the labels.

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Taken on May 28, 2010