A Father and His Son Recreate 'The Matrix' Bullet Time Scene With the Help of Photoshop

We have featured Adrian Sommeling quite a few times over the summer and with reason. His composite photography work, or digital art if you prefer, is stunning and his videos give tons of inside tips to improve our very own work. In his latest creation, he Photoshopped his son and himself playing with foam guns replaying the famous bullet time Matrix scene. Learn all about the creation of this masterpiece in Sommeling’s video.

Like in the shattered iPhone 8 and Aston Martin in Iceland videos, the digital artist goes step by step and explains his whole process, starting with the shoot. The making of isn’t incredibly detailed in the sense that you won’t learn Photoshop techniques, but instead you’ll learn what to edit to make the most believable composites possible.

The shooting part is quite important. For this final image, he took four pictures. The first one was of his son, Nick, leaning back with a foam gun in his hand. The second was himself, shot by his son. Both of these were lit with a large softbox and a strip. Despite the tendency of Sommeling to shoot with a single light source, in this case, two were necessary to match the parking lot picture he’d take later on. The final image was of the foam bullets to add them around his son in post. Everything was shot in studio but the parking lot image. That image was captured early in the morning so that there wouldn’t be any cars left.

Then, the Dutch photographer moved on to the postproduction. He started by adding his son on the background. To make it believable, he had to color correct and add shadows. He also did the same with the image of himself. For both pictures, he added two shadows instead of one as there are multiple light sources. He even indicates that to make it even more organic, he’d need to add more shadows, but that for the purpose of this short video he keeps it to the bear minimum. Finally, he pasted the bullets and placed them around Nick. The goal here was to mimick the famous Matrix scene and thus to have the foam bullets flying around his son and not hitting him. To give the bullet an impression of movement, he added some speed blur and drew white lines below and behind the bullets as if we could see the air moving.

The final steps consisted of color correction and probably some kind of dodge and burn to make all elements tie together. The color grading is somewhat cold but totally matches the inspiration.

What do you think of this composite? Do you enjoy watching Adrian Sommeling's videos? Would you like similar videos for other photography genres? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Quentin Décaillet is a photographer and retoucher based in Switzerland specializing in portrait and wedding photography.

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this guy rocks, each week.

The best part about this is that in many decades from now they can look back with such fond memories of the great time they had creating these images together.