Tilt-shift miniature faking has been around for a while. But I hadn’t seen Tiltshiftmaker before. And decided to give it a go. It’s a web site where you can upload an image or give it the URL of an image. Then it adds a simple blur effect and adjust the color to make the illusion of a miniature model. Works pretty good.
And by the way. The image is from Ljubljana in Slovenia. Fantastic city.
So far I’ve made two videos of the images I describe in this article. The one here at the top and another two minutes version. Read on to learn how I did this, to see the other video and to download the videos and images in high quality. And if you want to watch this video here at the top in HD quality you have to click through to Vimeo.
So I started shooting images with my Canon 400D. From the same spot each time, but not through my window. I found a spot outside that gave more or less the same framing each time I placed my camera. So, I went out on our balcony snapping some images at pretty irregular intervals all through 2008 .
All images shot in RAW. The three exposures where: normal, +2 EV and -2 EV.
In addition to the images I decided to record some audio at the same place. Using my Canon S2 IS and my Canon HF10 I recorded simple background sounds trough 2008 as well. Not with exact connections to each image. More with a focus on getting audio from winter, spring, summer and autumn.
All together giving me a pretty decent range of material to put together some experiments.
At the top of this article you find a 40 second version that show one year. Using the 10mm wide angle images. Right above you find a two minute version made from the 55mm zoomed in images.
First I used Photomatix to make HDR images of the ones I decided to use. Mostly because the HDR effect makes the images flat so that the difference in light and shadows won’t disturb the transitions in my video.
Then I used Photoshop to align all the images. Placing the camera manually at the same spot each time won’t give the exact same spot. So I needed some fine adjustment. Photoshop does this. Here’s how:
First load the images you have chosen into layers by using “File->Scripts->Load files into stack“
When you have found all your files make sure to check “Attempt to automatically align…“
Give your computer huge amounts of time and get back when it has finished. Now Photoshop has adjusted all the images and put them on separate layers in one file. The next thing you have to do is to crop the image. Because of the adjustments the images are not the exact same size. A crop will do the trick.
When the computer is done cropping you export the layers to files. “File->Scripts->Export Layers to files“
Now you have a folder with a bunch of images with the same framing. I decided to do simple dissolves between them.
And ended up with a project in Final Cut Express that looked like the image above. I didn’t want one dissolve at a time. I wanted to make some kind of flow where one dissolve is taken over by the new one before it is finished. As you can see from the timeline my dissolves overlap.
The free downloads
First of all: please comment here or contact me if you use the images. I’ll link to all cool projects made from these files!
I posted my current backup strategy a while ago. And after a quick chat with Rodrigo on Twitter I decided to post my image workflow as well.
The basic flow is simple:
1. Out there
Snap images in RAW using my trusted Canon ESO 400D. I’m still very impressed with this camera. It has survived more than I could expect. Now snapping away at its image number 26 654.
It has survived drops from 1,5 meter. Heat and sand in Marrakesh and freezing snow in the mountains of Norway. I’m not changing before Canon cranks out that 21 mpix, 8 fps, weather sealed, HD-video shooting full frame 5D mark II. Yeah. I know. Rumors.
Anyway, I am using two 4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF cards while out shooting. Then:
2. At home
Transfer the images to my 24″ iMac (a fast, beautiful, silent and in general amazing machine). I’m using the import function in Lightroom and organize the images in folders according to the date: “Main Archive”/Year/Month/Day/image files
The images are not stored on the iMac. They go to a shared drive that’s connected to the main server at home. The main server is a MacBook Pro that had an accident and ended up with a destroyed screen. It’s now permanently connected to the TV in our living room. Serving as a media hub, PVR and file storage for the family. It’s placed in a well ventilated cabinet together with a bunch of disks.
And that’s where my image files go. On to two of the disks. Set up in a mirrored RAID for redundancy.
3. The boring stuff
Tag my images as much as I have time for. Usually that boils down to a few tags describing the session, happening, place and whatever suits all images. I’m not good enough at individual tagging of my images. Too much of my archive relies on the fact that I remember when the image I am looking for was taken. Lately I’ve also started to do automatic geotagging of my images.
(This image: the ultimate cliche. Shot at Solastranden at the western coast of Norway)
4. The fun stuff
Process and edit my images. Lightroom 2 is really powerful for this. With the adjustment brush I can do wonders with an image very fast. And everything is non destructive, leaving the original RAW file untouched. The RAW files contain more information than a JPG and I’m still amazed what I can get out of even a bad shot with wrong white balance and wrong exposure.
I used Aperture for this in the beginning. But Aperture ended up useless on my 60 000+ image archive. I’ve checked, and the latest version of Aperture is way better at this. But when switching I also ended up liking the tagging work flow, editing, RAW conversion and general handling in Lightroom better.
(This image: the beautiful Steinsdalsfossen in Hardanger, Norway)
I’m using my images in my presentations, on this blog, over at NRKbeta, on our family site, on print and even for sale. I have a lot of images on Smugmug and Flickr, but the ones I’ve sold have been directly because someone found them on my blog or through my experiment with Shutterpoint.
The alternate workflow
When travelling I bring my MacBook Pro. I’m running Lightroom on that one as well. So, when I’m on the road my images go from the camera, into the MacBook and on to an external disk for backup as well. When back home I transfer the images from the MacBook. Keeping all the editing and metadata from Lightroom on the laptop.