[Workflow] Complete Erik Almas Composite And Edit In 3 Minutes

Earlier today we posted a great behind the scenes video from Erik Almas that dealt mainly with shooting the elements for a composite, this video however takes you from the point where he finishes shooting, to the completion of the final image.

It's a little fast but this definitely gives you an idea as to how much work goes on beyond shooting the incredibly complex photographic elements.





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Lee Morris's picture

incredible work! I wish I had that much patients 

ian sbalcio | photo's picture

but you're not a doctor Lee! you're a photog.

I know that this is amazingly skilful work and I have a massive amount of respect for what is being done here and the finished “image” is top class. But I don’t see this as skilful photography, this is someone who’s good in photoshop.

Joop van Roy's picture

 I see it as a form of modern painting. He's painting his vision with the help of a camera. In any case, an amazing image.

John Godwin's picture

Except that he took all of the photographs in the image himself. Which would require some skill. 

I don't know, it looked like sloppy photoshopping to me - I feel like for amount of work he put into this, it would have been much easier to actually bring the model to that location for the shoot (within reason obviously). 
It made for a nice final image but it doesn't look organic at all. 

Sean Shimmel's picture

After all the back and forth down through this thread, I have to settle on your conclusion about an easier way.

And if something's going to be difficult no matter what, I think the easier and more enjoyable difficulty would be to shoot on site. 

two reasons why i don't see it as feasible to shoot on-site. 

scheduling with a model on a date that you'd be lucky enough to get that type of fog background would be insanely lucky. 

getting that beautiful lighting on the model would be difficult in camera. In order to get that light, you'd have to have somebody with a strobe out on a boat. Which you'd have to composite out. You'd also still have to retouch the dock to get the same look he has here. either way, it's going to be photoshopped like crazy. i think he just did it the more practical way.

Nicholas Gore's picture

@BDWT:disqus  I agree, this is a fairly simple image though, his more complex images would be completely impossible to do physically. Doing it this way provides a lot of control to change it after the fact though, if the client wants things to be a little different. It could possibly save the photographer a lot of time and money if the end client wants to make changes. 

It also saved the photographer from having to float his 6' octa. ;)

Beautiful work, but why was the original model shot horizontal and so wide? If it was shot for a composite, why not fill the frame to have more pixels to work with?

It was probably shot wide to maintain consistent perspective. When building composites, it's a good idea to work with images shot at comparable focal lengths.

Ah! Of course, that makes sense.

I composite a great deal and watching this video charges fear in my heart for the new composite work I have been asked to do. There isn't really a fast way of doing work like this. I like this guys work. Period.

Chad Andreo's picture

Wouldnt it be easier to shoot on a green screen?

Nicholas Gore's picture

Not necessarily, shooting outside, balancing natural light with strobe means that when it comes time for the final composite, the blend will look more natural. In terms of pulling the subject off the background though, I feel like a green screen might help a bit,  but it's a pain in the neck either way you look at it. 

Robert's picture

For those of you who think compositing is lazy compared to shooting all the elements in the same place and at the same time get real. The photographers that shoot composites are excellent photographers in their own right but have in addition amazing post production editing skills. Just think of the costs of getting a model, hair and makeup, wardrobe and the boat (the correct type / style and placed correctly) to that location, the budget would be at least 5 times more compared just sending the photographer by himself to shoot the background, the boat, the model in some place like L.A. or N.Y. with hair and makeup / wardrobe present and then finally the post production composite.

Mike Powell's picture

one thing. yawl forgot to tie the boat up. I know it sounds petty but, most boaters may notice that detail.

The fact that the model was shot with so much clutter around & not on a clean background seems like laziness to me. Cool final image for sure tho.

Alvinus Melius's picture

I feel like you need to know that situation for the model shoot before making a judgement. Sometimes the details of the assignment may make it easier to be shot that way. In addition maybe this method work best for his overall schedule.

I see both a great photographer and a great photoshop guy here.

Nine hours of work with computer... plus time to take both photographs.
He made a nice picture, but this is not a photography I like. I understand that now we have to be able to take a picture, process it, retouch it, compose it, model 3D objects, make a video and edit it... and charge just enough to cover our expenses...
I guess I will stay poor just taking pictures. All the computer work above processing and retouching is no fun for me.

Impressive work.
But one thing that bugs me about the final image is that the model is standing in the wrong spot. The relationship between the top and bottom half of her body is wrong. Look at the original shot of her to see where her feet should be in relation to the pole...

 Well. I can see the perspective is slightly off. Picture of model is taken from below her shoulders and picture of BG was taken with higher perspective, above her shoulders.
But the difference is so small that I wouldn't notice it without analyzing the picture.

John Godwin's picture

God I love Almas' work, it's so brilliantly simple.

Subject/background/mid-ground element to join both.

Any detrctors of Erik's work invariably have crap portfolios themselves. Purists: the kind of people who wish the Renaissance never happened. 

Also, what I love most about this is the beginning. I sometimes doubt my abilities because I don't see the best shot immediately, and it's reassuring to know that even someone with as singular vision as Almas still takes hundreds of shots before landing on the right one.

i agree with edlarrosa, the image of the model is placed in a wrong spot.. look at her hand on the pole & look at where she stands... it's a sloppy photoshopped image. except that perspective thing, the feel is awesome!

after all that work it looks so real and believable , it just misses a lion sitting in the boat in my opinion for that extra Almas authenticity.

Jan Dallas's picture

Photography in the service of commercial art, or "graphic design" as they call it.